HAPPY NEW YEAR INHABITAT READERS!
2013 is finally here and we can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for us! But before we get out of holiday-mode and back into the groove of things (*grumble*), we thought that now would be a great time to reflect and set some eco-minded resolutions for the coming months. In the face of pressing issues such as climate change and increasingly weird weather patterns, this year we here at Inhabitat are committed to going the extra mile for our environment and the people who inhabit it. From making a commitment to volunteer more to going vegan to researching the localization of sustainable architecture to help bring it into mainstream practice, read on to learn what our writers and editors are planning to do to help make a difference in world this year. We also would love to hear your eco resolutions — please share them with us by leaving a comment below!
Jill Fehrenbacher — Founder and Editor-in-Chief
In 2013 I had a serious epiphany about the overwhelming nature of stuff – in short I have come to the crushing realization that I have way too much “stuff”. I’ve always tried to be a minimalist when it comes to clothes, gadgets and basically everything I own, but something about having kids (and grandparents who like to dote on them), being an editor (too many free samples), and working from home (piles of paper everywhere), can turn even the most well-intentioned minimalist into a virtual hoarder. This year, the birth of my second child coincided with Christmas (two catalysts for overly-excited grandparents) and I saw my home explode into chaotic mess of toys, wrapping paper, and untouched piles of paper! This year I’m taking a cue from the guy who only has 15 possessions (we published a story about him here), and trying to seriously downsize my life. I’m going to be donating and giving away as many clothes, toys and gadgets as I can, some on Inhabitat and Inhabitots – so stay tuned!
My other resolution is to think seriously about the implications of climate change and prepare myself and my family personally, with disaster-preparedness gear and supplies — as well as focusing my work energy and attention at Inhabitat on climate change and how we can prepare for it as a society with disaster-proof design. It seems quite evident now that our society just does not have the political will or the psychology to stem the tide of rising carbon emissions, and thus we will not be able to stop global warming. Hurricane Sandy really hit that truth home for me as I saw how utterly unprepared my beloved city is to deal with rising sea levels. We’re going to see more and more natural disasters everywhere of Hurricane Sandy / Hurricane Katrina proportions, so we best get ready!
Mike Chino — Managing Editor
I want to dedicate 2013 to digging in and getting my hands dirty by learning new skills that will lower my environmental impact. I’m looking forward to taking some classes in woodworking, fine tuning my soldering and electronics repair skills, and I’d love to learn how to use a 3D printer if the opportunity arises (these days it seems like they’re popping up everywhere.) Design is becoming more democratized every day as technology carries the means of production into the mainstream, so there’s never been a better time to join the DIY movement!
Yuka Yoneda — New York City Editor
After years of writing about the importance of not polluting our air, rivers, forests and oceans, there’s one thing I never thought twice about polluting – my own body! It wasn’t until recently that I saw the irony of spreading the word about protecting the health of the environment while munching on cheese puffs and Hot Pockets all day. So this year, my New Year’s resolution is to be as discerning about what I eat as I am about what I would put into the waste stream. I’ve cut out meat from my diet completely and am making an effort to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables. Because it isn’t always my first instinct to reach for an orange or apple when I’m busy, I’m making it as easy as possible for myself by keeping them in clear containers around my kitchen and living room so that I’m always reminded to have one of those instead of a bag of chips. This simple but effective visual cue has been working so far and I hope it continues to throughout 2013 and beyond.
Diane Pham – Architecture and Design Editor
My new year’s resolutions this year are pretty simple: 1. To volunteer more with New York Cares‘ amazing programs. We often forget that one of the easiest ways to enable change is to act locally. This year I’ll be focusing on providing a good example and helping others achieve the goals they want to achieve but may not have the means or support to. Hopefully these people will find it in them to pay it forward and we’ll see the ripple effect of positive, community-centered actions turned global; 2. Start a compost. Yes, I’m one of those people who still tosses out their organics (hides in shame). I live in a small space in NYC, but I’m hoping that this handy little freezer compost container (and my neighborhood drop-off) will help me get the job done.
Tafline Laylin — Associate Editor
2013 is my year for a deep green transition. Although I’ve always promoted gentle living and shun excess consumerism, my lifestyle hasn’t always been conducive to the kind of habits that we all need to incorporate into our daily lives if we want to leave our children any kind of a livable planet. See, I haven’t had my own home since 2006! For the last six years, I’ve been traveling the globe spreading love and eco-tidings, but do I have a garden? No. Do I have DIY projects to call my own? I’m afraid not. Have I had to put into practice many of the things that I preach on a daily basis? Not so much. Sure, I opt for buses and trains whenever possible and avoid other pitfalls of travel such as plastic water bottles and shopping bags, but there is no question that the planet pays a price for globetrotters like me.
Which is why I’m so eager to enter into the next phase of my life. My new day-lit home constructed of earth-friendly materials is just 525 square feet; it is rural, but a short bicycle ride will take me to a small town that supports local farmers, and I am determined that every single piece of furniture that goes into it will be used, refurbished or recycled – by me. My sister is going to teach me how to grow my own food on a plot nearby and I will have opportunities to become involved with an already ecologically active community. Rest assured that I won’t be going shopping for a pile of new stuff to populate my new abode. Instead, I hope to very slowly add only what I need, so that my living space becomes a cozy reflection of what my heart so richly desires for all of us: creative simplicity and a wholehearted respect for our mother earth.
Join me in making 2013 our greenest year yet.
Alyssa Alimurung — Operations Assistant
In 2013, I hope to get through my reading list (I’ll be happy if I even get through half of it!), volunteer more and commit to practicing yoga. Super long, super hot showers are my eco-sin, so this year I plan to get my hands on the Effergy to help me save water!
Beth Shea — Managing Editor at Inhabitots
This year it’s my goal to go on an entirely vegan diet. I have been a gluten-free vegetarian for many years, and in the last several I have given up milk and eggs — but now it’s time to put the kabosh on cheese once and for all. If anyone reading this knows of a fantastic vegan cheese, please pipe up, as I’ve yet to find one! I also really want to get a secondhand bicycle and start using it as a mode of transport, thereby instilling a love of cycling in my children, and I want to plant a vegetable garden in a raised garden bed and figure out how to outsmart the wild rabbits in our yard so they don’t eat the fruits of our labor! Lastly, this year I really want to stop sweating the small stuff, and to focus more on the big picture.
Andrew Michler — Green Building Writer
2012 turned out to be a bit of game changer as many witnessed what can happen with the planet’s thermostat turned up. I spent a good part of a summer evacuated from my house due to fires but a lot of us saw the climate actually change what we take for granted. In 2013 I’m on the road travelling to Spain, Australia and Japan to research their radical vision of the localization of sustainable architecture and to uncover hints on how to make it the norm everywhere. My resolution is pretty simple: listen, and maybe eat less delicious meat to make up for all those air miles.
Lea Stewart — Contributing Writer
In the coming year, I am going to focus on two resolutions: First, I want to take action to improve my body and health in a way that will won’t be entirely selfish! I began 2012 eating vegan, and really saw the difference it made. I looked better, felt better, it changed the way I shop, and I realized that much more of my food waste was compostable. I didn’t stick with it though, and slowly brought back my love of dairy, and bits of meat. So here goes try #2 to really make a change to a vegan diet. My second resolution comes from the realization that I did A LOT of travel for work, weddings, and family events in 2012, and I think I could have done more to lessen my impact. I expect to again be a frequent guest at the O’Hare airport this year, so I resolve to make my trips more eco-friendly. I’ll be looking to the Inhabitat community for help to make this change, so please send your tips on sustainable travel.
Ana Lisa Alperovich — Contributing Writer
This year I will keep it simple and attainable, so I can create more resolutions throughout 2013. I will help my body flushing out toxins, acids, sweat and waste, while promoting a healthy PH. This consists on avoiding solids until 12noon, drinking lemon water and making my own milk from almonds, sunflower seeds or organic rice. Good morning new habits.
Beth Buczynski – Contributing Writer
I didn’t do such a great job with my ambitious resolutions last year, so I’m trying to set realistic expectations for 2013. Most importantly, I’d like to use collaborative consumption services to center my life more around shared things, space, and experiences. I’d like to change my own habits so that when I have a need or want, I look to the sharing economy first, rather than as an after thought. And, like everyone, I want to get back into shape. I’ve already taken action to make that one a reality though: kickboxing here I come!
Hazel Saunderson — Contributing Writer
I normally find that new years resolutions are harder to make than they are to to break. But making new habits takes time – so in 2013 I am planning to find more time in my day – by getting up a little earlier, taking more breaks from my computer and filling in some of the blank spaces. In some of this new ‘free’ time I want to cultivate more of my garden and become more self reliant when it comes to fruit and vegetables. As although I managed to grow a little rocket, tomatoes and courgettes amidst a very wet and rainy Scotland this year… by the end of 2013 I would like to have made a few more good meals for friends from the produce from my garden. Hmm I might even try to encourage some of my friends to help me in the garden and let them have some vegetables back in return! I also love cycling, so as always I also want to ride my bicycle faster and further and get less punctures.
Josh Gellars — Contributing Writer
Each new year offers a chance to not only reflect upon the past year, but also plan to make positive changes for the one ahead. This upcoming year, I have three resolutions I will commit to achieving. First, I plan to can the sarcasm and speak more openly and honestly with the people who matter the most in my life. Life is too short to communicate in snarky remarks and verbose ambiguities (i.e. less like Burroughs and more like Hemingway). Second, having moved into my own place for the first time, I have become acutely aware of the amount of waste that I produce. Therefore, I will seek to reduce not only my consumption, but also the amount of packaging that I discard. Third, I will complete my dissertation and move onto the next phase of my life, wherever that may take me (I’m aiming to return to the East Coast, Ma!). I hope everyone has a great new year and contemplates how they can reduce their impact while increasing their happiness!
Andrew Goodwin — Contributing Writer
With the growing collaboration of my company, ConsciousBuild Inc., with Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, one of my premiere resolutions for 2013 is to help mold the next generation of sustainable designers and architects. More and more students are understanding the importance of considering the environmental, economical and social responsibility we all have in the design and construction industry. My hope is that every student leaving college in 2013 will be active change-agents in this realm, and I will make myself available to talk and educate as many of them as I can. I also hope to continue to educate my family in the importance of sustainable thinking. I will also be helping my wife promote and educate the wedding industry in sustainable wedding planning with her consulting company. I also hope that this effort will help to break my workaholic tendancies in order to spend more time with my family.
Lana Winter — Contributing Writer
My resolution would be to try to live each day to its fullest, to see the positive in every situation, and to commit random acts of kindness whenever possible.
Holly McWhorter — Contributing Writer
My New Year’s resolutions are to schedule less stuff so I’ll be less stressed, finagle some way to go to Paris with my sweetie, and write more for Inhabitat.
Kristine Lofgren — Contributing Writer
This year I intend to only eat meat that has been raised humanely. I’m too much of a meat lover to give it up entirely, despite my best previous attempts, but I can certainly make sure that all of my meat comes from humane sources, particularly since the foodie revolution means that humane meat is much easier to get my hands on than it used to be. A little bit of extra effort on the part of the consumer can mean huge changes for the meat industry.
Rachel Ross — Contributing Writer
I love setting New Year’s goals! For 2013, many of my visions are focused on developing the demonstration project of our Mandala home. You can read about it at my blog here. I want to expand our permaculture gardens, finish designing and building a round 322 sq.ft. microhome, play with aquaphonics and a vertical garden, continue planting an edible food forest on the approach to our home and maybe design and build a mandala shaped horse barn for our teenage daughter’s dapple gray arab mare, Zara!
Off our home property, we’re doing some crazy cool building projects like; Variations on the four connected circles of The Tamarack. Some design choices are: a complex for multigenerational living, using the center as a sun-catch for year-round garden space, a sacred retreat space, a natural pool and eco-courtyard in the center, an Energy Star dwelling, and home and home office connected living. These are projects that are deeply inspiring and match our vision and values at Mandala Homes.
In 2013, we’re excitedly looking forward to co-creating sustainable, ecological round homes for out-of-the-box thinking people all over our planet. We’re in conversation with potential licensing partners in Europe and the USA and I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year for all of us. I’m looking forward to writing about it!