2022 is now upon us and the Ewing Green Team remains deeply committed to its sustainability goals. Our major task for 2022 is to resubmit for Sustainable Jersey certification and it’s all hands-on deck as team members are deeply immersed in finishing up activities and planning for the June submission date.
To kick off 2022, we’re sharing some of the personal environmental New Year’s resolutions that our members and supporters have committed to for the coming year. We gathered them up and wanted to share them with you as examples of simple and realistic environmentally friendly resolutions you can implement in your daily life. What would you add to the list?
These green resolutions are part of our collective commitment to embodying the principles and actions necessary to help us face issues such as climate change, environmental pollution, the biodiversity crisis, and much more. We want Ewing to be a part of the solution to these challenges. We invite you to join us to help build a better world for future generations to come.
Best wishes for a Happy & GREEN 2022!
The Ewing Green Team
This New Year I’m resolving to eliminate “phantom energy” from my household. “Phantom energy” is the electricity wasted by devices that are plugged in and drawing power even when they’re off and not in use. The Department of Energy estimates that this wasted electricity can make up to 10% of a homeowner’s energy bill. There are a few ways to reduce phantom energy, the most obvious being unplugging electronic devices that are not in use, but also using Advanced Power Strips that automatically turn off when the devices plugged into it are not in use, and chargers that stop drawing energy when a device’s battery is full.
Lisa K. Feldman
I will be more mindful when buying groceries to stop wasting food.
I have tended to be optimistic or overly ambitious when buying fresh vegetables and salad makings. I “anticipate” or “hope” to do some new healthier recipes in the coming week and end up throwing a lot of food out because I was never in the mood, and its gone bad. It seems when I get home from work, I’m rarely in the mood to take on a new recipe. I just want simple and fast.
Since I have finally recognized this bad habit (years to admit) and don’t want this wasted food to end up in the landfill, I have gone to the frozen vegetable aisle and now try to buy the frozen version of the vegetable. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the variety of frozen options. I can take on my ambitious new recipe when I have the energy for a new recipe – say on the weekend, or a vacation day. And I just adapt the frozen version to work when I have the time and patience.
Not that I’m going out to eat much these days, but I resolve to ALWAYS remember to pack takeout containers for myself and friends/family to take home leftovers.
Think consequence – From buying locally sourced and/or free trade produce and products, to eliminating at least 4 days of meat eating weekly, to reducing food waste by at least 1 bag of waste per week, to more fully implementing green cleaning and gardening practices at home, this year’s goals are focused on being mindful and deliberate about my consumption choices.
I resolve to continue walking and biking, rather than driving, as much as possible and will carry on picking up litter along the way. I also resolve to plant an oak tree in 2022. It’s been a joy to see all the beautiful fauna attracted by the native flora I’ve planted the last couple years.
I resolve to manage my landscape sustainably for a healthy yard. This leads to a healthy population – for wildlife and humans alike. I will:
- provide food, cover, and shelter for wildlife using native plants to do my part to help alleviate the biodiversity crisis. This includes planting keystone native trees, as well as native shrubs and perennials.
- maintain a TINY lawn sustainably.
- remove any non-native invasive plants that I find and refrain from planting any nursery bought problem plants.
- NOT use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
- build my soil thru composting, and leaving the leaves to promote healthy soil, retain soil moisture, and support wildlife.
- keep as much storm water on my property as possible with my rain garden and rain barrels.
- keep my lights turned off at night and encourage friends and neighbors to do the same.
- encourage others to get rid of their gas-powered lawn equipment, finding the battery-operated to be light and easy.
(Lynn was kind enough to share a number of ways to make an impact.)
- I resolve to call my elected officials more frequently, urging them to promote legislation and policies that restore and protect our water, air, and forests. I resolve to thank our elected officials for their efforts.
- I resolve to promote, support, and work on new and existing walking trails in my town.
- I resolve to learn more about green infrastructures and how they can be used in my town.
My New Years resolutions include:
- Continue learning from my friends on the Green Team.
- Continue to incorporate what I learn into everyday practice. For example: continue to leave my leaves on the ground where they decompose and replenish the soil.
- Continue to not cutback my flowers and other landscape plants to allow various insects have a place to winter as well as provide food for the birds.
- Continue to drink from a glass without using a straw.
- Replace paper plates and paper napkins with reusable plates and cloth napkins.
- Try to remember to bring in reusable bags into stores so that I don’t need plastic ones to carry home my merchandise.
- Try to do a better job with my composting.
- Hook up my rain barrel and start using to water my flowers.
- Continue to recycle as much plastic as I can. Try to choose products with less packaging
I will buy less clothing and when I do buy clothing, I will buy it used. If I can’t buy it used, I will buy from a sustainable brand that creates clothing in a way that minimizes their impact on the environment. Buying used is easier on the wallet and also extends the life cycle of clothing, which reduces the amount of waste heading to the landfill and saves resources. Buying used also means saying no to fast fashion. Fast fashion’s cycle of churning out new, low-cost clothing of low quality has a significant environmental cost. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world (the oil industry is the world’s top polluter). Choosing used or sustainable clothing would force fast fashion brands to rethink how they make clothes.
I will be sure to replace any fluorescent lighting with LED lights as the fluorescent lamps have mercury in them and can be very hazardous is if broken in the house. Also, they use much more power than LED lamps and burn out far more frequently causing waste and money then LED lamps. The new LED lamps that replace the Fluorescent T-8 and T-12 lamps to not need to replace the ballast and last for over 20 years. Also, they can be turned on and off as needed as the fluorescent lamps degraded each time they are turned off and on and need to be replaced very often.
Jack Wolfarth – EGT Student Ambassador from Ewing High
My New Year’s resolutions would have to be use less plastic, since most of the plastic produced doesn’t actually get recycled. Reducing my use of plastic would result in less plastic ending up in landfills, water ways, or just in nature itself. Another resolution would be to eat less meat. The raising of farm animals for meat products is a major reason as to why we use more water, more pesticides, and emit more carbon monoxide into the air. Because you need more water and pesticides to grow the plants, and as the animals grow, they need respiration which produces more emissions, not to mention the cattle producing a significant amount of methane.