This year, I’m focusing my resolutions on how I, as an individual, can continue to act in the face of climate change. We have 10 years to drastically change our trajectory in regards to the climate crisis. As Greta Thunberg says, “No one is too small to make a difference.”

Resolution #1: Switch My Bank

I’ve banked with the same big-name bank since I was 14 and never batted an eye at the thought. The fossil fuel divestment movement has increased over the last few years, but only recently did I realize my personal bank account was a contributor to the climate crisis.

Fossil fuel divestment encourages people to remove investments from large institutions and organizations that support the fossil fuel industry. The mentality is that if large amounts of people move money from establishments such as banks, universities and retirement funds who support this industry, collectively we can decrease carbon emissions and reduce fossil fuel usage. The alternative is investing assets in values-aligned institutions who support more sustainable practices.

Switching banks has been on my mind. After hearing Greta Thunberg and Thomas Lopez at the Denver Climate March encourage divesting and seeing The Alliance Center better align its finances with its values, I know it’s now my turn to move my account to Amalgamated, one of our amazing tenants.

Resolution #2: Ongoing Battle with Plastic

The effort to reduce the plastic in my life is ongoing (and exhausting). With the new year I’m going to renew my plastic avoidance efforts. My goal is to replace one plastic item in my life each month with a more sustainable option to prevent enviro-burn out. The plan for 2020 is to switch from the following:

  • Plastic floss to silk alternative in a glass container – January
  • Toothpaste tubes to powder or paste in a glass jar – February
  • Plastic hairbands to compostable options – March

In March I will plan out the next few non-plastic swaps for the following months. Luckily, we have many Best for Colorado businesses, like EarthHero, who make finding sustainable alternatives easy!

Resolution #3: Explore more sustainable food options

My New Year’s resolution is not committing to one particular diet, but to incorporate sustainable eating habits that fit within my lifestyle. I’ll participate in GroundworkDenver’s CSA, because The Alliance Center is a drop off location. I will supplement this with weekly trips to the farmers markets throughout Denver this summer and fall.

I will reduce the amount of meat in my diet. There are many vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and ecovores at The Alliance Center. Such a community makes it drastically easier to reduce the amount of meat in my diet since cooking suggestions, ideas and encouragement circulate constantly. 

While New Year’s resolutions tend to be short lived, sustainability is an ongoing journey we all can take part in throughout 2020. It is critical we each reduce our environmental impact, especially in this new decade. According to the UN International Panel on Climate Change, we have 10 years to cut global emissions in half to prevent 2° Celsius temperature increases. While no one person can do this, collectively we can and will make an impact. Together, we are greater.

Written by Shay Hlavaty, Communications Specialist at The Alliance Center