Five resolutions to make 2023 the year of the tree hugger

Five eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions for Mother Nature — and yourself.


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Luke Anders give his tips for a sustainable new year.

Luke Anders, Contributing Writer

Despite growing concerns over climate change and worldwide pollution, many of us may find ourselves miserably failing to be good stewards of our environment. The new year offers us a time to reflect on the past and set goals for the present. To inspire your goal-setting, I’ve compiled five eco-friendly and college-practical resolutions to implement in your life.

1. Party like a tree-hugger.

You know about the plastic party cup, don’t you? It’s the iconic red drink vessel that most certainly has ended up in your hands at some point during your college career. They are affordable and easy to throw away. While we may mindlessly throw them in the garbage can, if even a handful of students recycled them, Mother Nature would be better off. Sure, the better thing to do would be to ditch the plastic cup altogether. I’m all for it, but I’m also a realist. So, let’s start with recycling — at least for this year.

2. BYOM: Bring Your Own Mug.

What do you get when you put coffee in a reusable mug? Sustainable energy. I know — that was corny. But seriously, let’s talk about bringing your own mug. Did you know that at Camino Bakery you can get a discount for bringing your own coffee mug? Not only will you save dining dollars, but you can also enjoy your latte without any of the unsavory taste that comes with a single-use cup.

3. Swipe left on plastic forks.

Like many students, you may find yourself ordering food ahead and taking it to go. It’s easy to grab your food and stuff your bag with a few napkins, a plastic fork, a plastic spoon and maybe a plastic knife, too. For 2023, I challenge you to reconsider the practice of taking plasticware to go. Instead, keep a set of reusable silverware in your dorm or backpack. It not only eliminates unneeded plastic waste, but it also performs far better than plasticware ever will.

4. F%*k Fast Fashion!

This year, it’s time to leave fast fashion in the past. For us, this means not over-consuming mass-produced clothing. Instead, opt to shop with more sustainable brands like Patagonia. Did you know that they offer a program called Worn Wear where you can trade-in and buy lightly-used Patagonia apparel and gear? (Check it out at In addition to choosing more sustainable brands, you can also prioritize taking better care of the clothes you already own and donating old clothing instead of throwing it away. For a more affordable option, you can also hit up a local thrift shop. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

5. Join the movement.

Whether you know it or not, there are lots of tree huggers here in the Forest. Maybe you’ve set a New Year’s resolution to get involved with more organizations on campus. Perhaps you want to surround yourself with others who will inspire you to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Whatever your reason is, check out dEaCOfriendly and the Office of Sustainability, two awesome earth-loving organizations here at Wake Forest!

As members of the Wake Forest community, it is important that we be good stewards of Mother Nature and our forest here at home — not only for her future but for ours, too. I hope that you’ll at least consider adopting some of these earth-friendly resolutions into your life in 2023. No resolution is too small, and the new year is the perfect time to get started.