Every January, it’s tradition to come up with a list of goals for the next 12 months. I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions. Every year I feel as though the ones set are either too ambitious or not ambitious enough. This year, however, I think I’ve figured it out. These goals are not only achievable, but also help Maine’s environment and give back to the community. If you struggle as much as I do, take a look at my list and add one or two to yours.
Find a Way to Compost!
If you don’t have the space or energy to create your own compost pile, there are other ways to recycle your food waste. Check out Garbage to Garden in southern Maine. For a small fee they will pick up your weekly compost on your trash day. It is extremely affordable at $5/week per 5-gallon bucket. Do you have a community garden near you? Contact them to see if they accept kitchen waste for their compost pile.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or going out to eat, try to focus on eating local. There is so much good food to eat in Maine! Interested in a fish dinner? Check out your local fish market this winter, and before you buy, ask what’s in season. Wondering what produce is local to Maine? Farmers Markets run year-round in many towns. Go see what fruits, vegetables, breads, and honeys are available before you hit the grocery store. Support your neighbors while directly helping Maine’s economy and reducing the carbon footprint on food travel.
When you aren’t using your electronics, unplug them! Televisions, computers, and chargers all use electricity as long as they are still plugged into the wall. Save energy and money on your electricity bill a little bit this coming year by pulling the plug.
Give back to places you care about by donating your time. Many nonprofits do a lot of good for the community but are understaffed. Consider looking up a cause that you believe in and spending some hours this year helping out.
Don’t have the time to volunteer? Consider donating to local nonprofits that you believe in. You can set up a recurring donation or you send in a one-time donation. No amount is too small for you to help make a real difference.
Learn Something New
Take a class or attend a lecture near you. Many local nonprofits host educational events throughout the year:
Portland Parks Conservancy hosts monthly talks on the Third Thursday of every month in various public parks around Portland. Get more information.
Maine Audubon hosts talks, walks, and speakers throughout the year. View updated information about events.
The Telling Room has virtual archives of written works. View the archives, including poetry written in honor of Earth Day.
Literary Lunch Series at the Portland Public Library are lunchtime talks about highlighted literature. Get more information.
Write letters to your local paper about issues that are important to you and make your voice heard.
Reach out to your state and federal lawmakers about issues that are important to you. This can be a short phone call or a letter to the office. When lawmakers hear from their constituents, it has a big impact.
These are a few state legislative issues that are important to me right now:
- LD 1639: Closing the out-of-state waste loophole to reduce toxic pollution at the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town upstream of the Penobscot Nation. For more information.
- Defeating a bill that could preclude dam removal on the Kennebec. Visit our webpage on the Kennebec dam removal campaign.
- LD 736: Expanding Maine’s ecological reserve system to protect more unique landscapes in Maine. Visit our webpage for more info.
- LD 1350: Expanding Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to speed up Maine’s procurement of new renewable energy, especially solar and wind. Read NRCM’s testimony on the bill last year.
—by Kate Shambaugh, NRCM Rising Leadership Team