I actually started this blog when I tried to do the No Impact Project. I got sucked into the world of sharing strange and bizarre stories. I am by no means a fabulous writer. I think I have something to say and this is my outlet. I have over the years had many sites where I shared crazy stories or bared my soul. This is the longest living posting site for me and I am happy that it began as an outlet for the No Impact Project.
I can attest to the fact that this kind of challenge will try your soul and make you ask hard questions about yourself. I have alway been an environmentalist. I found recycling cheaper than paying for garbage. I was fascinated with grey water for watering the garden, but frustrated with the governmental limitations of said systems. When composting came into popularity, I got excited. Sweet, most of my garbage is food waste. At one point I got my household garbage down to a 1.5 gallon container per week. For a family of 4 that was not focused on reductions of garbage, this was a great feat.
Step forward to the point when I moved into my own place, both kids moved out. Just me and the dog. I was excited that my garbage took almost a month to fill up. Then my daughter moved back in. She is an environmental terrorist in my view. This is such a misnomer, it makes me crazy. An environmental terrorist in my mind is someone who dumps their trash on the street, does not separate and could care less about it. Someone who buys all processed overly packaged goods. My garbage when she moved back in tripled. She buys 2 liter bottles of soda almost daily. She buys all kinds of nasty processed foods. I am trying to retrain her to really think about her impact. It really amazes me that she somehow went from being conscious, although I was a nag, into not caring whatsoever.
In the past couple of months, I have noticed that she has added quite a bit of weight. My mother got on my case about the same age. I didn’t want to do that, but I felt as though I should mention it to her. She got a bit ruffled and then finally told me that she is happy with the way she is. My parting comment was that I hated looking at myself in the mirror and that I regretted not taking my mother’s advice. I just didn’t want her to regret it later in life and if I did not speak up, I would be a bad parent. I also talked about why I bike to work. If I did not, I run the risk of being severely overweight. By biking, at least I can keep my weight steady and maybe lose some.
The NIP (No Impact Project) gave me fuel for my battle with capitalism. I try to not participate in a system of inequality. Capitalism is about consuming to maintain the wealth of those that already have wealth. They convince us to buy things we do not really need, or want. The hardest part is about always being aware of your impact. If I want coffee, by god I will have coffee. However, I try not to use a paper cup. I either get it for there or I carry my own cup.
When I started the project, I was already focused on local food. I can tell you that not only is it cheaper and less packaged, but I found that I lost weight. I know that my dramatic weight loss was a combination of multiple factors. The fact that I bike, my local food obsession, my focus on no packaged foods, my focus on portion control, these all helped in my weight loss. I have since gained much back, but having been hit by a truck derailed much of my steam. I had to focus on recovery and I had to allow for the charity of others to help out with food and transportation.
As I review this movie again, I am inspired to not only refocus my food purchases, but to recommit myself to my core values. There were certain parts of this project, that I had no interest in. The transportation and food were two things that I totally embrace. I have no desire to camp for the rest of my life, so toilet paper, running water and electricity are not things I am willing to give up. What I will give up is sitting in front of a TV, computer or game console every single moment I am at home. I have recently rediscovered my love for reading. My goal is to read a book or two a week in the next year. I am also trying to get my food budget back to about $30 a week for a single person. I did it before, it is not impossible. Besides when you focus your food purchases you may save your life.
The final thoughts are: can you live on this planet making a more positive impact while reducing your negative impact?” I know the answer is yes. If you can take one step towards reducing your negative impact and one step towards positive impacting the World, then you have made yourself a better person.