YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL RESOLUTIONS FOR 2012
January 1, 2012
made your resolutions for the new year: lose weight, exercise more,
and never again watch another negative political advertisement. How
about making another New Year's resolution in addition to those perennial
favorites? Below is a 10-point checklist of easy-to-make, no-need-to-break
environmental resolutions. If you have children or grandchildren or
are a teacher, encourage a child to join you in fulfilling the resolutions.
By doing so, you might well make a lasting contribution to environmental
with a simple exercise. Send an email to your local newspaper or an
elected official stating your opinion concerning an environmental issue
or the environment in general. This is a good chance to play the child
card by teaching a youngster how to express a polite and well-reasoned
opinion in writing.
second item on the checklist: take a walk around your neighborhood for
the express purpose of looking at trees, shrubs, birds, insects, and
whatever other life you encounter. Too often we take nature and all
her wonders for granted. Looking closely at the natural world is the
best way to appreciate it.
a natural history book. The list of excellent choices these days is
outstanding, from wildlife guides to photograph-filled coffee table
books to children's stories. If you are completing the checklist with
young people, have them read (or read to them) sections from your favorite
like a behavioral ecologist. Find an animal in your yard and observe
it for five minutes. Whatever you pick-- insect, squirrel, spider, bird--just
watch it closely. It just might do something unexpected.
a wetland habitat and spend at least 30 minutes looking at plants and
animals that live there. Isolated wetlands that may dry up in the summer
are great places because of their extremely high productivity. A stream
or river can also be a fascinating place if you stay around long enough
to see what's there. While observing the wildlife, consider how important
the environmental health of the water and its immediate vicinity are
to the plants and animals that live there.
a natural history museum, nature park, zoo, or public aquarium. Nearly
all of us live within an hour or so of one of these. Most have an environmental
theme of one sort or another and can be highly instructional regarding
endangered species, water quality, and overall environmental awareness.
an animal or plant species that lives in your region and read about
it in three places, including at least one source that is not on the
Internet. Encyclopedias and natural history magazines or books are good
places to look. Pick something you are likely to see on a regular basis
(trees or other plants are sure bets). By becoming familiar with its
ecology, geographic range, and overall natural history, you will appreciate
it for the rest of your life.
out a website on ecology or a particular group of plants or animals
and see what you can learn. Do this with caution, as websites are not
like most published books, which have been subjected to rigorous scientific
and editorial reviews. Misinformation is rampant on the Internet. Websites
associated with universities or major institutions like the Smithsonian
are more likely to have accurate information.
a nonprofit environmental organization by donating money or time. Even
a small monetary donation lets the organization know you care about
what it is doing to make the environment better. You might have the
greatest impact (and the most fun) by volunteering to help a local environmental
this checklist to one or two friends and ask them to complete it. The
more people pay attention to the natural world, the better off the environment
end up abandoning your eat-less, exercise-more resolution even before
the BCS National Championship, but if you stick with the environmental
checklist, you can still feel good about keeping your 2012 resolutions.
Happy New Year!
you have an environmental question or comment, email