Biking to a photo shoot during No Impact Week
We wrapped up the No Impact Experiment yesterday and I have to say that it went really well! Each day had a specific theme that continued onward for the rest of the week, really giving us a chance to focus on the changes we could make:
- Sunday – Consumption – No buying new things (besides food)
- Monday – Trash Reduction
- Tuesday – Transportation – Focus on human powered
- Wednesday – Food
- Thursday – Energy Reduction
- Friday – Water Conservation
- Saturday – Giving Back
- Sunday – Eco-Sabbath
Eliminating Consumption was a pretty easy one for us and I thought that Trash Reduction would be a breeze however last week I was inspired to begin cleaning out my office. Reducing the amount of garbage we set out on the curb is definitely something we’ve always been aware of and we’ll continue to work on in the future. We currently put out one small shopping bag of garbage a week but our recycle bin is half full, something else we need to work on.
Transportation Tuesday, oh the irony! We decided that as of last Tuesday we would no longer be driving our cars (for the week). Well wouldn’t you know that my car was scheduled to go in for some routine maintenance that very day? Once that was taken care of we rode our bicycles everywhere we needed to go, including:
- 4 trips for darren to and from work (for a total of 40 km)
- 1 acupuncture appointment (14 km)
- 1 trip to the market (6 km)
- 2 location photo shoots (14 km)
And you know what? I loved it! Darren has always rode his bike to work (except when there’s snow on the ground) but I haven’t actually gotten my bike out in the last four years. Of course the first trek I needed to make was also the farthest one, 14 km round trip, but it was beautiful! I’ll definitely be spending more time on my bicycle from now on.
I was completely unprepared for making Food changes. And in all honesty we didn’t really do anything differently. We aren’t vegetarian but we only eat meat on weekends and more and more of our food comes from our local farmer’s market. What we did do was ride our bikes to the market, made conscious decisions to buy most of what we need unpackaged and locally produced, and we even visited our local tea shop and had them fill our jars with loose leaves. Yum!
Making cinnamon rolls by candlelight
Big cuts were made in the energy department. Thursday had us turning off our furnace, shutting down the computer outside of work hours, leaving all artificial lighting off, and hand washing the dishes instead of using the dishwasher. I think we picked a good (read: easy) time of year to come into this project. With the furnace off we woke in the mornings to indoor temperatures of 14C (57F) but we quickly warmed up with tea, wool hats, hot water bottles, lap blankets, and a few candles when it got really cool. Plus all that bicycling kept us nice and warm. I really enjoyed the electrical cut backs, Darren and I had many lovely evenings cuddled on the couch under a blanket talking by the soft glow of a few candles, he even got out his guitar and played a few songs. Wonderfully romantic!
We only made a few small adjustments in the Water department: showering every other day and if it’s yellow let it mellow… Still, these are some pretty easy things that can end up making quite a bit of difference.
Giving Back and the Eco-Sabbath are two things that we did not take part in for a few reasons, but mostly because we just didn’t have time. I know that’s not a good excuse but we really do feel as though we’re up to our ears in home renovation projects, plus I was busier than usual working last week, including a shoot on Sunday, and did I mention the tax deadline is this week? Having an Eco-Sabbath is something I’d like to schedule in the coming weeks and maybe even make an on-going occurrence.
All in all we quite enjoyed our No Impact Week and hope to participate in the next round coming this summer. Now our question to you is: what are some of your favourite environmentally conscious changes you’ve made (big or small)?