No Impact Week Has Begun: How Am I Doing?

I've survived 'consumption' and 'trash' days and now I'm on to 'transportation' day.

As I wrote last week, I'm participating in a week-long "no-impact" challenge inspired by Colin Beavan's "No Impact Man" project (book, blog, and film) and is done in conjunction with the Huffington Post. This "carbon cleanse" week, as it has been dubbed, kicked off on Sunday.

The first day was dedicated to thinking about consumption. How much do I need to buy for the week -- what can I borrow or do without instead? This seemed like a relatively easy way to kick off the week, besides food, I generally don't buy much in an average week. That was until I realized that three of my closest friends are celebrating birthdays this week, including my partner.

So, what to do? Here's a few ideas that I came up with. I know there are loads of really crafty people out there that have absolutely no problems just stitching together something for their loved ones, but unless my friends would like a blog post, they're out of luck on my end. Here's what I can offer though. I have lots of books, some of them really good, and I think a few of those would make an excellent gift. And although we are encouraged this week not to purchase anything, I did get one friend a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant in her neighborhood that serves delicious local food. Other ideas -- having some prints made of photos I've taken, baking a loaf of monkey bread (if I can convince one of my Southern buddies to give me his recipe), and planning a super beautiful nighttime bike ride through San Francisco.

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In additional to just thinking about what I am buying, this consumption thing has also gotten me thinking about what I already have. What clothes, shoes and dusty camping gear can I donate some place? Are there electronics we aren't using that can be given away or taken to an e-recycling center? Are there other ways to minimize stuff?

Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet.