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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

New Year's Resolve

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth listeners and commentators call and write in with their resolutions for a better environment. If their promises are kept, there'll be more biking, hiking and having fun.


CURWOOD: Ah yes, the New Year is with us and another chance to do things right. We asked you, our listeners and commentators, for your environmental resolutions for 1995. And you sent us a long list. If there was a general theme, it was to cut consumption and enjoy life.

CURTIS: Hello, everyone. this is Dale Curtis at Greenwire, the environmental news daily, calling with my New Year's resolution. About once a month our parent company sponsors a staff luncheon for about 40 people, and every time we use disposable plates, cups and forks and spoons. Now my resolution is to take an hour some afternoon and figure out whether it would cost less and be better for the environment to use and re-use regular dishes and silverware, instead of throwing away all that trash every month. That's it. Thanks. Take care, everybody. Happy holidays. Bye bye.

AMELIA: Hi, this is Trace Amelia. I live in Grayton, California, and I listen to Living on Earth through KQED. I have a suggestion for New Year's resolutions, and that would be a real simple one, to start re-using or using again clotheslines instead of clothes dryers. Of course, drying machines are real helpful in the rainy and snowy season. But there's a lot of time in the year when the good old sun would dry our clothes for us. And it might take a little extra time but it's certainly worth it for our beloved Mother Earth.

CURWOOD: Living on Earth commentator Ruth Page in Burlington, Vermont, reminds us that peat is used as a fuel in some parts of Europe and as mulch in gardens, but the world's supplies are precariously low. So her New Year's resolution, in verse, pledges to preserve the precious peat that remains.

PAGE: There's no peat for my garden in summer ahead.
It'll not get a scrap in pathway or bed.
Peat's being used up at a rate that's indecent:
To me that was news both startling and recent.
Peat beds of the world are superb habitat
For bugs and for birds. Did you know that?
Bonny England's resources have fallen so low,
You soon won't see any wherever you go.
Ireland uses the stuff by the ton for home heating,
So the their peat's at risk, really taking a beating.
Yet that peat was laid down when the dinosaurs strode.
Who am I to waste any around my abode?
So I promise you all from now on I will strive
To keep my place peat-free through year '95.

CURWOOD: Kent Reid wrote to us via e-mail from Blacksburg, Virginia. He's a regular listener to WVTF in Roanoke and writes a New Year's resolution to America: "We will commute to work on our bicycles, on average for the year, once a week." Kent, that sounds good to me; I think I'll resolve to do the same.

SADLER: I'm Russell Sadler. I cover the Pacific Northwest federal forest management controversy for Living on Earth. My environmental New Year's resolution is abandoning this desk and exploring the environment more often. Ashland, Oregon, is at the top of the Klamath Knot . David Raines Wallace calls it one of the most botanically and geologically diverse places in North America. This year, I resolve to get to know my pack in the land as well as I know my rolodex in the library.

CURWOOD: Commentator Fred Singer, geophysicist and director of Science and Environmental Public Policy project in Fairfax, Virginia, resolved in 1995 to work to ensure that environmental public policy is based on sound science.

SINGER: We're now spending up to $150 billion a year on environmental regulations, and we want to make sure that these large sums actually do us some good.

CURWOOD: And we got this call.

CHASE: My name is Ruth Chase from Tallahassee, Florida. I listen to WFSU, and I think the best New Year's resolution we can make is to decrease unnecessary consumption, and learn to be happy with what we've got. We need to practice feeling appreciative just like we practice lifting weights or we practice driving our cars. Because without the ability to appreciate the present, we'll continue to consume with less satisfaction. Thanks.

CURWOOD: We received an e-mail from a listener whose resolution is not to burn wood in urban areas. He writes, "In recent times, society has taken tremendous steps to eliminate public smoking. However, many of the same pollutants in cigarette smoke are found in wood smoke. Here's a polluting activity that could be stopped at no cost while inconveniencing a few people in a minor way." And there was this:

CALLER: Hi, this is Sam from Chicago. I resolve to do what I can to cut back on junk mail, in particular I resolve to use the mailer's postage-paid envelopes to return the junk mail they send, complete with a little note asking them to remove me from their list, in their self-paid envelope.

CURWOOD: And finally, we heard from this Living on Earth commentator.

CATLIN: This is David Catlin, manager of the Springfield Conservation Nature Center in Springfield, Missouri and an occasional commentator for Living on Earth. There's only one new environmental resolution on my list for 1995. I plan to build with my 8-year-old stepson Jake the backyard frog pond we didn't get to last fall. I find myself a little reluctant to say that on the radio. It just doesn't seem very profound. But maybe Jake will think it is.

(Frogs croaking. Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Happy New Year, everyone, and may all your resolutions succeed.



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