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No Impact Experiment: No Consumption Day

October 18, 2009

Today was no consumption day for the No Impact Experiment.  Now, to be clear, it isn’t as if you are banned from doing something on any given day – or must do something else on a different day.  It’s more of an ideal to move toward. 

That said, I didn’t buy anything today (and that seems to be the definition of consumption the No Impact Project is using).  On the other hand, yesterday I did the grocery shopping and then my husband and I went to an auction event to support the athletics at the college I work at.  The live auction items go for the high hundreds into the several thousands – but we did get a silent auction item – a hot air balloon ride (we did this 2 years ago, the same way – through the auction – you’ll hear about it when we go – but it probably won’t be until next year sometime).  Back to No Impact – while today I didn’t buy – yesterday I bought enough for the week – and at the grocery store, that really was the plan.

I actually have been trying to reduce my buying this year anyway.  I’m trying to reduce the sheer amount of stuff we own.  The house doesn’t seem particularly empty, so I don’t think I’m making great strides.  However, we haven’t been adding much (other than blue jeans for the 13 year old boy – – he refuses to stop growing).  Stuff takes energy to make and energy to ship, so reducing purchasing is green.  Given my propensity to be a material girl this isn’t an automatically easy thing to do.  So far though it is a matter of breaking habits. 

I have pretty much broken my Chadwick’s habit.  I haven’t ordered from them in months.  It has helped that there has been a subtle change in their image and I’m no longer their target audience. 

My next habit, or more precisely, belief, that I need to change is that I can buy anything I want that is sold at a grocery store.  This was something I started in my poverty-stricken years of graduate school so I wouldn’t feel deprived.  Now it’s more of a habit than a conscious mental health strategy.  I’m working on it, but it’s not going easily.

Overall, though, I’m not expecting to have much difficulty not purchasing things this week.  I’m generally too busy during the week to shop, and I bring my own lunch and eat in my office, so I don’t usually even buy food.  Still, I occasionally forget my lunch or just absolutely need a bag of pretzels from the vending machine.  And sometimes the focus on something (like not buying) makes you want it more than you otherwise would.  We’ll see how I survive the rest of the week.

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