Nothing New for a Year 2017- January

My first month of buying nothing new for a year was a success! I had a few challenging moments but made it out of the month having bought nothing new. This is largely a personal challenge for myself to see if I can make it a year without having to buy (or be given) anything new but it is also a means to inspire others to be more resourceful and find ways to meet their needs that do not involve going out and buying anything new. This is beneficial in many ways but my two personal favorites are the reduction of environmental impact and the reduction of money needed to live. It’s easy to just run out to the store or go online and buy anything we need because we live in a society that has made shopping very convenient, seemingly mentally rewarding, and almost seemingly necessary to just be a “normal” member of society. But the problem is that all of this stuff causes real environmental destruction and is the source to many of the most pressing and depressing environmental and social issues of our time. Simply not buying new stuff is one way to live a drastically more environmentally and socially conscious and responsible life. The Story of Stuff does an incredible job of showing how the cost of our cheap stuff is externalized to the natural environment and other people. 

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This Cafe in New Orleans Has No Garbage Can!

This summer I was traveling through New Orleans and stopped into this little cafe. It’s the red building in this photo.

I always seek out places that have environmentally friendly practices but it’s not always easy. From the outside I didn’t expect them to be doing anything particularly green but after talking to the owner for a bit I was amazed to learn that they actually don’t even have a garbage can. In order for a business to have no garbage can a lot of environmentally friendly practices have got to be going on. They have to be doing something really different from most places in the USA. Their story inspired me and is one that more people should know about so I asked the owner to write a guest blog to share his experience with working towards going zero waste. I hope this will help and inspire more restaurants, cafes, and businesses in general to reduce their trash and maybe even one day have no trash can! Here’s Tommy’s guest blog!

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10 Ways to Raise An Environmentalist

There’s no arguing that having a child is not the most environmentally sustainable thing to do. When I became a mother, it was important to me to maintain the integrity of my low-impact lifestyle and find ways to offset the carbon footprint of adding another human to the planet. My son is now six. Parenting him, like for so many, makes life personally sustainable and there is no underestimating the value in that choice. It’s also a daily opportunity to choose to live in harmony with the Earth with the compounded influence of teaching another person this value. Parenting is activism insofar as activism is making the world better.

Below are some suggestions that I use to raise my environmentalist. I would love to hear yours in the comments below!

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10 Easy Ways to Go Green with Kids

As a mom of three I am admittedly always seeking the easy route. Just surviving the day to day can be an uphill battle. I care about our earth, and I want my children to grow up caring about it as well – but I’m TIRED. We’re far from perfect, but I’ve put together 10 ways to “go-green” that are realistic for growing families and actually save me time and energy – two things that as a parent are a rare commodity.

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Food Waste Activism and Dumpster Diving Resource Guide

If you are interested in being a part of the solution to food waste then this is the place for you. I’ve been passionately working to bring attention to food waste and hunger since 2013 and over the last 3.5 years have created a lot of videos, blogs, and guides to help people get involved in this cause. In this resource guide I’ve brought it all together in one place to give you a plethora of ideas, inspiration, and information to be a part of the solution to food waste. Whether it’s starting your own food rescue program, helping with existing programs, or you just want to dumpster dive for food I’ve got you covered here.
To start, here’s a playlist of food waste and dumpster diving videos:

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The Dumpster Divers Defense Fund

Meet Tony Moyer and Sam Troyer, brother-in-laws in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. They’ve been dumpster diving for 10 months, collecting $1,000’s of good food and donating it to people in need. But in October they were arrested for dumpster diving at a CVS and charged with loitering and prowling at night as well as criminal trespassing.

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Nothing New for a Year 2017

I’m not usually a New Year’s resolution kind of guy but this year I’m making a huge one. For all of 2017 I won’t buy anything new. That’s right, nothing new at all.

I should say this won’t be nearly as challenging for me as it would most people. I’ve been simplifying my life for about 5 years now and have drastically reduced my needs and consumption during this time. I own fewer than 111 possessions, have a net worth of just a few thousand dollars, and practice a mostly zero waste life. Because of this I already buy very little stuff and I’m very happy and comfortable this way. However buying NOTHING NEW FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR will be a whole new ball game for me. Nothing new for a week would be easy. Nothing new for a month would take a little preparation. But nothing new for a year is uncharted territory for me. I’m raising my sail up and sailing far away from consumerism. I’m not sure if I’ll be 100% successful in this endeavor but I will be 100% transparent. For those who want to stay informed I’ll be posting a monthly blog and will let you know if I make exceptions or mistakes. I will list out every single new item I purchase if I do.

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Near Zero Waste Food in a Food Desert

Trying to go zero waste in a low income area neighborhood vs. a wealthy neighborhood can result in two very different stories. To read a guide written by someone in downtown posh Manhattan that only sees zero waste through their own lens could prove to be a little disappointing for someone living in a low income area. I often hear that going zero waste is only something that wealthy people can do. For the most part I disagree with this statement however there is some truth in it. In certain ways going zero waste is much easier for people who live in wealthier neighborhoods that have more options. For example many low income areas don’t have easy access to a grocery store with a bulk refill section and thus have to buy more packaged foods. This one variable alone makes it much more difficult to zero waste grocery shop. 

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