Celebrate Green This New Year

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Tomorrow is the big day, the ringing in of a new start. Many will gather around the television near midnight to witness dazzling lights, confetti and balloons flurry around New York City’s Times Square. The New Year’s Eve Ball will slide down the One Times Square flag pole as the excitement cheers it on. Most of us will watch with friends and family at parties, and you can make your celebration more eco-friendly celebration and a few green resolutions.

For any celebration, you need furniture, drinks and food. If you don’t have enough seating, borrow from neighbors. You can also rent seating from party stores, along with reusable cups, plates, silverware and tablecloths. If you want to go with disposable dishes, choose on of the many eco-disposable options out there.

No New Years gathering is complete without a little bubbly. Although there are many options out there, organic champagne and organic sparkling apple cider will leave your guests synthetic fungicide-, herbicide- and fertilizer-free. Find both at Whole Foods Markets or local liquor stores.

Because New Years get-togethers start later in the evening, you can focus on appetizers and light snacks. Choose cheeses from local dairies, local nuts or dried fruits or seasonal winter fruits and veggies. Look in your natural foods section for organic versions of classic snacks such as pizza.


When the party is over, the 2009 glasses have been retired and the champagne headache has worn off, it will be time to implement your resolutions for the year. A few popular resolutions are to lose weight, manage debt and save money. You can work toward all of these resolutions while also benefitting the environment.

Ditch the gym and get in shape

Throughout January, new gym memberships are at their peak. While treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals use extensive power, exercises such as a yoga, running outside and kick boxing require no power (except your own energy). You could also assemble your own electricity-free home gym with a few free weights, a work out mat, a pull up bar and a jump rope. You’ll be saving energy and money while still getting a fulfilling work out.

Eat better

Fuel your body with better food by choosing a balanced diet of fresh produce, quality meats and healthy grains. By simply switching to organic foods, your meals will be free of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and pesticides. Jeff Cox, author of The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide, says these 10 foods are most important to by organic:

1. apples

2. beef

3. bell peppers

4. carrots

5. celery

6. cherries

7. chicken

8. citrus

9. coffee

10. corn

Many farmer’s markets are closed for the season, however, when they open during the spring support local farmers while receiving quality produce. You can also look into joining a community supported agriculture program that delivers local produce to your home weekly. Find one in your area.

Reduce stress

If 2008 was stressful, make a plan to eliminate (or at least reduce) stress for 2009. You don’t need a spa retreat or a pampered personal day to reduce your stress. Cut back on clutter in your work space and home by getting organized with shelves, labels, storage boxes and whatever else your space needs. (Check out “Declutter your Life” for more about this.)

With a clean space, you’ll feel a burden has been lifted and you might even be more productive. Assess your commitments and balance your work, family, friends, personal time and other obligations in a healthy and realistic manner.

Save some green

Many Americans are feeling the crunch from the rollercoaster economy, but don’t let that hold you back from a financially great year. Start by developing a financial plan that is realistic and keeps the environment in mind. You can start by switching to online banking and automatic bill pay, which will keep you on track with bill payments and thus improve your credit score. Also this will minimize the amount of paper produced. With taxes quickly approaching, you can file your taxes online, which will also cut down on paper.

More about small steps toward a greener you

• Green your dishwashing routine this year.

• Try a simple DIY project and repurpose those out-of-style items.

• These easy energy fixes can reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint!