No Impact Week Starts Today

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The Huffington Post and Colin Beavan, No Impact Man, have announced a No Impact Week, starting today. A lot of folks are taking a pledge to go on a week-long “carbon cleanse” in order to reduce our individual impacts on the planet, both for its sake and for ours. According to the HuffPo:

The week is not about strict rules or precisely replicating No Impact Man (unless you want to!) it’s about thinking about your environmental impact in a new way and picking the goals that are right for you.

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You can download a terrific guide to No Impact Week, or any week. It’s packed with simple suggestions that will really get you thinking about small changes you can make immediately to lower your impact on our planet’s store of natural resources and help your own budget and health in the process.

Ideas include: Making your own cleaning products to cut down on toxins and packaging waste, kicking bottled water and getting involved with the Take Back the Tap campaign, driving less and also differently with the Hypermilers to reduce fuel consumption, and following specific ideas to help you shop less and eat sustainably and locally, including ways to make the food you do buy last longer.

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To that last point, the processing and transporting of food around the globe uses tremendous amounts of water, energy and chemicals. By eating organically and locally, when we can, we each can shrink our own carbon footprint in this area, and probably eat more healthfully (and support local farmers) in the process.

The National Resources Defense Council has created a terrific and fun-to-use site that lets you plug in your state and one of 24 times of the year to find out what you can eat that’s relatively local. Some cold-weather states offer a surprising amount of food choices for year-round eating. In other cases, there’s not as much grown locally, but there are fresh offerings in neighboring states.

This Planet Green site on 50 Ways to Reduce Food Waste is another practical site that will not only get you thinking, but offers ways to change your habits today.

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I signed up for the No Impact Project. I didn’t sign a big, intense pledge. I just volunteered to give it a go and receive updates about the project. I committed to myself that I would follow the guide for the week, which will take me through gradually making some changes — perhaps strengthening or deepening practices I already have. If you’re inclined, join me, and we’ll talk about how it’s going.

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Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman: Pedal-powered smoothies at the Mill Valley Eat In for healthy school lunches, Rainwater harvesting at Fairfax EcoFest and Parade, salad at M.V. Eat In, sign at San Francisco Ferry Building, composting and plastic waste display at Fairfax EcoFest and Parade, produce at City Market in Portland.

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