As the old year ends and the new one begins, we frequently resolve to begin anew, to do something better and be better. We asked all green team members to give us some green resolutions for the coming year. We share them to give you some simple ideas on what you can do. What would you add to the list?
I resolve to reduce the amount of food waste generated especially within my home. I promise to either consume or give away what is prepared.
I resolve to grow some of my own fresh food at the Ewing Community Gardens. Community gardens improve the quality of life for people in the garden; act as a catalyst for neighborhood and community development; teach self-reliance and expand access to nutritious food.
I will refrain from topping off my gas tank, a practice that is bad for the environment. In case you hadn’t heard of this, our explanation follows:
This leaves room for expansion in your gas tank. It allows the evaporative emissions system of your vehicle to operate properly and re-burn fuel vapors which in turn reduces harmful emissions from our vehicles as well as prevents raw gasoline from entering into the carbon filter. Raw fuel fouls your vehicle’s evaporative emission system and can cause gas to spill on the ground or issues with engine operation, resulting in poor mileage, emissions and overall decreased engine performance. Finally, gas station pumps are equipped with vapor recovery systems that feed back gas vapors into their tanks to prevent vapors from escaping into the air and adding toxic air pollutants such as benzene. So if you overfill your tank the extra fuel may be drawn back into the vapor line and fed back into the station’s storage tanks.
This message is for walkers. I resolve to pick up litter to make sure it doesn’t get washed down the sewers into the waterways as I walk. In addition, I resolve to bring a bag with me on my walks to help pick up more litter. I also like to think people see me doing this and will get the message.
Whereas a comprehensive home energy audit would help me discover where and how my home is using energy inefficiently and what can be done to rectify the situation, and whereas household energy reduction benefits me and Ewing and the environment, and whereas I can save money by upgrading my home, I therefore resolve to schedule a home energy audit in 2017.
In our effort to make Ewing an even “Greener” community, I encourage other business owners to join me in making and following through with each of my New Year’s resolutions: (1) ensure that all proprietary documents and digital records are immediately shredded; (2) purchase a paper cutter and use it to cut all non-proprietary documents into squares and reuse them as note pads; and (3) enroll in the Direct Install program to upgrade and install energy efficient lighting, air conditioning, and heating units within your building.
Garry also provides a bonus suggestion. With the beginning of the new year, many of us will be making a resolution to exercise more regularly. One of the best low impact exercises is bike riding and at the same time of getting in better shape. Bike riding also helps to reduce the auto exhaust into the air, thus helping our community become more green. Bike riding and becoming more green: exercising and breathing better: a perfect combination.
I resolve to mulch my trees properly and to let others know that the habit of piling mulch high around the base of a base of a tree can kill it. Piling the mulch high around the tree base softens the bark. Mice, insects, and fungus then feed on the living parts of the tree, killing tissue, cutting off water and nutrient supply as well as causing other serious problems. Proper mulching insures that mulch is never piled against the bark but kept 6 inches from the trunk and about 2 to 4 inches deep.
Did you know that the loss of habitat is probably the greatest threat to the variety of life on the planet today ? I therefore resolve to become a better steward of nature on my property by employing eco-friendly gardening principles. I will: (1) eschew the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that destroy the molecular life of the soil and are harmful to all wildlife, (2) rebuild my soil via composting, using shredded leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps, (3) rip out some lawn and replace it with native plants that will assist in providing habitat for wildlife, and (4) include at least one (native) tree in my plantings.
I will work to reduce the amount of waste I produce by simply buying less and buying items with minimal packaging. Most waste is produced through the production process of goods (mining, logging, manufacturing, packaging, shipping) and buying less and more intentionally is necessary to reduce one’s waste footprint. I will also work to transition to eco-friendly household cleaning products, even if it takes more work to clean things.
I resolve to create a stronger, more resilient community by participating in my neighborhood association. If there isn’t a association in my neighborhood I resolve to help form one. Good neighbors build strong, and sustainable, communities.
I resolve to remember to bring and use my re-usable shopping bags at the grocery and other retail stores to do my part to limit additional plastics in our trash streams and environment!
I resolve to reduce my home energy usage. I will keep my water heater’s temperature at about 120 to 125° F, the perfect temperature that does not create a thermal loss of the water as it would if folks set it at 150° F. It is also safer for kids. I will also use LED lighting all over the house. Along with the energy savings, there is the life time of LEDs which is about 10 years. They also are great with motion sensors as the CFLs degrade each time they are turned on and off. That reduces their life.
We add one final suggestion. We don’t know what the future holds for us beginning in 2017, but it appears that the roles of the states, local governments and environmental organizations will be more critical than ever in continuing efforts to protect and clean up our environment. So resolve to join with us in our work. Come to a meeting and find a way that you can help us influence others to make needed positive changes for a better tomorrow for our town, our state, our country and our world.
The Ewing Green Team