On May 22nd we held a special event to celebrate one year of Living Well with Less Stuff in St Andrews Street Baptist Church. 44 people came to put questions to the panel of five who had participated in the challenge all year and to swap things they no longer needed for things they did. (The swap shop was a great success, with an incredible range of things from evening dresses to kitchen equipment and CDs to compost worms (yes, they were alive and reasonably happy in some earth and, yes, someone did want them!) Most things went – there was very little for Stephanie to take to a charity shop the next day.)
The panel discussion could easily have gone on longer. People were fascinated to hear what the challenge had been like, and it was clear that many of the audience also tried to live simply. There was an interesting discussion about whether Living Well with Less Stuff should (as the title suggests) also include a general decluttering of our lives – ie we should also try to buy less, even second hand goods. It was apparent that many of the panel felt it was fine to buy second hand goods – indeed, Fiona made the point that it was a way of meeting that urge to go shopping (which Tom linked to our hunter-gatherer instincts) in a sustainable way.
Send us your suggestions for low-carbon Christmas and birthdays!
One of the things that came out was how difficult Christmas and birthdays are, particularly when children are involved – people suggested outings rather than stuff. (It would be good to collect ideas for this, so do send in your suggestions and we’ll put them on the website. (In the meantime, Transition Cambridge has a list of low-carbon Christmas presents.)
In case you are wondering, the pictures are from someone who brought along some home-made ornaments – made from recycled book pages and ring-pulls from drinks cans!
As well as the panel and the swap shop, Tom had brought along some examples of home mending (not sewing) and was available to discuss with people their home repair needs. Stephanie also had a table with lots of ideas for collaborative consumption.
Altogether, it was a really buzzy evening! So what next? Well, some if us are just carrying on, as the challenge has become part if our lives, but we would also welcome newcomers, so do email us if you are interested (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll probably be organizing some more ‘make and mend’ get-togethers for participants, too.