Happy holidays, dear readers! With 2022 coming to a close, it’s time to get cozy, celebrate the passing of one roller-coaster year for climate impacts and action, and look ahead to the arrival of what’s bound to be another. Fix’s latest project, 23 Predictions for 2023, recaps some of the biggest climate stories from the past 12 months (The IRA! COP27! Record-breaking extreme weather), and takes a look at what’s to come, through the forecasts of 23 experts across the climate sphere. Check it out for a mixture of hope, motivation, and real talk.
The holidays are also a time for personal reflection. I’m not one to lean into #new-year-new-me, but for 2022 I did set a resolution that actually went pretty well: I made a new recipe every week. It wasn’t particularly virtuous, but it was really fun. Some weeks I overachieved and made two or even three new dishes — and discovered a lot of tasty treats that have become household standbys.
OK, if you insist: Some of my faves have been brown butter gnocchi with brussels sprouts, pickapeppa baked beans, pickleback jello shots (Do! Not! Judge! Me!), oat milk chocolate pudding, and Kernza cinnamon rolls. If you make any of them, I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you make the cinnamon rolls, don’t you dare use a knife to slice the dough — use a piece of floss.
I might not hold myself to the weekly new-recipe mandate in 2023, but I’ll definitely continue cooking outside my comfort zone and looking for new experiments. And to bring my climate values into my kitchen, I’m making a resolution for the coming year: vegan Wednesdays.
Dairy is one of the worst foods for greenhouse gas emissions, but so help me, I do love cheese. But a few months ago, when I hosted a vegan colleague for dinner, I discovered that cheeseless cheese products have come a long way since the crumbly nightmare stuff of my youth. (That week’s new recipe was another winner: homemade pizza with vegan cream cheese, pumpkin, and caramelized onions.) My vegan Wednesdays resolution won’t be about restricting myself on one day of the week so I can feel better about indulging every other day. It’ll be about broadening my food repertoire, and dedicating a day to finding delicious dishes that also avoid the ills of animal agriculture.
Of course, the actions we take in our personal lives are just that — personal, and inherently small-scale. Individual lifestyle choices won’t solve the climate crisis, and going to righteous lengths to green-ify every area of our lives may not be the best use of anyone’s time. But the climate-friendly choices we make, and sustain, and tell our friends and family about, do add up to something. And they can feel good, too — a way of moving a little closer to the future we believe in.
What about you? Are you making any climate-related resolutions? I’d love to hear about them! And since I was inspired in part by one of my Fix teammates — people who, like me, think about climate all day and into the night — I thought I’d ask them what commitments they’re making for the year ahead. If any of these resolutions inspire you to make your own, reply to this email to resolve with us.
— Claire Elise Thompson
No new clothes! In 2023 I’m going to try to only buy used clothes, and to wear what I own. I love fashion — and I already rely heavily on reuse platforms like ThredUp and Rent the Runway — but I want to keep taking my sustainable wardrobe game further. I once set a goal to wear everything I owned before I was allowed to buy something new, and maybe I’ll give that a shot again. Have a fun little “wear what you have” moment, and get adventurous with outfit combos and looks. And …
Become a compost evangelist! All of Queens (my borough in NYC) just got curbside compost, and I’m using our bin like crazy, but I don’t think my neighbors are. In 2023, I’m going to have conversations with my neighbors and try to convince them that using our bin won’t lead to a hostile takeover from an army of rats.
— Rachel Bouton, senior manager of networks & events
Tackle my air travel footprint. Any flights I take will be “offset” by making a contribution equal to the cost of the airfare to Save the Redwoods League. I realize carbon offsets are widely seen as BS, but I’m sidestepping the debate by donating directly to an organization that protects and preserves redwood and sequoia groves throughout my home state of California. It’s also a self-imposed gut-check to dissuade myself from taking unnecessary flights. I don’t fly much to start with, but I do feel that if I am contributing that much CO2 to the atmosphere, I ought to feel the cost of it.
— Chuck Squatriglia, senior editor
Drought-proof my yard. I love spending time in my beautiful backyard in Encinitas, California, but a big, thirsty plot of grass that sits in its center has caused me much distress as Southern California’s drought emergency worsens. So I’ve resolved to dryscape my yard before next summer begins. The project intimidated me for a long time — I don’t know the best way to kill or remove grass, or how to prepare the soil for its new drought-tolerant tenants. I’ve been spending weekends at the nursery down the street, learning which plants will thrive in our dry Southern California climate and how to position them based on sun and shade. Completely re-landscaping a lawn can be expensive, so I’m doing little chunks at a time. To get excited, I’m starting with some of my favorite plants first: protea, sage, and lavender, to name a few.
— Gabriela Aoun Angueira, climate solutions writer
Look for more circularity in my household. I was really inspired this past year by our staff writer Gabi (seen above working on her lawn), who wrote two great pieces on resale and the circular economy. I want to work harder in the new year to expand my knowledge of what items in my home can be part of a circular economy. There are so many things I feel awful about throwing away, but at some point, you just can’t repurpose it all yourself. (I have more than enough rags, thank you.) But I know there are companies out there that will recycle clothes and other items that have reached the end of their lives. That’s my goal for 2023: to do the research and find avenues for recycling items I had given up on reselling or reusing.
— Jess Stahl, editor for creative storytelling
Get into repair. I really want to learn how to mend clothes this year! I cut out fast fashion almost a decade ago, and my closet and general purchases these days are almost 100 percent secondhand. That feels like an accomplishment — but I want to extend the life of these pieces even longer and learn how to replace buttons, fix holes, etc. I found out there’s a zero waste general store a few neighborhoods over from where I live that hosts workshops. I may even get into visible mending!
— Mia Torres, editorial designer
Work in community. In September, I attended the first ever in-person “Climate Wayfinding” workshop hosted by the All We Can Save Project. I entered the retreat skeptical but ready to jump in. I’m grateful I did. The experience reconnected me to the purpose of my climate work. Maybe even more transformative than the workshop’s content was finding myself in community with other people working toward climate justice. Connecting with my cohort, I felt more hope and resolve than I had in a long time. Our discussions were authentic and fruitful, and after I left I actually made changes in my work and life. And now we’re ready and excited to support each other and hold each other accountable. So, my climate resolution for 2023 is simple: to deepen my involvement in climate communities — and to jump in.
— Josh Kimelman, project coordinator
Be outside for the sunrise and sunset every day. After working in climate for some time and meeting certain lifestyle goals, I want next year to be more focused on the present. Sometimes I feel a bit downtrodden, consistently looking to the future and thinking about what changes we need to be making to get there — so much so that I’ll forget to sit with the awesomeness that is life on our planet right now. In 2023, I want to take time to remember the reason I work in this space (in addition to a passion for writing and cultivating action): I want to preserve this natural world, its ecosystems, and its species that I adore so much. Particularly in the winter months when sunset happens while I’m at my desk, I’ve dismissed the opportunity to take a moment and pop outside — to slow down, look around, and really be grateful for it all.
— Avery Schuyler Nunn, climate solutions fellow
On our horizon
Reminder: Our next Looking Forward Book Club is coming up on January 18! We’re reading Ministry for the Future — and we’ll be joined by the author, Kim Stanley Robinson, for part of the discussion. RSVP here.
We have already contacted the five winners of our giveaway. If you haven’t heard from us, grab a copy of the book from your local library, from a pal, or from your favorite bookstore! Happy holiday reading.
A parting shot
As you can see above, several of our Fix teammates zeroed in on reuse and sustainable fashion for their 2023 resolutions. Two newsletters ago, we polled all of you about your relationships to secondhand shopping, specifically with regard to holiday gifts. Here’s what we heard: A majority of y’all are already on the secondhand train! (All aboard.) Some of you said you wouldn’t dare. A number of folks responded that shopping new is easier — true, true. But with the rise of resale programs in convenient locations, like on a company’s own website, we hope that might be changing. And some of you were inspired by Gabriela Aoun’s reporting (as was our teammate, Jess!) to check out the resale initiatives she covered. That, to us, is just the best gift of all.