Why We Make New Years Resolutions and How to Make It a Green One This Year!
It’s that time of the year. The end of 2015 is right around the corner and once again, the world gets a chance for a fresh start in the new year. Ever wondered why we make New Years resolutions? Are you looking for some #resolutions this year that will help make a difference in the #environment? Then you have come to the right blog! (Following was sourced from www.livescience.com)
Ancient people practiced the fine art of New Year’s resolutions, though their oaths were external, rather than internally focused. More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians celebrated the New Year not in January, but in March, when the spring harvest came in. The festival, called Akitu, lasted 12 days. An important facet of Akitu was the crowning of a new king, or reaffirmation of loyalty to the old king, should he still sit on the throne. Special rituals also affirmed humanity’s covenant with the gods; as far as Babylonians were concerned, their continued worship was what kept creation humming.
Centuries later, the ancient Romans had similar traditions to ring in their new year, which also originally began in March. In the early days of Rome, the city magistrates’ terms were defined by this New Year’s date. On March 1, the old magistrates would affirm before the Roman Senate that they had performed their duties in accordance with the laws. Then, the New Year’s magistrates would be sworn into office. After Rome became an empire in 27 B.C., New Year’s Day became a time for city leaders and soldiers to swear an oath of loyalty to the Emperor.
As Romans gradually became less warlike, the switch from celebrating the New Year during a month (March) associated with Mars, the god of war to one (January), associated with Janus, a god of home and hearth, seemed appropriate, he added. The first half of New Year’s Day in Rome would have been taken up by public ceremonies, oath-taking and temple sacrifices, he said, while the second half of the day was for social activities. Citizens would bring each other gifts of honey, pears and other sweets as presents for a “sweet new year,” Alston said.
There is no direct line from ancient Roman tradition to modern New Year’s resolutions, but the desire to start anew pops up repeatedly in western civilization. In 1740, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, invented a new type of church service. These services, called Covenant Renewal Services or watch night services, were held during the Christmas and New Year’s season as an alternative to holiday partying. Today, these services are often held on New Year’s Eve, according to the United Methodist Church. Worshippers sing, pray, reflect on the year and renew their covenant with God.
New Year’s resolutions have become a secular tradition, and most Americans who make them now focus on self-improvement. The U.S.government even maintains a website of those looking for tips on achieving some of the most popular resolutions: losing weight, volunteering more, stopping smoking, eating better, getting out of debt and saving money.
Here are some Green options to add to your list of New Years Resolutions .
1) Drink Less Bottled Water and Soft Drinks: It takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce a plastic bottle. So why not use a water filter to drink tap water? Or use a water filter in a water container? Both are easy and much less costly than buying bottled water or expensive soft drinks.
2) Drive Less Often: Walk, bike or take public transport to work. Ask your employer if you can telecommute 1-2 days per week to further minimize your carbon footprint. Whatever you can do will mean you’re driving less and creating less pollution.
3) Use Recyclable Shopping Bags: Over 1 million plastic bags are used every minute of every day worldwide. We recommend keeping a few recyclable vinyl or canvas bags in your car and using them every time you shop. You’ll be amazed at how many plastic bags you can eliminate weekly by doing this one simple step.
4) Take Shorter Showers: Where Americans use an average of 100 gallons of water per day, Europeans only use about 50. All countries need to conserve water and we know that in Marin County, we’re in the middle of a multi-year drought. So have the mindset to use less daily by taking shorter showers, turning off the water at the faucet when you brush your teeth, and only flush the toilet when you absolutely need to.
5) Cut Your Paper Use: A ton of paper from recycled paper saves up to 17 trees. Recycle your newspaper, computer paper, envelopes and other papers you receive daily. Start a digital subscription to your magazines or newspapers. Request electronic statements from your bank and utilities.
6) Recycle Your Bottles, Cans and Compostables: More U.S. cities are offering expanded programs for curbside recycling, especially throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Ask your local waste management provider about it.
7) Green How You Eat: Consider fresh, organic ingredients from your local farmers’ market or grocery store. These are grown without pesticides and are healthy for your whole family, too.
8) Green Your Garage: A hybrid car used to be unusual, today, most car manufacturers offer hybrid or even all-electric cars that drastically cut your dependence on fossil fuels. At Good Green Moving, we’ve been able to reduce our carbon emissions by 80%. Furthermore, when available, we use recycled vegetable oil to power all of our vehicles and utilize 100% renewable energy to power our warehouses.
9) Green Your Home with Sustainable Materials: Think about an eco-friendly home that has bamboo flooring, a cotton or hemp shower curtain, zero-VOC paints, wooden blinds from sustainable forests, and more.
10) Let The Sun Be Your Energy Source: Finally, let the sun do the work for you. The latest solar powered photovoltaic systems are more energy efficient than ever and can get you off the grid. You’ll not only lower your electric costs, you can even earn energy credits by selling your excess energy to the power company.