by Michelle Dyer, Chief Operating Officer, Second Nature
Sunday was Consumption day. Our challenge: to live a fuller and happier life by buying less stuff. This one was fairly easy for me because I generally don’t buy that much stuff anyway (between me and my eco-frugalisto husband we keep our total purchasing in check fairly well.) Anything I do purchase I always try for the item least impact, even if it means spending more. I admit that I did buy a ticket to the Ringlng Bros. Over the Top show that day, so I didn’t go completely cold turkey. As an experience it didn’t involve any physical stuff purchased on my part, though the sets, souvenirs, food for sale, etc. made it a mecca of consumption. As an amateur trapeze artist, I like to support the circus arts, and found it to be sufficient inspiration to keep me swinging through the long Massachusetts winter, so the $15 was worth the investment.
Monday was Trash day. We don’t produce that much trash; most everything is recycled or composted or not brought home in the first place. The most trash in our lives seems to come from shipping packaging, as we live in a small town and work long hours so I tend to order online more than I did when I lived in Vancouver, LA, or New York. I did fairly well, spreading the word as I picked up my groceries when I used my cloth bags and left a small box behind rather than taking it home. I was glad it wasn’t Sunday because I happened to spill an entire glass of water on my laptop, so I ended up having to purchase another one, completely blowing Consumption out the window. I will be selling the parts from the old one so we’re still on track with the trash theme, anyway.
Tuesday was Transportation day – one that I was dreading because we live 35 miles North of my office, so I was pretty much beholden to the MBTA commuter rail system. A bit too far to bike for me. It did reinforce our decision to live within walking distance of the commuter rail station, which means that we don’t have to use the car to get into the city. We have two very fuel efficient vehicles the Jetta TDI (47 MPG) sedan and the Jetta TDI sportwagen (37 MPG and climbing every day). We put as much biodiesel as we can get our hands on in it, so we think we’re driving one of the more environmental affordable options on the market. My husband and I are feeling a little eco-guilt about being a two-car family, but with us now working in two different places (one which is not well-served by public transportation from our town), and living pretty busy lives, it helps our quality of life tremendously to have the freedom without imposing on the other. I feel pretty certain that between us we still drive far less miles than the average bear, but the guilt persists….
Today, Wednesday, is Food day. The idea is to lessen your foodprint by eating local and organic food. This one is a no-brainer for us, as we grow a lot of food in our garden, buy all our groceries at our local natural foods co-op or the Cape Ann Farmers Market, and participate in a Community Supported Agriculture group. Here in Gloucester, we also have a Community Supported Fishery group. Finding local and organic options in downtown Boston is hard but getting easier. Sometimes I miss the West Coast for it’s plethora of amazing eco food options.
Tomorrow we’ll be exploring no-energy alternatives to accomplish our daily tasks on Energy day. I guess that means I’ll have to watch House on Hulu another day. Hmmm… maybe this means I don’t have to work because I won’t be able to use my laptop….