21 Actions for Your New Year’s Resolutions

As the new year approaches, now is the time to think about how we can hit the reset button on our calendars and on our routines. Let’s do things differently. Let’s consider how we can effectively assist the world in solving its predicament of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energies. Part of that solution will require using fewer resources—not an easy task when faced with carbon-gluttonous lifestyles. The other part will require helping others wake up about the fact that the status quo is morally bankrupt and deserves to be rejected en masse.

In this spirit, here are 21 New Year’s resolutions that we can all do together on the 21st—or any day, if a different day is what it takes—to be part of the Turn21 rhythm:

  1. Change your account from a big bank to a local bank or credit union. Already switched? Help one person you know make the same switch. Local financial institutions help local resiliency in ways that big banks can’t.
  2. Shift your investments to sustainable, green technologies, and away from fossil fuels.
  3. Start a Meatless Monday. Meat uses far more energy, per calorie, to produce. See if you can increase that to two days a week without meat. Already vegetarian or vegan? Encourage at least one person to start their own Meatless Monday. One day a week might not seem like much, but it adds up. When just 1/7th of your week is meatless, that comes out to 52 meatless days a year—almost two months!
  4. Eat more organic food. They use far fewer carbon inputs. And, these days, they’re common enough that they’re often priced competitively against conventional foods.
  5. Eat more local food. Source groceries from your region. See how low you can go when it comes to your carbon footprint. Can you walk to the market to buy your food?
  6. Be car-free for one to two days a week. Support local transit, carpool, bicycle, walk—whatever you can. Encourage others to do the same.
  7. Work to cultivate a sharing economy to eliminate redundancy and waste. Work to create a tool-sharing program, or one for games, books, cars, and work. Get creative. The more we share, the less we need to consume new stuff—and the faster our transition can be.
  8. Encourage local political participation by Turn21–minded folks. Every 21st, read about what’s happening with your local city council or commission. Share and discuss your observations. Encourage others to do the same.
  9. Support local leaders who understand that we’re in a transition to resiliency, and do what you can to help them one day a month.
  10. Find out which seats are open on local boards and commissions. Help find qualified candidates who will support our issues. Then, help them to prepare to run for local office. Consider that you might be the most-qualified candidate who needs to run!
  11. On the 21st, write a letter to a newspaper about how people can take action to create the future we want and need: one of resiliency, sustainability, natural-resources regeneration, and relative abundance.
  12. Give 5% to 10% of your income to organizations and individuals working on this transition. Encourage others to do the same. Make the donations on the 21st.
  13. Say no to single-use plastic. Every piece of plastic that’s created will be on this planet forever. Skip that disposable coffee lid, cup, fork, or straw.
  14. Make restorative time for yourself in nature, without all the electronics. Get out to the forest, the river, the sea. Try to do this once a week, but at least give yourself a respite each 21st.
  15. Contemplate how you can live with less stuff. Find ways to enjoy life with fewer things. Switch from collecting things to collecting experiences. Maintain this practice through the year.
  16. Prepare your friends and family for fewer-to-no presents for the next holiday season. Transition others away from the boom-and-bust of the consumer culture. If you still feel the need to give a gift, donate to a worthy charity or organization in their name.
  17. When you can, give used, or “pre-loved,” gifts.
  18. When you can, buy used items, not new ones.
  19. Take more staycations. Save money and carbon by exploring the wonderful new places you never knew about, right where you already live. Support local businesses as you do this.
  20. Read a book about the green transition. Expand your horizons.
  21. Meditate, be present, and cogitate on the well-being of the planet and others.