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Other voices

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.

Single Chixx

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.

Wackos (affectionately)

Beth from Fake Plastic Fish goes in this category because anyone swearing off plastic is nuts.  It's so hard to do, and so time consuming (I imagine) - and I tend to think the end of plastic will happen anyway, as petroleum becomes more and more scarce.  But Beth's getting the party started early, with letters to every company imaginable and her awesome Take Back the Filter campaign. 

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!)

Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at 07:09PM by Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf | Comments5 Comments

Reader Comments (5)

Thanks for including me among these other awesome bloggers, Megan. I too came to be part of this whole world after hearing Colin on the radio, checking out his blog, and then following his links to all the others already blogging about their personal eco adventures. I'm honored to have you call me a wacko!

August 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Terry


Thanks for including me! I feel honored . . . Love the idea of your blog, and also how good it feels to just visit. You have created a really nice virtual space.

Looking forward to more mutual visiting in the future.

one year! that's a long time . . . :)

August 31, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermarguerite manteau-rao

Wow! Thanks so much for including me in your list! I think we all agree that Colin has done many great things with his No Impact experiment. But perhaps his greatest acheivement was one he never expected -- connecting like minded folks to one another.

Oh yeah, and thanks for not calling me a wacko. I get enough of that from the people I live with. :-)

Thanks, Megan!

September 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBurbanmom

You're welcome, ladies! Thanks for putting so much quality stuff out there -


September 1, 2008 | Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf

PS. Burbanmom - I'm always so amazed when I hear this. (And I read about it often!) The people in New York City are so CRAZY that the term "wacko" is generally reserved for people who are really out there - like visibly hanging on to reality by a tiny fingernail (or not!). It is not generally deployed for people who re-use plastic bags or bike around town or refuse the SUV. The people who call those people wackos are themselves wackos with way too little going on in their lives. Send 'em to NYC to check out the real wackos. If your kids are calling you "wacko," well, fear not - they will probably call you worse!

September 1, 2008 | Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf

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