Sunday, July 30, 2006


I am very suprised at the extensive changes that have happened since I joined the Compact. I still can't believe that I have changed so much - and that it all started with a simple vow not to purchase new items.

Once I stepped outside of consumerism, I could look at myself and my environment and really take a look at my role in the global economy. Sure, I may be one simple person, however, I can make some differences. All I had cared about was either 1) saving my money or 2) what I could get for my "buck." What a way to live!

Now I realize that I can have an impact. I realize that every time I purchased something that was not locally made, I contributed to carbon emissions. Whatever I was purchasing had to be flown or trucked in from somewhere else! That was not something I had even thought about. I also took a step back and analyzed why I wanted something and if it was something that was really necessary. I realized that very few things that I owned were necessary in my life. What do I really need? 1) shelter 2) food + water and 3) clothing. Of course, I need my family and friends as well. There are things that help those main three items i.e transportation to get to the job so that I can have shelter, etc. When I think in those simplest terms, then I can truly analyze the benefits and costs to everything. Does this "thing" add to my life? Is it necessary? Does it help me maintain those crucial needs? Is it special? OR does it weigh me down?

From there I looked at how I ate and how my decisions were influencing the lifestyles of others. If I ate a lot of meat, then could others eat? If I had food flown in, then was I contibuting to climate change? I then found that eating locally grown and/or organic foods was a step in the right direction. These foods also were then in season and full of flavor. A bite of tomato could be heavenly! (My children even now love tomotoes!) I also started to preserve the leftovers vegetables (freezing or canning). Thus, when they are craved in January, I will have some available! I have also started to cook "by season." Because the foods are fresh, I find that I am not missing the foods that are not currently available.

Now I have been thinking about water and the impact of the cleansers I use. Okay, my use of cleansers may not independently contribute to poor water quality, however, if I use ecological products, then I can save the water and reuse it on my gardens. Two jobs for the price of one! This is especially important now during this hot dry weather. I have just started making my own household cleansers. The house is very clean and smells great (rather than smelling like cleaning chemicals). I have even started to look at permaculture! 4 years ago my husband talked about grey water systems and permaculture. I was waaaaay against it. Now, I can only see the benefits. I seem to be the one pushing for it!

So 6+ months ago, I was purchasing clothing, shoes, etc. I was not concerned about my individual role in this world. Now, I have come to realize that although I am but one individual, I am part of a global society. I can make an impact. I can choose to live consciously. I can be truly happy without "stuff." And perhaps, just perhaps, a few other people can see that they, too, can make a few simple changes that dramatically impact their own lives.


Through a Glass Darkly said...

Very inspirational! I've been working on a similar post for a while now--thinking about ways that we have changed over the last year--and it is really amazing. We still have a long way to go, but I'm so glad I'm going down a path similar to yours!

Scott said...

There is an unplanned benefit to Compacting. We realize that we don't have to be sheep. That we can live a life that is fuller than we had imagined, think for ourselves, and be the people we were meant to be. We broken the hold that consumerism has on us.