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Revolutionary Resolutions for 2010

December 22, 2009

Now that the Copenhagen Climate Summit, which opened with such optimism for real change, has ended with a decided whimper (or should that be ‘wimper’?) and 2009 draws to a close, one wonders what 2010 will bring.  The disappointing non-action of the world’s leaders, and especially ‘Fossil of the Year’ Stephen Harper, on climate change may cause many to throw up their hands in despair and think ‘How can my actions possibly make any difference?’  Well, if nothing else, your actions will make a difference to you, won’t they?  That’s gotta count for something!

Keep this thought in mind when making your resolutions for 2010 and include some small, achievable steps towards your own personal plastic revolution.  Look at your lifestyle and notice, really notice, the ways you use plastic and consider how much of it you can eliminate.  How about these ideas for starters:

Bag the bag

… thin film single use plastic bags which choke marine life, should be banned or phased-out rapidly everywhere-there is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere.

– Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director

Look under your sink or wherever it is you carefully store all those bags you’ve collected and count how many you have.  Think about how many you used over the past year for your garbage or your kitty litter or whatever else it is you use them for after they have held groceries.  Based on various surveys around the world, that number should be somewhere between 158 (Scotland) and 485 (Seattle).   Take into consideration how many years you have been shopping and how many people there are just like you in Powell River, and …  WOW!  That comes out to a lot of bags.  Did we really need that many?

For 2010, resolve not to add another bag to that pile under the sink (or wherever).  Bring your reusable bags into the store when you go shopping and stop leaving them in the car.  And remember:  they’re not just for groceries!!  Bring them with you when you shop for clothes and other things.  Buy biodegradable trash bags, readily available at pretty much any grocery or drug store these days.  Increased availability has made them more affordable and if you pay for your trash bags, you will (hopefully) use less of them.

Rethink food storage

Every day it seems there is another report about toxins like BPA leaching out plastic containers and into the food they contain.  For 2010, resolve to stop using plastic cling film and ‘disposable’ plastic containers, and use glass or stainless steel containers for leftovers and lunches.  Again, these products are become more commonly available which is increasing their affordability, and they can often be found on sale.  And don’t beat yourself up if you go to the cling film occasionally:  even if you cut your usage by 50% or 25% or 10%, you are making a difference.  Just keep at it.

Get off the bottle

In Powell River, we have delicious water straight from the tap so why anyone would want to drink water out of a plastic bottle that was shipped here at great cost, both economically and environmentally, is truly one of life’s great mysteries.  For 2010, resolve to stop drinking bottled water.  Ditto for take-away coffee cups.  There are loads of great stainless steel water bottle and vacuum bottle options and once again, the increased availability has also increased affordability.

Shop local!

Make a point of supporting your home-grown businesses.  In these challenging economic times, your neighbours need you and you need them.  Support each other.  Here are just a few home-grown Powell River businesses that provide environmentally-friendly and local options:

Aaron Service & Supply
Breakwater Books
The Chopping Block
CMG Printing
Ecossentials/ Sunshine Organics
Huckleberry Hutch
Kelly’s Specialty Products
Mitchell Brothers
The Open Air Market
River City Coffee
Silke’s Organic Market
Village Meats

Did we miss someone?  What are your revolutionary resolutions for 2010?  Please add your comments!

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