Guest Blog by: Brijette Romstedt
It all started with a little glass tea cup with adorable pink flowers etched on them. In this tea cup, I would store seeds delicately chosen from only the most outstanding plants in the garden. Those tea cups quickly overflowed. The excess was put in glass jars in the closet until that closet overflowed.
This urban foraging program is giving fresh fruits and veggies to thousands of people in need, and it’s all food that would have otherwise gone to waste. Millions of Americans have little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Concrete Jungle is changing that by giving out freshly picked produce for free!
There are many limiting ideas floating around out there about growing your own food. Many think you need a lot of money to do it. Some think it’s too time consuming. Some think they don’t have enough space. Others feel that they just don’t have a green enough thumb. All of these ideas are totally understandable but the reality is that if we really truly want to, we can all grow some food. Sure, we can’t all have a fruitful acre of farm land but we can all have at least one little windowsill herb garden, one balcony tomato plant, some planters on our porch, a plot in a community garden, a small garden on someone else’s unused land, or something of that sort. With some initiative we can all grow some food!
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.
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!
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.
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.