Happy New Year! In celebration of 2014 my wife and I would like to make a resolution together. Both of us have always wanted to be more informed on current environmental topics, but have never found the time. Could you recommend how to stay informed on the latest and greatest?
— Ben & Sandra, Silverthorne
What a fantastic New Year’s resolution! We should all strive for such a goal. By staying current on sustainability issues, we can all make more informed decisions and know how to be a positive influence on the local environment. There are a variety of ways to stay up to date with the natural world, both locally and globally.
There is nothing more real time than social media in our busy world. Twitter, Facebook and Feedly to name a just few, can be great tools to grab pertinent information in small and easy to digest sound bites. Just make sure you know who to follow. Not all sources are created equal. Did you know that the High Country Conservation Center is on Facebook and Twitter? Some of my other favorites are Bag It and Climate Central. Both of these organizations post intriguing and informing Facebook posts about the latest happenings. On Twitter, @USDA the United States Department of Agriculture and @NRDC the Natural Resource Defense Coalition help me to keep up with environmental policy and changes in our natural world. It doesn’t take that much time either.
It’s also nice to have environmental news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for e-newsletters such as ones offered by HC3, environmentcolorado.org, or the Environmental News Network at enn.com. These organizations send out regular updates on what is going on in the world and in Colorado on the sustainability front. Even on the busiest of days you can give the headlines a quick scan for new developments in your area of interest. Treehugger.com is one of the world’s most referenced enviroblogs, with well-written articles that span a variety of environmental topics, making it a great read over breakfast.
There are plenty of ways to get the whole family in on your resolution too. You can get everyone informed by incorporating current eco-topics into the home. If you see an article in the paper, discuss it with everyone over dinner or in the car. How about a pizza and documentary night? Netflix and YouTube offer a variety of documentaries that won’t put you to sleep. Some of the Steward family favorites are “Gasland,” “Food Inc.” and “Crude: The Real Price of Oil.” Want to get the little ones interested in environmental topics too? There are more kids’ movies out now with an environmental theme than ever before. Try “Fern Gully” or “Wall-e.”
There are also plenty of local events, classes and workshops in Summit County that will let you get involved in the latest environmental movements. Personally, I am getting excited for the Wild and Scenic Film Festival happening on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Tickets are just $15 and you get them in advance at highcountryconservation.org, by calling (970) 668-5703, or by stopping by the High Country Conservation Center office on 6th and Main in Frisco. Proceeds support two local nonprofits, the Continental Divide Land Trust and the High Country Conservation Center. The film festival will touch on some hot-button environmental topics with a variety of enlightening films. “Weed War” highlights the challenges that invasive weeds present to important native species and offers sustainable solutions to reduce invasive weeds. “Second Nature: Biomimicry” features the latest movement in architecture and engineering in which we look to Mother Nature for ways to improve our built environment.
I hope everyone includes a little environmentalism in their New Year’s resolution for 2014. Anything from picking up trash, to staying more informed on current environmental movements can make a difference in everyone’s lives. We can all make our community a better place by taking care of it. Happy New Year’s everyone!
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.