Welcome to our 11th annual Worth Trying Issue. As I have stated before, this is not a “Best Of.” Nor is it the overused “Top 10” list.

While such approaches are easy to digest, they are often a bit presumptuous. They are also frequently self-serving for the entity creating the accolade.

Out & About’s Worth Trying suggestions are just that, suggestions. We simply ask our staff and contributors to make a few recommendations — no strings attached — that we can share with readers. The contributors’ names are attached to their suggestions, which I like because it provides a measure of accountability.

In total, you have recommendations from 20 contributors represented on Worth Trying pages positioned throughout this issue. I hope a few pique your interest. Maybe even motivate you to get out and about.

Speaking of things worth trying, this issue feels like a timely one to share a few personal thoughts on collective behavior. I can’t be the only one who feels I’m peppered daily with stories regarding our destruction of the planet? It’s a bit overwhelming; these are not problems a single person can fix. Or are they?

Individual acts of neglect over time have helped get us into this predicament, so why can’t they help get us out? Plus, small acts of positivity are not only doable, they are easier to repeat and therefore become habit.

Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about running water while brushing my teeth. Now, I make a habit of turning it off while brushing. Pretty simple gesture, yet imagine how much water that saves over the course of a single lifetime. Now multiply that by a million lifetimes.

No, I can’t singlehandedly reverse overfishing of the oceans, but I can cut down on my consumption of fresh fish. Get enough individuals cutting down on fresh fish and you cut down the incentive to overfish. (Notice I did not suggest eliminating eating fish.)

Same goes for the societal environment. Little acts of open-mindedness can have a big impact. Can’t learn much when you’re doing all of the talking.

In that spirit, following are a few small things I’m attempting to make a habit. They are very manageable . . . and definitely worth trying.

  • Adding a new conservation behavior to my daily routine at least twice a year (The latest is attempting to bring my own bag when shopping, or turning down the bag at purchase.)
  • Tuning into a different news source at least once per week
  • Cutting back on eating meat at least two days per week
  • Working to break my habit of interrupting others (Not easy, but I’m improving.)
  • Identifying a new thing to recycle at least once every six months
  • Reading a new book each month (Currently I’m three months behind.
  • Having more conversations with people not my skin color (Without question, the most enlightening endeavor on this list.)

I know what you’re thinking, no revelations here. These are simple and rather obvious.


— Jerry duPhily