January 4, 2023

Your Environmental Resolutions Matter

By: Kelvey Vander Hart

As 2023 begins, most of us are resolved to do something positive. It may be financial. It may be something related to our health or wellness. For many of us, our resolutions are pro-environment.

Pro-environment resolutions are great things, but they are often a bit discouraging. When it seems like the whole world is stuck in planet-damaging ways, committing to change things in your own life can feel like an uphill climb. Motivation to keep it up is often scarce. 

But if active, civil, curious, and determined citizens can make a difference anywhere else, why not the environment? The individual matters here too. If you need some proof, the numbers provide plenty of motivation. 

The average person uses 156 plastic water bottles in a year. By committing to a reusable water bottle, you will keep all that plastic out of the landfill. (Or, in an even worse scenario, out of our oceans and waterways.) 

In a similar scenario, Americans use an average of 365 plastic bags per person every year. These bags take 1,000 years to break down in a landfill, and the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup pulled 1.9 million off of coasts worldwide. Again, by choosing reusable options, you’re limiting demand for these bags while reducing the number going into landfills and waterways. 

Americans consume an average of 274 pounds of meat per person every year. That figure does not count seafood or food waste. Setting aside facts highlighting the meat industry’s treatment of animals, each pound of meat requires an incredible amount of resources. According to EarthSave, it takes “2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of feedlot beef.” Choosing to go vegetarian for a year (or even implementing Meatless Mondays) makes a huge difference. 

These facts and figures are compelling, and the message is simple: The choices of individuals matter. Your environmental resolutions matter. The changes you make to your lifestyle matter. 

The indifference of those around you may be discouraging, but every action counts. Make 2023 the year where you start to make a pro-planet difference.