Resolutions

My Environmental Resolutions

By: Shelby Egan

Now that the holidays are over and the New Year has started, most students have taken the start of 2013 to reflect on the past year and make a list of positive resolutions for the new one.  I know 2012 was a big year for me.  Having graduated college and moved to a new city have definitely made me want to start 2013 on a positive note.  Now that finals are over, one way I am pledging to make worthy changes in 2013 (besides vowing to not procrastinate with reading assignments in school) is to be more active in protecting the environment.  There is no better time to become more environmentally aware than the start of the New Year.  Here is a list of some of things I am planning to do to help protect the environment:

1.   Using reusable shopping bags when I go to the grocery store instead of plastic bags.

2.   Unplugging appliances when I’m not using them, like my computer and cell phone charger.

3.   Making sure to recycle aluminum cans, plastics, glass, newspapers, paper and cardboard.

4.   Reusing binders and notebooks that are still in good condition.

5.   Taking a walk with a friend to a nearby park, or better yet, going ice-skating to enjoy the outdoors, rather than staying inside and watching TV.

6.   Shopping at local thrift stores that sell second- hand clothes.  Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it’s helpful on my budget and makes for a vintage wardrobe.

To make your 2013 environmental New Year’s resolutions complete, spread the word to your family and friends in taking steps, like the ones listed above, to make a big difference in protecting the environment.

Shelby Egan is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has a passion for protecting natural resources, cities she’s never been to and cooking any recipe by The Pioneer Woman.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Resolving To Find The Beast Within

By Amy Miller

There are people who make New Year’s Resolutions and those who think we are silly.

January 1 gives the former a date to wipe the slate clean. On Feb. 1, we might decide to consume less or moisturize more. On March 1, we might swear to eat more healthfully or exercise more diligently. But on Jan. 1, we reinvent ourselves.

The other day I found the kind of inspiration one needs before crafting resolutions. It came from Malaysia in an award-winning documentary about purposefully choosing one’s path. It also happened to be about protecting our planet.

“Man & Nature,” an 8-minute video, was produced on the tropical island of Lankawi and it features Irshad Mobarak, who was a banker before he became a naturalist.

“After five years of banking I realized this is not what I want to do,” said Mobarak, whose sister is my friend in Maine. Mobarak concedes some people may want to be bankers and “that’s fine.” But Mobarak found “I had this connection to nature …I really wanted to get back to.”

Mobarak asks each of us to park ourselves in a corner and watch the birds. He thinks we’ll find they are not so different: they also go through challenges and relationships. If we keep watching we’ll learn how animals protect each other. The squid, for instance, gives an alarm that an animal of prey is coming. And we can learn cooperation from the little bird who attacks the eagle.

“We are caught up as human beings in a fast moving world and we have lost our connection to the environment; this is something that has left us empty,” Mobarak said.

My job at the EPA is to write, to promote a government regulatory agency. But it is also to be part of an organization that aims to give humans and trees and animals a healthier more vibrant connection.

As with many people, my dog is my most intimate connection with nature. When she ate one of our live chickens recently I was reminded that she is still a beast. When she refuses to obey me, I am reminded that the Husky in her is determined genetically to be fiercely independent.

As my New Year’s Resolution, instead of putting on more controls – eat less, exercise more, organize better – I will work on removing some controls. Perhaps I will resolve to honor the beast within and the human connection to nature.

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, seven chickens, two parakeets, dog and a great community.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.