As we all are taking down the tree, putting away the menorah and otherwise wrapping up from the holidays, we turn our attention to the new year. We think about what we’d like it to look like and things we would like to accomplish before next year at this same time. While some make resolutions, others aren’t as formal in their goal setting. New Year’s resolutions are often about self-improvement like exercising more, or about increasing happiness with a new job or a new home. For parents, it often involves the whole family and is often designed toward our ultimate goal for our kids – that they grow up happy and healthy. It’s what every parent wants when it comes to their kids.
There are many ways we do that every day. It involves things like teaching them to eat well and look both ways before crossing the street. What if we think a bit further into the future and look at the state of the planet they will be inheriting from us? If you are concerned about the climate crisis and the future we are leaving our children and grandchildren, and recent polls show that most people are, then here are some resolutions that can help you do your part.
These are things everyone can do this coming year to ensure our kids grow up in a healthy environment:
Carpool: there are likely other families close by that have kids at the same school. Carpooling saves on fill-ups for the car and as a bonus it saves time too. Exploring other ways to get to school like biking or walking is great exercise. It also lets kids get some of the wiggles out so they can settle in and focus in class better.
Ditch the disposable school lunch packaging: There are so many great options these days like beeswax wraps and reusable silicone bags.
Hand-me-down and consignment clothes: they save resources and money. It’s something to think about for adults as well. Fast fashion has people treating their wardrobe as if it’s disposable, which uses a tremendous amount of resources.
Gifts: the same applies to all the stuff we buy including gifts. Think about low impact gifts for your kids and the gifts you need for all those birthday parties. Experiences are a fun way to give a memorable day without the plastic stuff that most moms will say they have enough of.
Meatless Monday: Eating meat has a huge impact on our planet. The greenhouse gas emissions of the meat industry are about equal to that of the entire transportation sector — all the emissions from driving and flying. Lower your impact by removing meat from your diet one day a week. If you’ve already successfully done that, bump up to two or three days a week.
Get involved: Join an organization that helps you understand how to best use your limited time to make an impact on the decisions that are being made that will affect the air your child breathes, their health and their future. That is our number one goal at Mountain Mamas. We monitor the decisions that our elected officials are making so that you don’t have to. When there’s an important decision that will impact our kids’ future, we let you know. We also let you know how to make your opinion heard and above all make it easy for you.
Research your family’s carbon footprint to get personalized advice on ways to reduce it: Several organizations offer carbon calculators.
Can one person solve these problems on their own? Not likely, but if everyone does their part, we get a lot closer. And importantly, if we all join together to tell our elected officials that we want them to address the climate crisis, then significant changes can be made. Use your new year’s resolution this year to make big changes for the future generations that are counting on us.
Join the discussion, get involved and take action.
Sara Kuntzler lives in Arvada with her husband and two young children. She is the Colorado Program Manager for Mountain Mamas, a nonprofit organization working towards a clean, livable planet for future generations. You can learn more about Mountain Mamas and get involved at www.mtnmamas.org or on Facebook/Instagram @CoMtnMamas.