Monday, January 10, 2011

Days 7 and 8 - Giving Back and Eco-Sabbath

Last week I experimented with No Impact Week, exploring some of my past successes at decreasing my carbon footprint and generating even better ideas for the future. My goal is to challenge myself to redo the week later this year when it will have the greatest impact on my day-to-day life. Click here for a review of Day 1 - Consumption, Day 2 - Trash, Day 3 - Transportation, Day 4 - Food, Day 5 - Energy, and Day 6 - Water.


Days 7 and 8 - Giving Back and Eco-Sabbath

If you believe that getting sick with the flu, while unpleasant, is an opportunity for body and mind to rest, heal, and recuperate, then I guess you could say I spent the last two days celebrating the Eco-Sabbath - taking time back for myself. The only plug-in device I used was the kettle, to brew cup after cup of tea. When not sleeping or coughing up a lung, I was reading and working on logic puzzles in my sun-filled bedroom. I even had some time to just sit around contemplating how the No Impact Week challenge has changed me, even though I was participating more in spirit than in practice. I would say my commitment has gone up a level or two: commitment to consume less, produce less waste, eat more locally and seasonally while avoiding more meat, and conserve more energy and water. I've always known how; now I'm ready to actually do it.

As for Giving Back Day, instead of stepping up and doing more, I've actually had to practice reigning myself in because there are more ways to get involved than I have the time or energy for! I have found that once you begin to volunteer, the people you meet, connections you make, and community you tap into provide even more opportunities to give, help, build, and support. All that is required is flipping that switch in your head. Instead of listing barriers to participating and then stopping there, why not discover ways to overcome these obstacles? If you are legitimately too busy with activities to have a four-hour block of time to volunteer, why not make donations to a cause you support? Or if you have some time, but it's randomly dispersed throughout the week such that you can't commit to volunteering at your favourite organization's head office, ask if they have tasks you can complete at home and work around your schedule. There are solutions if you look hard enough.

To start you off, check out Volunteer Canada for resources and links to regional volunteer centres and their current listings. If you have lots of initiative and feel passionate about a specific cause but can't find any related opportunities listed, research an organization you'd like to support and tell them how you can help. I'm sure you will find a welcoming community.

Thanks for sharing this week with me!

Photo credit.


  1. What a great week - great posts!

    I agree with you - there is so much out there that people can participate in that at some point it's a matter of knowing how much time/energy/etc you CAN donate.

    I know you are not in the Ottawa Area but I loved this new campaign initiated through the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and a local craft shop - they are going to create a woodland landscape:

    I will have to take pictures when it is complete!

    (Can't wait to read about your second week later this year - very inspiring!)

  2. CPAWS does great work, and this project sounds great! I'd love an excuse to spend more time crafting, or possibly learn how to knit/crochet. Are you going to contribute something?

    I'm glad my No Impact Week experiment inspired you!

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with No Impact Week. I have started with real enviromental volunteering only recently and I am glad I have decided to participate. It is indeed delightful to live in Toronto - a city with so many green possibilities.

  4. Hi Patricia, and welcome to my blog! What types of groups are you volunteering with? Yes, Toronto does offer many green possibilities.