Posts Tagged ‘no impact experiment’

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Not NO Impact – But REDUCED Impact

October 22, 2009

[I created a blog post on the No Impact Experiment social network today.  I have reposted it here:]

I have not been a model "no impact" person this week.  I had a sick child for the first 1/2 of the week and now she has given me her cold.  A virus can sap your will to have a life let alone your will to consciously change your life.  But still, I’ve made an effort. 

My trash creation is still low and I feel guilty about every piece I create.  However, I’ve noticed that one of my reactions to the admonition to reduce trash creation is to avoid throwing things away at all, including things that should be tossed.  So there are items laying around that I would otherwise toss but I’m waiting for the week to be over – I don’t think that’s the point – but it’s keeping my personal trash bag emptier.

Transportation Day was a loss.  I don’t have any real options that I can make on a permanent basis.  Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.  When gas goes up to $5 a gallon I bet I’ll be trying.

Food Day.  My husband was out for the evening – and he’s usually the family chef.  So dinner was Market Day breadsticks and salad.  The good thing was the salad was fresh greens from a local hydroponic farm – so that gives me a point or two.

Today was energy day.  I was conscientious about turning out lights at work, I made sure that the power cord for my laptop, which is always plugged into an extension cord at home, was turned off while I was at work (I have a funky little switch where the cords connect – I got it years ago at a Big Lots and have never seen them again).  And we had dinner by candlelight.  There were more things I could have done though.  I could have been even more conscientious about classroom lights – I think I left some on after my 12:00 class.  And I could have been more thorough about plugged in appliances around the house.  We have many things plugged into power strips, but we aren’t always good about turning off the power strip.  On the other hand, the house temperature is set at 64 while people are home and at 58 during the day and night. 

Tomorrow is water conservation day.  It’s pouring outside.  It’s hard to worry about too little water when I’m wondering if the basement is wet.  Still, we’re pretty water conservative.  None of us run water while brushing out teeth.  I only heat the amount of water I need in the teapot, not a whole pot full.  We run full loads of wash and full loads in the dishwasher.  We have a rain barrel – which is full to the brim and we don’t have much to do with the water actually since we don’t water plants (and the garden is done for the season anyway).  I rather hate just emptying it onto the ground, but I’ll need to before it freezes. 

The next day is giving back day.  Hmmm, that will take some thought.  I’m rather overextended in the volunteer area as it is – – it may be a check writing day.

What I’m really looking forward to is my Eco-Sabbath – my time of minimal resource usage – my time to sit, preferably outdoors, and read a book. 

So, the short story is I’m putting some effort into this and it is paying off in small ways.  Certainly I am not as obsessed with the topic as some or as lackadaisical about it as others (hey I’m registered and blogging about it); I think I’m at the appropriate medium involvement that I can afford right now.  Conservation of mental and emotional resources is important too you know.

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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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No Impact Experiment: Blog Post

October 17, 2009

The No Impact Experiment – a week of reduced impact on the planet – starts tomorrow.  I am all registered on the No Impact Experiment site and have taken my pre-experiment survey.  You get your own webpage on the Experiment site and are encouraged to post on their blog – so I did.  This is what I wrote:

Why Am I Doing This?

I think that I’m pretty green in my day to day life. In addition, I have a blog that chronicles some of the activities, events, and purchases I make on the green side of life (Midwest Green) But, I have to admit I am not as excited about undertaking this experiment as I would have thought I would be.

So why am I doing it?

I see this as an opportunity to inventory what it is I do that is so green; to see how green I really am on a day to day basis. I think this is also the major reason I am a bit trepidatious – perhaps I’ll find I’m not as green as I think I am.

I have decided to do the No Impact Project as a personal experiment. I have a husband and two children, one with the flu; I am not going to try to drag them along on this project. This time I am doing the experiment just for me – – to see how much I can do to green-up my own behaviors. Of course, there is bound to be some overflow into family life – – It will be interesting to see how much my involvement in the experiment affects the rest of the family.

This afternoon I took the pre-experiment survey. The survey asked about opportunities in my "city". My "city" has 1800 people – and I work 30 miles from home. There is no public transportation, no local green events, my nearest farmer’s market is 15 miles away. Some of my green activities are going to be very different from an urbanites. Very few (but some) urbanites went out to check their bees this afternoon, or cut down their dead flowers and add them to their compost pile. It will be interesting to see how behaviors compare and differ across the experiment.

For those of you not involved in the experiment – participants are asked to join their states’ group. So far I am the only member of my state’s group and most of the groups don’t seem to have more than 2 or 3 members. I wonder what is going on there? Is this really only attracting a few hundred people? Are more planning on doing this during a different week? Is the title – The No Impact Experiment – just too imposing and does the experiment sound like it will be too demanding? Are lots and lots of people actually doing it but on their own without registering? Hmmm, perhaps we’ll see.

And for all those of you who are involved in the experiment – – I hope you get what you want from the experience. I hope I do too.