Resolving to make a small difference in 2019

A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do, or not do something. Because I don’t feel the need to assign an arbitrary date to making changes in my life, I don’t, nor have I ever done, New Year’s resolutions. This year, after much rumination, I’m going to attempt to make some changes in the year ahead. Call them resolutions or call them goals or suggestions if you like but I’m calling them “Action items” for 2019. I’m making a conscious effort to eliminate, or at least reduce, 3 things from my life in 2019.

First is excessive packaging. I will be purchasing as many things as possible that are not over packaged, especially the evil that is “clamshell packaging”. Clamshell packaging was introduced in the 1980s primarily as a way to prevent theft and to make items visible to customers. In a recent study in the UK, it was discovered that over 60,000 accidents per year were reported from cutting, twisting or hacking apart these vile things. Physical dangers aside, the amount of waste generated by over packaging is astounding. Consequently, I’ll make every attempt to buy items that are packaged in consumer friendlier packaging.

My second goal is to reduce clutter. My wife and I generally do an annual purge of things we no longer need and it’s astounding how many old books, magazines, spare cables, and empty boxes one household can accumulate over a year. A recent Forbes article advised that the average North American spends an average of 55 minutes a day searching for things that they have, but can’t find. In addition to this maddening exercise, this same family annually throws away 2300$ in food on average, mainly due to fridge clutter. Facebook Buy and Sell pages are filled with people selling discounted shoes, sweaters, pants and other items due to lost or misplaced receipts. Cluttered houses have also been found to create mental stress, lack of sleep and depression.

Finally, and perhaps most difficult of all will be reducing the influence of China in my life. I will be making every possible attempt to buy less Made in China in 2019. While I realize this will be most likely impossible to achieve, I think it’s up to each and every one of us to consider the effects of our purchasing decisions not just on local business but on our National economy as well. Canadian businesses hire (mostly) Canadians and pay billions of tax dollars every year. These tax dollars help fund our beloved social programs. While its simple to pluck away at your phone and order from online providers like Amazon or Wayfair, as I’ve said in the past, I’ve never seen either of these online giants sponsor a basketball tournament, a music festival or an art exhibit, at least in Northwest BC. Investing Canadian dollars in Canadian businesses is good for all of us and it helps keep small and medium businesses alive and in our communities.

There’s a fable about a child coming across thousands of starfish washed up on a beach. She starts putting them back only to be told “why bother, there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You won’t really be able to make much of a difference.” The child bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could back into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

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