Apr 3, 2011

earth month challenge 2011

about a week ago, i told you guys about my plan to reduce my consumption in honor of earth month. today i'm going to flesh out the details of my challenge a bit, and confess to already breaking the rules of the challenge just a teeny bit. the challenge is really quite simple: do not consume unless it is strictly necessary. mostly this means not buying things i don't need, like clothes, craft supplies, books, things like that. it also means not driving if i can walk or bike, and not buying food if i have food that's fit to eat already in the apartment. if i have to buy something, i will try to choose something with minimal impact on the environment.

that brings me to the slip-up. earlier this week, i became aware that sarah vowell would be doing a book reading and signing of her newest book at book people. i freaking love sarah vowell. i hate history, but i will read anything she writes. obviously i had to go to the reading, and it was also pretty obvious that i needed to go ahead and spring for the hardcover edition of her newest book, unfamiliar fishes, so i could get into the signing line. i'm currently reading the happiness project by gretchen rubin, and this is what she would call a "modest splurge." a modest splurge can provide a boost in cheer both in the short-term (the rush of acquisition) and the long-term (enjoying reading the book and treasuring the autograph).

image via

i told sarah that she and the american girl books are the sum total of my knowledge of history, which she either found amusing or sad or both. she's so dry, it's hard to tell, but sarah vowell can think i'm an idiot, and i will still love her. i will love reading this book and having a signed copy from one of my very favorite authors, so i don't think this is a bad kind of consumption. it's just all the other less meaningful consumption that needs to stop and is the focus of my challenge.

to sum up the earth month challenge:

in the month of april, i will:
  • eliminate unnecessary shopping.
  • use what i have.
  • give things i have but do not use or treasure to charity.
  • cut down on food waste.
  • avoid excess packaging.

interested in joining me? it's not too late! april has barely started. if earth month sounds too long, how about an earth fortnight? an earth week? even just taking an afternoon to do a "green audit" can make a big difference. it takes a village, people!

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