27 October 2014

No Impact Week's Impact

Yesterday, the most beautiful fall Sunday in history, I spent the day with family and friends. I didn’t text, surf, or blog on that day of reflection. I took a break from it all.

Today, I want to talk about the impact of No Impact Week on me.

In facing this week I tried to live each challenge for the full seven days, counting my garbage, recycling what I could, eating locally sourced food, conserving water, reflecting on my personal impact on my community and the larger world. This has been an eye-opening week:

  • This time last week I was concerned about the Consumption challenge, but not that phased about being challenged by the rest. It turns out that my compulsion to shop is probably the easiest thing to manage. I bought nothing but food for the past 7 days!

  • My office trash bag is still only half full, but something extreme happened last Wednesday afternoon that more than quadrupled my garbage output. The UPS driver showed up with packages for me. It was a bit embarrassing to see the number of and general bulk of plastic bags that came from Old Navy and another retailer. The packing materials alone exponentially increased my trash output.
  • Have you ever mindfully washed your hands: thinking about the space of time between lathering the soap and twisting on the faucet, the water pressure coming from each tap, the time each hand spends immersed in that lukewarm stream? I have

    The biggest challenge that I faced last week, honestly was Water. In addition to my dish washing fetish, it turns out that I’m also a hand-washing fanatic. While I was able to gird in my dirty dishes issue, hand-washing is a must for me—it comes from all those years working in medical offices. Mindful hand-washing was a useful exercise for me.

    Coupled with catching the grey water  in a bowl for use in my garden.
  • A few small triumphs this past week were the locavore meals that I’ve enjoyed with my friends and family. In addition to slow cooking some phenomenal soups, I also dined out at Donna’s of Charles Village for a couple meals, and at Woodberry Kitchen; two eateries that pride themselves on using only locally sourced meats and produce.

Moving forward… I’m dining out more, obviously.

I mentioned at the start of the Water challenge that that infographic really put perspective on how each challenge is inter-connected. That’s what this past week has done for me—made the connections for me. Today and tomorrow, and moving forward I’ll try to see how my consumption decisions affect my environment, community, and the greater world.