Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Version of Compact 2010

This afternoon I ran over my bike pump with my car and am left wondering if it will work properly when I need to use it. Under the rules of the Compact, I am required to borrow or find a used pump (rather than purchasing a new one) if my pump is indeed broken. Thinking about the gas I will expend as I search second hand shops for a used pump makes me wonder if I will even end up saving resources over purchasing a new one. Because I use my bike for transportation, I see a bike pump as an essential piece of equipment. If I am not able to use my bike to get around, I end up using my car which leads to an even bigger impact.

I really don't want to be left borrowing a bike pump as the need arises. Tires can come up unexpectedly flat and without a reliable pump to remedy the situation, I could be left high and dry. Or in this case flat and at home. So, I have decided to lump a bike pump in with acceptable purchases found in the transportation category. That being said, here is how I plan to implement the Compact for 2010:

  • Shelter- I will only make purchases pertaining to the required maintenance and lighting of the place I live in. I will purchase vinegar and baking soda to be used in cleaning. I will not purchase any new furniture, linens, kitchen equipment, technology related stuff etc...
  • Energy use- I will keep the use of water, heat, electricity and gasoline to a bare minimum by practicing conservation measures.
  • Transportation- I will only make purchases for gasoline and required maintenance of my vehicles. I will walk or bike most places or use public transportation. My car will be used sparingly. I will not travel by air.
  • Clothing/Shoes- I will only purchase underwear and socks as needed. No shoes, no clothing, no nothing whatsoever period! Any clothing I need that I don't already possess, will be purchased used or borrowed.
  • Office Supplies- Will only purchase stamps, or other required staples as needed and only if can't be found used.
  • Books, Newspaper, Magazines- I will purchase the NY Times each Sunday or read the copy left behind at Starbucks. Books will be obtained from the library, or purchased from used sources. Magazines will be read online.
  • Toiletries/Health- I will purchase those items as needed to maintain health and personal cleanliness.
  • Gifts- I will not make any gift purchases this year with one exception- I will give money as a gift to my son as his college graduation present which he will probably use to purchase a laptop. All other gifts will be something that can be consumed such as a membership to a museum or a food item, handmade by me or acquired used.
  • Food- I will eat as local as possible to avoid excessive transportation costs and will eat less meat. Also buy more bulk food to avoid packaging waste. Will eat primarily organic to avoid the destructive nature of conventional food. Will not eat at any fast food establishments that produce single-use paper waste. I will use a reusable mug when visiting coffee shops, cloth napkins over paper at home.
  • Vacation/Leisure- I will minimize my travel and only pursue low-impact vacation options such as staying with friends or camping. I will avoid entertainment that wastes large amounts of energy or water such as Disneyland or water parks (this part is easy because I NEVER visit these sorts of places).

I am sure I will need to update this list as I go along. Not so much to adjust it so that I can buy something, but more so because I find I forgot to address something. I feel my version of the Compact suits me well and takes into account my desire to reduce my overall impact.

Granted, the idea of Compact 2010 is imperfect. It is not meant to be the answer to our environmental problems, but more a vehicle to help create awareness. Maybe the answer can be found through this new found awareness.


Wendy said...

If book buying is your Achilles heel, PaperBackSwap.com will be your friend during the Compact (although you might need to bend your office supply rule a bit ;).

Darcy said...

Thanks for the tip about PaperBackSwap...it looks great. I assume the books listed on the site are used in which case I wouldn't have to bend my office supply rules.