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July 22, 2011


How did we reduce our consumption??

Andree' didn't buy anything except snaps and a couple other things for a project she has been working on to make reusable bags and some other DIY projects her family is working on. The reusable bags work just like zip lock bags and are great for bringing your lunch or snacks with you. At the office we are all testing our bags to see how they hold up in the wash and with different foods etc. If all goes well, there will be some auctioned off at the Bash! We'll keep you updated! The purchases that Andree' did make went towards projects to make her and her family less consumptive in the future:

I also had to buy ear plugs for my daughter who had tubes put in her ears, and Joe had to buy a couple parts for his VW (but, he went to the pick and pull and got them used rather than new!).
Overall I think we did pretty well with our week. We do have a list of things we need to buy for our upcoming vacation though...

Charice was pleased at the little impact that no consumption week had on her wallet although there were a few humps that she had to get over:

1. Meals- Planning and packing for me! I have been planning my meals the night before to take the next day. It doesn't take that much time and I even created a new recipe for potato salad. See below! A small problem that I encountered was the bulky packaging. I ride my bike so, I carry everything in my backpack. I try to use packaging that is reusable but, it tends to be bulky and take up a lot of room in my pack. Luckily Andree's reusable cloth food containers fit right in my bag - problem solved. Thanks Andree'!

Not your Mama's potato salad

6-10 Red potatoes
3/4 cups -Greek Oikos yogurt
1/2- red onion diced
tsp- truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste
extra- add cilantro

Boil potatos and mash to your likeing. Personally, I like bigger pieces of potatoes. Then add Greek yogurt, diced red onions, truffle oil, salt and pepper(and cilantro if you're up for it) mix all together.

2. Social life- Hanging out. My friends all wanted to go to the climbing gym on Wednesday night. My membership expired so, I would have to pay an entrance fee. I suggested a bike ride up city creek. We were able to enjoy a beautiful summer's night and a good work out.

3. My purchase-- face wash. I ride my bike practically everywhere so, I get sweaty often and I wear makeup- this was one purchase I couldn't go without.

"I really enjoyed the no consumption week and I hope to continue with packing and planning my meals as well as, choosing a couple of activities per week that involve no spending."

Maria also enjoyed a week that was easy on her wallet, but did give in to bring a friend out to dinner at Omar's Rawtopia. At least it was raw, organic food. She has also been making use of Andree's reusable bags to bring lunch to work. At USEE we tend to enjoy our lunches while catching some hot direct afternoon sun right outside out office. Maria also enjoyed a (mostly) consumption free camping trip to Southern Utah.

We brought all of our own food with us and enjoyed cooking over the campfire. We discovered an interesting treat of roasting Starbursts and putting them between two Nilla waffers.

There's every reason to be skeptical, but they were great! We also enjoyed banana boats and traditional s'mores.

Although it was a purchase, my favorite part of no consumption week was the purchase of a perfectly good light brown sweater that I got from a little thrift store in Green River while camping. Yes it was shopping but at 20 cents, it certainly will make me think twice about my future purchases!

Aaron enjoyed a consumption free biking trip:

Ironically, going out to enjoy nature is usually a highly consumptive activity. Every time we go camping, boating or trekking, we end up destroying or diminishing the very things we set out to find. We drive hundreds of miles to pretty places to start our trips, and in our adventuring wake we leave a stream of waste that could otherwise have been avoided. Most people take disposable plates and utensils camping, buy bottled water because they'll be away from a tap, consume disposable fuel canisters for camp stoves, build bonfires that contribute enormously to air pollution, etc. Anyone who has been camping knows what I'm talking about. Hypocritically, environmentalists to go great lengths to experience nature, and as a by-product they wreck exactly what they strive for.

But not me. As part of no-consumption week, I would experience nature without doing it any harm! And so begins the Impact Free Bicycle Naturescapade.

So I left at around 5:00 on Saturday, from my home near the U of U, to ride my bicycle out to the Great Salt Lake and spend an evening watching the sun set over the water. Never mind that I don't have an effective setup for bicycle touring; It's no consumption week and I need to go adventuring with the stuff I already own. So I just rode my racing bicycle, while wearing a large overnight pack I usually take backpacking. This turned out to be massively uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

My bike's front-pitched aerodynamic riding position did not mesh well with wearing a pack, and by the end of the 25 mile ride, my entire body was excruciatingly sore. I had to exert my back muscles to keep the extra weight upright, giving me a sore back, and the extra weight put more pressure on my feet and butt as I rode, giving me even more additional pain to the already strenuous ride. As for the strenuous ride, a big backpack doesn't really help that either. The pack was not in any way aerodynamic, and its weight meant extra heft to push around. So this all added up to a very trying bike ride, and by any measure the trip should have been a failure.

So why did I have such an awesome time? The trial made it worth it. Would I have been more comfortable driving to the lake and car-camping? Most definitely. Would I have been more comfortable riding a touring bike with panniers? Oh yes. But I'm equally sure I would not have had any more fun, and that makes all the difference. Giving up consumption is not always easy, but it is almost always worth it. We trick ourselves into thinking we need a lot more things than we really do, but what's important is being happy with whatever we have.

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