How Will You Make Your Mark in 2014?

For me, experiencing the driest year in California’s history included witnessing the massive Rim Fire scorching the area around my home in Sonora.  Seeking respite from the smoke and airplanes and recovery efforts, my husband and I traveled halfway around the world to Paris, France … only to encounter a severe heat wave blanketing that country.

Experiencing these two events in the same month reminded me of my formerly rigid commitments to consume no oil, eat only vegetarian, and rely on my bike as my sole form of transportation. These days, I have a healthier and more practical approach; recognizing that on a day-to-day and personal level we should all strive to think big while also being conscious of what we use, buy, and throw away. We must strive to make daily, small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle rather than expecting to solve it all at once.

COMM ED Alps 2013In 2013 I evaluated the work that I have done with my job at Sierra Business Council and celebrated the shift (albeit small) that I have helped create in the type and amount of energy consumed in the Sierra Nevada.  In the past (before Sierra Nevada Energy Watch offered more energy efficiency measures), it was literally a one lamp at a time effort to save energy.

It’s important to note, however, that one lamp at a time really does make a difference: In my work with SNEW over the past three years we have saved millions of kWh (enough to power over 3,000 homes!), while bringing in revenue to local workforces and saving business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars on their electricity bills. By working on the Energy Watch project on a daily basis, I have been making my own positive impact to confront climate change.

My New Year resolutions for 2014 are to save local Sierra businesses as many kWh as possible while reducing my own energy use as well.  I also hope I can inspire those I spend my time with to think big about potential change, especially as it applies to energy. At home we will continue to be conscious of what we use, what we buy and the footprint we leave as a family. 

Make no mistake: It can be overwhelming to consider how to reduce our impact on the climate and the environment in our daily lives. But we’ll keep reminding ourselves that every small step counts.

As we enter 2014, I’d love to know: what big ideas and positive change will you make happen this year?