Our Environmental New Year’s Resolutions

A few changes can benefit people and the planet (and save you money)

Walking and biking for short trips

Marnie Boardman, a public health advisor, said she’s going to “make more human-powered trips.” Walking or riding a bike will save her money on gas, help the environment by not polluting, and get her exercising.

Laundry adjustments

Several people said they would stop using hot water to do laundry. This cuts energy use and will save them money by limiting the use of their water heater.

Diet changes

Less red meat is on the menu this year at the home of Lauren Jenks, leader of Environmental Public Health. She also plans to cut down on eating dairy products. Her colleague Rad Cunningham says he will eat more plant-based meals.

Avoiding plastic

Michele Roberts, the assistant secretary in charge of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine planning and distribution, committed to using less single-use plastic. This means generating less trash, and less pollution getting into our oceans. Chief of Staff Jessica Todorovich and several others are joining her. Their ideas include:

  • Using deodorant that is not in a plastic tube.
  • Carrying reusable grocery store bags, including for produce. It’s even more important now that Washington’s single-use plastic bag ban is in effect.

Gift giving

Director of Communications Maranatha Hay said she gave “environmental-related gifts for the holidays.” They included reusable produce and sandwich bags, and metal straws.

Larger steps

Marnie noticed she’s had higher heating bills since she started working from home. She set her thermostat to lower temperatures, but this could be the year she converts from a gas furnace to a high-efficiency electric heat pump. When Mike Lang’s 14-year-old car stops running, the communications consultant is switching to an electric vehicle. Christie Spice, the leader in Health Systems Quality Assurance, will replace her family’s gas-powered car with a hybrid, their second battery-powered vehicle.

  • Switch from gas appliances to electric.
  • Put solar panels on your home.
  • Plant trees strategically to shade your home and help the environment.
  • Weatherize your house while you improve your health; you may qualify for financial assistance to do this.

More Information

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles. For more information from the Washington State Department of Health, visit doh.wa.gov.

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