New Year's GreenSolutions


Right after Christmas I always start thinking about how I need a serious cleanse from all the holiday eating and drinking, not to mention all the junk clogging up my brain from seeing people I haven’t seen in so long, travelling all over the East Coast and generally ignoring healthy routines and work. Unlike many Hipper Than Thou writers and other media folks, I love me some good New Year’s resolutions. The cold bare branches of January offer a clean slate- one that I’m in dire need of! Every year I try to lower my impact on the environment, so here is the section of the resolutions to do with the beautiful Earth I so love:

90% of my clothing purchases must be reduced, reused, and/or recycled.

-I love clothes, and before 2006, (and before Jill Danyelle’s amazing blog fiftyRX3, which enlightened me tremendously) I figured that I would just ignore the environmental impact of my clothes, since so much of my life was eco-friendly. Now I have no excuse, with whole brick-and-mortar and online stores dedicated to ecofashion, crafting, and vintage clothes.

Offset CO2 from travelling; make carbon credit purchases part of travel budget.

-Last year I barely travelled at all (for me); this year I will be spending around 2 months on the road, and I will be taking some long flights. I want to visit my Dad in Australia, for example. I can’t NOT fly, but I can buy some credits for my journeys. Credits can be bought from sites like Uniglobe or Carbon Planet, which support alternative energy sources like wind power. Or you could pay to have a tree planted for every flight at Treeflights.

Line dry my washing as often as humanly possible.
-A few months ago I wrote this article for E Magazine about line drying clothes instead of using the dryer. In it, I wrote:

“Six to 10 percent of residential energy use goes towards the electric dryer. If Americans, or even just New Englanders, would use the clothesline or wooden drying racks, the savings would be enough to close several power plants.”

Put ALL my electronic devices on a power strip so I can shut them off and stop energy vampires from wasting electricity.

-OK, the last time I wrote about this, I put power strips in about half the places in my house where it is applicable. This month I’m going to finish the job!

Volunteer somewhere on a regular basis.

-I’ve mostly worked for non-profits, so I figured I didn’t need to also do volunteer work. Now that I’m a full-time student again, I need to do something to give back concretely. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but I’ll report back on what I find. I’ll probably start with Volunteer Match, which Ann wrote about back in June.


Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.