As executive director of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Rick Bates already has a strong commitment to the environment, but even Bates is thinking about going greener in 2016.
"Enjoy the nature that these things are intended to help." - Rick Bates
"I'm going to start watching for that zero microbead logo," Bates told CBC News.
Tiny plastic microbeads are found in many cosmetics and eventually make their way into water sources, including the oceans, where they can be eaten by fish and make their way into the food chain. There are many campaigns underway to ban the use of the plastic beads, and so brands that are microbead free are now using a logo to help consumers make better choices.
For big impact, start small
That, however, is just one possible resolution, and it comes from someone who does a lot of thinking about how to live a sustainable life. So what is Bates's advice for others?
"Keep it fun and enjoy the nature that these things are intended to help, so it's getting outside, going for a hike, taking a camera and taking some photos, or going cross country skiing."
Being active in nature, Bates argued, helps a person's love of the planet grow, and once that new level of environmental awareness has blossomed, he suggested you "start close to home."
Bates urged people to take on projects to make homes more energy efficient. That could be as ambitious as reinsulating, or putting in new windows and doors. It could also be as simple as choosing a more efficient model when replacing a major appliance.
Bates also thinks people should look outside for ways to go green.
"Something as simple as planting a tree, if three per cent of Canadians did that's a million trees, that's a lot of trees," Bates said. He also suggested introducing new plants in the backyard that might help struggling species, and offered one simple example. "Milkweed is something that is a habitat for Monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are a threatened species."
Of course, carrying through with a New Year's resolution is a challenge, and when it comes to an issue as big as the planet, it might seem a little overwhelming, and there will always be the inevitable naysayers on stand-by ready to plant seeds of doubt about the effectiveness of one person's efforts to live a greener life. Ignore them, said Bates.
"These things are all individual choices, and that's how these issues got created and that's how they will have to be resolved. "