Hooray, A New Challenge!
There have been several Buy Nothing Challenges in the past couple of years, including the most recent one from Crunchy Chicken. Those are great, as they teach us that we really can get through a whole month without buying much (if anything) at all. However, the reality is that normally we do buy stuff in our everyday lives.
Because of the current credit crisis, now is a good time to get our finances together and spend as little as we can. So let’s take the awareness we gained from the Buy Nothing Challenge, and make it sustainable for the long term. And, let’s take it to the next level, where buying what we do need helps us become positive – and active – members of our communities.
Enter: The Buy Sustainably Challenge!
Follow These Five Steps For Buying Sustainably:
- Ask Yourself if You Really Need to Buy it. Do you need it at all, or is it something you could live without? Can you reuse or repurpose something you already have? Maybe you have an old one in the garage that could be fixed up nicely (with the bonus of adding a repurposed/reused charm)? Or can you borrow it from a neighbor, friend or family, or even make it yourself? Also while we all need food, starting a garden will mitigate what you have to buy – you can grow vegetables year round. Plus when you start that garden, don’t buy seedlings – grow them from seed, and then save your own seeds for next year!
- Buy Locally. Drive as little as possible to get the item, and buy it from a locally-owned and –operated business. It’s even better if the business makes the products locally, or has a local source for them.
- Buy Fair Trade. Buy the item from a manufacturer that pays its workers an honest wage. AND Buy from a business with good business practices. If you have a choice, go for the business that gives back to the community, pays its workers well and gives them health insurance, and has good customer service. You may even find a business that has been built with sustainable building practices, and has taken steps to reduce its daily carbon impact.
- Buy Green. This means different things to different people, but essentially, minimize the impact the item has on the environment, including the materials used to produce and package it.
- Buy it to Last. Think twice about going cheap and easy. It’s no good for your pocketbook or the environment if you have to throw away an item when it breaks or looks ugly in a year or two, and then you have to buy another one. Instead, buy something that will last 5, 10 years – or better, a lifetime. For furniture, look at used furniture and antiques – what you find may cost the same as an item from IKEA, and it will last long enough to hand it down to your kids or your friends or someone in need. If you can’t afford good quality, wait a few months and save up to buy a good quality product that will last. In the long run, it will cost less in time, money, and environmental impact.
When it comes to cost, you have to redefine normal. Cost includes the amount of money you pay for an item, as well as what the environment and society pay for that item. If you can’t or won’t pay the money for a sustainable item, you must reevaluate. Because that’s how much it costs.
When you consider the future of our planet, our neighborhoods, and those of our children, there is no alternative to the sustainable solution. The other products out there –that exploit the environment and our society- those don’t work, those aren’t sustainable. Choose to ignore them. It’s difficult, but you can do it.
Redefine normal, redefine the true cost. It’s not about guilt, it’s about sticking to your beliefs as you live your life. Every day. If it helps you, think about what your grandparents would have done, and where they would have gone when they needed something.
- Local Thrift Stores
- Neighborhood Garage Sales and Flea Markets
- Local Yellow Pages and Google
- Other Local Bloggers
- Word of Mouth (ask your neighbors and friends where they buy things locally, ask local businesses where you might find what it is you’re looking for)
- Explore the Neighborhood on Foot or by Bicycle!
Please Add Your Name Below In The Comments And Start Buying Sustainably!
I know there are lots of you out there who have never commented here before. And I know there are lots of you who don’t have blogs of your own. That doesn’t matter! Introduce yourselves and join us! Pretty please??!!
I’ll be writing about steps I take to redefine how I buy things. I may even post a video or two. And I’ll host some conversational pieces to get us all talking about how we’re doing and such. Feel free to report in here or on your own blog about what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and so on. Don’t be shy, it helps us all when you talk about your experiences!
Here’s a doodad to add to your sidebar if you like – it helps spread the word, and helps us get to know each other:
(If you want a bigger image, the one up top will link to a bigger version.)
To add the button to your blog, right-click on the image and save it to your desktop. Then upload it to your blog as you would any other image, with a link to:
Oh, and once you’ve uploaded the image, check to make sure the link works and the image loads correctly. Feel free to email me if you have any problems and I’ll see if I can help.
Sign Up Below!
In a comment below, leave your name and blog address if you have a blog. Also feel free to add any tips, tricks, questions, or thoughts. Let’s do it!
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