Year-end promises by our high-resolution ecologist.

by Robert T. Nanninga


t year's end, individuals usually take time to assess their accomplishments and review the good and the bad they have participated in during the previous trip around the sun. More important, however, is the making of resolutions for the upcoming year. And like drunk drivers, these futile gestures are a integral part of our New Year celebrations.

Luckily, I am not burdened with the need to diet or quit smoking, due to the fact I never succumbed to the graveyard glamor of cigarettes or some twisted body image problem. With that said, I must admit that I find it difficult to come up with a resolution to break year after year after year.

I gave up animal products in the mid-eighties, so that is out. I have no desire to run a marathon, take up painting, or climb a mountain, so these too are not even considered. I won't give up television because I'm addicted to Star Trek and my soaps. My resolution will not pertain to feeding the homeless in America or famine victims in developing nations because I support population control in whatever form it takes.

Also not on my to-do list is: voting republican or libertarian, or going to church or anything else that resembles organized religion, such as professional sports. It is also safe to say I will not take up sky diving, snow boarding or any martial art. Resolutions that involve keeping my opinions to myself are beyond the realm of possibility.

"Why make resolutions, if you know you are going to break them?" you ask. In the defense of empty promises, being American has given me the right to say one thing while doing just the opposite. If you doubt this, just pick up a newspaper on any given day for proof of this exalted American tradition.

Recently Congressmen Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, and Newt Gingrich voted to impeach President Clinton for lying under oath. Funny, but these men did the same thing when they conveniently forgot their marriage vows.

This year I am going to make two resolutions: one designed to be broken and one to be fulfilled. By using the tried and true Nanninga Resolution System, you too can break promises to yourself while keeping those made to the environment.

The resolution I plan to make and break this year is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. This is not to say I won't try, but considering that I have to deal with the forces of greed and human indifference on a daily basis, I'm sure this resolution will last a month at best. Developer Doug Manchester and Oceanside City Councilman Terry Johnson will see to the early demise of this resolution.

The resolution I plan to keep, and the one I encourage others to adopt as well, is to plant one native tree every month. Just think: if every San Diego County resident were to plant twelve native species in 1999, we would well be on our way to restoring the natural ecosystem that are currently under siege. Coupled with the planting resolution should be a resolution to remove one nonnative species as well. This is how we begin to repair the mess we have made.

So, if you haven't made your resolutions for 1999 you still have time. To do otherwise is just un-American. For those of you who don't make resolutions, you should know that not making resolutions is a resolution in and of itself.

  Robert T. Nanninga is a Leucadia resident currently working on a degree in Environmental Communications at CSUSM. You can reach Robert by sending email to or by writing to the San Diego Earth Times.