Tag Archives: No Impact Week

My Footprint

This week has been No Impact Week. It has also been one of the busiest weeks of the semester so far.

As each day of No Impact Week went on, participants were to eliminate or severely restrict a certain area of their carbon footprint in: waste, consumption, food choices, transportation, energy, water and then end the week (tomorrow) with an eco-sabath, similar to the Jewish observances of Shabat. The week was interesting for me because I learned how anomalous my life is in many ways: I walk literally everywhere I go, I happen to have a large and inexpensive farmers’ market within walking distance so I eat almost entirely local foods, I can’t afford to spend money so I really don’t “consume” much during the week as far as products go, I have to pay for my own electricity for the first time in my life, so I try to use it as very, very little as possible… etc! A lot of times I found that I didn’t have to work very hard to participate in No Impact Week.

But there are many things about it that are/were tough and I know that I’ll have to keep all aspects in mind once I get off campus and start living in the real world. It was difficult to cut down on trash, but I liked their practical suggestions like, being prepared with a reusable coffee mug, keeping silverware and plastic containers in my backpack, etc.

I have to admit, since I noticed these green trends in my life, I did the activities sort of halfheartedly and was incredibly focused on school because I’m in DC this weekend and I didn’t want to have to work the whole weekend. But then I realized.

I flew in an airplane during No Impact Week.

Whoops.

So, I guess my biggest lesson was that it is really, really important for me to live an extremely green lifestyle because I do fly more than the average person.

You’ve probably been offered a million times, but I recommend a carbon calculator to see which areas if your life are most polluting here.

Did you do the No Impact Week? Let me know what you thought!

-Jenny

Also: today is International Day of Climate Action. There’s still time to participate! If nothing else, educate yourself about the 350 movement and why that number is important.

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We can only go up from here- SO LET’S!

It seems that the more I learn about the environment, the more depressed I tend to become. The list of things in need of “fixing” on this planet (chemical waste, mistreatment of workers here and in third world countries, government catering to big corporations, extinction, deforestation, pollution, landfills, incineration) can be described in many ways, but “short” is not one. Each year hundreds of scientists, agencies, researchers, and notably, the IPCC (though that isn’t yearly), come out with a report stating how bad-off our planet is and how we can’t possibly afford for it to get any worse. And then it does. So, I read and read and read all day long about this trend and this perpetual “brokenness” of so many things and then, occasionally I get a breath of relief.

I remember that the name for this blog is true and is possible. I remember that the people I’m surrounded by and learning from are good people, and that there are others who are inherently good too. I remember that although we may not know the best source of renewable energy or the best way to convince Americans to stop over consuming (or even understand what that means), we do have many tools to get things started, increase the conversation, make changes to our lives and in the lives of those we love, and improve our happiness, relationships, health, and planet by doing so. As I explained in my post a few posts back, we all can make real, beneficial change when it comes to the environment.

Since I am new at this and don’t always have the answers, I often look toward others who might. Colin Beavan is one dude whose writing I love to read and who really knows how to take the edge off climate-related fears by replacing fear with action. (Although this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn. In fact, to understand the base of my concerns for tonight in particular, you could watch this INCREDIBLE video and have even more incentive to read the rest of this post).

Anyway, he, with the help of some smart people at his non-profit, The No Impact Project, have created a great way to educate, inspire and mobilize many individuals in a practical and easy possible way. While Beavan improved his life during a years’ worth of living at no impact (or as little as possible), he has created a way for us amateurs to do it for just one week. While I don’t usually recommend recipes I haven’t tried or lend cars I haven’t driven, I have kept up with Beavan’s blogs and learned about his ideas enough to know that he’s got some really good ideas. So, I’m gonna vouch for this one and hope that you’ll join me in my No Impact Week coming up next Sunday, October 18th as a great, non-partisan way to do what you can. I bring it up now since you’ll want to plan and learn more, and they recommend that you sign up, download (but not print) their How-to Manual (which can also give you a better idea of what the week will look like than the video) and get ready to make the best of your week.

They realize that we can’t all make every change (No compost? No bike? That’s ok), but they provide helpful suggestions to doing the best we can to contribute, and they have organized it in a manner that will be easy to follow and informative. They have also strongly advocated for the personal benefits one can gain (as Beavan did) during such a “carbon cleanse.” Of the project, Beavan said,

“We hope that after focusing for just over a week on how our daily habits impact the world around them, our readers will see the effect our actions have in a new light. It will be very interactive and social – and empowering.”

Read more here

Or, watch this short clip to learn what the week is about:

If that’s not motivation enough, or if you’re like me and want to learn more about Beavan’s other genius ideas, look around his site. Here were some pages I enjoyed:

Colin’s How-To’s

The Frequently Asked Questions, especially these:

5. How will taking these small steps have any real impact on climate change?
Every small behavior change you make or every political action you take adds to a growing wave of change and influences your community to get on the ball!  Read more here.

6. Do I have to be a hippie, activist, granola eater to participate in the experiment?
No.  And that stereotype is so passe’.”

Top ten Eco-lifestyle Changes

Story of Stuff

I hope you’ll join me in discovering these benefits together!

-Jenny

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