Ah, yes. It’s that time of the year again – the time for New Year’s resolutions. What’ll it be this year? Improve your fitness? Spend less money? Meet someone special?

How about making a small commitment to live a greener, more mindful life?

I’ve decided that my conservation-related resolution this year is to be more conscious about eating sustainable seafood, as set out by Ocean Wise, Vancouver Aquarium’s national sustainable seafood program.

Over the holidays, I found it hard to resist the delectably plump tiger prawns nestled in a perfect circle in a shrimp ring. But when I thought about the mangrove habitats destroyed to produce the prawns, and how far they had to travel only to serve as an appetizer at a holiday party, I had to think again about the choice I was making. Now, this is not to say that all shrimp rings are made of unsustainable tiger prawns – but it’s up to us to read the product label carefully before purchasing so we know exactly what we’re getting and where it’s coming from. And looking for the Ocean Wise symbol on a seafood item is one way to know if the item is an ocean-friendly option.

My colleague Meighan Makarchuk, the Aquarium’s web maven, reminds me that it’s still possible to enjoy sustainable seafood, such as B.C. spot prawns, without breaking the bank.

“I just don’t eat shrimp or prawns as much anymore and enjoy them when they’re in season here instead,” she told me.

Jenn McDonald, school program coordinator at the Aquarium, says the trick with resolutions is to “start small.” She recognizes that people can be easily overwhelmed at the giant task of saving the world.


Worms munching on organic waste.

Worms munching on organic waste.

You’re probably already re-using Ziploc bags and turning the light off when you leave a room, so Jenn’s suggestion for the new year is to start a small worm compost in your home, something that’s fairly easy to set up. And once it’s up and running, it’s something that you can commit to past January through to the rest of the year.


She says that in making baby steps to conserve the environment, “Everyone can make a difference! Hooray!”

So eloquent. So true. Happy New Year!

What’s your conservation-related resolution for 2013?

Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience, Vancouver Aquarium.

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