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Green resolutions for the new year

Come on, be honest. Were you an eco-slacker this holiday, even just a little? Are you still shaking off the festive food coma of the last several weeks? The holidays take their toll on us and on our environment; by some estimates, consumption in the U.S. increases by 30% in November and December.

Let’s green up our act, friends! Small steps, when we all take them together, can go a long way to creating a sustainable future for animals and people. You’ll find our top 2015 resolutions easy to achieve and realistic to sustain. Step it up even more by sharing your green resolutions with friends and family.

Got your own wildlife-friendly green resolutions for 2015? Shout ‘em out to us in the comments below!

Go ahead: Satisfy that sweet tooth, sustainably!

Original photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo; modified.

Everyone enjoys candy treats during the Halloween through December holiday season (even though we’re probably sick of it right now), but not as much as orangutans, Asian elephants and tigers enjoy healthy forests in which to live and thrive. Now, you can fulfill both wishes! From now on, choose candy and treats made by companies that commit to sourcing Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and make a difference in the lives of wildlife impacted by the loss of habitat. 

Palm oil is an inexpensive vegetable oil, virtually free of trans fats. In Africa, it is the main cooking oil, and a significant source of biofuel. In the U.S., it is found in at least 50% of the packaged foods, detergents, baked goods and personal care products on our local markets’ shelves. However, this high-quality, high-yield crop is often grown unsustainably, with production methods that damage tropical forests and peat lands on which wildlife depend. Satisfy your sweet tooth by supporting Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil companies which have made a commitment to source sustainably cultivated palm oil for their products.

Brew your own conservation coffee, save wildlife.

A tree kangaroo climbs up high in Woodland Park Zoo's Day Exhibit. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

You can help protect tree kangaroos and their tree-top homes by looking for PNG YUS coffee, now back in stock at Caffe Vita thanks to a partnership with Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program. This conservation coffee supports eco-friendly livelihoods for the landowners who share tree kangaroo forests and, with Woodland Park Zoo’s help, established Papua New Guinea’s first Conservation Area. Our zoo is home to endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroos, which are native to the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea. From the trees, tree kangaroos can leap 60 feet to the ground without getting hurt. Don’t try that at home! But DO try the coffee!

Eat like an animal!

Vegetables and fruits heading to fill zoo animal bellies in our Commissary. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Resolve to live "la vida locavore" and share more habitat with wildlife! Consider your food choices and sources, just like we do for our animals and for our "people food" dining options on zoo grounds. 

This year, resolve to make smarter, greener food decisions. Whenever possible, shop local farmers' markets or sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture share (CSA). Ask your grocers about the origin of the food they sell. Go meatless or dairy-free once a week. And, if you can, use our ZooDoo compost to grow your own vegetables and fruit!

The effects of climate change are big threats to wildlife and habitats, and our modern food system is directly tied to global greenhouse gas emissions. In general, greenhouse gas emissions get higher as you move up the food chain. For more great tips on how your diet can help animals, visit Puget Sound Fresh. 

Take the Green Zoo Tour!

Original photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo; modified.

Sport your green spirit all year round at Woodland Park Zoo: use our free mobile app to enjoy the GPS-guided Green Zoo Tour. Discover the sometimes hidden ways we save water and energy and creatively reduce waste. On the tour, you'll visit LEED-certified buildings which we’ve designed with nature in mind. See solar panels at work generating electricity for our community. Discover the difference trees make. 

Then get more tips for how you can be greener at home, work and school.

Together we can reduce our impact on the planet we share with wildlife and with future generations.