New Year’s resolutions are a tradition in America like no other. When the year turns over we spend a lot of time agonizing over the things we want to improve about ourselves. Quit smoking. Lose weight. Be a better human.
By March most of those resolutions are forgotten as we fall into old habits. Now, I am lucky that I do not smoke, I am not about to quick drinking, and I do not really worry about my weight so most of the traditional resolutions are off the table come January 1st.
However, there are things that I want to get done every year. These are less resolutions in the traditional sense and more goals for the coming year. Here we go:
- No more Amazon—Amazon has become the default online store for millions of people. It is, however, a company that engages in horrible labor practices, utilizes its platform to screw over small businesses, and is generally just a shit operator like so many other big companies. I used to be a subscriber to Amazon Prime, but I killed that extravagant luxury more than a year ago. Plus, shipping several items in single boxes is just a ridiculous waste of resources.
- No more Walmart—Seems pretty self-explanatory, but it is difficult to avoid the Bentonville beast during the course of a year. Here’s a hearty toast to trying in 2019.
- Decarbonize transportation—Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are now the largest source of gasses that are wreaking havoc with our climate. My goal for the year is to supplant my current driving with a used Nissan Leaf powered by solar panels on top of my garage.
- Declutter my home—Clutter messes with your mind. Don’t believe me? Believe the New York Times. Apparently consumption, which is the driving force behind clutter, is also causing us to be less creative. Get rid of the extra stuff people!
- Drink local—Everyone is familiar with eating local, but drinking local is equally important. It’s not just about beer. It’s about forsaking bottled water for tap water. It’s about finding the local coffee shop instead of mindlessly trudging to the green mermaid.
- Read twenty five books—Why twenty five? The number is a nice figure that the brain can wrap its head around like historians love to use decades as lines of demarcation despite events running over the imaginary date line. It also corresponds to about two per month, which seems doable given life’s way of getting in the way of just sitting down to read.
- Replace existing toilets with low volume flush models—There is a two part rationale for this goal. First, saving water is something we should all be trying to do given the realities of climate change. Second, the toilets in my home do not work very well and become clogged frequently. Having to flush multiple times and use a plunger is not an efficient use of resources.
- Plant at least five trees—In my suburban neighborhood I am the “tree guy.” Most people have the builder plant a single tree in the front yard as required by city code and leave it at that. Not me. Going into the spring my yard has thirteen trees representing six different cultivars across both deciduous and coniferous trees. I have had plans to add trees to some specimen plantings in order to create more “mass” in my landscaping. This is the year that I get cracking.
- Reduce lawn coverage—This goal goes hand in hand with planting trees, but it is so much more. It’s about reducing the monoculture of turf grass and planting native shrubs that require little or no maintenance while providing much needed habitat for animals.
- Ride 2,500 miles on gravel roads—Last year I totaled a little more than 2,250 miles on the trails and gravel roads of Iowa and Nebraska. I am looking to eclipse that total in 2019 with a concerted effort to execute some big day rides.
In the coming weeks and months I will expand on these goals and provide updates on my progress. Or, my lack of progress as the case often tends to be when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. Welcome to 2018 everyone!