Vote: Your Favorite Green Resolutions for 2011

Here’s what New Year’s resolutions have meant to me: it’s nearly impossible to get on a machine at the gym between New Year’s Day and Groundhog Day. By early February most people have given up on trying to do something they never really wanted to do in the first place.

So this year I thought it would be good to get some ideas for resolutions that might actually work. Simple things that are easy to do and are eco-conscious at the same time. For inspiration I reached out to the brilliant people that work here at The Nature Conservancy.

Here are 5 of my favorites. Check them out and then vote in the poll at the bottom to let us know which you like best.

  1. Maddy Breen, web writer/editor
    My resolution: To green my sister’s wedding. She’s getting married in April and we’re right in the middle of all the planning. So far we’re the most excited about greening the flowers—the venue’s gardener is planting a ton of daffodils now that we’ll use for our bouquets, tables, etc. Talk about shopping local!
  2. Jon Fisher, data management specialist
    My goal is to never take a new plastic bag from a grocery store. I’m trying to either wash/reuse those thin little plastic bags for produce (and bulk goods and bread), or just take them home in a tote bag and then figure out how to store them. I’m making progress but still forget sometimes or don’t bring as many bags as I need (I always have enough tote bags/panniers but I have trouble with the produce bags).
  3. Sanjayan, lead scientist
    My biggest impact is my travel. Not only does it add tons of carbon but it also gets in the way of doing work. When I travel I don’t actually work; I COLLECT work to do later.  So the simple thing is create a couple of no travel months and stick to that. It will allow me to do that rarest of things for conservation scientists always rushing from one crisis to another—and that is— THINK.
  4. Steph Wear, marine scientist
    It is going to be the Year of the Bike for me! I just got a new Dutch bike that has cargo space and plan to use it to run all my errands and go to my appointments (within reason). I always like to find things that accomplish two things at once. In this case it does three: lower fuel costs, reduce emissions, and good exercise. It’s so easy to hop in the car and go, so this one is going to be a big challenge for me.
  5. Dave Connell, associate director for marketing
    Make sure my kids aren’t “indoor only.” A common refrain from my four-and-a-half year-old is, “Can I watch a show?” Another is some version of “EEK, there’s a bug” followed by running, hiding and pleas to “kill it.” Also, he knows how to work my iPhone.

I don’t want my kids to be indoor only children, watching TV and afraid of insects. My New Year’s resolution, starting with skiing in January, is to make sure my kids get outside, appreciate nature and stay active. After all, we can’t love (and save) what we don’t know. My kids need to know nature and the only way that’s going to happen is for us to get them out there to experience it first hand.

So, which is your favorite green resolution for 2011? Let us know by voting in the poll below.

And what will you be doing to green your 2011? Leave a comment with your resolution.

(Image: Plastic bag in a tree. Image Credit: its_all_in_fun/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. I already avoid taking new plastic bags from stores and don’t travel by plane a lot. But I have voted for the kid’s resolution because I worry about how are our Western kids growing up – many of them are totally nature deprived, and prefer to play with technology instead. I worry about the consequences this may have for conservation in the future, if a vast majority of adult people don’t care for nature at all. I live in Spain and here we have this problem too. Some years ago hiking and outdoor experiences were very popular, they are not so much now. When I have kids I will take them out a lot.

  2. My vote is for re-use of plastic bags. This is definitely a possible practice. For the last two years I have been following this practice. My Grocery shop owner knows this and on seeing me, he never pulls out a new plastic carry bag, as I used to have a used one already in my hand. Like washing clothes my wife used to wash the plastic bags for my re-use purpose. Whenever I get a chance I tell my relatives and friends also to follow this simple and easy method which saves the green earth and sea animals to a greater extent.

  3. Reuse those plastic produce bags. Put them in a compartment in you purse, jacket, car, etc. I heard of somebody who uses an empty toilet paper roll to stuff them in, and takes it along to the grocery store.

  4. i decided that i never use plastic bags from 2011.

  5. interesting article,thank you for sharing .best wishes

  6. “We can’t love (and save) what we don’t know.” By far my favorite line in the whole article. Our generation does not know and appreciate our earth. My cap to you, Mr. Connell! Let’s get outside!

  7. My green resolution for this year is to stay local on my holidays. That is, no airplanes except when travelling for work. It´s going to be very hard because I have my family spattered all over the globe. However, if I do fly I´ll compensate my CO2 emissions at Atmosfair.

  8. Liked all five, voted for the one most applicable to my personal circumstances.

  9. How do we define a “green resolution?” From the perspective of carbon emissions, cutting unnecessary air travel or trading car trips for biking are top priorities. From an environmental psychology standpoint, getting kids outside is crucial to their forming a bond with nature and developing an appreciation for the environment. I’d like to point out the issue of side effects, however. While getting kids outside is an admirable goal, taking the average family on ski trip can have the unintended consequence of high GHG emissions resulting from ski lifts, transportation, etc. Disclaimer: I’m a self-proclaimed ski nut, and environmental scientist, and this aspect of my sport bothers me. It isn’t a huge deal; additional steps can be taken to minimize or negate that effect if desired (carpooling, choosing a green or nearby resort, or even buying a carbon offset). It’s just evidence for the point that focusing on only one aspect of environmentalism can have unintended consequences in another area of “being green.” It’s important to consider all the effects an action may have. May all of you succeed in your green endeavors for the new year!

  10. I loved them all.

    I have been focusing on: making sure my investments are helping create a healthier way of living for us, the planet, and the creatures who share it: microfinance, sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture, education, etc.

  11. These are all great resolutions. We all need to start (or continue) somewhere. I don’t really make resolutions, but a couple of “green” plans I have for this year are to work with my neighbors to break up some of the excessive sidewalk concrete and put in gardens of California natives, and to set my home up to collect rainwater.

  12. I will share my eco-advice freely, that includes all the above options plus many more tips & techniques, with all my friends, associates and anyone interested. I see the interest to “go green” growing among the layman, the businessman and in children, and i will give them direction through free environmental consultation.

  13. I’m already Green, so here’s what I will suggest for others; Everything you bring home must eventually be recycled, or reused when you sre finished with it…otherwise, don’t buy it! No plastic bags allowed…no ziplocs, no trash bags, no shopping bags…how? by composting, and recycling almost everything. the stuff that can’t be composted or recycled, won’t yucky food anyway, so throw it in the unlined garbage can…Reuse the plastic cereal bags multiple times for food storage-especially in the freezer,and use reusable cloth/canvas bags for shopping,(leave them in the car all the time) Reuse glass jars for your garden produce, leftovers, freezer jam etc. Cook up a couple of pounds of ground beef (and venison) and freeze for quicker meal prep. Bring your own food containers when eating out instead of using their styrofoam containers. Outdoors, collect rainwater in a rain barrel under a down spout. I have 13 gardens…and it works for me folks! Landscape your yard so there are plants along your boulevard instead of grass if your city allows. Use an old fashioned non-motorized mower for the grassy areas. Or get sheep or goats if you live in the country…they do this all over Ireland…hardly anyone mows grass there. Honestly, Ive been there. Surround your house with trees for shade. try to leave the air conditioners off at night during summer months in the northern states…(Minnesota for me) catch a breeze the curtains and blinds in the winter to get some good ole solar heat! Why do you think your pet always finds the sunny spot on the carpet 🙂
    And line dry ALL of your clothes…ALL the time – year round. In winter, i use an old fashioned drying rack in my laundry room. I’ve been doing it for 18 years here in Minnesota. In summer…everything goes outside on the clothes line. So…I hope everyone who reads this can find something from my list that they can begin doing this year and forever. 🙂

  14. Greening a wedding is moving beyond the usual…good for U. Plastic bags may only be available in museums soon…great!Creating 2 non-travel months at work us admirable, but may be beyond your control.
    Personally I drive a vehicle which gets over 34 MPG. My friends know I carpool whenever possible, re-use, recycle, repurpose, compost, etc.

  15. I am resolved to bike to work everyday possible – no excuses (though snow, ice and freezing rain accepted – the trail is unplowed).
    So far – a minimum temp of 25.2F!!!

  16. I purchased some mesh bags at Whole Foods for produce…they are also available from other sources…this way you never have to take a plastic bag home from the grocery store….no more plastic bags please!

  17. There is a major omission on the poll choices:
    Go vegan.

    The Nature Conservancy seems reluctant to discuss the primary cause of climate change, water depletion, and biodiversity degradation: livestock and factory farming, which have a greater impact on the planet than all forms of transportation combined.

  18. I agree with Carl !
    See the UN Scientific Report for 2006…….TNC’s failure to have the courage take a stand on this issue is shameful.
    The fundamental and blatant hypocrisy of a meat-eating “environmentalist” rivals that of a corrupt cop or a pedophile priest.
    A vegan driving a Humvee has less impact on the planet that a meat-eater on a bicycle…….but PERSONAL change just seems like too much “discomfort” for some of these “green” groups.
    Everybody want to change the world but nobody wants to change.

  19. As a kid I was very impacted by my experiences with the outdoors. We moved around a lot so I got the chance to see different places with unique ecosystems, from the forests of Germany to the plains of New Mexico. Some of my fondest memories revolve around my outdoor adventures, whether it was participating in the Volksmarch that went through the woods or collecting water samples for science class from the Playa lakes. I was also very inspired by a “green” teacher I had in second grade, who I still keep in touch with some twenty years later. As a result of my exposures I became a career conservationist. As much as children are what they eat, of equal importance is the fact that they are what they mentally digest. I think its wonderful that you plan to expose your children to our greatest renewable resource, nature!

  20. I’m still planning my resolutions! I’d like to have a new one every month. Last year my resolution was not to use any disposable water bottles; it was very successful! I’m going to continue that one… well, forever, but I’m also counting it as my resolution for January while I plan the other months. There are some great suggestions here!

  21. I think the importance of #5 is big. Making sure the next generation values and appreciates nature will be key in creating a generation that will do what they can to preserve and treasure it.

  22. We are replacing light bulbs as they burn out with the new type of light bulbs.

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