A Living Game

Waste Not is a living game, meaning that it will be updated as conditions change. Much of what we play with is static, but our lives and behaviors shift as discoveries happen. In the early 90’s all of a sudden someone is making biodegradable packing peanuts where there were none before.

Upcycled Light bulbFor many years incandescent light bulbs just had to be thrown away. With a little creativity and intention, I’ve seen those light bulbs upcycled into vases, oil lamps, and more. While I’m not sure we can really use every light bulb that will no longer cast light, removing as many as possible from the waste stream turns them into resources.

What will creativity and innovation bring tomorrow? I certainly don’t know. That’s the best part of having a game that can be updated to reflect change. The text descriptions can be added to as players write back with their ideas, and as science makes progress.

Progress towards zero waste may one day mean that the understanding of our cycling process is simply understood and products are designed with this in mind. But until we get to that point we need to build and play with the understandings that are a part of the cycle. For example, there is no away. The food system is not a pyramid and more of a circle, or really many circles.

Supporting Waste Not on Indiegogo from now until March helps to raise awareness and help move society towards zero waste. That’s pretty awesome of you!

<3

PS The Earth said to say ‘Thanks a bunch!’
PSS In the next update: Film bags and technovomit…

Redefining the Heroine

Traditionally the hero/ine was the achetype that comes in and saves the day when something has gone wrong or justice needs to be done.

To me, through the lens of sustainability and environmental justice, a heroine is a support for people who know they need help.   She enables organizations and groups of citizens, through facilitation and training, to create a better world for themselves. A better world which is based on the shared values and culture of the community and not what someone else thinks they should be. Continue reading “Redefining the Heroine”

Eastern States Exposition: The Big E

Last year my first year at the BIG E and since I could not muster up the desire to attend again this year, it might just be my last unless some changes are made.

The Big E is an awesome opportunity to reach out and share some of what is truly special about New England.  Music, arts, goods grown and made here, could all be featured in such a way to generate revenue, and encourage additional tourism and ‘local holidays.’ Continue reading “Eastern States Exposition: The Big E”

Christmas Wish List

This year on my wish list for Christmas is for my loved ones to spend less money on me, since buying new gifts can be unnecessarily financially draining.

In order to receive this gift of less waste, I let my family know that used items in good condition would be happily accepted.  I find it fascinating what can be found for free if you just ask. On the internet, Freecycle enables people to connect about items they have and need.  Taking the initiative to be open with those you know about what your needs are could potentially turn up that perfect gift lightly or entirely unused and in storage.

I think it is great when my family can trade, barter, or find someone giving away what they otherwise would have to buy.  This wish of mine also spurred me to look through my own belongings for lightly used items that I no longer or never have used.

Me, a long time ago
Me, a long time ago

Other thoughts on a more sustainable and earth-friendly holiday.

Gift Wrap:

  1. Wrapping gifts in reusable bags which the recipient can either keep, give back or pass along to another person in need
  2. Opting to not wrap gifts at all (can be challenging if you don’t know the person well)
  3. Wrapping in old newspaper or paper bags and then coloring or painting on any additional decoration or adding a simple ribbon.

Turn around or go with the flow?

Life is like this. Often you think the only choice is to stop and return the way you came. Going with the flow and trying a different approach may be the best option. Trying something new when faced with situations as they arise is not a bad idea. Sometimes you find more efficient way of dealing with a problem than what past habits allowed.

Don’t forget what Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So go ahead and try a new approach. Be creative. (But safe too!)

I live nearly at the end of a street and on the left so that when I am driving home I habitually end up facing away from the direction in which I want to be pointed when I leave.

Eventually I realized that I have two choices, I can either do a three point turn (Option A), or I can continue another 200 feet and go around to the next block that will take me to where I need to go (Option B.)

Option A stops my car in its tracks, twice, potentially slows down the road, is difficult when there are a lot of other cars parked on the narrow street, and is generally annoying.

Option B takes the same amount of time, doesn’t block the road, and allows me to continue in a a way that feels unhindered.

Actually, there is an Option C as well, which combines the ease of Option B and adds the convenience of being pointed in the direction I want to be when I am leaving. That would simply be turning one street early and going around the block on the way in.

Was there a point to this? Yup, I now know a more efficient way to park my car and to think about problems or annoyances.

Of course, I could always go with Option D and park the car in the driveway…

Branded!

Over the years I have read Adbusters, participated in TV turn off week, and generally avoided brands. I prefer to shop locally. I prefer to find great independent clothing designers, such as those that can be found on Stars and Infinite Darkness, who are more often in line with my beliefs that the larger companies. My look is more unique because of this. Spending my money this way makes me happy because I feel like I am supporting a more diverse marketplace. I am the last person that you would expect to see wearing all the ‘latest’ fashion trends. Granted there are some things that currently can’t be purchased unbranded or lesser known because of functionality and quality, just like not every community can currently produce for all of its needs.

While helping out at the StartingBloc 2009 Institute for Social Innovation, the fellows and volunteers received a number of items. The one that caught my attention the most was from Terracycle; it was their Reusable Target Bag. Very cool concept- it is made out of multiple layers of old Target plastic bags that were pressed with heat. Should it rip in the future it can go back into their system and be fixed. Love the concept, but I would be less likely to use it because of the very visible and prominent branding. I did take the bag because I give away reusable bags that I collect over time to people who need them. I figured I would give it away.

Upcycled Target bag by Terracycle
Upcycled Target bag by Terracycle

Before I could give it away, one day it was the only bag in the car and I had to use it or take new plastic bags from the store. I felt self-conscious walking into the grocery store with a bright red and white bag on my arm, literally covered in targets. Walking up to the register the cashier made a comment about it being deer season, and we started talking. From there I was able to talk about Terracycle and the great things that they are doing with upcycled materials, the importance of buying local, why it is a good thing to reuse bags and rethink waste, et cetera. With what was initially something I dreaded, I found that I was able to initiate a conversation on a topic that I am passionate about and get more awareness out to someone because of the branding. My discomfort with the brand was greatly lessened by the more comfortable ease into an important conversation.

So while I will still support Adbusters, buy local, and stay as unbranded as possible, I appreciate the opportunity that that experience gave me. I have Terracycle to thank for that.

From this experience I take the lesson that if you are trying to get a message out, it helps to meet people part way and allow them to ask instead of preaching at them. This instance indicates to me that conversation is enabled when you are living lightly in a friendly manner. What do I mean by friendly? I mean acting in a way that allows for an opening for the questions to be asked. And what does that mean? Well, I think we need to really think about how we present ourselves and our opinions. If the way I present myself is off-putting, it makes those ideas more off-putting. Consider what this means for the expansion of going green, being sustainable and saving the environment.