• Sydnie Mares

Four Ways I'm Making the World a Better Place in 2017

So I am posting my New Year's resolutions a week into the new year. I should have been more prepared maybe, but it has been hard to create tangible goals for the huge issues I want to address. Lately, I have been overwhelmed with the hate, injustice, and corruption in the world. Sometimes, it is even hard to get out of bed after reading the news.

Last year was the first year that I made a big resolution to go vegetarian, and I actually went through with it. Now, I'm inspired to push myself even further to make a difference for other causes that I care deeply about.


In 2017 I will stop buying dairy products. I'm not sure that I could ever become 100% vegan. Because of road trips, family dinners, and other scenarios, it makes it culturally difficult not to eat foods that are prepared for me, but Pedro and I are committed to gradually cutting out the dairy products that we buy. We already use dairy free butter, soy milk and almond milk, and vegan mayo. We just need to work on replacements for cheese and yogurt. Our motivation for this is to not only avoid all of the harmful ingredients like hormones that are in milk products, but to reduce our impact on the environment and to avoid giving money to the dairy industry who is exploiting animals.

The recipe pictured is for vegan chickpea tikka masala. This meal turned out delicious, and I even got to use some fresh grown cilantro from my garden.


Going along with my stance against animal cruelty, I am no longer going to buy leather accessories or makeup that is not cruelty-free. This year, I will use up or toss any makeup that does not meet this standard.

Since it is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I took this survey and realized that so many ingredients in our everyday products and clothing are not ethically sourced. So many things that we buy are created using child labor or slavery. It is almost impossible to find sourcing information from brands, but I am going to introduce ethically sourced and fair-trade products into my routine and attempt thrift store shopping before traditional retail shopping. I've already ordered a pair of leggings from The Girlfriend Collective that I am really excited about. They are made of recycled water bottles and are fair-trade.


In addition to wearing leggings made of recycled materials, I am going to recycle this year. We tried last year, but we only took about three loads of recycling, and the rest we ended up throwing away out of convenience. There is no recycling system in our neighborhood, so that means making an extra effort to go downtown. I am resolved to take at least 9 loads of recycling in 2017. That will be three times more than last year, and I hope for it to become a routine for us.


Since middle school, I have done community service and mission work through my church. I have become very complacent with this. And although my Sundays are always booked, I could be doing more. In 2017 I will volunteer at 4 community service or social justice events outside of my church. With a Trump inauguration looming, helping those who are oppressed or in need is going to become something I don't just tweet about, but I actually do something about.

Although this 4-pronged plan might seem like a lot, half of my resolutions are choosing not to buy something, and the other half are choosing to do something. I want to make the world a little bit better, so when I am scrolling through Twitter and reading about all the mess, at least I will be able to find comfort in my vegan dinners, recycled leggings, and new experiences.

Are you big on New Year's resolutions? What is on your plate (literally and figuratively)?

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