In early January, everyone talks about New Year’s resolutions. To really succeed in following through with them, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to vague and easily forgotten promises – such as sleeping eight hours a night, reading the newspaper every morning or getting a 4.0 grade point average.
Instead, resolutions ought to be specific and incorporate the belief that an individual can have a lasting impact on the larger world. They can be beneficial not only on a personal level, but also on a communal, Georgetown-wide and even worldwide level.
Some simple, vague resolutions have lasting results and can benefit both ourselves and our environment if we approach them in the right way. It’s time we take a closer look at the New Year’s resolution slump to bear fruits for all.
Common Resolution 1: I want to get in shape.
Eat fresh, local and organic meals. Did you know that on almost any given day, you can find a farmer’s market somewhere in D.C.? The one closest to campus is held at Dupont Circle on Sundays. The most well-known is at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. There are also farmers’ markets in Foggy Bottom, Lafayette Square (the White House market), U Street, and all across Arlington, Va. – each one with a colorful array of fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, grass-fed meats and cheeses. If you can’t make it out to the farmers’ markets, there are still plenty of organic offerings at Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, each located about a mile from campus. Use the best renewable energy there is: human energy. That’s right – we mean walking and biking. Whenever you have to travel throughout the city, use these methods of transportation to arrive at your destination. There’s a whole world past M Street and Wisconsin Avenue waiting to be explored.
Common Resolution 2: I want to save money.
Whether or not you have to do so now, you will eventually have to pay utility bills, and it is good to become accustomed to energy-efficient and cost-effective habits early. Here are some easy ways to save money on water, electric and gas, in the short and long term:
Unplug any device that is not in use.
Lower the heat in the winter, and the air conditioning in the summer.
Insulate. Keep the windows closed so that air doesn’t escape.
Only run full loads in the dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine.
Turn off lights, screensavers and running water.
In addition, although recycling is the best-known of the three R’s, the first two – reduce and reuse – can save you a lot of money. Here are some tips:
Print double-sided or use old paper for scrap, to-do lists or notebooks.
Carry a reusable water bottle to avoid paying for a new bottle of water everywhere you go.
Bring your own mug to your coffee shop of choice – you can often get a discount for your eco-friendliness.
Reuse a shopping bag. As of Jan.1, there is a 5-cent tax on plastic bags in D.C. Save yourself money by using a bag you already have!
Common Resolution 3: I want to get more involved and be more active on campus!
There are many great opportunities on campus to become more involved in environmentally conscious groups – such as joining EcoAction, going on a trip with Outdoor Education or going to a lecture hosted by the Center for the Environment. You can also play an active part in the Switch it Off Challenge or the upcoming RecycleMania competition. There are numerous local, national and global causes waiting for their champions. Students at Georgetown have excellent minds and exceptional ambitions – don’t let them go to waste.
Jonathan Cohn is a senior in the College and a former board member of EcoAction. Anique Drumright is a senior in the College and a member of EcoAction.”