Staging My Own Mutiny: An Update

It's sort of ironic that it's taken me almost 2 months to give an update on my 7 Experiment when the most recent fast was media, specifically social media. :)

I just really enjoyed not feeling attached to my phone. And I realized how much time I wasted during the day just scrolling thousands of tweets or double-tapping Instagrams. (I'll be honest though- I really still love Instagram).

I thought I would write and blog more during that time but I really didn't.
I thought I would accomplish a ton of projects. But I didn't.
There was a whole week of just adjusting to idle time. It's strange when you are not used to it.
Also what I figured out: all those things you thought you wanted to do but didn't have time for?
You actually just don't want to do them.

So there are a few things I have let go of. Or learned to deal with being in flux. It was definitely a lesson in learning how I spent my free time.

I was able to spend more quality time with family and friends. Even if it was just a walk or coffee date or phone call.
Also, I didn't miss TV AT ALL. I got rid of cable a year ago and just use my AppleTV for Netflix and Hulu. But now, I hardly watch that either. I'd much rather put on some music and read or just be in the silence.

I liked not knowing what everyone was doing every second. Although, when I was bored or waiting in a line or something, it was tempting to look at my social media apps to keep me entertained.
And why is it we have to be constantly entertained? I'm really not sure and that newer need is bothersome.

I looked back at our group discussion and it's interesting to me how many of us noted how bored we were. I was at first, but then I learned to adjust and use that time a little more mindfully. A lot more reading. A lot more walking. Overall- very good for my mental and physical health.

I cheated one time when I posted a tweet in support of the Boston bombings. It was really hard not to look at twitter when that was happening, but I didn't. I read some news on the internet for about 30 minutes then shut it down.

The main after effect of this one is I have spent considerably less time on twitter and Facebook. I still Instagram and post those to Facebook and twitter for family and friends, but I'm trying to be more mindful of what I put online.

During the media fast, we went to dinner with some friends and someone commented about how I wouldn't be taking pictures of the food like I normally would. I was a little embarrassed. Is it that annoying of me? I didn't realize people even noticed that much.

That made me think about what people might think about my media presence.
I haven't found the perfect balance yet, but this was a good start.

After the media fast, I went on 2 trips and sort of fell out of the loop of the 7 experiment and my church group wrapped up.
I still have 3 sections to go and I'm not giving up. :)

So, next section is WASTE.

Jen makes some great points in the video:
- We can't say we worship the creator and destroy creation. We are called to be stewards of God's creation.
- Creation care is a real thing. The world was created to sustain humanity. We don't have to choose between people and the earth.

And some of the statistics are staggering:
- Americans make up 5% of the population, but we consumer 1/3 of all the world's paper products.
- Together with China, America accounts for 40% of the earth's depletion (p 115).
- Human demands on the world's natural capital measure 30% more than the earth can sustain (p 115).

What the what?? Those statistics are really disturbing to me.

I just finished reading 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno. It was recommended to me by numerous people (thanks readers!) and it lines up with what Jen is saying here.
As Americans, we consume too much stuff.
Whether that be clothes, food, 'disposable' items, etc. We have too many things and we use and abuse too many things.

(I'm also reading The Omnivore's Dilemma right now which talks about our overuse of land and food as well).

Between moving to a much smaller place and doing the 7 experiment, I feel like I have drastically changed my lifestyle. My need to buy and consume is diminishing. I try not to waste a single scrap of anything.

Here are Jen's suggestions for the fast from waste:

-Eliminate convenience products: paper towels, water bottles, baggies, fast food, coffee (bring your own mug!), plastic grocery bags, etc
- Eliminate heavily packaged items
- Buy in bulk
- Buy concentrated cleaning and soap products and reuse old bottles for refills
- Replace paper with cloth
- Eliminate products that are completely unnecessary
- Reuse containers
- Recycle everything
- Buy local food
- Conserve water
- Shop second-hand and thrift
- Drive less
- Use urban transit
- Join a CSA
- Grow a garden

I've put in bold all the things I already do.

I am a member of 2 CSA's where I get 90% of my food needs met. I get the rest from a local grocery store and when it's the right season- the local farmer's market.

I always use cloth or paper bags. I rarely, if ever, buy paper towels. I use rags to clean and a cloth napkin or dishtowel when eating at home. I use mason jars and glass Pyrex to store food and transport it for my lunches at work. I try to remember my own coffee cup when I pop into my favorite shop. I recycle everything I can. Since I didn't have a license for a period of time and I live within walking distance of almost everything I need- I only drive to work.
And I absolutely HATE plastic water bottles. I'll buy one if I'm traveling or there are no other options, but I use a Nalgene bottle daily. I try to buy local as much as possible (even when I'm out of town).

One thing I don't really agree with is buying in bulk. I find that Costco and places like that encourage us to consume more.

The one area I could try to work on more is thrifting. I've garage-saled and thrifted for household goods, but not really for clothes. However, since my Fashion Fast 2013 is still in full swing- that's not really an issue.

The other day I listened to this NPR podcast with Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed. She discusses the high cost of cheap fashion- both social and environmental costs. It occurred to me just how much a global economy can be detrimental to our sustainability. I think another area to add to 'waste', could be buying fair trade and organic clothing- preferably made local.

I know all of this sounds like a lot of work, but once you make small tweaks over time, it really becomes second nature and you see how much you are saving. Even before we went out of town for my birthday I tried to eat up all the fresh produce in my fridge and freeze what I couldn't. I even froze my remaining mixed greens in baggies and used them for smoothies the week I got back. It felt good not to waste or throw things away.

Coming up next...spending.
More to come on that one!

How do you refrain from wasting? Do you recycle or reuse? Do you use public transportation? How do you feel about buying in bulk? See any other ways I could reduce waste in my life?