I recently read an article about sustainable living which challenged readers not to buy anything new for a year. Any goods readers did acquire had to be second-hand, exchanged, or recycled in some way. At the time of reading the article I have to confess it made me chuckle, not because the ‘challenge’ was not a noble one, or even a sensible one.
But that it was a challenge at all.
Having lived out of a suitcase for the past 9 months and getting by on a shoestring budget, I instantly thought to myself that this was exactly what I had been doing.
After all when did I last buy myself anything new? Does last week ring any bells?
An excellent example of deletion if ever there was one. And we all do it.
The device I am currently writing on is not second-hand or recycled in any shape or form, neither are the trainers I bought just the other day (admittedly the old ones literally walked themselves to the bin). The more I thought about it, numerous other examples of ‘little purchases’ popped into my head, all of which were neither recycled nor second-hand.
No, I had not been living anywhere near a sustainable lifestyle at all.
Once we become aware of our actions and start living consciously we can change our world for the better. But first we need to wake up to what we are doing to the planet and to ourselves.
Like most of us I am not immune from the short lived euphoria of purchasing the latest trendy footwear or gadget. But these things do not make us any happier in the long run and are certainly not a measure of our worth. They are false idols which turn out to be hollow. And it is this constant form of consumerism which is killing the earth.
Thankfully, there are plenty of people who do live sustainable lifestyles and I take my hat off to them. Some are fortunate enough to be in a position to grow their own food.
Growing your own food and living off the land is actually very hard work. It is not the tranquil idyll that is sometimes sold to us. But even so, it does not mean it is not worth it. For plenty of people in Hungary, where we currently live, this is the norm.
They have not lost the skills that some of us in other countries have; the ability to live off the land, to recycle, to make do and mend.
So over the next few months, I may well just put my money where my mouth is. It will be all hands to the deck to transform part of our land into what it is there for. To nurture, to love, and to respect. And hopefully in part to live off. I also vow to become more aware of what I spend my money on, if at all.
If we all just did one small thing; imagine what we could achieve.
For more information on sustainable living click here to visit Frugally Sustainable.