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.
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!
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.
I receive a lot of messages from students and parents who tell me they are bothered by how much food their school is wasting. Many of them feel like there is nothing that they can do about it. The really good news is that there is so much that can be done to end food waste at your school! Hundreds or thousands of schools have implemented programs to reduce food waste and put the extra food to good use. To help you end food waste at your school I’ve had the Executive Director of write this guest blog. I’m confident that he can provide the help and the resources for you to get things going at your school. And for those of you attending university you can start a Food Recovery Network or Campus Kitchens Project chapter on your campus!
If you’ve paid any attention to my work over the last years, have a Facebook account or pay any attention to media then you probably know that we’ve got a serious problem of food waste in the United States and around the world. I’ve dived into 1,000’s of dumpsters across America to show just how much perfectly good food is going to waste. My TEDx talk will catch you up on the issue from how much we’re wasting, to why it matters, and the solutions.
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