Last month I ran a poll regarding what people were willing to give up in order to be able to afford increased prices in food, energy, oil, etc. We are definitely looking at tightening the belt in many ways as food and energy prices climb.
One common comment on the post was people saying they couldn't do such and such or that it wasn't realistic. Well, since I like to push your buttons, I want to show you that, in many cases, it's not a case of not being able to do something, but not wanting to do it.
I want you to try to do something you otherwise thought would be impossible. In order to help you commit to this I'm running a new challenge. It's not until May, so you have a few weeks to prepare yourselves, both mentally and otherwise. You can choose to do one or more of the following suggested changes for a week or for the whole month.
For those of you who want to try a variety of things, you can do a different one each week or keep adding a new one per week. In any case, you have to go cold turkey on it. No halvsies, partial attempts or whatnot. What you do get, however, is a day of rest each week (if you want).
Here are the challenges. They get increasingly harder the higher the number:
1. No plastic - Don't buy or consume anything (purchases, food, etc.) that is encased in plastic. I don't care if it's recyclable. If you want to go all the way, this will include your shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. In other words, when in doubt, ask yourself, WWFPFD?
2. No paper products - This encompasses the obvious: no newspapers, paper towels, toilet paper, pads or tampons, paper plates, paper or coffee cups.
3. No driving - This one is pretty straightforward. Check out your public transit and bus routes, get yourself a monthly bus pass, get your bike tuned up or dust off those walking/running shoes.
4. Local food only - Depending on where you live, this may be fairly easy or quite difficult. For those of you with plenty of farmers markets to choose from and tons of different foods coming into season, it won't be too hard. Local bakery items (unless Sara Lee is local to you), local organic or sustainable dairy products, eggs, meats and wineries and breweries are all acceptable. Don't be afraid to forage for those dandelions!
5. No garbage output - You should only be producing waste that is compostable and it should go into your compost pile or your municipal food waste pickup.
6. No excessive water usage - Now, I'm not expecting you to dehydrate yourselves. What this one is about is conserving water. That means, very little water for showering, bathing, washing. Try to use the least amount of gallons of water you can. Pretend like there is a severe water shortage. Drink as much as you need to, just imagine you have to retrieve all your water in buckets from a stream 1 mile away.
7. No electricity - For some of you this may be easier if you rely on gas for heating and cooking. But for the most case, this will give you an idea what it will be like to not rely on power for a period of time. If you only want to try this one out for a day or a week, that's fine. It will be like a self-imposed power outage. For those of you who want to do this one, but don't want to clear out your fridge/freezer, you can leave it running - I'm not expecting you to go off the grid.
Are you crazy enough to try this one? Remember, you can take one day off per week. Think about it and if you're up for it, sign up by leaving a comment with which changes you are thinking about making and I'll add you to the sidebar. Like the Buy Nothing Challenge, I'll be having weekly check-ins to see how people are surviving.