Sunday, January 2, 2011

No Impact Week Experiment (Day 1) - Consumption

This week I'm participating in the No Impact Week Experiment - a one-week carbon cleanse. It is a chance to see what a difference no-impact living can have on one's quality of life.

It’s not about giving up creature comforts, but an opportunity to test whether the modern “conveniences” one takes for granted are actually making one happier or just eating away at one's time and money. 

If you'd like to participate as well, click HERE and you'll be taken to a page where you can register for free and receive an online book that gives lots of great ideas and links.

Today's challenge is doing more with less.  There's a video called The Story of Stuff which is an interesting look at how to live a lower-impact life.

In the online book, there's a series of activities that are suggested for each day.  The first activity was to list the things I need to buy this week. Here's what comes to mind:

- Classes and enrichment activities for Sophia and Olivia.
- Gasoline for the car.
- Movie tickets for Mom, Dad, and me to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday.
- Gift and card for Dad’s birthday.
- Milk.
- Dog food for Gretel.
- Hay for Bailey and Hoss.
- Bark chips for Bailey and Hoss.
- Washer and dryer.
- Homeschool conference fee and hotel reservation.

The next step was to list the things that I can wait a week to buy.  Here's what I can wait on:

- Classes and enrichment activities for Sophia and Olivia - the classes don’t begin until next month, so I can wait a bit longer before enrolling them.  Who knows...perhaps by waiting, I'll change my mind and decide that we could do something else together that is equally as fun and educational.

- Washer and dryer – I can wait until January 15th when a coupon expires that would save quite a bit of money. In the long-run, a new washer and dryer will use less water and propane since they will be more energy-efficient and have a larger capacity than the small washer and dryer I’m currently using (and have since 1996).

- Homeschool conference fee and hotel reservation – I can fill out the registration form and book the hotel, but wait to pay for both until closer to the conference time.

- Milk - I don’t have a cow to milk. I have some powdered milk in the cupboard that Olivia will drink. I'll use that for the week.

The third step was to look at the list of things that I will need to get this week. The challenge of the No Impact Week Experiment is to figure out how to get the items second-hand, borrow, or make them myself. 

- Movie tickets for Mom, Dad, and me to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday. I have a gift card that my mom and dad gave me for the movie theater. I’ll use that instead of paying with cash.

- Gift and card for Dad’s birthday – Perhaps I can make a gift and card for him rather than purchasing something he doesn’t need. He loves to watch the birds, so I could easily make some batches of suet for the birds and put them in his feeders when I visit on Thursday.  He also loves music, so I could play some songs on the piano for him (he and my mom gave me ten years of piano lessons when I was growing up).  I'd like to make something else...but I'm not sure what yet.

Out of the list of things that I need to get this week, some things I must purchase:

- Dog food for Gretel – Changing her food abruptly to homemade dog food could result in stomach and digestion issues. This would be something that could be transitioned to if I felt it would be cost-effective and healthier for she and Montague.

- Hay for Bailey and Hoss – Hay is a consumable product, so there’s no purchasing it second-hand or borrowing it. Making bales of hay is something I don’t have the land or equipment to do. I can purchase it from my neighbor, though, which saves money and transportation costs since He lives right next door.

- Bark chips for Bailey and Hoss – Same thing as hay…it’s a consumable product. What I can do is purchase the bark chips when I’m on my way to do other errands and from a local small business. In that way, I save money and transportation costs by grouping errands together.

- Gasoline for the car – Wish I didn’t have to purchase gasoline this week. However, I’m going to be taking my parents out to celebrate my dad’s birthday. They live 50 miles away, so it does take a good amount of gasoline to visit them.

Other activities and ideas that the No Impact Week Experiment suggested for today include:

Shop Less, Live More

One idea was that instead of shopping to do something enjoyable or clean a closet. Today, I started putting away the Christmas decorations. Although I like the holidays and Christmas decorations, I also enjoy seeing counter-tops, bookcases, and shelves cleared off. Honestly, I rather have them bare than cluttered with things.

I also worked a lot in the kitchen; and washed and put away the dishes. Throughout the month of December, it seemed like I couldn’t keep up with things because of the activities I was doing with the girls. Taking a block of time and cleaning was good for me today. Seeing things put away and the counters clean is less stressful...and much more peaceful for me to look at.

Make Your Own Body and Cleaning Products

It’s interesting this was suggested because Sophia, Olivia, and I started making bath salts this weekend. A line of bath products will be introduced through Harvest Moon by Hand (my shop) within the week. I’m excited about this because it is aligned with what I enjoy doing, what I have been trained to do (I’m a certified aromatherapist), and something that is fun to do with my daughters.

Use Hand-Me-Downs

Yesterday, Sophia, Olivia, and I went through their rooms and collected a huge trash bag of items that can be donated to the local second-hand shop. Today, we went through a closet and found another trash bag of clothing to donate. The items that are sold at the second-hand shop fund a non-profit organization’s programs that help support families and individuals in need.

Just as I donate to the store, I also shop there and have found some great deals on clothing (most recently a beautiful Liz Claiborne sweater for only $4), clothing for the girls’ dolls (often times only $1-$2 compared to $5-10), and books (only 25-50 cents).

For Must-Have Purchases, Buy Locally

For a couple of the items on the list (the hay and bark chips), I plan to purchase them locally as I normally do. The hay is from my next door neighbor who is a farmer. The bark chips are from a small, local business that provides feed and agricultural needs to farms and families in the area.


The Art of Zen.......Crochet said...

Wonderful!! This is such a great concept thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm seriously impressed! Good for you! x

Janet Bocciardi said...

What a great idea and I'm equally impressed by the way you tackled it head-on. In reading your post I can see some areas that would improve my life as well as the environment. Clean a closet instead of hitting the grocery store one more time.

Kirsten said...

Great post, Ann! You have inspired me. I will be heading back into the mode of planning my route for errands and travel by car ahead of time to maximize what I do each time I get in the car and expend gas.
I'm looking forward to seeing the new items coming to your shop! Didn't know you are an Aromatherapist...very cool.... :)