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.
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.
My aim in life is to be a genuine leader in order to affect massive positive change in the USA and around the world. I am 29 as I write this and I know that this won’t happen overnight. I am dedicating myself to a lifetime of work in the service of humanity, the earth, and the creatures that we share our home planet with. In order to truly lead by example I feel that it is important to make personal commitments and I am making them public so that I have no choice but to stick to them. It’s very easy to say you’re going to do something and then go back on it. By making my commitments clear and in print I am helping to make sure that I will stick to them in possible times of temptation or despair. These vows also intend to show an example of how we can dedicate ourselves to something far greater than ourselves and live a life that is truly in alignment with the beliefs that the world should be a more sustainable and just place.
I vow to…
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.
At the age of 29, I now own fewer possessions than I’ve ever owned in my entire life. After years of downsizing I have achieved one of my long-sought-after goals of being able to fit everything I own into a backpack that fits comfortably on my back. It has been a long road of transition making continual progress little by little.
As many of you know I recently left The Teeny Greeny after living there for one year. I auctioned it off to raise money for tiny homes for people with no homes and raised enough to build ten tiny houses. That project is in the works now by friends in San Diego. Upon selling my home I got rid of a vast majority of my possessions and now own just over 100 possessions. I am carrying literally everything that I own on my back. I’ve been working for many years on simplifying my life and this is truly a milestone for me. I’ve found that generally the fewer possessions that I own the happier and more free of a human being that I am. At the same time, the more simply I live the more I am able to dedicate myself to the service of other people, animals, and the earth. Before moving to The Teeny Greeny I became 100% debt and bill free and I’ve maintained that to this date and intend to continue on in this fashion. I am now vastly free of material possessions, a set location, and financial ties. These accomplishments have made way for me to pursue one of my ultimate dreams of living a life that is deeply in the service of others.
Many people around the United States could hardly fathom eating the way I do. Almost nothing I buy comes in a package. Almost everything is a simple whole food such as an apple rather than something processed like applesauce. While I’m preparing my food and after I’m done eating there is usually no need for a garbage can whatsoever. I can pronounce everything I eat and every single thing on the ingredients list if I do buy something that even has an ingredients list. My diet consists almost completely of plants and my food doesn’t have pesticides, or preservatives on it or in it. This is a diet that is far unrecognizable to tens or maybe even hundreds of millions of Americans and to me it is just a matter of eating in a manner that’s good for me, good for the earth, and highly cost effective.
Rob Greenfield has dived into 1,000’s of dumpsters across the USA to show the world just how much food is being wasted. Now he blows the lid in this TEDx talk.