Conservation Minnesota

My conservation New Year’s resolutions

By driving your car less and utilizing the various transportation options the city has to offer, you can make commuting more sustainable.       ©1998 EyeWire, Inc.

I like to think that I’m a good steward of our natural resources here in Minnesota and my carbon footprint is small. It would take me over two months to fill my garbage can to the brim because I recycle everything that I can. I live in a small and fairly efficient home; I pay into the Xcel Energy Windsource program; my neighbor lets me use his compost bin; and I try to be conscious of my water use. These are some good steps but it always amazes me how much more I could be doing to achieve a sustainable lifestyle and decrease my impact. With that being said, here are a few of my New Year’s conservation resolutions. And if you feel so inclined, I encourage you to do the same.

  • My dog Windsor, like most dogs, goes to the bathroom a lot. I’ve been wondering if there is a good way to dispose of dog waste in a sustainable manner. Unfortunately, the only options I could find include digging a hole and burying it (that’s great if you live in the country), using compostable baggies (still ends up in a landfill), or flushing it down the toilet. None of these options really satisfy my desire to pick up after Windsor in an eco-friendly way. Alas, I think I’ll have to go with option B and buy compostable baggies to throw away in the trash. It’s not ideal but at least I’ll be supporting an alternative product to oil-based plastics and reducing my direct impact on our water resources.
  • The Southeast Metro is a big place and my options for alternative commuting are very limited in areas I travel to often. Nonetheless, I would like to find ways to decrease the number of miles I put on my car and subsequently the amount of gas that goes into the tank. Some of the ways I plan on doing this is by purchasing a used bicycle, utilizing Metro Transit more often, and carpooling whenever possible.
  • One of the biggest ways that we can positively impact our communities is by voting with our dollars. This is something I want to be better at doing and it’s harder than you might think. In a world full of easy access to products that are less than eco-friendly it’s hard to find the time to shop around and discover the better alternatives. A great place to start is with the cleaning supplies I buy. Through our coalition friends at Healthy Legacy, I now know how to make Alice’s Wonder Spray and have access to resources for finding products that limit the amount of potentially harmful toxic chemicals in my home. And I’ve also learned that pregnant women, babies, and young children are much more vulnerable than adults to small amounts of hormone disrupting chemicals found in many everyday products, like cleaning products.

I think this list is a good place to start.

It can be overwhelming to turn your life around to be more conservation friendly and environmentally responsible. But all we need to do is start small and work our way up. Simply pick three things, big or small, that you can change and slowly add to that list as you go. It makes the changes manageable and much easier on our busy lives. Go ahead, give it a try! If you need any help in coming up with some ideas, please don’t hesitate to send me an email (avery@conservationminnesota.org), and we can brainstorm some resolutions that would work best for you and your lifestyle. Hope your new year is off to a great start!

About Avery Hildebrand

Avery Hildebrand
Born in Minnesota, Hildebrand earned his degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. He has an extensive background in canvassing and organizing. An avid fisherman, who once worked as an aquatic invasive species watercraft inspector, his perfect day in Minnesota includes good friends and fishing, which pairs nicely with his favorite place in the state, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
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