Meet Hillary Kearney of Girl Next Door Honey, a local hero for the struggling honeybees across the USA. Bee populations have been on the decline for decades due to pesticides, loss of habitat, and climate change. Hilary is working to raise San Diego’s bee population and spread awareness among her community. After rescuing the bees, she photographs them, teaches her community about them, and manages over 90 honeybee colonies!
Meet Debbra Arndt, the woman growing a garden to feed the elderly in her neighborhood. At the age of 4 she was abandoned at an orphanage. She remembers going to bed hungry because there wasn’t enough food for all the children. She went through 14 foster homes as a kid, and at the age of 16 she was on her own. She survived through help of total strangers, to find food to eat and places to sleep.
Now, for the last 25 years, she has been growing fresh fruits and vegetables to give to the elderly and homeless in her own neighborhood.
Meet “Dumpster Dan.” He has rescued $35,000 worth of food from grocery store dumpsters.
Recently he did the “Dumpster Diet Challenge” eating only food from grocery store dumpsters for a week. He puts on displays of food waste at his university and gives presentations to his fellow students. This is all to raise awareness about food waste and hunger, making a positive impact on his community and the environment.
Meet Jing Chen, Founder of JinBuCha. She’s serving up a healthy alternative to soda in her community. The average American drinks 45 gallons of soda per year, and over 1/3rd of Americans are obese. We all know soda makes people fat and contributes to diseases like diabetes, but many of us don’t know there’s a healthy and refreshing alternative!
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!
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 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.