Go Green in 2014

By Laurie Sheldon

Most of us are not so perfect.
Except me, of course. ;-)
Well, here we are at the close of another year. For most of us, it's a time for reflecting on the past and determining what changes we hope to make in the future. This process typically boils down to making one or many resolutions about how we're going to turn those hopes into realities. Now, I've been on this earth for more years than I'd like to admit, and I must say that I've met very few people who actually follow through on these resolutions indefinitely. Why? Maybe they're too vague or a touch too ambitious. That's one to talk over with your respective headshrinkers. I'm not here to psychoanalyze. Rather, I'd like to make a few unsolicited suggestions (just humor me, please) for some green resolutions we can all make good on through 2014 (and beyond). Here goes...

Dish Out
If you enjoy following us on Facebook/Twitter or reading our blog and you aren't already a bona fide member of F.N.P.S., please consider joining. Membership dues are used to protect Florida's native plant heritage, are as low as $15/yr for students and $35/yr for one person, and - bonus - if you join today you can deduct them from your 2013 taxes.

Many hands lighten the load for all!
Pitch In
Contact your local F.N.P.S. chapter to find out if/when they'll be having environmental cleanup or restoration activities you can participate in. Be sure to bring along family or friends to help share in the work! There are also plenty of Committees that need volunteers, so don't be shy! None of us bite too hard.

Speak Up
Make your voice heard on at least one environmental issue this year. Perhaps there's a parcel of Florida Forever land en route to the auction block that you know is ecologically valuable. Or maybe your heart hurts as you watch the eutrophication of our once crystal clear springs. Make a habit of checking F.N.P.S. action alerts to learn about current issues of concern. Let your local congressional representative know your point of view! You are their eyes and ears on the street.

Three Sisters Springs provides a warm
refuge for Florida's endangered manatee.
Go Wild
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a National Wildlife Refuge System that includes more than 30 protected areas throughout Florida where you can learn firsthand about individual species of threatened or endangered plants and animals. Set your sights on going to at least one before the oppressive summer heat rears its head, and another one before year's end.

Park It
Demanding schedules - for both adults and kids - have made relaxing and enjoying the outdoors a challenge. At the same time, these are proven to be the very activities that enable us to think more clearly and perform better at work and in school. Plan a day trip to a state park in your area. Fortunately, Florida has 169 state parks and 9 state trails to choose from.

Get Smart
Alexander Pope said that, "a little learning is a dangerous thing." Expand your knowledge of native plants, ecology, and much more by attending the 2014 F.N.P.S. Annual Conference, which will be held in May at Florida Gulf Coast University (referred to as "Florida's Environmental University") in Naples. There will be enough information presented at this event to fill up a notebook with - trust me. I took about 50 pages of notes at both the 2012 Conference in Plant City and the 2013 Conference in Jacksonville if that's any indication of anything. It may just be a sign that I secretly want to go back to school. 

Bottles and Bags, people. Sheesh! Kick the bottled water habit with an at-home filtering pitcher and a reusable bottle to pare down on the 1.5 million barrels of oil used to make plastic water bottles each year. Money talks, right? Check out this study of how much cash you can save each year by not buying bottled water at the grocery. Did you know that one million plastic bags end up in the trash every minute? Keep a reusable shopping bag or two in your car or have one that folds up tucked into your purse. They're cheap, have a large capacity, and are infinitely sturdier than their thin plastic counterparts! Florida's future residents would thank you if they could bounce backwards in time, then quickly go forward to when they originally came from.

Easy? Check! Rewarding? Check! Just do it. Period.

Wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy, and GREEN new year!

Just for fun...


Anonymous said…
Nice work, Laurie! A great list simply and powerfully presented, and what a difference it would make if everyone embraced these as goals in 2014. And truly there is something here that everyone CAN do. Thanks for your efforts. Here's hoping for progress in a splendid New Year, 2014!

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