Make 2016 the year of buy less and reuse more

This era represents the highest amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere for all of human history. As we begin a new year together, it is always a good time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. It’s also a great time to renew our pledge to work toward a more sustainable future that requires all of us to do better in reducing our carbon footprint.

In December, during the height of holiday revelry, the bang of a gavel witnessed by representatives from 195 nations who gathered at the 2015 climate summit in Paris reached a landmark accord for the first time.

What makes Paris different than previous climate summits held in Copenhagen, Denmark or Rio de Janeiro Brazil and earlier climate summits? For the first time the universal agreement on climate change requires action in some form from every country including developing countries, China and India. Diplomats have been working hard to finally reach this historic moment for nine years.

This news is huge and something we can all feel that progress is finally being made. Whether you believe in climate change or not, you can be assured that this landmark accord promises that for the first time ever that nearly every country has committed to lowering greenhouse gases in a unified effort to help stave off the most dramatic effects of climate change.

Keeping abreast of the climate change initiatives can feel daunting, complicated and for many people just too monumental to take seriously. Given that we finally have leaders in agreement including President Obama, who has openly said the success of Paris was in part, a tribute to American climate change leadership. He has opening affirmed that addressing climate change is a key legacy to his administration.

Given that we are starting 2016 off with positive news from our world leaders, including our president, what can we do that will make an impact? As the columnist of Living Economically, I propose that we make 2016, the year of “re.” In a re-world, we can reduce our consumption, buy less, reuse more, re-cycle as often as possible, retrofit our homes to make them more energy efficient, redesign the way we live like turning off lights in rooms that aren’t being used or remembering to bring our reusable bags to the store.

It starts with keeping things simple and easy. In an ever-changing world that is constantly speeding up and distracting our best intentions, this is a productive and manageable way to help. I’m personally adopting the “re” word this year and hope that our community members will consider doing the same.

With optimism at the Paris summit, I have renewed hope that we can achieve our goals with solid leadership but even more importantly, the grassroots efforts of our community citizens. For all of us, 2016 is a year to go deeper on our eco resolutions and to integrate the “re” word into our lives.

I end with a direct quote. “This is truly a historic moment,” Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general said. “For the first time, we have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial problems on earth.”
There has never been a better time to act. It’s up to us!