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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!
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.
By Ana Santos Rutschman
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.