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Our New Year’s Resolutions for a Green and Peaceful Future

by Dawn Bickett

December 21, 2016

In many ways, this year brought more challenges than victories for people who care about the environment. Let's resolve to take back 2017 for people and the planet.

Ecological Agriculture and Bees Event in Japan

For so many of us who want to see true environmental protection and justice, 2016 has been a punch to the gut. Politicians and corporations at odds with issues like human rights and a healthy planet have managed to grab power in countries all over the world this year — including here in the United States. Meanwhile, activists are being murdered, forests are burning, reefs are bleaching, and ice is melting.

The challenges we will face in 2017 are urgent and massive. But the good news is that when we act together, we are stronger than any government, corporation or climate-denying president. Next year, we can’t afford to be bystanders, so let’s get moving!

Here are a few resolutions you can make to fight for people and planet Earth in 2017.

Resolve to tackle over-consumption in your life.

By August 8, 2016 — Earth Overshoot Day — people had already consumed more resources than the Earth could regenerate in all of 2016. This year, try new ways to reduce your impact on the planet. Eat less meat, or none. Avoid throwaway plastic products. Walk or cycle instead of driving. Fix that broken phone or mend that item of clothing instead of buying something new.

Resolve to fight for justice.

We have collective responsibility for the planet and for each other. So if we want to build a more just, sustainable and peaceful world, we must start by pushing back against the systems of power that seek to drive us apart. That means standing with Indigenous Peoples seeking sovereignty over their lands, fighting alongside workers who are being exploited, and challenging racial injustice and xenophobia.

Our fights are connected. This year, let’s resolve to stand by each other whenever and wherever we can.

Resolve to hold those in power accountable.

Your voice matters. This year, make your voice heard. Try calling or writing to government officials when you disagree with their decisions. Contact companies that endanger our planet, and let shops know that you care about the way they source their products. When governments and corporations convince you that it doesn’t matter if you speak up, they win.

You can start now: stop Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson from becoming the next Secretary of State.

Resolve to get involved in your community.

Sharing on Facebook is great. Volunteering in your community is even better! This year, take a breather from your computer or phone and start making change right where you live. Greenpeace has volunteer groups all over the world. Join one, or start your own.

Resolve to get trained up on making change.

Mobilizing people around you and speaking up about issues you care about are valuable skills. For 2017, resolve to improve a skill that will help you build the world you want to see. Learn about how to start your own campaign and mobilize others around you. Explore creative ways people like you are taking action globally.

Resolve to make space to enjoy the things you love.

Creating a sustainable, just world takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. In order to be strong over the long haul, you need to give yourself space to recharge and keep rooted in the world you are fighting for. Make time to go to a favorite place, spend time with family and friends or simply to stop to take deep breaths.

Just, peaceful, and equitable societies are possible. A stable climate is possible. But the world doesn’t get better on its own. It gets better because people work together to make it that way.

Let’s make 2017 the year that happens — together.

By Dawn Bickett

Dawn Bickett is an Engagement Lead for the Meat and Dairy campaign.

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