dancers at Moyo, SpierYeah, I know, I know – it’s almost February.

But what better time for new New Year’s resolutions than when you’ve probably already lost track of the ones you made at the end of a crazy silly season…

And besides, it is the start of the Chinese New Year, so I reckon the timing ain’t too bad after all.

Of course, when picking resolutions for a new year, it’s best to keep them as simple as possible – there’s nothing like faltering within the first few days to put you off them altogether!

So, here are seven simple ways we can all make this a greener, healthier 2009.

1. Connect with your food

ariston onionGrow something edible. Whether it’s installing a climbing cherry tomato on your sunny balcony, or digging up the lawn to make way for a family-feeding veggie patch – know where your food comes from. You could even – no excuses – start a sprout farm on your windowsill!

If that seems like too much hard work, hire in an edible garden service, or join a CSA scheme – you might not actually be growing your own, but you do get to be involved (albeit vicariously).

2. Be energy-smart

Unplug those appliances when you’re not using ’em. If you haven’t done so already – replace those electricity-guzzling incandescent light bulbs with the energy-saving variety. Get a hotbox. Not only is it fabulously green, it’ll also save you money.

3. Be water-wise

Turn off taps when you’re not using ’em (like when you’re brushing your teeth). Install water-saving shower nozzles if you can, or cut down your shower time. Water your garden when it’s cool, to prevent excess evaporation. Again – good and green and it’ll cut down your water bill.

recycling_logo4. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Ye ‘ol green mantra. We’re imprisoned by our stuff, and we’re clogging up the earth with it. Think carefully before buying something new. Reuse what you already have. Recycle what you no longer need (if you’re already imagining heaps of recycling bags piling up, why not sign up for a pick-up service?)

Living this way is truly simple, and not that hard to do, once you get the hang of it. If you feel your resolve wavering, watch The Story of Stuff.

5. Try something organic

Not everyone has the budget to go full-scale organic, but treat yourself to something organic as often as you can. Not only does it taste better, but it’s generally healthier as well (for you and for the earth in which it was grown). If you can’t go the whole hog, at least start with the produce worst affected by pesticides, and go from there. My guess is, you’ll be ordering organic boxes in no time.

ecocleaners6. Ditch the chemicals

We use chemicals to wash our clothes, chemicals to clean our dishes, chemicals to cover our bodies. And it’s polluting the earth, never mind the not-so-groovy things it can do to our bodies.

It’s so easy to switch to natural alternatives, too – and isn’t expensive. Try some affordable, locally-made household natural cleaning brands like Earthsap or Enchantrix and spoil yourself with Victorian Garden‘s awesome range of natural skin products (more here and here).

And last, but certainly not least:

questionmark7. Be curious

Try small local shops and markets instead of big established supermarkets. Ask questions. Find out where your food actually comes from. Start reading labels!

And, most importantly, be curious about your impact on the world around you.

So, simple, really… Pick one, pick ’em all. Whatever you like. Here’s wishing you a fabulous, happy, healthy, curiosity-filled New Year!

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