My brother passed this email on to me from Allie. She wrote:
“Check out this article about a SF group of friends who took a vow not to buy anything new for a year. It reminded me of the conversation we had over Thanksgiving — when you said that you didn’t want people giving you stuff. I’m more into new clothes than you are (for instance, I would not wear a rainjacket until I had to patch it up with duck tape) but otherwise I agree that our society is too focused on consumption. The amount of waste we create is unbelieveable. It’s something that I’ve been aware of before, but I’m more sensitive to the connection between consumption, waste reduction, and environmentalism than I was before. As a new year’s resolution, I’m going to make a concerted effort to minimize the purchase of new “stuff” for myself and others. Feel free to pass around this article to others who might be inspired to take a vow of reduced consumption in 2007.”
Allie also recommended a book on the amount of trash that Americans generate and the environmental problems caused by it: Garbageland.
And here’s a quote from the Washington Post article itself:
“These people haven’t bought anything new in 352 days — and counting. These 10 friends vowed last year not to purchase a single new thing in 2006 — except food, the bare necessities for health and safety (toilet paper, brake fluid) and, thankfully, underwear, and maybe socks (they’re still debating whether new socks are okay). ”
I am wondering what such a life might be like – and whether it would be possible for me. My friend Nathen did something I considered equally extreme. He carried all his trash – all the trash he created – for a month. Unbelievably, he only had a small plastic bagful at the end of the month and he said it wasn’t even stinky since he had composted all his compostables.
If you are interested in joining The Compactors (as in the Mayflower compact), check out their discussion group here.
This original founding group just renewed their vows for another year! I am toying with the thought (although my daughter might raise strenuous objections). Anybody else interested?