I started blogging for a variety of personal, practical, and philosophical reasons. On the practical side, I thought that if I had a way to keep track of what I was doing, I would be able to see some trends and better reflect on how not buying anything new was affecting my life. I also thought that having readers would help me stay accountable and give me additional ideas. Furthermore, I felt that my particular circumstances weren't represented by the voices I was finding out there. I had the (largely unfounded) perception that most of the people doing non-consumerist experiments were either really extreme peak oil/freegan/activist people or rural families who had nothing better to do. I wanted to try a moderate experiment without the benefit of a book deal or partner supporting me. What would not-buying do to the life of a struggling artist and day-job worker who lived alone in New York City?
Not a lot - and a whole lot, as it turns out. The largest impact it's had on my life is becoming aware of all the people out there doing personal environmental experiments, who both write a lot or absolutely nothing about it. I googled something about junk mail in February 2007, trying to figure out how to still the incessant Anthropologie and J. Crew catalogs. One of the first things that came up was Colin Beavan's blog, which I was delighted to find right as he started to write. He did a bunch of media appearances around that time and suddenly thousands of people were reading his blog, making comments, and connecting to each other. It was pretty amazing to witness - and be a part of. I was introduced to tons and tons of approaches and voices - and quickly got overwhelmed by the cacophony. Every blog I went to had a million links and a million commenters - and everyone is so nice and helpful!
A few voices have stood out from the rest. I'm sensitive to self-importance, extremism, and a lack of perspective on the fact that all of this "personal environmental action" is ultimately a privilege. The following writers - and yes, they're almost all women, definitely a subject for more investigation - largely avoid these traps. I've really enjoyed these bloggers' stories and insights, and I hope you will too.
Arduous stopped buying stuff in August 2007 and is now moving to London, where she'll continue her ambitious green adventures. She's around my age, funny, realistic, and has great taste!
Green as a Thistle - I caught on to the Green as a Thistle craze kinda late in the game. Vanessa in Toronto made one lower-impact change every day over the course of a year, from March 2007 to March 2008. It's really fun to see her go from completely uninformed to low-impact expert as her experiment continues. The funny, low-key writer isn't single anymore, but since she (mostly) stopped writing when the year was done, I'm including the Single Green Female here.
Gee whiz there are a ton of "green moms" out there but the best is Crunchy Chicken, who seems to have limitless reserves of energy and good ideas. She's raunchy, irreverent, and clearly passionate about everything she does. She doesn't actually write about her kids that much, which might be one of the reasons I've stayed a consistent reader.
I've also been really impressed by burbanmom's humor and generosity - she recently started an online group for suburban moms wanting to make consuming/environmental changes, hosting challenges and putting people in touch with each other. I'll confess I haven't read a ton of her posts, but I read a lot of her comments and like her down-to-earth style.
Greenpa - Finally a dude! I know very little about this guy but his comments on other blogs are funny and on point, and I really appreciate the perspective of someone who actually gave up the work-to-spend wheel for real and doesn't pretend his farm is utopia. His view is a total one, including rants about finance and the media with posts about dogs and chickens and hay equipment - which are, of course, related.
New Voices (I haven't been reading them for very long but I'm liking them so far!)
La Marguerite - great analysis!
Greeen Sheeep - she's just started blogging, and I think it will be fun to listen to her views develop.
I hope you enjoy looking around and I look forward to when real "other" voices emerge in the green blogosphere. (If it ever happens!)