Essential Pittsburgh
2:42 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Looking for a New Year's Resolution? How About Social Change

Credit creepyed / flickr

Resolution season was never a big deal in my house growing up. When someone in my family attempted a resolution, it was always health related. And the endeavor was usually abandoned by Valentine's Day, only to be rekindled at Lent, then ditched again.

The goals that actually stuck were the ones inspired by lessons learned randomly throughout the year, usually with an emphasis on social good. For example, after returning from environmental summer camp one year, I convinced my family to always snip the plastic rings that hold 6-packs of soda. The uncut rings are extremely harmful to aquatic life.

In the process of exploring 2014 resolution ideas, I came across an inspiring list for teens and parents from The Road Less Traveled - ideas I could have used in the 1990s and great ones for today.

The activities are as basic as Skip the Bottle. Save a Life.

"Plastic, glass, and even cardboard bottles used to sell water can take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade. If incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become “litter.”

And what happens to this litter? In many cases it ends up in the stomachs of wild life. Take turtles for example."

You can also work in some personal improvement with a little social importance, such as learn a new language or limit your screen time, with a great suggestion for groups dining out:

"Next time you’re out with your friends for dinner, throw your phones in the center of the table first one who grabs their phone – pays the bill."

 Health and fitness are always great resolution ideas, but this year I think I'll continue my resolve to be the change I wish to see in the world.