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Activism Environment

Buy Nothing New for a Year

A few days ago I was looking through online January sales for DVDs, and I wondered about how much more happy and fulfilled I feel when I add more material things to my life. Not much, if at all. And this reminded me of Robert Llewellyn buying nothing for a year (about 3/4 down in this article). So I googled it and found a different website all about ‘the movement’, and this has helped me develop my own guidelines for the project:

  1. Stick to the essentials: I will obviously continue to buy food, toiletries and other essentials. But I will make an effort to keep this to a minimum. I don’t buy a lot of toiletries anyway, and rarely waste food so this shouldn’t be too difficult. But I do want to make an effort to cut out excessive packaging, reducing food miles, and possibly growing my own. I’m not very green-fingered though so I don’t want to commit to this.
  2. Support local: I will try to support locally grown food, locally made toiletries, local suppliers, and small businesses.
  3. Carry reusable products: I will keep shopping bags and a travel mug in the car, so I’m not caught short when I’m out and about.
  4. Buy services and experiences: I will continue to spend money on enrichment and entertainment, but be aware of how much ‘new’ stuff they use to provide that service and their impact on the environment. Anything that makes use of local community spaces is OK. Haircuts are OK but not too often. Concerts, museums, etc. are all OK.
  5. Buy used: I want to keep what I buy to a minimum, but if there is anything I have to buy I will try to get it used instead. I’m already pretty good at this – love charity shops and ebay – but I could be better.
  6. Borrow or share: I will check if I can borrow items that I need in the short term, and also have items available for others to borrow.

Saying this, I do have a few conditions to attach:

  • Bathroom: I have bought everything except the bath and tiles, and it would life much easier to have a shower installed and have the extra space in the spare room. The cheapest bath I can find is a new one, and this has been on my list for a year. So if I have the money I am OK with getting this sorted out.
  • Shed: Another thing that has been on my list for a long while, and it is for the wellbeing of the horses. It also has the added benefits of not using bale wrap, saving money, and generating electricity.
  • Gifts: I will try to stick to experiences instead of buying new material stuff for people, but I’ll just have to see how this goes.
  • Christmas vouchers: I still have some vouchers to spend from Christmas and if they’ll expire I will spend them within the year.
  • Amazon Prime: I haven’t decided yet whether this is classed as material stuff or a service. I don’t own the films and TV shows in my playlist, and I watch this more than my TV.

I will also use this time to try to get rid of stuff I don’t need, use or want. I’ve already turned my clothes hangers around so that I can really see what I don’t wear (and make an effort to go places in order to wear any favourites that are in danger of not being kept!). I’m going to get rid of gifts I’ve received once I’ve kept them for an appropriate length of time, which I guess is about 12 months, depending on who the gifter was. I’m going to go through all the stuff I hang on to and decide if I really need to keep it, if it is improving my life in any way. And I’m going to need to be quite ruthless as far as sentimental value goes.

Hopefully I will also use this time to get crafty again, with all the craft stuff, beads and material that is taking up space in the house.

And as a reminder of what our consumerist lifestyles lead to, here are some none-too-heart-warming photos. None of dead, suffering or misshapen animals though.

ocean tyres
Activism Disaster Management Environment First Time Farmer Photography

Resolutions 2016

I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since I last did a post about resolutions. And FYI, the last lot didn’t go that well, apart from getting a Distinction in my Masters.

So this year’s resolutions are:

  1. Clear the fields: I’m getting really fed up of all the mess taking over the hedge lines, and it will need to go if I’m going to get a shed built. Yes, the bigger stuff will need more effort and a big skip delivered, but I want to make a real effort to take at least one box of smaller crap to the town skip every week. I don’t need to get the car onto the field: I can just carry the box up to the gate. And there’s plenty of small stuff to go too.
  2. Pull ups: my general fitness has declined recently, and I would like to be stronger especially if I plan to do mounted games and want to be able to vault. So I want to be able to do pull ups. I’m pretty sure I can’t even do one at the moment. I don’t really have a goal as to how many – I’ll just see how it goes and count every extra one as a positive.
  3. Use my cameras: I have a moderately expensive DSLR camera and accessories, and now an action camera. I would very much like to make more use of them, whether that’s going out and photographing fun stuff I’m doing or just improving my skills.
  4. Get back into disasters/development: I know the chances of me getting a decent job in the field in my current situation are minute, but it is still something I’m very interested in. I spent a lot of money and time developing my knowledge and skills and it would be nice to put that to good use again. So I intend to start writing blog posts and LinkedIn posts to prove my continued interest and knowledge.
  5. Rekindle friendships: I’ve written another ‘motivational presentation’ and in it I have listed people I would consider friends, as well as close family. And I see maybe about 10% of those people on a regular basis. Which is crap. I’m always down about not having people to spend time with and friends getting coupled off; and yes, it sucks, but there are still plenty of people on that list who I could make an effort to see and I don’t.
  6. Be more positive: about 18 months ago – during one of my lethargic, apathetic, miserable periods – I started a mantra of “Woo hoo! Yeah!” for everything I did, to try to inject some enthusiasm and positivity into my life. I mean everything: vacuuming, ironing, dog walking in the rain. And it worked. Yet for some reason I stopped. So this time I’m going to make a real effort, because quite frankly, there’s a lot about my life that I would like to change, but focusing on the negative is what makes me miserable. So if I can do something simple to feel positive and enthusiastic, maybe I can find the energy to change the negatives, or at least learn to live with them a little easier.
  7. Buy nothing new for a year: I’m going to write a longer separate post on this, but basically I have a lot of stuff, it doesn’t really make me happy, and I have to pack it up and move it every time I move house, and find somewhere to put it. It’s also bad from an environmental point of view. So barring essentials, I am going to try to buy nothing new for a year.

I started well last night: I forced myself to go out, saw some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, chatted to strangers, and had a good time. And considering I flaked on climbing twice this week, I think that’s pretty positive.

But I was really hoping not to start the year fancying someone else’s boyfriend. I should find someone else to be the object of my affection. Not something that comes easily to me in my current situation.


Resolutions 2011

Yep, that time of year again. Looking back on 2010’s resolutions:

  • Become a vegan: started late and probably made a couple of errors along the way, but I’m getting better at it.
  • Reduce emissions: no idea! Heating and electric has been easy but not the car, until I moved to Newcastle in September and I’ve been walking much more.
  • Exercise more: I haven’t made a concerted effort at this. I joined the gym in uni which started out pretty well but has fallen away recently.
  • Become an activist: I have been doing more petition signing and writing to politicians and decision makers, but I could definitely do more.

And ones for 2011:

  1. Go teetotal: I did it for 14 months then stopped for no apparent reason. I’ve had a good time whilst drinking again, but I think it’s time to stop again. It was about proving I could enjoy myself without alcohol, be fun without it, and also as a rebellion against what’s expected in our drinking culture. I’m more nervous about it this time round with my new university friends, but I’m willing to give it a go.
  2. Stop torturing myself: I’m expecting (or hoping) certain people will change. And they won’t. And it’s about time for me to be honest with myself and give up on it. Just stop pretending.
  3. Work hard: So far I’m on the cusp between a first and a 2:1, and I’d really like the first. As well as the grade, the lecturers can probably do a lot for me in terms of internships and work, so I need to make the most of this time.
  4. Be an activist: I really need to do more on this. It’s who I want to be and I shouldn’t be afraid of sharing my knowledge and expressing my opinions. It’s the only way to change the world.

I’ll also be continuing the veganism, exercise, keeping my emissions down, and as always, try to blog more.


I’ve always changed my personality depending on who I’m hanging out with, but I’m really frustrated about it at the moment. In uni, I feel like I’m quite bubbly and outgoing, at least with the course group. I get along with them really well and I feel really comfortable.

But coming home, I feel quite suppressed. Is it because everyone here knows a quieter me and I feel like I would be fake if I was any different? Is it that I have more in common with the course group so it’s more comfortable?

It is a difficult group to shine in because there are so many big personalities, but I don’t want to just be the girl in the corner who laughs at everyone’s jokes. I’d like to make a few myself (difficult with so many funny people!) and bring some interesting conversation to the table.

I stopped being teetotal in March but I’m considering it as a resolution again this year. I would really hate for that to affect my personality. The aim last time was to prove I could be fun and have a good time without it, which I mostly did (although I saved the table dancing until I was drinking again). I hope I can do it again.


Resolutions 2010 – so far…

Just a quick word about my 2010 resolutions. To recap:

  1. Straight edge
  2. Welsh
  3. More money to charity
  4. More time with friends
  5. Blog more
  6. Become vegan
  7. Reduce emissions
  8. Exercise more
  9. Become an activist

(Apparently I’m not that bothered about boys anymore?)

So the first 4 are still going well. I’m doing a Welsh exam this summer – eek! #5 is going alright. I don’t have the motivation or discipline to blog as much as I’d like, but it is better than it used to be.

#6 got off to a slow start. I was ill for the first few weeks of the year and couldn’t be bothered trying to deal with that and think about being vegan. Its been just over two weeks proper though and all going well. It requires more planning than I’m used to and shopping takes longer as I have to read all the labels. But I’m not starving as people expected!

I haven’t really been actively pursuing #7 yet, but I have installed an energy monitor. I need to start #8 simply because I need to build my strength to vault and stop looking silly because I can’t! And it would be nice to have the flat stomach in the photos from Cat’s party for real!

My facebook page looked quite interesting yesterday: I went through my ‘ethical’ emails and signed up to a bunch of petitions and shared via facebook. So I guess that covers #9! I do want to blog about some of it too because just signing petitions makes me feel like a bit of a ‘passive’ activist.

The Boys thing… I think I need some ground rules more than anything. I’m not actively looking for a guy because I’m quite happy single. But I wouldn’t turn offers down unless I had a bad feeling about the person asking. So…

  1. Fun on my terms
  2. Guys must be interested in more than how I look and able to comment on more
  3. No waiting around
  4. Get shot of him of he’s not chasing me, because he would be if he was interested

Resolutions 2010

That time of year to think about resolutions again (and Christmas obviously). But first I will look back at the 2009 ones.

1. Straight edge – the no drinking has gone really well. It has become easier as the year has gone on, and I can’t see any reason to drink again, at least not in the near future. I will probably have a couple of drinks to celebrate on New Years, mostly because I have alcohol in my house to use up and they were gifts so I don’t want to give them to other people. Some ‘friends’ have even promised to get me very drunk. No smoking and no drugs has also gone fine since I didn’t do that anyway. No casual sex has improved towards the end of the year.

2. Old boys – apparently they are the only ones around! Quite a few seem to have come back around this year, and very few new ones have appeared. So it has been a bit dull this year!

3. Welsh – started classes in September.

4. Give more money to charity – I haven’t set up a regular giving scheme, but I have bought quite a few copies of the Big Issue, shopped in charity shops, given a few coins at every fundraiser we’ve had at work, and once again buying a lot of Oxfam Unwrapped gifts as Christmas presents.

5. Exercise more – not really done this one.

6. Spend more time with friends – definitely achieved. Despite spending less on night out since not drinking, I still have no money because I’m socialising much more. I’ve done loads more with my friends this year than ever before, expanded my circle of friends, and generally feel a lot happier about it.

7. Blog more – haven’t been a regular, but have posted more than previus years.

New resolutions for 2010
Along with continuing and expanding the good work of 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 above, I also intend to:

Become a vegan – I have been a vegetarian for about 14 years (also a resolution), but more recently I have become uncomfortble about these animals’ lives existing purely for our benefit, and the environmental aspects (animal farming takes up more land and more energy than plant farming).

Reduce emissions – I have signed up to 10:10 to reduce my carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. I will find some parts very easy, such as reducing heating and electricity bills as I keep these down anyway, but leaving the car behind will be difficult, especially since public transport is so ridiculously expensive around here.

Exercise more – back for 2010! It has to be cheap and carbon-efficient though. So walking and biking and riding the horses.

Become an activist – I have a lot of opinions and I read a lot of alternative media, but I don’t really pass anything on. So the plan is to lobby politicians and decision makers, inform my friends and family, and take part in events such as talks and demonstrations.

They may be more by December 31st, but that’s all I’ve got for now.


Resolutions recap

Over half way through 2009 now, so I thought I’d check out how my resolutions are going…

1. Become a straight-edge punk – no drink, no drugs, no smoking, no casual sex. Three out of four ain’t bad.

2. Leave the old boys in the past. Not going as well as I’d hoped. The one ‘old boy’ I would’ve liked to hang on to seems to have vanished. I’m speaking to the one who hurt me, but still need to find out if he’s aware that I’ve basically ignored him for most of this year.

3. Learn Welsh. It’s improving since I’m reading and hearing more in work, and I’ve signed up for lessons starting in September.

4. Give more money to charity. This’ll have to wait a little longer, until my finances are in better shape!

5. Exercise more. Definitely – I’m either riding horses, running with other people on horses, or chasing them around fields. Also done a bit of hill walking, and my bike is fixed and ready to go.

6. Spend more time with friends. I seem to have done a ‘180’ – gone from too much free time to no free time.

7. And finally, blog more. Still not as much as I’d like, but definitely more than in the past.

It’s not perfect but I’m quite happy that most of resolutions have stayed in tact thus far.


New Year’s Resolutions

I thought I’d be ill for the third new years running, but I seem to have shifted it. Huzzah! So I’m out tonight in Ruthin. Not my first choice for a big night out, but it’s who you’re with not where you are. And I thought I’d make a few resolutions too:

1. Become a straight-edge punk. This one started out as going teetotal, but then I thought I’d go all out – no drink, no drugs, no smoking, no casual sex. I’m already half way there anyway. I tried in June/July 2008, but didn’t last very long. Hopefully I’l do a bit better in 2009. (And I won’t be drinking tonight as I’ll be driving)

2. Leave the old boys in the past. Following on from my previous post, I need a clean break from them. Time to meet some new people!

3. Learn Welsh. I need a better standard of Welsh for my job, and honestly I’m quite embarrassed at how rubbish I currently am! I think I’ll start by teaching myself back up to the standard I used to be, then go to a class and hopefully get a qualification at the end.

4. Give more money to charity. This year most of my donations have been through shopping in charity shops and buying good gifts for people for Christmas. Some charities I want to support don’t have these mechanisms, so I think I’ll set up some direct debits too.

5. Exercise more. I’ve turned into a couch potato again. I know it’s mostly cuz of the weather, but I could still do indoor stuff during the winter, and then go riding when the days are longer.

6. Spend more time with friends. Now that I have most evenings and weekends free I have plenty of time to call up friends and hang out – go for meals, for drinks, to the cinema, theatre, gigs, outdoorsy stuff. Anything to get me out from in front of the TV!

7. And finally, blog more. I say this every year but I always seem to fail. But if at first you don’t succeed…