Trim Tabs for 2024

Some small changes in habits to consider for the upcoming new year will make a world of difference.

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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of educational columns about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

It’s that time of year when the new year is ringing in and the big ball in Time Square is about to drop. And we traditionally make resolutions. 
This year ACES suggests trying something different. After all, most resolutions don’t even reach the end of January. Instead, let’s plan some fresh fun for 2024. And maybe in a boating area like ours, the term “Trim Tab” will resonate.
Trim tabs are small devices connected to the trailing edge of a larger rudder on a boat [or aircraft]. They help steer by using the force of water to turn boats in a given direction. Applying that concept to our environment, here are a few analogous trim tabs - small efforts that make larger changes easier.
1. Eat buffalo chicken fingers more often than hamburgers. Raising beef has a high carbon footprint, much worse than chicken. In general, try to eat more food items this year that are not beef. Enjoy more turkey, arancini (tasty Italian rice balls), falafel, and veggie burgers. Even peanut butter is a great source of protein.

2. Daydream of spring. On the first bad weather day of January, go online and explore what you might like to plant in your garden this spring. Make them pollinator friendly plants. After all, who doesn’t want more flowers and butterflies in their life ? Check out ACES Pollinator PowerWorks project if you're up to do more.

3. Go shopping. That’s right, go shopping for something vintage for your wardrobe or your home at a nearby consignment or thrift store. It might even make you richer, like that woman in the news last week who paid $4.00 for a glass vase in a thrift store only to discover it was a valuable art piece form Italy worth over $100,000 ! She and her partner are going to use the money to renovate an old farmhouse they just bought.
4. Renovate a property worth saving like the lady with the Murano glass vase. Well, maybe it’s best to start smaller by fixing what you’ve been meaning to fix. Stitch that button back on or bring that broken rocking chair to a ‘Repair Cafe’ or refinish your Auntie’s old side table to put your tea on as you read a classic book. 

5. Borrow and swap books. Stop by occasionally at one of those “Little Libraries” that are all around our area and put in a few books you’ve already read and pick up a couple of others to try. Perhaps expand your world by picking some books on topics you don’t normally read. If they look good on that like-new side table you’ve refinished, use them as decorative items. 
6. Cook something simple in a crockpot, such as barbeque chicken. You’ll double dip on the brownie points. First, your household will love your initiative to make dinner, and second, you won’t be using a gas stove!  Gas stoves use fossil fuel, primarily methane in addition to other gases like carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. These harmful greenhouse gasses make Earth heat up.
So, with a nod to our nautical culture and to ring in a new year, ACES invites you to adopt some little changes - trim tabs - of your own to help the environment. Let’s have some fun doing some interesting and maybe new things to help Mother Earth this year that will ensure a Happy New Year 2024 for all. Our Youth Corps team members ask that you send any of your “trim tab” ideas to us at To learn more about ACES and its Initiatives, visit

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