New Year’s Resolution #9 – Learn Something New

If you’re like most people, your days are a blur of the hectic and the routine. You wake to the same alarm every morning, down a cup of coffee, then spend the day juggling demanding bosses, work meetings, and family dinners. It can be hard to find time in the day to get everything done and especially to devote to yourself. That’s why, for your ninth New Year’s resolution, we want you to take the time in 2012 to reach outside your normal routine and learn something new.

No matter where you live, there are opportunities to step away from the humdrum of the everyday. You can take your family out for an afternoon at a nearby museum or park to learn about local history or native plant life, or, when you’re short on time, it’s easy to pick up a book – you don’t even need to leave the house. If you’re feeling more adventurous, sign up to take a class or make 2012 the year you travel to a place you’ve always wanted to see.

Learning something new can also be as easy as asking a question. The world is full of interesting people with all kind of stories. You might think you don’t have the time, but taking a few minutes out of your day to chat with that co-worker who makes beer at home or a friend who’s an expert rock climber is a great way to expand your world. Who knows, you could end up with a new hobby of your own!

Lastly, we want you to take the time in 2012 to learn about your own, local environment. We all spend time worrying about large-scale problems like global warming and polluted waterways, but what about what’s happening in your own back yard? Do you know where your town gets its water or where your trash goes? Can you name any plants native to your area? Understanding more about where you live is the first step towards living green.

And now, to help get your New Year’s resolution off on the right foot, here’s a list of ten quick environmental facts, just to show you how fun and easy it can be to learn something new:

1. 25% of all pesticides are used on cotton.

2. The Aurora Borealis is caused by electrically-charged particles reacting with the Earth’s magnetic field.

3. 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable.

4. The oldest known single living tree is a 4,482 year old Great Basin bristlecone pine growing in California.

5. The largest organism on Earth is a 106 acre stand of aspen trees all connected to a single underground root system. It is estimated to weigh 6,600 tons.

6. It takes three times as much water to make a plastic water bottle as it does to fill it.

7. Common earthworms should not be used for worm composting because they cannot survive the high temperatures.

8. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but uses 33% of paper, 25% of oil, 15% of coal, and 17% of all the aluminum used worldwide.

9. 95.7% of all lead-acid car batteries are recycled – that’s the highest rate of any recyclable material.

10. Only 8% of the energy used in the U.S. comes from alternative sources like wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.

Goals for 2012

• Get your family and friends out to a local museum or park.

• Sign up to take a class.

• Vacation somewhere you’ve always wanted to see.

• Get involved in your community and with local environmental issues.


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