Bringing sustainability into your day-to-day routine can seem challenging. To help you out, we’ve pulled together 12 resolutions to make it easy for you get on the path to a healthier, more sustainable 2012. Through the year, we’ll be exploring each topic to give you more information about bringing these practices into your daily routine!
1. Bring your own bag! Make your reusable bags as important as your grocery list and keep them in your backpack, purse, car, and bike so that you always have them handy. And, remember, cut down on plastic use by bringing your own produce bags for smaller items.
2. Just say no to GMOs! Research ties the introduction of GMOs into our food supply with the increase in allergies and food-related illness, and now organ failure, not to mention increased pesticide/insecticide use and crop failure. Avoid foods containing canola, soy, corn, cottonseed, sugar beets (and their derivatives) unless organic or GMO-free.
Download the Non-GMO shopping guide for assistance and get involved with local GMO-labeling advocacy!
3. Green your cleaning products! Look for green products certified by EcoLogo or Green Seal, which meet green standards. Better yet, make your own. Our own Stacy Wineberg Dieve is teaching a class on making non-toxic cleaning product. Sign up now!
4. Support your local economy! It may seem unimportant, but supporting local businesses is crucial to promoting a vital, flourishing local economy and for improving town infrastructure. Turn to local stores for your necessities and gifts, and re-invest your tax dollars in your town. Shopping with Fairbucks makes it fun and easy, and many Fairfax businesses offer specials for customers paying with Fairbucks.
5. Kick the can! Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor, a class of synthetic chemicals that mimic or disturb hormones, including testosterone and thyroid hormones. BPA is linked to cancer, early puberty, reproductive problems and a number of other serious diseases and health problems. Over 90 percent of the canned food on the store shelves in the US contain BPA in the can linings. The BPA in cans leaches onto the food contained inside. Therefore, when we use canned food, there is a strong chance we are serving BPA with our meal too. Even products labeled “healthy” or “organic” are just as likely to be contaminated with BPA as their conventional counterparts.
6. Make it an organic apple a day! Apples topped the list of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, with 98 percent of conventional apples tested containing pesticides. Their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. It also features the “Clean 15,” which are the fruits and vegetables wth the lowest pesticide residues.
7. Kick the carcinogens out of your personal care products! Only 20 percent of the chemicals used in cosmetics are tested for health and safety. Check out the Teens Turning Green Dirty Thirty List and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to help you read labels and find safe products.
8. Volunteer! Sustainable Fairfax, the Fairfax Volunteers, and the Fairfax Park and Recreation Department have programs throughout the year to improve Fairfax common areas, help community members, and build community through fun events.
Sign up for the Fairfax Volunteers newsletter and for the Sustainable Fairfax newsletter to find out about these great opportunities, including working at the Food Pantry, trail-marking, creek clean-up, Peri Park clean-up, the Fairfax Festival, Summer Picnic, and more!
9. Go native! Native plants require less care and water, and provide natural food and habitats for bees, birds, and other beneficial life. The California Native Plant society has great resources for the home gardener.
10. Support our cyclists! Fairfax is a great place for cycling, and the number of kids who bike to school is on the rise. In 2012, Fairfax will be implementing a bike spine to help kids bike to Manor safely. Young cyclists appreciate your extra patience and space as they learn to navigate our streets! To make it safe for cyclists of all ages on our narrow, crowded streets, please slow down and share the road.
11. Spare the Air! The Winter Spare the Air program notifies residents when particulate matter levels are anticipated to be unhealthy. On these high pollution days, the Air District will issue a Winter Spare the Air Alert, which prohibits wood burning throughout the Bay Area.
Ozone pollution, or smog, can become a health problem in the Bay Area. The Spare the Air program notifies residents when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy, and urges residents to drive less and reduce activities that contribute to smog. Sign up for EnviroFlash AirAlerts to receive e-mail notification when Spare the Air Alerts are issued.
12. Join Sustainable Fairfax! Your membership supports our programs and projects, like leading the plastic bag ban and working with the North Bay Conservation Corps and Marin Sanitary Service to bring the community progressively toward Zero Waste. We also provide educational programs throughout the year, and host events like EcoFest and the Holiday Craft Fair. Click here for more information!