Friday, June 20, 2008

In our backyard and across the nation: change for the better is happening!

This is such an exciting time. Thursday I had the chance to connect with three people: two in our own backyard and one from my old home state, Utah, which made me smile at the positive change taking place everywhere!

John Holden (owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports) and I were talking about traveling in the West (I have to get to those mountains or the red rocks soon!) and we hit on transportation costs.

Many of us, myself included, have been rather shocked at the price to fill the tank up in recent days.

But John and I sang praises for the huge gas prices!!

It's prompting mindfulness, forethought, re-prioritizing, and re-thinking in all of us.

Later that day, my elderly neighbor called me with a great idea. She wants to create a neighborhood store co-op, where everyone in our cul-de-sac can call one another when we are going to the store in case one of us has one or two items to add to the list for pick up, to cut down on car trips. (This will be especially helpful because she is a music teacher who loves to entertain people, but is getting rather forgetful) So the next time I head to the local grocer, I call her and see if she needs anything to be picked up. We will cap it at 5 items and throw in a dollar extra every once in a while for gas.

On a side note, another helpful idea I began in my own neighborhood last year was the lending tree. Please in your neighborhood sign up with their phone, email, address and if you find that you are in the middle of a recipe and don't have that extra egg or 1/2 cup of milk, you call people on the lending tree. Kind of like, give a penny, take a penny. That also saves on trips to the store.

I also reconnected with my friend, Lisa, in Salt Lake City who told me that her new thing is that she has told her family of five - "No more new things are coming into the house! We are making do with what we have. And if we don't have it, we will borrow it or buy it used."

I said, "Welcome to the Betty pledge!" And we chatted about how that's going. But I was so excited that she has hopped on to this new movement that goes far beyond recycling into reducing the amount of our stuff. In this vein, she told me about "the guy named Dave" - no not our Mayor, (though who knows he may be the next to take this challenge).

Dave is a guy who has vowed to whittle his life possesions down to 100 things by this November and then for one year he will life with only those 100 possessions and he is urging people to join him. It's the 100 things challenge.

Who knows, maybe after my buying pledge is over in January, Betty will take the challenge (Let's be honest I think I probably have 100 things already just in the family car - copious CDs, reusable betty bags, art supplies for the kids, requisite blanket/football and frisbee, dog leash, the list goes on...) 100 possessions? Could you do it?


1 comment:

ChrEliz said...

I couldn't and wouldn't want to do the Hundred Things Challenge at this stage in my life, but I definitely do the 23-fling Boogie on a regular basis (a la FlyLady) as we reduce our clutter and pare way down. I've never been much of a shopper, and I've always been the type to wear something out and then replace it (I still have and wear clothing that's 15 years old!) so for me it's just been a low-key part of life. But I have gotten way more intentional over the last few years about making sure that what I do buy is of really good quality, so I'll want to have it forever, and so it'll last a really long time. I busted that on a trip to IKEA 5 years ago and bought cheap thin drinking glasses, which are ugly and which broke easily. I'm down to three drinking glasses now (and various assorted mugs, and so on) and that's just ridiculous, so it's time to buy drinking glasses. We're going to spring for Simon Pearce heavy handblown (made in Vermont) water glasses. They don't chip, they are gorgeous, I'll never tire of them, and they're made in a socially and environmentally conscious way. I'll buy "seconds-quality" too, to save money and to add more handmade character, and to save the most irregular ones from being discarded. My parents have had theirs for almost 20 years. It's so easy to just pick things up from places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but shopping locally or buying made-in-the-USA, buying green, buying secondhand, and just buying consciously overall, is so much better for the planet and the soul. I don't do it all the time (we had to buy some men's undershirts from Target while out of town this weekend), but the consciousness shift means that we're being intentional about our purchases and our business transactions way more often than not, and that feels just right. Rock on, everyone, with your consciousness-shifts, whatever they may be!