The Gig is Up: A Year of Green Steps is Over


A year ago Vanessa Farquharson drove a car, shopped in the big stores, used Kleenex, was 5'-2" tall and 200 pounds and lived like everyone else. Then she started a her project to "spend each day, for an entire calendar year, doing one thing that betters the environment." Like No Impact Man, she blogged about it daily at Green As a Thistle. Some steps were small and easy (like getting a rain barrel) some were big (like getting rid of the car) some were controversial (like unplugging the fridge) and some were just silly as she got desperate toward the end. (C'mon, now. Haiku?)vanessa-with-car.jpgNonetheless it is a remarkable achievement and has changed her life. She is happier without a car but misses kleenex; she may not bother turning on her fridge but is screwing out the CFL in her bedroom and putting back an incandescent. Vanessa comes to three conclusions:

1) In order to be truly green, we need to maintain a constant awareness of everything we do, use, eat and throw away, everywhere we go and how we get there, what we buy, why we buy it and what happens when we don’t need it anymore.

2) Ironically, the greenest way to live is in the gray area. We can’t possibly take this movement to the next level when we’re still bickering about whether so-and-so is an environmentalist or not. Who cares?...but don’t beat yourself up over that Starbucks latte or a few sweaters you got on sale at H&M.; There’s no point in trying to be so absolute about whether or not you’re officially green; just determine your own value system, try to make your choices accordingly and allow yourself occasional slip-ups because, well, pobody’s nerfect.

3) Lastly, and again, this really is nothing new, but seriously people: Stop buying crap. You don’t need it. In fact, you don’t even want it — you think you do, you want to be like that pretty girl in the commercial who has it, but it’s crap, it’s all crap, and you’re better off without it.

Congratulations to Vanessa Farquharson for 366 days of small steps that added up to a very big leap. ::Green As A Thistle
top photo credit Catherine Farquharson

Tags: Toronto


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