Our whole team here at Natural Habitat Adventures is deeply committed to sustainability. About a third of the employees at our Colorado headquarters are volunteer members of Nat Hab’s Green Team, and one of our company’s Core Ideologies is to Consistently Raise the Bar on Conservation. We challenges ourselves and each other to continually identify innovative and thoughtful ways that we can become more sustainable, both as individuals and as a company.
To kick off 2019, we’re sharing some of the personal environmental New Year’s resolutions that our Green Team members have committed to for the coming year. Sharing these commitments to live green in 2019 empowers us all to learn from one another and gain inspiration and ideas for new ways to make each of our lives more sustainable.
These green New Year’s resolutions are part of our collective commitment to try to embody conservation values and practices in our everyday lives so that we can each make greater contributions to protecting wildlife and wild places in 2019 and beyond.
Adventure Communications Director Mark Jordahl
I live pretty far from the nearest store, so I’ve come to rely a lot on online shopping and delivery. My resolution is not to order anything online for the first three months of the year, and then evaluate whether to continue beyond that.
There are five main reasons why I have made this decision:
- The ease and convenience of ordering with a click from home leads me to buying things I don’t really need. There is a reason why “reduce, reuse and recycle” are listed in that order—if we buy less stuff, we have less waste to deal with. If I have to wait until I get to a store, I have time to think about whether I actually need a given item.
- The guarantee of fast shipping means delivery trucks and airplanes are going out less-than-full, decreasing their efficiency, and orders are being sent out piecemeal rather than consolidating items into a single shipment.
- I am painfully aware of the pile of unnecessary cardboard and other packaging that builds up in my recycling bin every month.
- If I stop buying as much online, I am more likely to support local businesses.
- I am honestly curious to see if I will save money by buying less unnecessary stuff, or spend more by paying full-price for things I actually need in stores. But if I spend more, at least it will be going into my local economy!
Air Travel Specialist Holly Glessner
To operate zero-waste daily in the Natural Habitat Adventures office during work hours.
I feel very strongly about avoiding waste whenever and wherever possible, and our office is the perfect place to practice this. Nat Hab is already planning The World’s First Zero Waste Adventure in Yellowstone this summer, with the office joining in during the same week. This will be an excellent motivation to practice in advance and gain the knowledge to pass on to my coworkers to successfully launch our zero waste office week in July 2019.
Adventure Concierge Brooke Mitchell
Last February, I bought my first home and immediately began remodeling. I quickly realized that every purchase resulted in excess waste and that my recycling bin was constantly full with leftover packaging. For (at least) the first six months of 2019, I want to purchase most, if not all, remodeling items from a local secondhand home store.
1) Most items in secondhand home stores do not come in packaging, thereby reducing my waste.
2) Most secondhand home stores are local nonprofits with great missions. By buying from them and not big box stores, I am supporting my community.
3) By purchasing secondhand, I am reusing perfectly functioning stuff and giving it a new life (putting the reuse in “reduce, reuse, recycle”).
4) Secondhand items almost always cost much less than the same thing brand new.
5) And lastly, who doesn’t love a good project? My father made sure I knew my way around power tools, and not many things are more satisfying than seeing your hard work turn someone else’s trash into something beautiful.
Adventure Director Sara Higgins
My sustainability goal for 2019 is to not purchase meat packaged in Styrofoam. While we don’t eat a lot of meat in our household (about two-to-three times per week), this is one of the items that noticeably fills our trash can (especially since we try to be as low-waste as possible). It seems unnecessary and wasteful to continue this habit.
- Reduce waste: Meat from the supermarket typically comes wrapped in plastic on a Styrofoam tray, which cannot be recycled at most local facilities. There is growing awareness around refusing and reducing the use of plastics in our everyday lives (reusable coffee mugs, eliminating plastic straws, reusable shopping bags, etc.), but why haven’t we mentioned this one obvious culprit? Purchasing meat directly from the butcher counter will be wrapped in paper (or we can even bring in our own reusable container!).
- Better quality: By going to stores where they have a butcher counter, we will be forcing ourselves to go to better stores and buy higher-quality meat instead of what’s on sale on the shelves. Sure, we might pay a bit more, but for us, the health benefits will outweigh the cost.
- Local meat: This will ultimately help us to buy more local meat. As summer approaches, we’ll look into a meat community-supported agriculture (CSA) or similar.
- Form relationships: We’ll get to know our local butchers and farmers!
- Make an impact: Maybe if enough people stop buying meat that’s wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, meat packaging companies will pay attention and change the way they package their meat!
Ultimately, we hope this goal allows us to reduce our footprint, eat healthier and connect to the community.
Destination Manager Ami Jones
It’s important to make working towards living a zero-waste lifestyle fun and not overly onerous so that you can be sure to stick to your goals! My resolution is to set a monthly goal of one change I can make in my daily life to keep trash out of the landfill.
Limiting our overall consumption of products that produce waste has numerous positive impacts! Some examples include conserving valuable resources, limiting pollution, cutting down on harmful greenhouse gases being emitted into the environment, better overall public health and much more. My career with Natural Habitat Adventures continues to give me the great fortune of traveling to see some of the world’s most stunning landscapes and awe-inspiring wildlife. My WHY is to do my darndest in making the best decisions I can to keep our world such a beautiful place for generations to come. While doing so, my hope is to inspire others to join me.
I’ve laid out a monthly calendar with my goals for the first three months of the year. I know that as I continue down this journey, new and creative challenges and solutions will come to mind. I don’t want to limit myself by planning out the full year quite yet, so here is what I’ve got:
- January — I’ve just moved into a new house and need to set up a new composting system. Compost January ‘tis.
- February — Put together a “trip to the grocery store” kit that has everything I need to complete my shopping list. If I forget my kit I need to stick to running back home to grab it. Items I plan to include: reusable shopping bags, recycled paper for items from the butcher, and mason jars or reusable bags for bulk items.
- March — Limit the junk mail I receive by registering at DMAchoice.org.
Happy reducing, reusing and recycling!
Adventure Specialist Corrin LaCombe
Environmental Resolutions & Reasons Why
- I commit to re-filling all of my liquid soap, lotion, and laundry detergent containers! I found a new store in town that does this and they’ll be getting all of my business in 2019.
- I promise to use compostable dog bags only to prevent waste from going to the landfill.
- I’m 100% committed to buying natural biodegradable cat litter only—this stuff works great and is so much better for the environment.
- I also commit to using my reusable coffee cup and water bottle 100% of the time. If I don’t have the cup with me, then I won’t be drinking a coffee!
- I will also no longer be lining my smaller garbage bags with plastic—this is just unnecessary waste.
Looking forward to a wonderful year of putting my best “green” foot forward!
Director of Sustainability & Conservation Travel Court Whelan, Ph.D.
I plan on significantly reducing my use of single-use things like coffee cups, sandwich bags, etc. First, I plan on always keeping a reusable coffee thermos with me so that I never have to use a disposable one. On the same theme, I aim to reduce my reliance on plastic zip bags at home (I’ve long not used plastic bags for shopping, but I do cook a lot, so leftovers sometimes end up in single-use plastic zip bags). I’ve recently found a number of silicon reusable zip-style bags online and just ordered a few in different quart and gallon sizes. And last, I aim to refuse any single-use plastic item offered when eating at restaurants. Whether that’s a plastic spork at a food truck or a plastic straw at my local café, I plan on having a reusable version with me if I really need it in the first place.
These might only amount to a handful of pounds of plastic a year, but they are demonstrable ways that anyone can reduce their consumption. By having a plastic camping spoon in my backpack or car, or having a small travel mug for afternoon coffee, I’m not only taking single-use items out of the waste stream, but I’m also doing so in public, showing people that it’s OK to make a little extra effort, and look a little weird (for now…until this is the norm!) pulling a reusable spork out of my back pocket at the food truck rally. It’s really about thinking sustainably with everything you do, and doing something every day that shows others a more sustainable way forward.
Resolving to Be More Green in 2019
We hope that our renewed conservation commitments inspire others to adopt their own green resolutions for the new year! What are your green goals for 2019? Leave us a comment below to share your 2019 resolutions to live more sustainably.