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 be for 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 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.
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.
Meet Austen Hughes. He’s about to embark on an epic adventure.
Starting this month he’s setting out to travel to each of the 50 US states, running 50 miles and planting 50 trees in each state. That’s 2,500 trees and 2,500 miles of running. And he’s doing all of this while producing less than one pound of landfill waste per month and generating zero edible food waste for the entire trip.
I’m excited to announce that I’m cycling across the USA for the 3rd time. But what I’m really excited to announce is that YOU ARE INVITED. The first thing that might come to mind is “I couldn’t possibly keep up.” Well, great news for you, my partner, Cheryl Davies, is the co-host of this ride and she’s never rode more than 30 miles in a day. If she can do it, so can you!
When people talk about sustainable businesses the truth is that these businesses are far from sustainable. Most, if not all, of the major companies that have sustainability directors are as far from sustainable as it gets. They may be decreasing their environmental impact a little bit here and a little bit there but they just will never be sustainable. In this article I present to you businesses that are truly sustainable. These are businesses that will truly make your community and the world a better place. There is no green washing here and if these businesses are done correctly there will be no green washing in any of them. The idea of this blog isn’t just to inspire people to start sustainable businesses though. It’s really about helping people to figure out how they can support a sustainable life. None of these businesses are about getting rich. They are about finding a way to do something that you love and support your needs while living a life that is beneficial to the earth, your community, and yourself rather than destructive to the earth and the life on it. These business ideas, with a few exceptions, are designed to decrease consumption rather than increase it. For example selling organic cotton t-shirts is sort of great but the truth is there are already enough t-shirts on earth and we don’t need any more. These business ideas go a few steps further than a business idea like that.
Many of you may be wondering what my financial situation is. I get asked about my relationship with money a lot, which makes sense since most of us feel that we need enough money to be able to really pursue our passions. I believe that I am living proof that that is just not true.
After 3 years in the making, I’m so excited to finally bring to you my Sustainable Living Series. The series documents my off the grid bike ride across the USA on a bamboo bicycle where I practiced sustainable living to the extreme. In 4,700 miles of cycling, I used just 160 gallons of water, burned less than one gallon of gas, never turned on a light switch and created only 2 pounds of trash. That is 80x less water, 200x less trash, 600x less fossil fuels, and 1,000 times less electricity than the average American! Plus I ate nearly 300 pounds of food from grocery store dumpsters to prove just how much perfectly good food we’re wasting in the USA.
The things I did were extreme but in this series you’ll learn how your daily actions affect the world around you both near and far. The episodes are food, waste, water, transportation, and energy and each episode informs you in an inspirational and fun way. By the end of the series, you will know the basics behind sustainable living and what you can do to live more sustainably without going nearly to the extremes that I did on my journey. Each episode ends with what you can do to be the change you wish to see.
Shad got rid of his trash can one year ago, and he challenges you to #BanTheCan too! That’s right, his house has NO trash can! I got rid of my trash can about 3 years ago, and it totally changed the way that I looked at the world around me.
Here’s how you can say goodbye to the trash can it using the 5 R’s- refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle.
Check out this farm! They are completely off the grid, grow about 70% of their own food, send absolutely no trash off their land, and they grow over 200 edible and useful plants on their farm! Plus, they have chickens for eggs and meat, pigs and goats. They practice permaculture principles and are truly working with the land, rather than against it. You can walk around this farm for hours, always coming upon new naturally growing things to eat, or make healing teas from.