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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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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20 Sustainable Businesses You Can Start Today!

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.

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Sustainable Living Video Series with Rob Greenfield

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 America 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.

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This House Has No Trash Can! #BanTheCan

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.

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All My 111 Possessions…

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.

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Mark Boyle’s Books Changed My Life

Like millions of other people around the world I first came upon Mark Boyle through a viral Facebook post. The story was headlined by an iconic photo of him sitting bare chested outside next to his homemade rocket stove and his clothes hanging out to dry.

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10 Simple Ways to Make Less Trash Each Day

Trash is all around us, but it’s something most of don’t normally think about. Take a walk around any street in your community and you’re bound to find small bits of plastic, plastic drink bottles, cigarette butts littered on the side of the road, and an overflowing trash can or two. And it’s no wonder, the average American creates nearly 4.5 pounds of trash per day! With the amount trash we create individually each day, have we ever wondered about how we could all make a whole lot less of it?

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TEDx Talk: How to End The Food Waste Fiasco

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.

For a deeper look into food waste, detailed information on the problem and solutions, how to get involved, food rescue programs, dumpster diving, and more go to Rob’s Food Waste Activism and Dumpster Diving Resource Guide.

A Letter from a Bearded Man

A few weeks ago I was contacted by this guy from a website called SoCal Sessions. He wanted to interview me about sustainable living. I said sure come on over and we had a nice morning walking the beach and talking. He was an interesting guy and had a really nice beard. Today I got an email from him and I thought I would share it.

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