Restorative Resolutions for 2009 and Beyond

With a campaign tag line, CHANGE WE NEED, President-Elect Barack Obama and a large portion of the American population should have some rather meaningful New Year resolutions for 2009.

For many of us, as we review the financial carnage of 2008 and the dismal outcomes of poorly conceived foreign policy decisions on the part of the George W. Bush Administration over the course of his term (practically rubber stamped by the majority of Congress), we are looking forward to the New Year, a new start, and a renewed sense of hope.

Among the first steps, before we usher in the New Year, is a New Year’s Resolution. But unlike years past, will we embrace the responsibility, sacrifice and curtailment so necessary in these times of climate change, ecological collapse, peak oil and the economic hardship experienced by so many, caused in a large part by our debt-based, growth-on-an-infinite-planet obsessed approach to capitalism? Or do we just try to refinance our house one more time, to take advantage of the latest Red Tag Sale?

Here’s some restorative resolutions for 2009:

  1. Stop being a consumer: Let’s get back to an era, as imperfect as it was, where we were citizens or people, instead of being nothing more than consumers.
  2. Break our fossil fuel addition: Our fossil-fuel-based luxuries and lifestyle are coming at a dire cost to the planet (if not, also, leading to unprecedented exploitation of people to provide those goods or services at cheap prices). Plus, there’s a good chance that fossil-fuel-based energy is going to get a lot more expensive in the coming years. Let’s cut fossil fuel use out of our lives like we might cut a cancer out of our bodies. Renewable energy is in abundance around us, so why not embrace the sun, one of my “Strategies of Abundance for ecopreneurs“.
  3. Practice healthful living: Our health, and that of our family and community, is the most important priority of all. Without it, nothing else matters. Ask anyone who is fighting cancer or has a child who is ill. Health, too, is not just physical, it’s social, mental and spiritual. Most of the forms of health cannot be purchased or found at a mall.
  4. Go on a low-carbon diet: Let’s reconfigure our home and workplaces (ideally in the same place, and community) and lifestyle to help reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and their impact on climate change. We need to get to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide as quickly as possible. While we’re at it and to address another greenhouse gas, methane, let’s eat more vegetables and less meat. Off-set the carbon dioxide emissions we can’t avoid.
  5. Take this job and shove it: Let’s eliminate the idea that the only thing we need is more jobs provided by huge corporations (or the government). Kiss off corporate America. Let’s make a life, not just earn a living. Why not create a small, family-scale, local and ecologically-minded enterprise that makes the world a better place? Why we need this is the topic of ECOpreneuring, which also addresses why we need to sever the financial sector’s stranglehold on our life.
  6. Don’t worry, be happy: Stop worrying about everything. Change what you can, which usually means at home, in your office, in your neighborhood and in your community. Be happy and thankful for what we have, not pain over what we don’t.
  7. Demonstrative Democracy: Voting in the recent elections was just a start (at least for just over half of the US population who exercised their right to vote). Let’s fire our politicians who talk about job creation without batting an eye at the TYPE of jobs created, the counter-productive contributions of these jobs to the health and well-being of our communities, and their role these jobs play in contributing to climate change and other social or ecological issues. All jobs or new businesses must, in various ways, be a part of the restoration economy we need.

Just for the record, here’s what New Year’s Resolutions have looked like in previous years according to the U.S. government:

* Lose Weight
* Manage Debt
* Save Money
* Get a Better Job
* Get Fit
* Eat Right
* Get a Better Education
* Drink Less Alcohol
* Quit Smoking Now
* Reduce Stress Overall
* Reduce Stress at Work
* Take a Trip
* Volunteer to Help Others

In turning to 2009, let’s approach the New Year with the same spirit of change that resonated during the past few years and not return to the same old, same old. We need restorative resolutions that will heal the planet and rebuild our communities.

My family and I, for example, will be cooking our first sun-cooked meal in our Solar Oven the next sunny day in 2009. It will be soup made with leeks and potatoes we grew on our farm, Inn Serendipity.

Photo Credit: drinkblot by β™« marc_l’esperance

  1. Steven Earl Salmony

    Resolution for 2009: SPEAK OUT loudly, clearly and often

    Dear Friends,

    In calling for change in our time, great scientists are speaking about what could somehow be true to wealthy and powerful people who prefer that the “business as usual” status quo be maintained. Industrial/big business powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians want to keep things going along just as they are going now, come what may for the children and coming generations, for life as we know it, for the integrity of Earth and its environs.

    Many voices are needed to support “voices in the wilderness” like those of Jim Hansen and John Holdren, exemplary scientists who have been willing to speak truth to those with the power to make the kinds of necessary change that make belief in a good enough future at least a possibility. Assuring a chance of a good future for the children and for life as we know it is an achievable goal that will lead us to overcome the arrogance and avarice of many too many leaders of my “Not So GREAT GREED GRAB Generation” of elders.

    If too many leaders of the family of humanity choose to keep doing precisely the things they are advocating and doing now, and if we in the human community keep getting what we are getting now, then it appears a sustainable world for our children cannot be achieved. By so doing, the limited resources of Earth will be permanently dissipated, its biodiversity massively extirpated, its environment irreversibly degraded and life as we know it recklessly endangered. The current gigantic scale and anticipated growth of per-capita overconsumption of limited resources, global production and distribution capabilities, and absolute human population numbers worldwide are simply, clearly and patently unsustainable, even to the year 2050. Given Earth’s limitations as a relatively small, evidently finite and noticeably frangible planet, the projected increases in these currently unbridled consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species could soon lead the human family to come face to face with some sort of colossal ecological wreckage.

    Now is the time to speak out loudly, clearly and often about what is true for you. Forget about political correctness and convenience. Let go of economic expediency and greediness. Embrace necessary change rather than waste another day preserving the selfish interests of the small group of rich and powerful people, and their many minions, all of whom are adamantly and relentlessly defending an unsustainable, same old “business as usual” status quo.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

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