Sunday: Eco-Sabbath

Challenge: Take a break from everything.

I enjoyed a morning of writing in my journal, and a long walk with a friend. Unfortunately, I needed to use a device to write this post today. Other than that, I plan on turning off all other distractions through technology. 

I believe by paying attention to my trash and consumption of non-reusable products I'm able to see my impact more clearly. It's hard to actually understand how big of an impact just one person makes until we do something like this challenge. 

I hope to use less of my devices throughout the day. Pick up my watch again (like I did on Friday) and use that instead of a phone to keep track of time. My goal is to continue finding work within walking or biking distance of my home. I truly believe the time I have on a bike or bus allows me to decompress and settle down after work.

This week has been an adventure of realizing my current living situation isn't the most energy efficient (Thursday). It's a little disappointing to realize I can't change much of my current situation besides my consumerism mindset. 

Besides this challenge, I think by not owning a lot of stuff in general I'm able to see the benefits in my current lifestyle especially in the realm of transportation (Tuesday). I hope to continue living with less and not buying things (like coffee) that I can make myself. 

Looking back at my 5 things I'm thankful for every day, I see that most of my lists consisted of things that are conceptual or not physically tangible. I'm happy about that. It means I could be happy in almost any circumstance - without needing stuff or things.

Saturday: Giving Back

Challenge: Pay it forward. Feel the benefits of service. 

Ways I currently contribute: I work for a nonprofit called Eugene Beings, lead in a college ministry, tithing my income to my church

Where I would love to help out: Young Life - I feel I can't because of my energy constraint. I already contribute most of my time to school, work and college ministry. I think I could contribute in helping with their monthly clubs rather than weekly committing time. 

I also would like to get more involved in the homeless community. My college ministry is doing a burrito making day to give to homeless people. Eugene Beings is also working towards making income off a calendar to give to the Eugene Mission. 

I feel excited and energized when I help others or give back to others. Anything I can do to serve leaves me feeling more confident in my work and in school. I become more compassionate to strangers. 

Thankful for:

1. Interviewing 

2. Elders who bestow wisdom

3. Knowledge

4. Dirt (playing in it and planting food)

5. Childrens' laughter

Friday: Water

Challenge: Soak up the personal benefits of using less water!

This was by far the best of the challenges. I felt like it's one that I think about more naturally. I tend to not drink as much water as I should (in my water bottle), but I make up for the lack of water here by how much we use to wash our dishes.

As previously stated, I live in a house of sixty people. This means we have a dish sanitizer. It take about a minute and a half per load. We probably wash at least twenty loads a day. That's a lot of water!

It is discouraging to hear "1 billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water, Americans are flushing 2.5 trillion gallons a year down the toilet." Crazy! 

Thankfully, to make up for the sanitizer I took a five minute shower. Only a rinse off. Good thing it's good for my hair to not wash it every day - taking less time in the shower!

Thankful for:

1. Writing

2. Shampoo

3. Warm water

4. My bed

5. Christmas lights

Thursday: Energy

Challenge: Replace kilowatts with ingenuity - explore no-energy alternatives to accomplish your daily tasks. 

So, I live in a house with sixty people as mentioned above. The only impact I could have today was to turn off the heat. We use a lot of energy in my house. A lot of it has to do with the system itself failing. For instance, with heat it is hard to gauge when to turn on and off the heat. The whole house takes a few days to adjust its temperature to the outside temperature. We have tried turning the heat completely off for a few days. That's when it was below freezing and we could see our breath inside. Not the best solution.

We do use energy efficient lights - one bonus! It is frustrating to not see much progress made to make our house more power efficient. I have had discussions with management and with our chef. That's about all I can do...is raise awareness.

I don’t want less progress. I want more progress, real progress.
— No Impact Man

Basically I have control over my room and devices. I did go a week without any devices earlier this year...because they all decided to die simultaneously. I will try to turn off my phone whenever I'm not using it. Not use my lights at night and just go to bed instead of reading. 

The good part is that my laptop and phone are my only power suckers. 

Thankful for:

1. Fruit

2. Sunshine

3. Rain (puddle jumping)

4. Encouraging words

5. Biking 

Wednesday: Food

Challenge: Healthy eating can also lessen your foodprint. 

I decided to trade my breakfast for fresh fruit mixed into a smoothie. It was delicious and I felt refreshed by eating a lighter breakfast! I replaced whole wheat bread that wasn't processed locally for Dave's Killer Bread (manufactured in Milwaukie, Oregon). I didn't switch out anything else. Mainly because I don't buy my food - our chef does. I know he tries to buy locally if he can. It is difficult buying fresh ingredients in bulk daily. 

I really can't spend money on going to the local farmer's market to buy food. I already pay rent and money towards food. So, the only thing I can do is suggest things for our chef. The only foods that are locally grown are fruits. The rest are packaged. It's a hard challenge that I don't think I can fulfill accurately until I start buying my own food.

So, I will keep trying to eat the fresh food that isn't packaged. 

Thankful for:

1. School

2. Early mornings

3. Bread

4. Sleep

5. Coffee

Tuesday: Transportation

Challenge: Burn calories, not fossil fuels. 

The idea is to walk, ride, carpool, or take mass transit as much as possible to reduce fuel emissions...and to keep an active lifestyle. 

Where did I got today and how:

-school (walking)

-5th Street Market (biking)

-college group (walking) 

So, I know we are supposed to not buy anything, but my workout class required sweatpants, so I had to buy some. I came up with my best alternative to buying new. I bought them from St. Vincent de Paul's clothing store. This store sells donated clothing. In this way, I am able to reuse (if I can't reduce). 

I do feel guilty for buying more clothes. There are people across the globe who only own one pair of shorts or pants. Here I am buying more stuff! It reminds me of one of the points Colin faced in "No Impact Man." "But this cultural ethic of reuse changed when, by way of example, button factoires disocvered it was cheaper and more efficient to get their bone from the conveyor-belt slaughterhouses, and paper producers discovered a way to make paper from trees instead of from cloth...from producer to consumer to landfill and incinerator." I know that repurposing someone else's old clothes should make me feel a little bit better, but in reality, I still feel guilty.

I didn't notice a big difference my day besides more biking. I usually walk, bike, or bus everywhere I go.

What I ate (all made at home by our house chef - food bought from Costco and Stop N Shop):

-breakfast: egg, toast, coffee (with soy milk)

-snack: banana

-lunch: salad, chips, toast

-dinner: rice, orange chicken, mixed veggies

To end the challenge - 5 things I'm grateful for:

1. My belief in Jesus. He helps me have peace and the ability to share love.

2. My family. They encourage me to dream big.

3. My friends. As silly as they are they are wise beyond their years.

4. The sunrises I get to see every day.

5. The rain. A beautiful display of light glistening through the sky.

 

Monday: Trash

Challenge: Discover how wasting less improves your life. 

So, collecting trash wasn't as easy as I expected. Especially since I live in a house of sixty people, and we use paper towels all of the time. It will be a little tricky to continue using my own towel and washing it every few days. This is challenging in our kitchen when it's much easier to grab a paper towel and toss it after using. However, that leaves me using at least 10-15 a day.

I do have containers I can use instead of baggies. Thankfully most of the time I don't have to pack my meals, and I have a handy travel mug to carry hot beverages in. 

Overall, I think the most difficulty part is collecting and saving all of my trash. It does add up. I guess that's the point is to see how much I leave in a landfill rotting (or not) every single day. 

Thankful for:

1. Teachers

2. Gloves

3. Journalling

4. Smiles

5. Camera

Sunday: Consumption

The challenge for today: Live a fuller and happier life by buying less stuff.

The goal is to not buy anything this week or decrease what I buy. Writing a list of all of the things I need to buy for the week:

-laundry detergent

-NyQuil

-protein powder

-dairy free pills

I could simply make my own laundry detergent. Instead of buying NyQuil, I could continue to strengthen my immune system by improving my sleeping habits, taking Vitamin D, Oil of Oregano. Protein powder isn't a necessity. Dairy free pills are only needed if I plan to eat dairy, which usually happens only when I go and buy ice cream. Therefore, if I avoid eating dairy this week, then I won't have to buy anything.

I didn't do very well at collecting all of my trash today. The only thing I forgot to collect was a plastic cup. I disposed of it on-campus at the EMU. 

Overall, today was an easier day. If all of the days are this easy, I would be excited to keep up these habits. 

Thankful for:

1. Water

2. My home

3. My family

4. My friends

5. Technology