Resource Dieting

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“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.”  John F. Kennedy

Yes, life is short. However, minimizing one’s carbon footprint is not achieved immediately, it is a work in progress. In my sustainable lifestyle design classes students find it daunting to face their clothes closet, their kitchen cupboards, the products below their sink, analysis of their travel/transportation habits, what they eat, their waste-stream, where and how they view their economics, their cultural and social responsibilities through the sustainable lens.

I often tell them to start with baby steps. A shift in perception through a new lens involves adaptation and adjustments. I assure them that soon they will have the confidence and ability to create, see and live their sustainable dream. And it is so satisfying!

Some of us can adapt to more sustainable practices quickly by changing careers, buying carbon offsets, offloading less green automobiles and transportation modes, food, habits, toxic chemicals and becoming more compassionate and socially conscious members of the human race. However, some find it difficult, time-consuming and economically unfeasible.

90% of my students claim their inability to adopt a healthier, reduced carbon footprint life is due to lack of time, money and/or lack of knowledge regarding how to achieve a sustainable lifestyle.

I wish I could tell you that resource dieting and resource stewardship is easy. It isn’t, but it is worth it! One of the reasons it is difficult is that it is a customized and different path for each one of us.

To me that means finding a home, career, community and lifestyle compatible with nature that gives you the maximum amount of leisure, cultural and social engagement, with a minimized carbon footprint, economic and energy output. And to do all this with a minimum of violence and a maximum of compassion towards our fellow humans and other livings beings.

This may be one of the many reasons the tiny house community is popular and why it has gained so many followers in recent years. Many of its members, like myself, have rid themselves of workaholic careers, too much stuff, unhealthy food, unhealthy habits in favor of a healthier, sharing community and leisure lifestyles that leaving the consumptive debt culture affords.

Top five resource diet tips I utilized:

1. downsized with an estate sale, a yard sale, or garage sale

2. arranged a free cycle exchange, a clothing exchange, a cookie or food exchange, a canning/preservative goods exchange

3. bartered services and goods

4. participated in a free bank and gift economy

5. given to many of my favorite non-profits

I continue to meet tons of really great people, have wonderful adventures, time in nature, taken home all kinds of money, lovingly prepared food, canned goods and clothing.

This journey has taught me all kinds of skills about building, refinishing, repurposing and reclaiming all kinds of stuff that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It has taught me about my boundaries, my abilities and my disability, my limits and how to exceed them! My “toolbox” is growing daily.

And best of all, it is fun and one rocking’ great time “tooling'” down the road!

 

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