Is it Easy Being Green?

My daily adventures in attempting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle

No Impact Experiment, part 1: Consumption November 25, 2009

Ok, I’ll admit it right away: I totally blew the No Impact Experiment. By Tuesday (I was supposed to start on Sunday) I hadn’t done anything and after finally reading the how-to manual, I was feeling overwhelmed and behind. I didn’t want to give up but needed to rethink how to do this. Thanks to a friend’s idea, I decided that what would work best for me would be to do one part each week, rather than each day. I wanted to give this thing proper attention and time and it’s a lot to do in a week. So, feeling much better I focused on the first topic last week: consumption.

The instructions for the consumption day were to: 1) create a list of the things I need to buy this week, then delete the items I can do without and figure out if I can get anything second-hand, borrow them or make them myself; and 2) try not to shop for new items (other than food). For this particular week this task turned out to be pretty easy; I didn’t feel like there was really anything I needed to buy beyond food. I avoided dangerous places like Target. I pulled out the needle and thread to mend some socks (my husband loves to call it darning for some reason; I guess it makes him feel old fashioned). I definitely enjoyed being a non-consumer for a week.

But that’s the thing–it was only for a week. No Impact Man did this for a year! That would be very, very hard. Just this week I bought several things to prepare for Thanksgiving. And then the TV broke, so we’ll be getting a new one soon. Although I’m not No Impact Man and won’t just “do without” no matter what, I did think about what I could do differently long-term. I could be shopping second-hand more (Craigslist is such a great resource–husband recently found an electric keyboard with all the bells and whistles for $20. It’s older but works great!), and although I don’t think I’m purchase-crazy, I could put some more thought into what I buy and think about whether I really need what I’m about to buy.

The No Impact Experiment shared this video that I saw awhile back that helps you get into the mode about thinking (probably way too much) about stuff:

 

Time for a carbon cleanse! November 15, 2009

Filed under: sustainability — isgreeneasy @ 7:09 pm
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Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been back in coasting along-mode with my eco-conscious behaviors. I have started some new habits in the past several months, but I’ve been feeling like it’s time to revisit and kick it up a notch again. Since I was feeling like things needed a little shaking up I was intrigued to find out about NRDC and No Impact Man’s “No Impact Week” that starts today. They’re cleverly calling it a “carbon cleanse”–an abbreviated version of what No Impact Man did for a year. (He spent a year trying to live with no net environmental impact. Here’s some background on that project. It was a cool idea, and ended up turning into a book, documentary and non-profit project.)

The words “no impact” are intimidating, and also impossible, but I guess the idea is that it’s something to strive for. So, I signed up and I’m ready to go. So far I’ve just filled out an online survey that consisted mostly of questions about my environmental behaviors. Interestingly, there was a section that focused on quality of life issues; it made me get more reflective than I expected to when I had to answer questions about how happy I am with my life. I was wondering why those kinds of questions were included and I imagine it has to do with material possessions not equaling happiness, the satisfaction of simplyfing and ideas along those lines–the kind of stuff that sounds great and makes so much sense but doesn’t always translate easily to daily life.

We’ll see if this week-long experiment will have much effect or spur me on to create some changes that I haven’t gotten around to or just haven’t taken the leap to do. I have a lot of questions running through my mind right now (Will I have time to do these things? Will I be able to afford it? Will I have to do things that will label me an eco-freak? Will I be told to do something I just can’t do that day, or give up something I just don’t want to give up?) but I’m ready to give it a shot. Want to join me? You can sign up here.

Here’s a video that gives a good idea of what the No Impact Week is:

Ok, now I have to go figure out what I’m supposed to today. And tomorrow. Yikes!