The Winter Solstice has always been an important milestone in my family led by my grandfather’s love of the natural world. More than ever, this year we welcomed the return of the light. Yet, as my family and friends prepare to face the New Year, we remain wary of what the deep winter may hold.

We feel unsettled that so much has changed this past year. For some of us, loss has irreparably affected our family. For others, the daily grind of being on the front lines of Covid is testing the limits of our mental health. And for so many of us, loneliness and isolation have crept in like hungry winter mice.

And then there is climate change. 

In my work with Families for a Livable Climate, it felt important to create a small ritual for renewal--to rekindle our commitment to a brighter future, and feed our inner fire for positive change. So in partnership with Climate Smart Missoula, we planned Covid-safe Winter Solstice events to share our Climate Resolutions for 2021, and invited community members to share their Solstice images and resolutions as well. 

We found resilience and inspiration in what people shared. On this first day of the New Year, we hope you too are buoyed by these climate resolutions and that you consider making your own:

I resolve to keep informed and engaged in achieving 100% clean energy; seek spiritual recharge in our richly endowed natural environment; and spend more good times with family and friends.

I resolve to love more and listen more; to invite people into the climate movement through stories, shared values, and compassion. I resolve to be brave: to speak the truth and work to salvage our world: our innate need to connect and cooperate, our rivers, our snowy mountaintops, our secret fishing holes, the woods where we hike, hunt, and take our children to learn their birds.

I resolve to work for housing justice. Covid is threatening the housing security of millions, as is the climate crisis. Everyone deserves safe housing. It needs to be a priority for our community.

We plan to more than double the capacity of the solar array on our south-facing roof, allowing us to generate nearly all of the electricity we will be consuming from 2021 into the indefinite future.”

I resolve to inspire care and action toward a livable climate in the people I know and meet this year...I resolve to work with local groups on climate solutions that are visible and relevant in my home place.

Just as G-d spoke through Joseph in the Torah section Mikeitz, we must be strategic and save in the years when there is plenty for the years when there is famine. Thus can we survive in the difficult times. So, we can all seek out and depend on sustainable power sources, the wind, the sun, the power of the ocean, for energy to sustain this fragile earth.

I will continue to educate myself on the physical, ecological, social, economic, and justice aspects of climate change. I resolve to remain open to diverse perspectives and to learn from everyone concerned with climate issues, regardless of ideology or policy preferences.

I resolve to reduce my plastic footprint, and kindly share with ten families over the year to inspire their desire to reduce their plastic footprint, and deepen my mindfulness practice to contribute to global healing and awareness.

I will sustain my own physical, mental, and social health with exercise, mindfulness practice, time outside, and connections with friends and family. I will celebrate the beauty we have in the world in order to deeply know what is at stake. I will help others to do the same whenever possible.

As someone who works on climate solutions day in and day out, I resolve to rekindle my sense of awe for our amazing wild earth - for snowflakes, light, river ripples, songbirds, butterflies, sunsets, or the wonderfully varied and wacky humans with whom I interact, intersect and share this world. I hope to cultivate awe, joy, laughter and resolve, so we can collectively do what is necessary to change our trajectory. I am going to keep climbing this steep mountain, so I might as well commit to looking with eyes wide open, ever frustratingly beautiful step of the way.”

I resonate particularly with two of the most simply stated resolutions that were shared: “I will talk with someone everyday about climate change.” and “I resolve to keep showing up.” Positive solutions and change are already underway, but there is so much more to be done.

Simply talking about what’s happening is transformative. It opens us to new connections in our community. It motivates us, and those around us, to show up and take action, and action can be a powerful antidote to worry.

While our world is already transformed, a thriving, livable future for our families is possible. But we will need everyone to make it happen. We hope you will resolve to start conversations about climate in 2021, or join a climate group, or respond with art or writing that catalyzes discussion, or spearhead an effort by leading in your workplace or field of work, or some other capacity.

Consider today: What will be your Climate Resolution this year?

If you’re interested in a family-oriented climate group that works to empower other families to advocate for a livable future, join us:

Winona Bateman directs Families for a Livable Climate here in Missoula. This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every week by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Sustainability Happenings

As COVID-19 has altered many community events, some have moved on-line or found creative outlets. Here we offer ideas about sustainable ways to stay involved in our community. If you like these offerings, consider signing up for Climate Smart’s eNewsletter here. And sign up for Home ReSource’s eNews via their homepage here.

Month of JANUARY. Clear the Air Challenge. Missoula in Motion’s effort to help us all breath easier. Join. Details here.

January 6. Ethnobotany: Zoom Presentation with Rose Bear Don't Walk. Sponsored by Swan Valley Connections. More info and link here. 6:30 PM MST.

January 14. Winter Clean Commute Day. Use sustainable transportation on January 14th to celebrate Winter Clean Commute Day! Missoula In Motion staff will be out and about giving away $5 MDA gift cards to those we see biking, busing, and walking! Didn't see us, carpooled or still working from home? Log your trip on Way to Go! Missoula to enter a raffle!

Through April. Missoula Valley Winter Market. Located in the Southgate Mall (in former Lucky’s Market). Market hours: Saturdays, 9am-2pm through April 17.

Periodic thru February 13 (dates added periodically). Virtual Fixit Clinics. Want to try fixing from home? Present your broken item to a global team of expert community repairers and get suggestions for things to try. After all items are presented, participants move to Zoom breakout rooms to implement the suggestions and, hopefully, fix the items.

Find more activities and events at and on Montana Environmental Information Center’s Conservation Calendar.