On November 25, Thanksgiving, I posted Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day. Make it Buy Nothing Season. Give the gift of your presence and attention. Most Americans consider the next day Black Friday, a day to buy things. I consider it Buy Nothing Day, a day to buy nothing.
I ended up buying something Thanksgiving, which prompted me to consider going for longer than one day and try to make it a Buy Nothing Season and to buy nothing material besides food for December or so.
Technically, I planned to travel over New Years, so I bought train tickets and two Covid testing kits, which are material things, but the event I was planning for got canceled so I returned them. Amtrak kept twenty-five percent but the store refunded me fully for the testing kits. You can judge for yourself if the refund restores my not buying anything. I’ll take it.
In any case, from November 25 to February 18 is a week shy of three months sober. I bought food in that time, plus tickets to a show I’ll see in March, and paid my bills, but didn’t buy anything material. Even with the food, since I started volunteering bringing food grocers were going to through away to a community place where anyone can get it, since part of their deal with volunteers is we get some of the food, I’ve been getting a bunch of food for volunteering, saved from landfills. I should write more about that cause. Look for it in a future post.
What I bought: portable solar panels (used off of Craigslist, of course)
I’d been looking for used solar panels on Craigslist for the battery I bought last year to try to take my apartment off the electric grid for a month. As usual with my experiments in sustainability like avoiding packaged food, avoiding flying, and unplugging the refrigerator, I can’t foresee exactly how to pull it off, only that I won’t die if I try. I’ve learned that trying leads me to solve the problems that analyzing and planning without acting leaves unsolved.
After months of waiting, I found someone selling these 200-Watt solar panels. Now I’m set to try that month. I already tested that the battery will power the pressure cooker for a batch of my famous no-packaging vegan stew. I know it will power my computer, phone, and floor lamp. I think I can do it. I may have to carry the battery and panels up and down eleven flights to the roof a few times to store enough energy. Maybe I’ll eat more raw food.
Look for future posts on my how I pull it off.
Here’s the battery:
By the way, I’m tagging this post as “art,” because motivating this project is aesthetics. My joy of nature stems from its beauty when unpolluted. I pursued the PhD in physics for several reasons, but discovering greater and deeper beauty in nature was probably the top. Buying solar equipment and using solar energy still pollutes, but 1) I’m not done yet and 2) I want to help others see how much less energy they can use overall. Polluting less in a culture that values polluting more is performance art. If you don’t consider what I’m doing beautiful, I’d love to hear how to hurt people less better.
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