Ring in the new year with new resolutions that benefit both humans and the planet we live on! Whether it's spending more time outdoors, reaching out to government officials to speak up for our planet’s wildlife or reducing your use of single-use plastic, Shedd Aquarium’s conservation experts are offering a few resolutions you can take on in 2019.
1. Spend more time outside.
In our increasingly digital culture, both children and adults are spending less time outdoors. But research shows that spending time outside is good for your health and helps you connect with our local natural spaces.
"It's tempting to stay indoors as Chicago's winter weather htis its peak in January and February," said Hilary Wind, conservation stewardship facilitator at Shedd Aquarium. "We are encouraging people to layer-up and look nature in the eye year-round, and an easy way to start is by joining us to take action for local biodiversity through woodland habitat restoration."
You can join Shedd's team outdoors this winter on select Thursdays and Fridays for Great Lakes Action Days, which are 3-hour "workdays" dedicated to restoring forest habitats for the frogs, toads and salamanders that are currently hibernating until spring returns. The main restoration activity in the winter is cutting and burning invasive shrubs - an activity that will keep participants warm, despite chilly temperatures outside! More info: www.sheddaquarium.org/GLAD
2. Raise your voice to keep our wildlife healthy and waterways clean.
It's more important now more than ever to tell our government officials about the critical importance of advancing science-based policy that protects wildlife. Shedd is working with community leaders and policymakers to drive policy solutions that support our wildlife and the habitats it depends on, and encouraging the public to join efforts in defending the Clean Water Act.
"Starting this winter, we're rallying our supporters to defend the Clean Water Act against rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency," said Andrea Densham, senior director of policy and advocacy at Shedd Aquarium. "Waterways and wetlands across the country are at risk of losing their federal protections, ultimately endangering the health of our aquatic ecosystems and wildlife."
Reach out to your government officials today or sign Shedd Aquarium's petition to speak up for wildlife that doesn't have a voice its own. More info: sheddaquarium.org/raiseyourvoice.
3. Skip the plastic straw if you can and swap out single-use plastic items with reusable.
Plastic pollutants are piling up in our lakes, rivers and ocean. Further, there is new scientific evidence, almost on a weekly basis, that shows the ways in which plastic pollution is harming aquatic wildlife. In 2019, we can all help. Shedd and 21 other aquariums across the United States have come together for a join #FirstStep to plastic-free waters, encouraging individuals to join by refusing plastic straws if you don't need one.
"While cutting back on plastic straws doesn't solve the problem entirely, it's an important first step in the right direction," said Jaclyn Wegner, director of conservation action at Shedd Aquarium. "It gets people thinking and talking about ways they can reduce their reliance on single-use plastic items and encourages the innovation of ocean-friendly alternatives."
Individuals can get tips via text message on ways to cut back on single-use plastic in their daily lives by texting PLASTICFREE to 49767. More info: pledge.ourhands.org.