YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS YOU CAN KEEP
January 2, 2011
some environmental resolutions for the new year. As always, endless environmental
issues are available for anyone who is interested. Below are five suggestions
for this coming year. If you teach school, I encourage you to involve
your students in fulfilling these resolutions. If you are the parent of
school-age children, enlist their help. One of the most effective actions
adults can take in support of our natural environment is to teach children
the importance of environmental protection.
some tangible support for environmental education at a local school. This
first one is an obvious resolution for science teachers in any grade but
is also appropriate for a schoolchild's parent. You can donate your time
to a school ecology program. Taking children on outdoor field trips, even
if it's just on the school site, is an area in which most of today's school
programs fall short. Ask the science teacher what field trips are planned
and if you can help by being a class chaperone. If you do not have time
to invest in such an endeavor, offer to buy something for the school.
Donating a natural history book or giving a subscription to a nature magazine
would help contribute to environmental education.
of this next resolution is one that all children and most adults can easily
accomplish as it involves using the Internet. Pick out a tree in your
neighborhood and positively identify what species it is. You may have
to ask for help, but someone will be able to tell you what the tree is.
Then go to several unquestionably reputable websites and read about the
species. Most sites sponsored by a university, museum or government agency
would classify as "reputable," although others will also. Using
the scientific name of a species in the search usually helps in pulling
up sites that are trustworthy. Learning about the ecology, geographic
distribution and close relatives of a target species will ensure that
you appreciate it for the rest of your life.
a stroll in a natural habitat such as through local woods, around a lake
or along a stream or river. Most state and some city parks are excellent
places to find wildlife, especially during spring. Look carefully at the
diversity of plants, including small flowers and mushrooms, and at animals,
especially insects. Look under rocks and logs. You will become more appreciative
of the exciting life all around you. This is an exercise that children
should be encouraged to participate in.
4. A really
simple resolution that can be a gratifying experience for anyone is to
observe a wild animal's behavior for at least 10 minutes. Birdwatchers
do this all the time, but not many people extend the practice to other
types of animals. Squirrels eating or playing, insects visiting flowers
and spiders building webs are three possibilities. You may want to wait
for warm weather if you're observing the animal outdoors.
let other people know how you feel about an environmental issue by writing
a letter. You can email your message to the editor of your local newspaper.
If you take a logical position about a matter of local, regional or national
concern, you may find that others compliment you on your views. You might
even prompt other people to write letters in support or your position.
Of course, you should be prepared to receive comments from people with
opposing views. You could also send a letter to your congressional representatives.
More of us need to be asking them what they are doing to champion environmental
protection. Make your letter a short one and just ask that question. Clearly,
this letter-writing resolution is one that you can pass on to children.
They should be taught at an early age to advocate for the environment.
resolutions like these can make a positive impact on the environment.
And if you change the attitudes and habits of other people, eventually
that impact will be far reaching.
you have an environmental question or comment, email