With 2015 around the corner, resolutions come to mind. While I like to frequently think about growth, the following are among the more important goals I have for the year (and beyond).
1. Use less water.
In late spring in California, I saw a sign on the side of the road urging drivers to conserve water. By this point, the drought conditions were already grave. This is our ritual: waste water, encounter drought, then suffer the consequences. The consequences aren’t worth the merely occasional conservation. Rivers are dry, farmers are now drilling for groundwater, and fish species (such as coho salmon) get closer to extinction. Year-round water conservation is critical, as we all have a role in it.
2. Use less plastic.
Surfing taught me one important thing: the ocean is full of plastic, and much of that pollution is from one-time use plastic. From water bottles to energy bar wrappers, the plastic pollution reflects the unnecessary consumerism that plagues our culture. I will cut back.
3. Stop wasting energy.
I am embarrassed to admit that I have turned the A/C on when wearing pants and the heat on when wearing shorts. I’ll use two lights on in a room when I only need one. I’ll drive two blocks to run an errand. Much of this energy comes from oil, coal, and nuclear. Waste means unnecessary harm.
4. Pick up trash.
Especially after a holiday weekend, beaches have trash. The Bay collects trash along its banks regularly. While I do not put it there, if I leave it there, I bear some responsibility.
5. Make fewer purchases and consider the manufacturing process.
Energy and materials go into the manufacturing process and pollution is frequently the byproduct. In addition, many of the products most accessible – from food to clothing, have labor crises at their origins. To mass produce, labor rights and environmental sustainability are often the first to go. When we make purchases, we can contribute to the problem while showing the manufacturer that ecological and labor issues are unimportant to us. There is power for social and environmental change with the pocketbook.
6. Get involved.
We are all surrounded by organizations that are working on meaningful projects. For example, Beyond Searsville Dam is right down the street. Other opportunities might present themselves through the Surfrider Foundation, Trout Unlimited, or the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (among many others). We are all busy, but I’ve often found that even just contacting an organization and telling them I am busy but willing to help can allow them to think of creative ways to bring you on the team.