Dearest Readers,

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2007. Who knows what it will hold for us all. I hope you have a few parts of your year planned and have resolved to leave the rest up to chance, fate, and short-term impulses.

As has become my tradition, I shall start the year with a few resolutions of my own. I just revisited my 2006 Grist resolution, which — as part of a strange condom-related commentary on reducing personal climate emissions — was “to be less self-absorbed for at least part of 2006.”

None of you wrote word one about how pathetic that was. You are kind persons. I have a dim memory that I was behind deadline and couldn’t think of anything better. I’m behind deadline now, by the way.

Photo: iStockphoto

In that same New Year’s column, I as good as promised to make a quiz soon, but then I became so self-absorbed for 2006 that not a single quiz did I offer you. Oh, and I can’t go over all the funny questions you wrote, like I did last year, because I had a terrible accident during the move to our new office. Yes, while carrying my computer down the block, I tripped over a Hummer and toppled down, and half my emails fell out of my computer into a sewer drain. I tried to fish them out with a coat hanger, to no avail. So all those ridiculously delicious emails from Dearest Readers washed away into Puget Sound. How ironic.

I did manage to follow through on some of my plans last year, despite my irresolute temperament and unresolved vows. I focused Ask Umbra on global climate change for a while before devolving back to kayaks and travel mugs.

And strangely, my personal climate emissions were bettered through complete happenstance. A year ago, I had a possession that was an embarrassment to an eco-advice columnist: a low-mileage gasoline vehicle. I was slowly getting around to doing something about it. Then — get this — it was stolen and driven into a tree by people who were either high or driving with their eyes shut. Completely totaled. I was not at fault, insurance covered me, and now I have a better car. Is that the greatest bad luck ever? What does it mean, if theft was one of the best emissions-reduction techniques I experienced this year? I may be too far behind deadline to produce a Deep Thought, but it seems to relate to my little opening wishes for us all: May our lives become a good mix of planning and happy happenstance.

In light of this potential Deep Thought, what to resolve for 2007? Let’s go with More of the Same! Yes! I’d like to be less self-absorbed, again — shaggy car story notwithstanding — and make some quizzes for us all, and reduce my climate emissions, and write a nice mix of columns about Eco-Armageddon and shopping trifles.

I’ll try not to let the ridiculous Dearest Reader letters fall down the drain again, though. A lost occasion for mirth is double sadness.

Happy New Year!
Umbra