But first …
Surprise! Rose found these beauties all a-bloom on her kitchen window ledge yesterday! Tender reminders of April in January…She hid this 2-year-old African violet behind the blue draperies, away from Cece’s digging, pulling and peeing but believed her little kitten had out-smarted her again and had gotten into the pot to make mischief … pics: R.T.
By Michelle Kretzer
If you need some extra motivation to stick with New Year’s resolutions that seemed so easily attainable just a few weeks ago, consider this: Much like the butterfly effect, your resolutions have the potential to make a positive impact on the environment and animals — including butterflies.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, made by nearly a third of Americans, is to eat better and lose weight. The two go hand in hand, of course, which explains why numerous people — including Beyoncé, Al Gore, James Cameron and Alicia Silverstone — found that when they traded in their usual diets filled with meat and dairy products for colorful plant-based foods, the pounds fell off and didn’t come back. And the fringe benefits are nothing to shake a carrot stick at. For every day that you eat plant foods instead of meat and dairy products, you will save 1,100 gallons of water, 40 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forest, 20 pounds of CO2—and the life of an animal.
If you are among the many people who will stop smoking this year, you may save not only your own life but likely the lives of some dogs, mice, rats and monkeys. It has long been proved that cigarette smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the human body, yet tobacco companies continue to conduct painful experiments on animals. When you stop buying cigarettes, you cut off the experimenters’ funding.
Many Americans are determined to find love in 2017. Dating apps are great tools, but a tried-and-true way to meet people who share your values is to get involved in community-service organizations. You can join groups that help clean up local parks and beaches, hold adoption fairs for homeless animals, plant neighborhood gardens and run countless other volunteer projects. The same goes for resolutions to spend more quality time with family and friends. Working together to have a positive impact on your community instead of simply having dinner will strengthen your relationships and your health.
A lot of us have certain pesky tasks that always seem to get put off, so we tell ourselves on New Year’s Day, “I am going to get this done.” One that often seems to get put on the back burner is establishing a plan of action for emergencies. But if you’re checking that one off this year, don’t forget to include a plan for keeping your animal companions safe in a crisis situation, too. Fill a carrier with leashes, bowls, veterinary records, medicines, a bottle of water, a photo of each animal and a list of hotels that accept animal guests during natural disasters.
If you resolved to spruce up your yard, planting flowers and bushes will provide food sources for butterflies, bees and other wildlife, helping their populations and filling your yard with flora and fauna.
New Year’s is a popular time to decide to save more money, perhaps for a vacation, for a big-ticket item or to build up a nest egg. One easy way to economize that most people haven’t thought of is to order a meat-free dish when dining out. A good vegetable stir-fry, asparagus and mushroom risotto, or veggie sushi roll can cost you about half (or less) what most meaty dishes would. If you dine out twice a week, the savings add up quickly. And of course, if you “DIY” and make plant-based meals at home, you’ll save even more. Either way, as mentioned above, eating vegan is kinder to animals and the planet.
Perhaps best of all, this means that if you can stick with your resolutions for improving your own life, then your intention to do more good for others will easily take care of itself.