Happy Merries and Merry Happies! I hope all of you have had enjoyable and fulfilling winter holidays, whatever and whenever they were. By now, I suspect that some of us may have already bent or broken some of those fresh new resolutions – but not to worry, here are a few doable goals for 2010 that carry some transformative impact.
1. MOVE YOUR MONEY: We’re blessed with many healthy, locally-owned banks and credit unions that keep our money invested in our communities. If you’re miffed about “Too-Big-to-Fail” banks, check out the “Move Your Money” campaign (www.moveyourmoney.info), which encourages folks to pull out of overgrown institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, and reinvest locally. The site even helps you locate nearby community-oriented banks. (Credit unions aren’t included in that particular database, but you already know they’re a good option, right?)
2. EAT LOWER ON THE CHAIN: As John Robbins (the ice-cream heir who renounced his legacy and became a leading advocate for healthier eating) points out in his seminal Diet for a New America, you don’t have to give up meat totally to make a significant difference – even a 15% reduction in meat consumption can have positive effects in both your personal health and the larger environment. So if you’re “carnivorous but concerned,” consider just moving your choices lower down the food chain – more poultry instead of mammals, more seafood rather than poultry, more vegetables instead of seafood (with attention to sustainability and sourcing, of course). (For more about Robbins, see http://www.earthsave.org; for interesting variations on dietary philosophy, do web searches on the words “pollotarianism,” “flexitarianism,” and “mafism.”)
3. TAKE 10% OFF THE TOP: The folks behind the documentary THE AGE OF STUPID (ageofstupid.net) have started a campaign called 10:10 (www.1010global.org), whose goal it is to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. (The UK-specific site, 1010uk.org, provides you some “how to do it” suggestions.) Reducing personal energy consumption by 10% would be a fine way to contribute towards this goal, and fairly easy to track thanks to the consumption figures on your electric and gas bills.
4. CHANGE THE WAY YOU VOTE: Whether you’re liberal, conservative or centrist, you can probably find some good reasons to be ticked off at both “duopoly” parties – but you might feel stuck between the ol’ “rock and a hard place” when it comes to showing displeasure with the party that’s closer to your beliefs. Nonetheless, if you feel frustrated with present political practice, consider voting against the status quo itself – with a commitment to supporting third-party and independent candidates wherever possible. (In Pennsylvania, check out the PA Ballot Access Coalition at www.paballotaccess.org.)
5. GET READY TO GO: This one may be a little harder to contemplate – but you can save yourself and your loved ones some money, worry, and trouble by making sure that all your final ducks are in a row, even if you’re relatively young and the end of your road still seems well out of sight. Getting things like advance medical directives in place now rather than later is an inexpensive form of insurance against unpleasant surprises.
I invite you to share your ideas for peace-and-justice resolutions at skipmendler.wordpress.com. In 2010, I wish you more music and less noise, more delight and less distress, more reasons for hope and less evidence for despair. Cheers!