It’s the dawning of a new day here in Northwest Washington. While the environmental challenges our region faces are many, we’re looking to 2023 with a spirit of hope and resilience. We’re making progress on a number of fronts, from the clean energy transition to forest protection. None of us have has the power solve the crises of climate change or ecosystem decline alone, but each of us can make a difference, and there’s more than one place to start. That’s why we’re offering 6 easy-to-keep New Year’s intentions you can set today that will make you a happier person, offer peace of mind, and make our region a better place to live at the same time.
1. Get outside more
Science tells us that getting outside more can increase health and happiness, and it can also help us conduct local science! You can sign up to become a North Sound Steward and contribute important data to local marine conservation efforts, all while lowering your blood pressure and boosting your vitamin D intake. Whether surveying tide pools, scanning for invasive green crabs, or studying kelp forests via kayak, there’s no shortage of opportunities to help make a difference for the Salish Sea. You may just unearth a life-long passion for community science. There’s still room to attend our 2023 community science kick-off meeting on January 12th. RSVP today.
2. Contact a local decision-maker
Here’s an intention that might sound terrifying (especially if you hate public speaking or talking on the phone), but that is actually way easier than you think. Simply sign up for our email list and opt to get our Action Alerts. We’ll let you know when our local, regional or state lawmakers and officials are making decisions that could impact your life, your community, or the lands and waters you care about. In many cases, we’ll draft an email for you and make it easy to send in with just a few clicks (although we encourage you to share your own words if you’re so inspired). Then, you get to sit back and know that you took part in this beautiful, messy experiment we call the democratic process. We can’t emphasize this enough — the more we let our lawmakers know we care about climate change and the environment, the more likely they are to act. The RE Sources community sent over 12,000 messages to decision-makers in 2022 and you better believe it made an impact. In addition, the 2023 Washington State legislative session is about to begin. You can sign up to join our Legislative Action Team and receive regular emails on bills you can support or oppose to help advance environmental and climate progress at the state level.
3. Get more informed
Education is core to what we do at RE Sources. Whether you’re a student, an educator, or just someone who wants to know more about the world around them, signing up for The Barnacle, RE Sources’ monthly e-newsletter that covers local environment and climate issues, is an easy first step. Our Sustainable Schools program also offers a suite of online lessons, as well as a toolkit for helping make your local schools more sustainable.
4. Meet new people
Whether you’re new to town, or you’re just looking to mix things up, consider signing up to volunteer at one of RE Sources’ beach or river clean-ups. Bring the family or a friend, or come solo. Who knows, you might make a new friend who shares your interests in getting outside and looking after their community. Nothing feels quite like leaving a place better than you found it. If you’re a teenager and you want to make some friends who are also passionate about climate action and climate justice, sign up for our Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!) program.
5. Make a will
Did you know that roughly two thirds of adults in the U.S. don’t have a will? If that includes you, fear not. Making a will might be one of the easier New Year’s intentions to actually follow through on this year. RE Sources has partnered with FreeWill, a free and easy online tool to help you make a 100 percent legal will. No matter where you are on your life journey, everyone should have an up-to-date legal will to look after the people and causes they care about. You have the option to include RE Sources in your will as a beneficiary of percentage of your estate, which costs you nothing today, but will help leave a legacy of environmentalism and climate action that lives on for generations. And just think about the peace of mind that will come with knowing you have a plan in place. Get started with FreeWill.
6. De-clutter your life
Is your home starting to feel a little cramped and messy after weeks of being snowed in? Improve your mood by tidying up your space. Give some of your extra furniture a second (or third or fourth) life by donating it to the RE Store. Study up on some tips for reducing waste coming out of the holidays. As a bonus: Resolve to cut down on the waste you generate moving forward. Shop local and shop used. Better yet, do both simultaneously at the RE Store.
Will setting and keeping these New Year’s intentions result in you single-handedly solving the climate crises? No. Are they going to give you six-pack abs, make you filthy rich, or help you finally learn how to play the guitar? Also no (well, probably not). But they will make a difference, we promise. There’s a strong chance you’ll end up happier, healthier and better connected to your community and the places you call home. Just as climate anxiety can snowball into something bigger, so can climate hope. The best way to get that ball rolling is to start with one simple action. So take the plunge! Join the RE Sources community of 15,000+ change-makers across Northwest Washington. We’ve got big plans for 2023 and we want you with on the journey.
Photo by Buff Black