This Year, I Solemnly Resolve to...
No, seriously. I mean it. I'm gonna do one green thing.
Welcome to 2024, amici! Yes — we made it!!
And there’s much to celebrate: The final text of COP28 called for a “transition away from fossil fuels” — the first time the main drivers of the climate crisis have been named directly in the deal. Americans purchased a million electric cars last year. And I’m even walking around the house without a cane!
A flip of the calendar often marks a time of new habits, but for most of us — myself included — those resolutions go out the window by February. For example, since 2008, I’ve had “Create a bedtime routine” on my list. And research shows the reason it’s remained there is that I’m aiming to do too much at once (so many steps…) and I see this new habit as annoying (can’t I just fall asleep and let the fairies do it for me?).
The trick to creating a sustainability habit any time of the year, experts advise, is to take small, daily actions, and find joy and conviction in your efforts.
Think of this as your OneGreenThing, a phrase coined by environmental scientist, activist, and author Heather White. “Research shows that simple habits promote an overall sense of wellness,” she writes on her website. A daily sustainability practice helps create compassionate communities working towards individual and policy solutions to the climate crisis.
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K.I.S.S. Your Mother Earth
Keep it simple, sweetheart! Little changes can have big effects. You don’t need anything fancy to find your green habit. Whatever you incorporate into your routine, “make it fun,” says White. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Eat Your Leftovers
When I spoke with White, she admitted that the best climate solution is also the least sexy: menu planning. Between 30% and 40% of all food winds up rotting in landfills, releasing the same amount of carbon dioxide as 42 coal-fired power plants. Who knew wolfing down cold pizza did so much good? Practice your free throws by tossing any inedible bits into your compost or green bin.
Part with Paper
Tackle your paper towel habit (which contributes to deforestation) by switching to reusable or sustainable options. (We love the TP from Who Gives a Crap?). Opt out of credit card offers and unwanted catalogs. You can even e-file your taxes by yourself — for free! Welcome to the digital age, y’all.
Play with Your Food
Swap beef (one of the most resource-intensive foods) for beans (one of the lowest-resource, most nutrient-dense plant foods). Give flexitarianism a whirl. Commit to Meatless Monday for a year, says White, and you’ll save the equivalent emissions of driving 350 miles in a car. While she acknowledges these are incremental changes, “at scale, they make a difference.”
Bring on a Buddy (or Two or Three)
Research shows that our behavior — for better and for worse — is contagious. That’s why White advises inviting your family and friends into your new green routine. By encouraging each other to adopt daily sustainability habits, “we can all be influencers,” she says.
And In Other News…
I’m honored to receive a grant from the Earth Alliance Creator Fund to finish the music video for “Take Some Action (to Get Some Action)” co-written with Jessian Choy and co-produced by John Mickevich. DP Ashley Lowry and I are already at work and can’t wait to premiere the video on Instagram and YouTube later in January.
Documentarian Jen Kain released the trailer for her film “Hiding in Plain Sight: A Spoonies Journey” film. Jen is the first person I met who also has hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and her film shines a light on this underdiagnosed condition. Contribute your tax-deductible donation to the film here.
I’m also excited to be serving on the Dashboard.Earth Climate Tech Advisory Board. This mobile app is the ultimate guide to climate action in Los Angeles. Habit stack your new composting ritual by logging it on the app, and you can win a prize every week — talk about a resolution worth making!
Buon Anno Nuovo!
Artist, curator, and my longtime friend A. Laura Brody recently shared this quote from Noam Chomsky, which I think summarizes the ethos behind this newsletter:
Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.
Thank you for stepping up to create a more equitable, compassionate, and sustainable new year. Share your one green thing in the comments, and let me know what’s in store for you in 2024.
Baci a tutti,
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