The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Low Impact Week is here! October 19, 2009

Filed under: experiment — Alden @ 3:12 pm


Yesterday was the start of Low Impact Week, in honor of No Impact Man!

Ok, you might ask, why “Low” instead of “No?” Because I have limits. Remember, this blog is about being NORMAL while being green. I am not eating in the dark, or eschewing toilet paper. I AM however, going to follow the No Impact Guide, which gives great day-by-day steps to living a little bit more earth-friendly. It also points you in the direction of lots of fun websites and apps for that purpose. (Check it out. No really, do it. Even if you aren’t doing this No Impact Week.)

So why do this challenge? From the No Impact Man website:

We got the glimpse of a life with an entirely different rhythm. We began to think that, by depriving us of our Madison Avenue addictions, the no impact experiment might actually make us happier.

Sounds good to me….So! Off we go!

The idea is each day builds on the one before – like those diets in Self magazine. (First cut out soda, then carbs…) As I add in successive challenges – or rather, subtract non-essentials – I hope I will discover that life is much simpler and nicer without all the modern frills that consume me now. Add to this my current challenge of seeking a job, and, well, things might get interesting!

Day 1 (yesterday) was about consumption.

It’s about not buying stuff, except for food, of course. It’s nice to see all the eco-friendly products out there – jeans, scarves, artwork, household items – but in the end, we can’t green-shop ourselves out of this mess. It doesn’t matter if your sweater is made from recycled plastic bottles, it still took gas to get it over the bridge to Manhattan. It still took energy to make it too! And that metal zipper is made from iron ore taken out of the earth. Don’t kid yourself. We can’t shop our way to a better earth.

I can hear some of you giggling now. Alden not shopping? Alden LOVES shopping! Just yesterday I went to the Harlem Pop store, and bought a fun vintage reworked acid-wash vest and bib necklace. I am seduced by clothing, by the promise it holds of a perfect night out in a swishy cocktail dress and sparkly heels, or a slam-dunk job interview in a slick pencil skirt and crisp white shirt.

Can I go a week without buying anything? No new shoes for interviews? (Mine just don’t seem right!) My stepdads birthday is coming. No card for him? I want to bake a cake, but I don’t have cake pans. Boo! I also lost my umbrella this week. Can I go a week without a new one? Hopefully it doesn’t rain hard….

We also need some dish soap for the kitchen. To solve the problem, I found a recipe for making your own dish soap. I was just wondering what to do with all the bars of scented soaps the last roommate left behind. Here’s what the recipe said to do:

  • First, shave off pieces of the bars of soap, until you have two cups.
  • Place them in a bowl of hot water overnight until it softens.
  • Mash them up then added more water to dilute the mixture.
  • Then add lemon to add a grease cutting element.
  • Put it in the old bottle of dish soap, and voila!

Ok, it didn’t turn out the way I expected….


Yeah, I thought it looked like an elephant had pleasured himself in my kitchen too! But I managed to clean up the mess, and get (most of it) in the bottle. When Vicki came home I proudly showed her what I did.

“We have dish soap!” she said, and pulled three bottles out of the cabinet. Three. Now she is politely refusing to use my concoction, and I’m not really sure what to do with it….Arg! I’m such a nerd.

But I have to say, the first day was a success, I bought nothing!

So today is trash. As is NO trash. Hmmm, might be more difficult. Check back tomorrow morning!

If you want to participate in No Impact Week, check it out here!


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