So, along with hoards of others, I am making a New Years resolution. I’ve been thinking about it for sometime, but decided the New Year would give me a chance to start. I want to actively attempt to reduce my environmental impact in 2013.

I’m not a “tree-hugger.” I’m not sure I ever will be. I don’t think you’ll ever find me using cloth toilet paper or not flushing when I use the toilet. But I do really care about taking care of the planet. I believe that God gave it to man, as a gift, and I want care for it as such. So, in some small way, I want to help where I can.

There are lots of ways I want to go about this, but I’ll name just a few.

  • Less packaging. I’ve already started this process. For Christmas, my sister took me thrift shopping. I took the opportunity to buy a TON of large Mason jar canisters. Part of the plan is to buy as much of my food as I can “in-bulk,” and then store it in the jars. The other part is to actively seek out things that I’m buying that use less packaging than others.
  • More sustainable ingredients. Less petroleum based products. Biodegradable packaging and soaps. Local foods.
  • Less water use! I’m actually already pretty good at this. I hate doing laundry, so I only ever do HUGE loads. We don’t have a dishwasher, and I already started practicing “water-saving shower techniques.”
  • Less buying overall. I actually started this quite some time ago, more out of being a poor college student than anything. But I think this could be the most important step anyone could take to help the environment. Less stuff, less trash! Thrift stores are going to be my best friend.

That being said, there are lots of things I can’t do that I wish I could. Some because of where I live, most because of the budget constraints of a college student on a budget. For example:

  • Limited use of my car. Even now, I ride my bike to and from campus. However, I still drive my car (if only for short distances) to do things like get groceries and go to Bible study. Living in rural Appalachia just doesn’t jive with things like mass transportation. You have to have a car.
  • A rented house.This is a huge constraint in what I can/cannot do.  I would LOVE to make sure I was using “energy-saving appliances” and “low-flow” toilets/shower heads. I’d be happier (and warmer) if my home was better insulated. I’d love to compost, and have my own garden, and buy in-bulk. But I rent a small house that I share with 3 others, so I really can’t do any of those things. Baby steps, I guess!
  • Buying the majority of my food locally. This is a huge want of mine, but I’m not sure it will ever be a reality. Even now, I eat few packaged foods, and almost no meat, and I still barely make my grocery budget each month. The added expense of buying locally would be way too much. Plus, buying locally = buying in season. It’s winter, in Ohio. I’m just not sure how much tuber-food I want to eat

That’s my New Years resolution. So if you see me running around Athens with my Mason Jars and weirdo hair from a “natural” shampoo, be nice to me. I’m just trying to figure this whole thing out.