Jen’s Green Challenge

I’m really happy and excited to announce a new project that I’m putting together for my blog…Jen’s Green Challenge!!

Last week, Chris and I watched a documentary called “No Impact Man“. Basically, this guy, Colin Beaven, went one year leaving as little impact on the Earth as possible. He and his wife gave up every day things that we normally take advantage of. Some examples were:

-Living without electricity
-Eating and purchasing only local food
-Giving up on using paper products
-Biking or walking as transportation rather than using transportation that requires fuel
-Not buying any NEW products (only buying used or recycled)
-Not buying any products with packaging (buying foods in bulk, only, in reusable containers) in order to reduce waste

Colin said, “The fact of the matter is that if only I change, it’s not going to make a difference, but the hope is that if each of us as individuals change, it’s going to inspire everybody to change. So I believe the most radical political act there is, is to be an optimist. The most radical political act there is, is to believe that if I change, other people will follow suit.”

Which, I think is pretty inspiring and well said. Even though his changes were really radical (I would never give up electricity completely–I would just be more conscious of turning lights off when leaving room, etc.) I think this film really makes us think of our actual impact on our environment. Every LITTLE thing helps. Even if it is only one person doing it–hopefully this person will inspire others to do so as well. We only have one Earth, so we need to protect it!

Chris had this input: “Even if you think Colin was crazy giving up everything, the point is to not give up everything, but to analyze what you do NOW and think about how we can scale it back and be just a little more friendly to the earth. Also, the point is to do things that make life less comfortable. Thomas Friedman (in his book “Hot, Flat & Crowded“) makes a great point about how people think we’re in a “green revolution”, but it’s more like a “green party” because a true “green revolution” would involve people sacrificing, people hurting, drastic changes in lifestyle for the good of the future. So we need to emphasize just how drastic we need to be. I think when we do without paper products and bottled water, that will be a pretty good test. We want it to be challenging, not just “oh I will try to use resuable bags when I go to the grocery store.” We want the same dedication that Jen had when she wanted to lose weight.” So well said!

Chris actually came up with the idea for my challenge, so I give him the most credit. He also told me I need to live up to my blog name! Each month, I’m going to decide ONE thing I’m going to do to become more sustainable. I’m starting October 1st, and Chris is going to do the challenge with me. This challenge is going to last ONE year. I also encourage my readers to partake in this challenge also!

I made a nifty little button you can stick onto your sidebar, linking back to my Green Challenge Post if you’d like to!


Challenge #1 – October 1, 2010 – October 1, 2011

For one year, only purchase only wine or beer from whatever state I am in. In other words, since I live in New York State, the only beer or wine I purchase will be produced here. But, if I’m in another state on vacation or visiting, I will be allowed to buy that state’s beer or wine. Does that many sense? I have a few bottles of wine that I’ve bought already that aren’t local–but I can still drink them since I’ve purchased them before starting this challenge. The beer or wine I buy from now on will have to be made in New York State.

Why one year? In Chris’ words: “Each month we do something that lasts a year so it builds gradually, hits a peak and then tapers off. Hopefully, at the end we will actually decide that we don’t need to stop at the end of the year.”

Why is this going to be a challenge for us? For one, we normally don’t think about where our beverages come from. We order whatever is on the menu at a restaurant or whatever we see at the beverage center or liquor store that looks good to us. We like to try different types of wines from distant lands! Do we ever stop to think about how far these items have traveled to get here? We will have to think twice about what we consume and where it comes from. To me, just knowing that my wine has come from a vineyard in New York State makes me feel a bit better…that it hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to get to me.

So, who is with me? Leave me a comment saying if you’d like to participate. It would be much appreciated! I will start a page with a link to your blog. BTW, you don’t need a blog to partake in the challenge. And every month I will post the new challenge for the year. πŸ™‚

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  1. Jen~ What a great idea! I’m in!!!! I don’t drink enough beer (maybe too much wine) so for the month of Oct. I vow to not purchase one bottle of water (not that I buy a lot anyways, but one is one too many!) And only NY wine =)

  2. This is so inspiring!!! I’m going to watch the documentary and also speak with the hubsters on what we can do for this challenge. It’s so true how we don’t even notice how un-“green” we are! People think being green means putting empty water bottles into recycling bins but that’s not it! Being green is trying to have no waste at all, recycle everything (and by recycle I mean reuse). Take those water bottles and donate them to a Kindergarten class for plant projects, grow your own herbs, do something! I think this is great and I’m with ya!!

  3. I am going to think about it. Hard for me to say definite as I just don’t know. That said, I can recommend some great NYS wines and beers for you!!

  4. Jen – i am so excited that you are doing this challenge! And i agree that the idea to start one a month that each last a year is a great idea, too! i love the building effect!

    And i love the october challenge especially! way to go! πŸ™‚

  5. At least you aren’t giving up beer and wine completely. In Colorado we have one of the largest collection of local microbreweries – so I wouldn’t really suffer if I took on that challenge. By the way, I love your blog and I find it pretty inspiring. I’ve nominated it for a token award. You can find it here:

  6. Hi Jen

    What a great idea. I dont drink. so for me i think that i will only bake with ny state apples,fruits and veggie. or what ever state that i will be in. so canning and making our own jellies and jams would be a great thing, so girls lets get going. My mom did it and i am sure that someone in your family did it, mom, grandma. it can be a little hard. but its fun, and you can do it. (homemade)

  7. Jen this is an awesome idea and really lives up to your blog title.

    I can’t participate in this one challenge but I’m looking forward to the other green ideas you come up with.

    You are making such a great commitment and it will be amazing!

  8. Water usage – flush less, get rain barrels, stop watering your lawn.

    This summer, I put in a rain garden. They’re supposed to absorb water that would otherwise run into the storm sewers, but this was such a dry summer, I don’t know how much difference it made.

    And I started making some yogurt, instead of buying a lot of yogurt in plastic containers.

    I won’t be blogging myself, but I’ll keep following you, Jen!

  9. I’m definitely joining this challenge!! Challenge #4 is the one that definitely hooked me!
    In high school, I did a lot of research on environmental issues, and when I learned that cattle farming and meat production had such a significant negative impact, I decided to stop eating beef or pork entirely, and limit my consumption of poultry and fish. I’ve eaten this way for over 20 years. I’d like to try going vegan once a week!
    Rachel (Moxie Mama) recently posted..Hello world!

  10. This challenge seems great πŸ™‚ I might tweek some of the challenges to better suit me though! I need my news in the morning, so I’ll be turning off the tv after 8am every week day!

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