2018 was a year in which the threats facing our planet—from plastic pollution to climate change―became impossible to ignore. As scientists and journalists continued to sound the alarm, ordinary people stepped up to do something about it. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that one person's action can make a difference in the face of such enormous challenges, but big changes are made up of little actions. So if you are looking for a New Year's resolution for 2019, why not add saving the earth to the list? To get you inspired, the EcoWatch staff is sharing successful green changes we made to our lives last year, as well as the improvements we plan to make in the year to come.
Olivia Rosane, freelance reporter
2018 Green Change: Stop Eating Meat
This is actually something I started halfway through this year, but after writing article after article about the ecological costs of meat-eating, I successfully cut meat out of my daily diet. I am still flexible about what I eat if I am a guest in someone's home, but I no longer cook or order meat for myself.
2019 Green Resolution: Get Involved Locally
I have been moving around a lot over the past two years, so I have not had a chance to get involved with any efforts to protect the environment in my local community. Now that I am a bit more settled, my goal for 2019 is to connect with like-minded people near me to work to preserve our shared home.
Chris McDermott, news editor
2018 Green Change: Reduce Plastic Waste
I knew plastics were made from fossil fuels but I never realized the extent to which plastic waste has infiltrated our oceans until 2018. Solving this crisis requires world-scale efforts, of course, but I started food shopping with reusable canvas bags instead of just accepting plastic ones. I also received a handy gift of reusable metal straws to carry to restaurants in an organic cotton case.
2019 Green Resolution: Cook at Home More
Growing more food and doing more cooking is a priority for 2019. I'm especially looking forward to expanding within my vegetarian diet to include more Indian cuisine and try new dishes. Cooking up batches of food to last two or three days will also save time and energy.
Lorraine Chow, freelance reporter
2018 Green Change: Compost Regularly
Since I've lived in apartments my whole adult life, it's always been difficult to consistently compost. But this year, my boyfriend's workplace installed a tumbler and now I'm a composting fiend. Even though our freezer is always stuffed with food scraps, I'm happy about generating less waste and lowering my methane footprint.
2019 Green Resolution: Drive Less
I live in a town with no reliable public transit, so my car is basically the only way to get around. However, for short and medium trips, I'm really considering an electric bike. I love the idea of spending more time outside, all while benefiting my health and the environment's health.
Jordan Simmons, social media manager
2018 Green Change: Raise Awareness About #PointlessPlastic
2018 was the year of plastic pollution awareness—it's also the year I began using a firm, "No, thank you" whenever offered #pointlessplastic. I've planted countless seeds of awareness by refusing plastic straws at restaurants and plastic bags in grocery stores, and I've been questioned about my choices, which allowed me to educate others on why we must take action for the planet now.
2019 Green Resolution: Live a Zero-Waste Lifestyle
My green resolution for 2019 is to live a zero-waste lifestyle. This lifestyle will not be easy as it includes shopping only in bulk and refusing to-go items whenever I don't have my own containers. But it's a dream I've had for years, so why not make this vision a reality in the new year?
Tara Bracco, managing editor
2018 Green Change: Stop Using Plastic Straws
We reported a lot on the ban on plastic straws in 2018 and reading those stories changed my habits. I no longer reach for a plastic straw after ordering an iced tea from my local coffee shop and saying, "No straw, please" at restaurants became a common practice.
2019 Green Resolution: Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
I've been using a couple of Seventh Generation products in my home, but I didn't realize how much more I could be doing until Meredith Rosenberg wrote her article for EcoWatch about green cleaning products. In the new year, I want to use her tips for evaluating eco-friendly products and clean with less toxic chemicals and less guilt.
Irma Omerhodzic, associate editor
2018 Green Change: Buy Locally
I've been a vegetarian for nearly a decade, following a vegan diet for some of the time, but eggs are difficult for me to give up altogether. So, I made the choice to always stick to buying locally sourced eggs from an organic farm.
2019 Green Resolution: Use Organic Cotton Produce Bags
In 2019, I really want to cut down on unnecessary plastic waste. Using cotton produce bags is an easy step to kick another bad plastic consumption habit!
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.