Posted on April 1, 2023 by Cate Vegas
As we approach Earth Month, it’s important to reflect on our consumption habits and their impact on the planet. Many probably remember my crazy challenge for Earth Day 2021 where I participated in Buy Nothing for 30 days, where the challenge is to refrain from purchasing any non-essential items for an entire month. (I found it easier in the latter half of the month, but writing in my blog encouraged me for the first two weeks or so.) Honestly, it made me re-think the way I buy for a long time afterward– I still haven’t purchased makeup or beauty products since 2021!
So I’m participating again this year, and I encourage you to consider it as well. Here are some reasons why participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days is a worthwhile endeavor:
It’s easy to think an item is already made, so buying it doesn’t have any environmental impact, but actually the opposite is true. Every new item purchased increased the demand for resources like water to cultivate materials/ ingredients, energy for product creation and transportation, and raw materials like petroleum or trees for parts and packaging. By participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days, we’re slowing demand and reducing our environmental impact by consuming fewer resources and generating less waste.
This was a huge eye-opener for me in 2021. It’s easy to see your budgeting app telling you how much you spend on “Shopping” in a pie chart, but it’s completely different when you see the numbers in your account at the end of the month. Participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days is a money saver, and more than that, it can demonstrate the value of mindfulness. By refraining from purchasing non-essential items, we can avoid the temptation of impulse buys and focus on what we truly need.
In the early days of this blog (2021), I tried to keep up with writing monthly Gratitude posts, and my April post was all about appreciating what I have. Participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days is a golden opportunity to practice gratitude– which by the way, has been shown to improve sleep, mood, and immunity. By taking a break from the constant cycle of consumption, we can appreciate what we already have and find joy in the simple things in life. Maybe even keep a journal of gratitude if you’re so inclined!
Hey, it’s a Buy Nothing Challenge, right? If it were easy, we’d probably all be doing this already. Society pushes us to buy, buy, buy at any personal and environmental cost, and it’s difficult to fight it. Plus there’s the dopamine hit from making a purchase, an issue I’ve discussed with many people on Reddit who identify as “addicted” to shopping.
Participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days can be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. By refraining from purchasing non-essential items, we can learn to live with less and find creative solutions to meet our needs.
Finally, participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days can be a chance to join a community of like-minded individuals who are also committed to reducing their environmental impact and living more intentionally. By sharing our experiences and supporting each other, we can build a stronger and more sustainable future together. That is like 80% of the fun of starting this blog is linking in with like-minded people!
Really want to get started on a project, find a tool, or start a hobby this month? There are whole networks out there for gifting, swapping, and sharing. Look up local Buy Nothing groups, Freecycle, Sharing Economy or Free/ Gift items on sites like Facebook, Next Door, Yahoo! Groups, or local Reddit groups.
So yes, participating in Buy Nothing for 30 days is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact, save money, practice gratitude, challenge themselves, and join a community of like-minded individuals. I’ll be sharing what I learn from buying nothing and I encourage you to do so as well. This Earth Month, let’s take the challenge and see how we can make a positive impact on the planet by consuming less and living more intentionally!
Category: Anti-Consumerism, Buy Nothing ExperimentTags: Buy Nothing, Gratitude, socially conscious
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