Ask Eartha: Tips for fueling environmental passion in 2016 (column) | SummitDaily.com

Ask Eartha: Tips for fueling environmental passion in 2016 (column)

Eartha Steward
Special to the Daily

2016. New Year's Resolution written in a notebook

Dear Eartha,

For 2016, my resolution is to become more aware and involved in environmental issues and causes. Can you give me some insight into ways that I can become more informed of the hot-topic issues and ways that I can begin to give back? — Johnny, Breckenridge

Johnny, taking a stance on environmental issues and causes is a great New Year's resolution! By staying current on sustainability issues, we can all make more informed decisions in order to have a positive influence on the local environment. You can stay up to date with the natural world, both locally and globally through a variety of ways.

Social media has become the go-to source for news and information on a global scale. Just make sure you know who to follow because not all sources are created equal. High Country Conservation Center is on Facebook and Twitter and is a great local resource for all things environmental. Some of my other favorites are 350.org, Mother Jones, and Grist. All of these sites post intriguing and informing Facebook posts about the latest happenings, in addition to having a number of articles written by reputable contributors. 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's also nice to have environmental news delivered straight to your email inbox. Sign up for e-newsletters such as ones offered by HC3, environmentcolorado.org or other Summit County organizations focused on the protection of natural resources. 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.

Another great way to keep up with your resolution is to get your whole family involved. Incorporate current eco-topics into the home by discussing current environmental occurrences at the dinner table, learn how to make homemade cleaning or bathroom products or have a pizza and documentary night. Netflix and YouTube offer a variety of documentaries or tutorials that you can watch for free or for a small subscription price. Some of the Steward family favorite practices are creating homemade laundry detergent or watching great documentaries like Fossil Free or Climate of Change. Want to get the little ones interested in environmental topics, too? Check out kids' movies and books with environmental themes. Try watching "Fern Gully" or "Wall-E" or read "The Lorax" with them.

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Attend 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 Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Tickets are just $15 in advance, and you can get them at highcountryconservation.org or by calling 970.668.5703, or you can get them the night of the event for $20 at the door. Proceeds support two local non-profits, 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. This year, the films touch on topics like land and river preservation, outdoor education techniques taught to children elsewhere in the world and outdoor adventure. Typically, the films offer a "call to action" and give you a path to make a difference on the topics discussed. The festival also includes a number of kid-friendly films, and kids' admission is free. So this is another great way to get the whole family involved.

By participating in charitable events, you are having an indirect impact in your community. At events like these, you will be able to make face-to-face connections with the board and staff of these organizations, and work with them to figure out how you can be of service. In addition, you will be contributing financially to the organizations hosting the events, giving them the means to continue the programs that impact the local environment.

Good luck in keeping your resolution, and I hope to see you at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 16!

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 eartha@highcountryconservation.org.