Consume Less, Help the Environment

The Freecycle Network

by Fabio Palves
sustainabilitylogo1In march 1989, the Exxon Valdez struck a reef off the coast of Alaska, resulting in the largest oil spill in US history. Initially viewed as an ecological disaster, this catastrophe did wonders to raise environmental awareness among average Americans. As television images of oil-choked sea otters and dying shorebirds were beamed across the country, pop environmentalism grew into a national craze.

Instead of conserving more ant consuming less, however, many Americans sought to save the Earth by purchasing “environmental” products. Energy efficient home appliances flew of the shelves, health-food sales boomed, and reusable canvas shopping bags became vogue in strip malls. Credit card companies began to earmark a small percentage of profits for conservation groups, thus encouraging consumers to “help the environment” by striking off an idealistic shopping binges.

exxonSuch shopping sprees and health food purchases did very little to improve the state of the planet, of course – but most people managed to feel a little better about the situation without having to make any serious lifestyle changes.

Of course, it is extremely complicated to make our society to suddenly changes its lifestyle. We can’t pressure companies and government for great changes if we don’t do something about it. If we keep buying more and more things, industry is going to keep its mass production and any effort to improve our environment will prove to be not effective.

And when I say society, I really mean everybody, including aiesecers. Just think about the things you have and the things you bought the last month. Were they really essential? Did they have to be brand new to serve its porpoise? Did you buy anything to replace an old one? What did you do with the old item?

I want to point you all to a global movement that might help dealing with finding things you need and disposing of things you don’t need or don’t want anymore. It’s called Freecycle!

freecycleThe Freecycle Network is made up of 4,751 groups with 6,761,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.

It’s a very simple movement, that can create a lot of positive impact. Instead of buying something new that you need for some reason, you might find in the Freecycle Network  someone offering it for free, but used of course. And if you, have something that you don’t need anymore, and want to get ride of it, instead of throwing in the garbage, you can offer it on Freecycle and anyone in need of it can have it for free.

No need for new products, no need to spend any money. You can get things you need without spending any money and help the environment! How cool is that!


Potts, Rolf – Vagabonding, An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

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