As of today, I am embarking on a week-long No Impact Experiment. The first day is focused on Consumption.
Step 1 is to make a list of all the things I “need” to buy this week. Hmmm, that’s a pretty short list. The only thing I can think of is that in order to fully embrace Day 5 (Energy), I need to buy some plastic film to weatherize my windows and, thus, save some energy.
My 2010 goal of not buying anything new is making this first No Impact challenge pretty easy.
Step 2 is to gather all trash for the day for use in tomorrow’s challenge (Trash). So far, I have collected a plastic container (which held mushrooms), the plastic wrap that covered said mushrooms, an empty whip cream carton, two pieces of paper towel, the tray and plastic wrap in which a pound of (grass-fed) ground beef was transported from the Co-op to our apartment, an egg carton, a toilet paper roll, and a plastic bag that used to contain frozen, mixed veggies.
Step 3 asks me not to shop for new items this week. Done and done.
I continue to be amazed at how easy it is NOT to shop. It saves time, money, and reduces stress. Another cool side-effect is that you get to be more creative. Making do with what you have, borrowing, swapping, making, fixing, and bartering requires a whole different level of ingenuity than just jumping on amazon and buying what you need.
If I want to read a book, I start by looking to see if it is at the library across the street. Two of three times, it is available. If it is not at the library, I ask around to see if anybody I know has the book so I can borrow it or swap it for something else (see swaptree.com). There’s also the option to buy used at BetterWorldBooks. You can get credit there buy donating used books.
I saw an encouraging story on CNN yesterday with writer and author Michelle Singletary. She has written a book called The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom. The best part was when they visited a family who had pulled themselves out of credit card debt by living simply. They family concluded the interview by stating that living simply was not deprivation and that they are actually happier now. It’s so awesome that mainstream news is endorsing this kind of anti-consumerism message.