10 Green Resolutions for the New Year

The first month of the New Year means we’re thinking about what is on a lot of people’s minds: resolutions for 2023! 

Writing your goals for the next 12 months can be daunting – but we're no stranger to making a plan and sticking to it… as the authors of our city’s Climate Action + Adaptation Plan!

Looking back on the past year, we have a lot to celebrate. We kicked off a successful volunteer run heat-mapping campaign to keep our city cool, stayed on track to increase energy efficiency, and kept reducing municipal greenhouse gas emissions (so far down 12% since 2015), and much more. 

Check out all our progress on CAAP actions.

The Columbia Office of Sustainability is starting 2023 by continuing to prioritize making our community more sustainable and resilient. But we can’t do it alone! Reaching our goals will mean everyone has to take actions – big and small. The good news is that taking climate actions has many benefits such as utility bill savings, cleaner air and water, and a healthier and safer community for all.

We've learned the key to feeling good about (and actually achieving) your goals is by making them:

  • Realistic
  • Actionable
  • Accountable

We do this by setting targets, tracking our step-by-step progress, and leaning on the support of great organizations and other City departments to work towards our mutually beneficial goals. 

But enough about us. On to the ways YOU can make your New Year sustainable!

P.S. Want an easy print out of these goals to check off? Download the PDF!

Our top 10 ideas for 2023 New Year’s resolutions for you – and the planet 

1.    Save Energy (and Money) at Home 

Energy is a big one when it comes to being more sustainable. After all, the fuels we rely on right now to power our homes and cars is what drives climate change.

Sample Resolution: I will choose 2 actions to reduce the energy I use at home.

Get a start by switching all the lights in your home to LEDs and getting a home energy assessment. If you rent your home, check out these resources.

2.    Invest in Clean Energy

Since our energy is mostly produced by fossil fuels, to tackle climate change we’ll have to switch to more renewable sources like wind and solar.

Sample Resolution: I’ll learn more about the benefits and tradeoffs of solar and consider installing it at my home or business.

Get started by learning about solar and rebates available from Columbia Power Partners.

3.    Buy Local Food

Supporting local farms has tons of benefits. From saving all the energy used in the supply chain to encouraging a strong local economy – eating local is a big bang for your buck! Check out the Farmer’s Market this year.

Sample Resolution: I’ll buy local produce when I can.

4.    Switch to Reusable Bags + Bottles

Even simple actions can make a big difference. Single use plastic like thin plastic bags and water bottles can seem like a small convenience to us, but they really add up in the landfill and as litter! By using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles per year.

Sample Resolution: I will avoid single use plastic and use a reusable bag and water bottle whenever I can.

Bonus Resolution: Bring a reusable mug when you get a hot drink on the road (or at work).

Even though our regular caffeine fix doesn’t come in plastic, the waste from the paper cups is also bound for the landfill. And a reusable mug will keep that coffee or tea warmer longer!

5.    Save Water Inside and Out

Our community uses about 5 billion gallons of drinking water every year. Droughts, storms, and heat waves will all be a burden on our water system – so being efficient now will definitely pay off later! 

Sample Resolution: I will take three actions this year to reduce how much water I use at home.

Check out all the rebates and tips for indoor and outdoor water conservation – including money for an efficient irrigation system and tips on how to conserve water in daily activities.

6.    Bike, walk, or take public transit more

Emissions from transportation make up nearly a third of our total greenhouse gas emissions. we drive less, we can save money on gas, help keep our air clean, make safer streets, reduce noise pollution, and stay healthy. Get more resources for biking in Columbia.

Sample Resolution: I will replace one car trip a week with carpooling, biking, walking, or public transit.

7.    Become a recycling pro

69% of waste sent to the Columbia Landfill could have been recycled, reused, or composted. The more we send to the landfill, the faster it fills up – which is a burden on our infrastructure and creates GHGs. The good news is that there is a lot you can do! Try a free composting workshop and use this handy tool to make sure what you’re throwing away can’t be recycled.

Sample Resolution: After reviewing the recycling guide, I will recycle all appropriate paper, glass and plastic and take plastic bags to be recycled at the grocery store.

8.    Develop your green thumb with sustainable landscaping

Our landscapes are more than just pretty backdrops for our selfies. They can also be a refuge for wildlife and pollinators, protect us from flooding, keep our air and water clean, and even absorb and store GHGs!

Sample Resolution: I will do three things this year to make my landscape more sustainable.

Need some help getting started? Learn more about the CoMo Wild Yards certification program, plant a tree in your yard or join a community garden! If you don’t have a landscape to take care of, volunteer with the City to help keep our shared natural areas healthy.

9.    Repair items or shop used

So remember when we said most of what we throw away can be recycled or composted? That’s true – but NO trash is better than less trash! Shop for pre-loved items and test out your creative skills to find ways to reuse things that would end up in our waste stream – jars into plant pots, newspaper into wrapping paper, friends clothing swap, donate for school iSTEM or art projects – the list goes on!

Sample Resolution: I will try to think twice before tossing something in the trash and find ways to reuse or repurpose items.

10.    Talk about climate!

Even though 76% of Boone County residents know climate change is happening, only 36% report discussing it, even occasionally. Luckily, there’s an easy fix to that. TALK ABOUT IT! 

Sample Resolution: I will make an effort to learn more about climate change and bring it up in conversations with friends and family.

BONUS RESOLUTION: I will share this list with at least 2 friends, coworkers, or neighbors.

Learn more about climate change, the impacts we’re feeling in Columbia, and what we can do about it, and bring it up in conversations with loved ones. It’s important to stay positive and inspire action in others because how can we really address this issue if we’re not talking about it?

Get the print out of these goals to check off --> Download the PDF!