>> Thursday, June 3, 2010
Another month, another extreme challenge!
Buy Nothing New
Have you all heard of The Compact? They're a group of people who pledge to buy nothing new for a year. Be happy I'm not asking you to go that extreme, but we will be following their rules, which are:
As agreed, The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):My family will be doing our best to buy nothing new this month, even while we take a trip to the beach this weekend and to Tennessee later this month. Can we do it? We're going to try our best!1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)So, here goes for the rules:
First principle - don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
Second principle - borrow or buy used.
A few exceptions - using the "fair and reasonable person" standard -- i.e., you'll know in your heart when you're rationalizing a violation:
- food, drink, and necessary medicine (no elective treatments like Viagra or Botox)
- necessary cleaning products, but not equipment (don't go out and buy the Dyson Animal, for example).
- socks and underwear (utilitarian--non-couture or ornamental) pajamas for the children
- Utilitarian services (plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, veterinarians, dog/house-sitters, fire/paramedics, dry cleaners, house cleaners, etc.) -- Support local and encourage used parts (rebuilt transmission, salvaged headlight unit, etc.)
- Recreational services (massage, etc.) & local artisanal items - Good sources for gifts, but should not be over-indulged in for personal gratification
- Charitable contributions(Seva, Heifer, and the like) - an even better source for gifts
- Plants and cut flowers - Whenever possible, cultivate from free cuttings or seeds. Ok in extreme moderation (yo, incoming oxy) when purchased from local businesses (i.e., not the Target Garden Shop)--and again, within reason
- Art supplies - First line of attack: SCRAP. When absolutely necessary (for the professionals and talented amateurs in the group), from local businesses
- Magazines, newspapers, Netflix - renewals only, no new subscriptions. Even better to consume online Video rentals and downloadable music files (non-material) -- freely shared and legal, please
Will you accept the June Extreme Challenge to buy nothing new for a month? Let me know in the comments what your family will be doing.