Anyhow, since I'm curious about others, I figured you might be curious about me. It's been almost a year since I finished my non-consumer challenge, and a year since I stopped taking on monthly challenges. So how has my life changed?
Let's go through, challenge by challenge, shall we?
In November of 2007, I committed to my silliest and first challenge: purging my shoe collection. The good news is, I now own only seven pairs of shoes that I wear all the time. The bad news is, because I own so few pairs of shoes, I wear them out quickly. I already have plans to leave some shoes behind here and I will likely have to replace them fairly soon.
The challenge that has fallen most by the wayside is definitely my December of 2007 challenge to not eat fast food or pre-packaged meals. There are a number of reasons for it, including the fact that I have a teeny tiny kitchenette and very few kitchen utensils, but I suppose the main reason is that I got lazy. But I'm hoping that things will change when I move. If not, I may just have to retake the challenge all over again!
In January of 2008 I decided to rid myself of paper towels, kleenex, napkins, toilet paper and tampons. The paper towels are still gone as are the tampons, and I still don't use tp for numero uno when I'm at home. But, I do sometimes slip up and take a napkin if I'm at a restaurant. And I do use the recycled toilet paper to blow my nose because I never really boarded the handkerchief bandwagon.
In February of 2008, I decided to rid myself of my crap. Well, what with the transatlantic move, I now have a lot less stuff. So I'm not too worried about this one anymore.
In March of 2008, I became an armchair activist. I no longer sign e-petitions, or write letters to companies, or do any of those things. On the other hand, my dissertation is essentially about civil society environmental activism, so maybe my research on environmental activism balances out the fact that I don't sign e-petitions? I don't know.
In April of 2008, I started taking public transit to work. It was an ordeal. I had to walk two miles to the subway and then take the subway to the bus. It turned my 20 minute commute into an hour-plus commute. Now? I don't own a car, I rarely even take public transit, and my carbon footprint has plummeted accordingly. But, as I remarked to Chile yesterday, this is more a function of the city I live in, than anything else. And as it should be, because, as I've mentioned before, living car-free should not be a challenge. (Though if you do want to take a car-free challenge, now is your chance to join Chile and friends.)
In May of 2008, I decided to try out the local food thang. While I quickly gave up on being a total locavore (I have a bad need for mangoes), I still enjoy shopping at farmers' markets and aim to buy local at the supermarket.
In June of 2008, I decided to give more of myself. Well, now that I'm in school again, I have zero money. So I don't give money really at all ever, but I do try and give of myself in other ways ... helping friends, reading other people's essays, etc.
And in July, I reached the zenith of my eco-nuttiness by going pseudo freegan with Megan! But once July ended, I promptly said no thank you to freeganism and I don't anticipate ever going back.
And finally, of course, there was my one year challenge to not buy any new stuff. And a year out ... well, I have bought some new stuff: new shoes, socks, undergarments, some other clothes, an external hard drive or two (one got stolen), some books. But mostly, I've stuck to buying used: used dishes, kitchen utensils and a TV for my apartment, I found a totally awesome winter coat for 5 pounds at a charity shop, and I tried as much as I could to buy used books. When I traveled, I've shopped a lot less than I used to, opting to use my photos as souvenirs instead. Given that I have very little money, I haven't had much of an opportunity to splurge much, and I've made good use of the library, borrowed things from friends, and done without a lot of other things.
So over all, I need to get back in gear with the cooking. I need to re-kick my addiction to Diet Coke. I need to work more on ridding myself of wasteful plastic. And one day, ONE DAY, I shall compost.
But over all, I am maybe not doing so bad.
I'll keep you updated.