Maybe you remember I did the No Impact Experiment a few weeks back? I did it to find out how much, or little an impact me and my family’s lifestyle have on our environment.
The experiment, when I first read the guidelines, seamed a little extreme. Collecting my trash for a day, trying not to make any trash at all, buying only local, reducing my electricity, water usage – honestly it seamed like a kick back to the stone age.
I’ll be the first to admit, that living no impact style like Colin Beavan and his family for a whole year takes determination and maybe a little extremism, but they have my deepest respect for trying to live fully by what they believe in. And having given it a go myself for only one week, I think it’s admirable and very inspiring.
It seems like a lot of effort to live a no impact lifestyle. So, is it actually possible to live more sustainable, with little or no effort?
During my week of Low Impact I discovered two very important things about the way we live.
One – we are actually not making as big an impact as I thought. And by changing just a few simple things in our daily routines, we’ve made that impact smaller, and not sacrificed that much.
Here are some of the things we already do or changed:
- Have 4 vegetarian days a week – “eating fewer animal products can be the single greenest move you can make” – and just by picking the local option from your grocery store or going to the farmers market you’re well on your way to reducing your impact.
- Burn calories not fossil fuels – since we don’t have a car, and cycle everywhere – this was easy. But thinking about your transportation as a way to burn calories, certainly makes getting on the bike on a rainy day a lot easier.
- Not buying new things. Since I started the project 333 – about living with less – I haven’t really bought that many new things – and when I do I go for quality. Actually we’ve given a lot away and also sold stuff we don’t use any more (which I can sooo recommend – it’s a great feeling to get rid of those dust collectors).
The other really important thing I discovered during the project is how difficult is is to buy something that is not wrapped in layers of packaging. And it made me think about the responsibility of the designers & manufacturers.
When I went to the Royal College of Art in London, we were taught to think about packaging – but not in an environmental way – it was all about consumer experience. I’m sure designers are very aware of combining consumer experience with environmental responsibility today, but I’m sure more can be done. Just think about the ice-cream cone – a genius eat-able packaging.
The conclusion to a very interesting week of Low Impact, must be that – yes it is possible to live a more sustainable life with little or no effort. And – that there’s a lot you and I can do by just changing a few small habits in our lifestyle. Hopefully the designers & manufacturers will follow – I hope so.