New Year’s Resolutions, Sustainability, and the Birds

There was an article, “It’s Not That Hard to Buy Nothing” in the New York Times today about Elizabeth Chai who, at the end of 2019, before the pandemic, made a resolution “she would not buy anything in 2020, with the exception of food, coffee, toiletries (if she ran out of something essential) and the occasional service like a haircut. She would resist the urge to add to her wardrobe or to buy anything material for her home.” At the same time, she also vowed to sell 2,020 items. These actions were inspired by Chai wanting to live a more sustainable life.

Chai, of course, would not have known that the pandemic would happen and that everyone’s lives would be turned upside down. Even so, she continued with her plan to donate or sell things that she no longer needed or wanted. She came up with a plan. If there was something she wanted, she would put that item on a list and if, at the end of the year, she still wanted it, she would treat herself. She said she learned, “…temptations fade surprisingly fast.”

2020 was an exceptional year for many of us. Like Ms Chai, I spent my time at home. I was teaching my very last university class while researching and writing about the environmental impact of ceramics. At the same time I began to understand more fully the human impact on non-humans and it upset me. Greta Thunberg says that we can each have a profound difference – I hope so.

So for 2021 I will use Ms Chai’s example. Like her, I have lived within the walls of my home and over time have noticed what I need and how many things I have accumulated over time. I will not purchase any new clothes or shoes, no material objects for my home, and no new toiletries until I completely run out of items. At the same time, I plan to begin selling off my ceramics collection and my books. Monies raised from the sale of books will be donated to help wildlife in need.

Stay tuned and wish me luck! Ms Chai said that she felt so good about living in a scaled down environment and donating things. She also realized how much money she saved by simply not buying. She had a fantastic idea. Maybe you would like to join me in my pledge to now buy anything new in 2021.

NOTE: The Shino fluted bowl is by Warren Mackenzie and it might be the first vessel to be sold. I am looking at two commercial galleries to manage the pieces that I have.

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