New Years Resolution

January 3, 2012

A good friend of mine, from California, sent me this list of 10 New Years Resolutions that cover many things. Even weight loss, which is statistically, the big New Years Resolution. Some great stuff here.

1. Begin with a simple exercise. Send an email to your local newspaper or an elected official stating your opinion concerning an environmental issue or the environment in general. This is a good chance to play the child card by teaching a youngster how to express a polite and well-reasoned opinion in writing.
2. The second item on the checklist: take a walk around your neighborhood for the express purpose of looking at trees, shrubs, birds, insects, and whatever other life you encounter. Too often we take nature and all her wonders for granted. Looking closely at the natural world is the best way to appreciate it.
3. Read a natural history book. The list of excellent choices these days is
outstanding, from wildlife guides to photograph-filled coffee table books to children’s stories. If you are completing the checklist with young people,
have them read (or read to them) sections from your favorite books.
4. Act like a behavioral ecologist. Find an animal in your yard and observe
it for five minutes. Whatever you pick– insect, squirrel, spider,
bird–just watch it closely. It just might do something unexpected.
5. Visit a wetland habitat and spend at least 30 minutes looking at plants
and animals that live there. Isolated wetlands that may dry up in the summer are great places because of their extremely high productivity. A stream or river can also be a fascinating place if you stay around long enough to see what’s there. While observing the wildlife, consider how important the environmental health of the water and its immediate vicinity are to the plants and animals that live there.
6. Visit a natural history museum, nature park, zoo, or public aquarium.
Nearly all of us live within an hour or so of one of these. Most have an
environmental theme of one sort or another and can be highly instructional regarding endangered species, water quality, and overall environmental awareness.
7. Pick an animal or plant species that lives in your region and read about
it in three places, including at least one source that is not on the
Internet. Encyclopedias and natural history magazines or books are good
places to look. Pick something you are likely to see on a regular basis
(trees or other plants are sure bets). By becoming familiar with its
ecology, geographic range, and overall natural history, you will appreciate
it for the rest of your life.
8. Check out a website on ecology or a particular group of plants or animals and see what you can learn. Do this with caution, as websites are not like most published books, which have been subjected to rigorous scientific and editorial reviews. Misinformation is rampant on the Internet. Websites associated with universities or major institutions like the Smithsonian are more likely to have accurate information.
9. Help a nonprofit environmental organization by donating money or time. Even a small monetary donation lets the organization know you care about what it is doing to make the environment better. You might have the greatest impact (and the most fun) by volunteering to help a local environmental group.
10. Send this checklist to one or two friends and ask them to complete it.
The more people pay attention to the natural world, the better off the
environment will be.


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