Here we are in 2011, and like you, we're looking to the year ahead with optimism and excitement. Did you make any resolutions this year? The practice dates back to the ancient Romans, who believed that the God Janus (after whom January is named) had the power to forgive wrongdoings. They asked forgiveness and made promises to do better in the year to come.
Resolutions are promises, often born of regret, we make to ourselves to improve in some way, be it a slimmer waist line, more time spent with family, or a reduced carbon footprint. They're no-regrets actions that we know will pay off — if we keep them.
So what would be some good New Year's resolutions for protecting our natural resources? How about:
I think everyone would agree that these are good, no-regret things to do. They also happen to be the recommendations that were recently proposed as part of the state's climate change adaptation plan. They're no-regrets because even if we woke up tomorrow to learn that climate change was just a bad dream, these actions would still lead to major environmental improvements.
So until our citizens and lawmakers catch on to what most of the rest of the world already seems to know, let's focus on the co-benefits of combating climate change. Cleaner water, control of invasive species, increased genetic and species diversity, a better understanding of the threats our species face and protected habitat are all good, no matter why we do them. Let's not find ourselves 50 years from now asking Janus for forgiveness and making resolutions a half century too late.