12 January 2011

No impact week Day 6 & 7 :: WATER - GIVING BACK & ECO - SABBATH

Challenge for day 6 :: WATER

(from So British)
Soak up the personal benefits of using less water!
You’re now six days into the No Impact Experiment.
Having looked at your trash, transportation, food, consumption, and energy habits, there’s one major
daily lifestyle change left to tackle — water. A whopping 71% of Americans are trying to reduce their
footprint. Of those 71%, 60% are reducing their water consumption, and saving a lot of money on their
water and electric bill. In this economy, every flush counts! Turn off the tap. Believe us, you'll feel better
about yourself.

Our family apparently use 367 liters/day direct use...
And 5136 liters/day as virtual water... ( due to tea/coffee being drink in the morning) according to Kermira ultra zenish calculator.

I don't know how truly accurate this water footprint calculator truly is but it is simply fascinating and scary to put a number on water. But there are also this site and this one.

This is not the challenge where we are best at... It is so easy to take water for granted by simply turn on the faucet. We talk about the water shortage other countries are currently facing as a strong reality check. It works for one day and then old habits keep coming back. That's said, we did few changes over time.

We change our regular bathroom faucets and shower heads for those ones that reduce the water flow by 60% by mixing water with air. It is as efficient and when we do linger a little longer in the shower it does not make us feel as bad ( only 50% bad...).

The kitchen part is the trickiest one. We spend most of our day in this room since food prep is important in our family way of life. I think i will try for a week [as an experiment] to keep a deep bucket somewhere below our sink and try to re-capture some extra water (glass of water half drunken,water from veggie washing, etc.) . If it is duable without being too "painful" I will try to keep it going.

When we go out I order tap water for the girls and I. We only switch to bottled water when really the water has a strong chlorine taste. But most of the time -where we live- the water is fine.

Challenge for day 7 :: GIVING BACK

Pay it forward. Feel the benefits of service.
Welcome to day seven and the weekend, baby!
By now, you’ve probably slaughtered some of your carbon footprint — trading in some gas guzzling for
sweat equity, phasing out prepackaged processed food for delicious local dishes, shopping less and
saving more, turning down the lights, and quenching your thirst with tap water while lightening your
planetary load. Pat yourself on the back for coming this far and do a little dance: it’s time to share some
of your exuberance with others!

 We were asked to make a list with three columns: 

1) all the charities you’d love to help out, 
2) why you feel you can’t 
3) how you can address and remove those barriers. 

Do your barriers — as legitimate as they may seem to you — outweigh the importance of
participating ? Remember: you needn’t become an “activist” or even a leader to be active in your community! 
Simply participating in an ongoing project is giving back and living your values.

All right, so here my list ::

Charities I would like to help and actually CAN and WILL.

 # 1 Colibris

This a French organisation Created by Pierre Rabhi that I follow very closely. I read many of his books and I enjoy every little bits he shares. His website for his association allows people to learn and sign up for volunteering. I would love to do it with my husband and my children. Tessa is still a little young to fully grab the concept and the importance of it.
His wife and he also create a one of a kind school called les Amanins. To understand waht les Amanins are follow this link and then use your Translate Google to translate it in english...

For  # 2  I have 2 organizations that I admire also and need to choose which one I could give a percentage of my sale to. Those two organizations are ::
This is the choice I am currently facing. They are both highly important to me but can not direct my attention to both in my current situation. So I will think about it, have a talk with my husband and commit to one of them soon.

# 3 Pay it forward 

I have seen the "Pay it forward" movie and really enjoyed it. 
Applying it in real life and make a "family affair" is a really nice idea.
The girls school do every year a "Love in The Box" project where family are asked to put in a  box all the bare necessities for low income family (from toothpaste to warm hat, cookies, chocolate , crayons, books, etc. ) gift wrapped it and simply write boy or girl and age appropriate gifts that are inside. This is done between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I like the link it create between the two celebrations.

Now, we can always do more and I plan to be able to get some projects done with the girls  after reading those inspirational stories from the Pay it Forward website. The one I like is the Birthday Box with handmade items and homemade goodies.

Community  ideas I like here in France ( existing in the US and elsewhere also) ::

:: sharing food  (with little money)
:: second hand store with  heart &  soul (Paris)
:: community gardens

Challenge for day 7 :: ECO SABBATH


Today, Sunday, is about awareness and taking some time back for yourself. This is a chance to lay off the lights, televisions, computers, appliances, cell phones, flashing gadgets, and other stuff that seems to make the world go round. It’s a special time to hang out (or in) by yourself or with friends and family. It is a time to reflect on the well-being of yourself and the planet. This first Eco-Sabbath you may wish to reflect on your No Impact week. Consider what worked well for you, what was particularly difficult, and what you’d like to permanently adopt. Consider how you can go even further. Think about how your week affected others in your life and what adjustments, if any, are in order. This is a time to discover and appreciate the bare necessities.

Sorry could not resist to embeed this video (one of my favorite).

Last Sunday was NOT an eco Sabbath at all in our family.
Plans were already made ( birthday party to attend for our youngest, since it was some way away I went to a wifi place and work online while waiting...) and my husband and I  had all our electrical gadgets on and we probably use them all throughout the day. 

But next Sunday :: I am hoping to be a different one. It will require some planning since we are not use to not respond to the call of those gimmicks when they flash, beep or ring. 
Maybe we should have friends over or if weather permitted (they announce huge rain fall...but the weather report is not always THAT accurate...) we should go for a bike ride or a simple walk nearby.

The word will be U.N.P.L.U.G. and it is not as easy for us as it reads...

SO as a synthesis of all what happened over the NO IMPACT MAN week ::

  • The easiest for us was the food :: local, in season, vegetarian, homemade
  • For water and power use :: we are honestly the best we can in our current situation.
  • The toughest was reducing our trash :: we DO recycle everything possible BUT we do make a lot of recyclable trash nonetheless... Some how even in organic store (besides maybe BIOCOOP) there is very little things that comes in bulk and simply require a paper bag to compost in the end. We buy Tofu (plastic wrapped many times), non diary milk (out of a bottle made of a combo of cardboard and plastic which I am not sure recycle well at all) and bubbly water ( if anyone heard about a device that can make our own bubbly water :: I am all ear!).
  • Finally, the one we all need to learn and commit more than once a month is Eco-Sabbath.
It was a really great way to start the New Year and remind us to not take everything for granted because they are simply not.
It will give me the extra push I need to actually take action in 2011 to align our values to our actions and apply it to my little business UN LIEU SUR TERRE.


  1. congratulations on completing the week. although i never kept track of what we do or don't do, i think i know where my weaknesses are. so kudos to you for trying. and double kudos for even thinking about things like getting a bucket for water collecting. one water habit that i changed this past year is to wash most of the dishes in the dishwasher and doing the rest in a big dishpan and not letting the water run. this year's addition will be a rain barrel. we had a West Nile Virus scare for a couple of summers and didn't want any standing water in the garden but i think we are safe now.

    we can all try to do the best we can, right?

    Again congratulations!

  2. Hello Lila
    I came to your blog via Karin at Green & Generous. I've just completed my No Impact Week and was interested to learn about your experiences, especially those aspects that you found easier or more difficult. They were not always the same as mine. Well done anyway.

  3. Congratulations on completing the No Impact Week. It's great to see such dedication to the environment! It's really inspiring. I should do MORE; I can do more.

    Also great layout. I love its simplicity.