New Year's Resolutions Can Keep You Green (Part One)

An article from the http://sierraclub.typepad.com/ has inspired myself to write an article of my own on New Year's Resolutions that can keep you green. This will be a two part series (or longer). Please post suggestions of resolutions or comments!

1. Eat less meat

This was the tip suggested by the original article. Check out the link for more details but here's a choice quote:
Producing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef emits more carbon dioxide than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home. (Sierra Club: The Green Life)
Keep track of your eating habits using a journal and make a specific goal of how many meals and snacks you want to keep meat-free. Remember, one serving of meat should be the size of your palm. It is more often than not we eat portions much large than this. Eat according to your age and what is recommended by your doctor or nutritionist. This chart is from the Canada Food Guide (from this helpful article):

Children Teens Adults
Age in Years 2-3 4-8 9-13 14-18 years 19-50 years 51 + years
Sex Girls and Boys F
Vegetables and Fruit 4 5 6 7 8 7-8 8-10 7 7
Grain Products 3 4 6 6 7 6-7 8 6 7
Milk and Alternatives 2 2 3-4 3-4 3-4 2 2 3 3
Meat and Alternatives 1 1 1-2 2 3 2 3 2 3

This tip likely coincides with many resolutions to eat healthier or lose weight! Two (or three) birds with one stone. Wow, you might as well eat locally grown vegetables. Speaking of which...

2. Eat locally grown produce

I have previously written an article on the importance of buying local but I feel this is even more important with the struggling economic times. Buying local means you also support the local economy and invest in the future of where you live. Remember, the power of your dollar goes a long way...so vote with it! Here is quote from the article on a great way to implement this tip:
When you support your local farmer, you also support the local economy and foster a stronger sense of local community when you can actually talk to those who grew your food. You can also make a family outing of it, and teach your kids the importance of buying local, knowing where the products you consume come from, as well as teach them to be more environmentally aware! There are always things to do at the market!
3. Grow your own garden (and maintain it!)

Indoor or outdoor, growing your own garden is the ultimate way to eat locally! If you have your own backyard (or its okay with your landlord if you're renting a home) begin to plot a possible garden in your backyard as well as what herbs or vegetables will grow well in your future garden patch. Start a gardening book to keep track of your progress as well as when you should begin to plant seeds and transfer seedlings to the warm ground outside. If you live indoors, you can begin to grow your own herbs on your window sill if there is enough sunlight available. Kits are available at home and garden centers as well as stores like Canadian tire (Look out for an upcoming article on indoor gardening soon!). Remember...for research purposes, the library, Internet and local home and garden center (like Reeves for example) are great resources.

4. Walk More, Bike More, Bus More, Drive Less!

Lower gas prices may tempt you to drive to the corner store, but don't give in. Reduce your carbon footprint by making footprints with your own two feet (haha, bad joke I know)! Again this tip goes hand in hand with other resolutions such as exercising more or losing weight. Don't let the cold winter deter you from biking either! This is one of the best articles I have read on biking in the winter (although it is Chicago-centric, the tips can still apply to typical urban centers). When the weather is particularly bad, biking/walking would be foolhardy but a heated city bus is still an alternative. Just make sure to dress for the weather!

So completes part one...part two will be posted soon!

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