Sustainable UNH

Learning about sustainability through the example of UNH

Dreaming of a White Christmas

December 7th, 2012 · No Comments

Temperatures have been in the 40’s and 50’s in December with the exception of the first of the month. Sadly, this is becoming the norm instead of the exception. I don’t think this is quite what Irving Berlin had in mind when he wrote the lyrics “just like the ones I used to know”. But 2012, “Dreaming of a White Christmas” takes on a whole new meaning.

Every generation has their “when I was your age” memories, but I never thought I would have mine at the age of 27. Easter Sunday was sometimes on under snow cover. My dad, an avid deer hunter, has seen a lot of changes over the years and hunting/tracking animals is getting harder each year for those who depend on it for a food source.

Many of us understand that it’s not supposed to be this way, and are not really enjoying the warm sunny weather like others, because we understand the bigger picture. The mainstream media doesn’t get it, or doesn’t want to, (or doesn’t want us to?) Either way, without fail the weather report banter on almost every channel is “Tom, tell us what’s in store for us, I’m glad to hear it’s warming up after such a cold start to December”, a cold start to December? What else should there be?

No freezing temperatures mean that things we want to die over the winter don’t. This includes a whole list of wonderful things like insects, tics to name an important one, small rodents, allergens, viruses, bacteria, etc. So while our plants might look a little brighter and we may think we’re getting more vitamin D; there are consequences. Anecdotal evidence from my parents’ house in western NH shows a huge rise in the number of mice caught in the basements of both their house and office this year. Growing up in an old house with mice, I can tell you first hand that having more of them is not a good thing.

But can this be reversed? Can it be stopped? And if so, what will we have to do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem? Is recycling enough? Is taking wildcat transit or carpooling enough?

It’s almost the New Year, which means it’s time to evaluate what resolutions we want to make, what changes for the better we should bring to our own lives. This year, try doing actions that impact not only yourself but the planet. Here are some just to name a few:

Alternative transportation to work: carpooling, bus, biking, walking, etc. Even just 3 days out of the week can make a difference!

Eating locally sourced foods: Farmer’s Markets are all around us! is a great resource for those!

Consume less, and of that consumption, consume better products:
By only secondhand clothing, shop only local stores, and use’s guide to businesses that have the best environmental practices to help you make consumer decisions.

Educate yourself! Make your weekend movie one that educates you about a different topic. Pick one night a week that you watch something educational with your family, roommates, whomever. A few recommendations below:

“White Water, Black Gold”
“The Economics of Happiness”
“Vanishing of the Bees”
“Chasing Ice”

There are many more but these are great starts!!

Challenge yourself this year to make a difference. Just like any diet or fitness goal, make it realistic. You won’t lose 50 lbs in a month, and you won’t immediately begin biking to work every day. Make smaller changes and you’ll soon realize that living a more sustainable life can in many ways be living a better life. Best of luck, and Happy New Year!

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