The YES! No Impact Diary: Day 8

The first 7 days of the No Impact Experiment were as difficult as they were illuminating. Sunday's eco-sabbath was for reflecting on what it all means.
Sunday eco sabbath

Take a break from everything. Ohm Shanti.

Click here for more stories from No Impact Week.
Click here
for more information on Day 8: Eco-Sabbath.


Bunmi Ishola
Olubunmi Ishola

Dallas, Texas

Olubunmi Ishola is a No Impact skeptic, but she's willing to see if the experiment can prove her wrong.

Molly Eagen

Molly Eagen

Minneapolis, Minnesota

No Impact Man inspired Molly Eagen's graduate thesis on life without oil. Follow her tips this week as she takes on the No Impact Experiment.

Kathy Kottaras

Kathy Kottaras

Los Angeles, California

Mother, teacher, and eco-pilgrim Kathy Kottaras' lyrical take on the inner adventure of going No Impact.


Don't forget to check out our No Impact Week featured blogroll for more great stories, and post your photos on our Flickr page for a chance to win a subscription to YES!

Day 8 experiences from our readers!

Yesterday was EcoSabbath, and we did observe it... mostly. I logged on last night to record Day 7, since I hadn't had the chance to do it on Saturday. It was snowing and cold yesterday, so a pot of coffee got made (and then unplugged immediately upon finishing brewing) and then I set hot cocoa to simmering on the stove on the lowest possible temperature. My two boys and I sat around the dining room table talking and reading books, drinking cocoa, and listening to Mussorsky's Pictures from an Exhibition and Ravel's Bolero (the teen-ager chose the music), and watching the snow fall. Then it was time to go out in it. Little Frog wanted to try out his brand-new (from the thrift store) snowboots and winter coat (also from the thrift store) that he got for the holidays. We tromped in the yard, stomping and kicking the snow, letting the snowflakes collect on our shoulders and head, revelling in the second snowfall of Winter. As the chill set in, we headed back in, had a little more cocoa and then it was naptime for the littlest, and my teen-ager headed out to shovel our driveway and sidewalk, and to see if my heart-sister needed her driveway shoveled.

The snow let up later, letting my Hubby get home from work in relative safety. At this point, we had only the flourescent light in kitchen on, and then the lights and computers downstairs. Dinner was a re-warmed affair, using as little energy as we could. Leftover chili over sausages, with pickles and sliced pears on the side. Something that was quick and easy to make, especially nice since I had a migraine coming on (weather-induced headaches are a wonder in a state where the weather is in a perpetual state of flux). I wrote my blog last night while I could still think well enough to do so, and then was done. The Hubby took Little Frog into the Lego room to play - CFL's for lights in that part of the basement, and the teen-ager watched some tv.

It was such a peaceful day, I just might see if we can do it more often. Just one day a month, and maybe as a compromise at first - only part of a day... power down as much as we can. From that start, maybe we can make it once every couple of weeks, or even once a week. It'll be easier in Summer, when we can leave the stove off for a good majority of our meals. It was fun to see what we could accomplish on a cold, snowy day in Winter. -Laura in Colorado

As I look back on the week, the image of raw, blistered hands from wringing out wet laundry is fresh in my mind. I’ve worked hard this week, and yes, that’s an accurate description of my hands. I’ve saved every bit of trash for the week. I’ve trimmed our consumption way down, to just the necessities. I’ve drafted posts by candlelight in a notebook of recycled paper, made dinner by candlelight (not recommended), and haven’t flipped a light switch in 4 days. I’ve been entertained by a hand-crank radio (sadly, by the winding almost as much the listening). I’ve made commitments to be more present and involved in my community. Aside from the cut on my finger from chopping veggies in the dark and the laundry blisters, I feel great. I’m empowered. I have hope. And I know I’m not alone. There are lots of registered participants from this past week who likely feel as I do. In reflecting on this week, I’ve made changes large and small, temporary for the week and some that will remain permanent. And I’m ready to keep going. And that’s good because there’s much work to be done. Here’s to making every week no-impact week. -Karyn Alzayer

When our neighbor’s house is on fire, we don’t argue about who owns the hose. We turn on the water, we fill the buckets, and we help.

In the same way, it doesn’t much matter whether we agree with the science that points to Man as the villain in climate change, or we believe that the planet is merely undergoing cyclical changes. What matters is that our “house is on fire” and we need to put it out.

Of course, as the No Impact Experiment reminds us, there’s not a whole lot of water to go around.

I joined this year’s No Impact Experiment because its beautiful objectives aligned with the objectives of a personal project: The Big Scout Project (BSP), In October 2010, on my fiftieth birthday, I began this three-year project in the hopes of learning to live a wider, more responsible, seriously fun life. The framework for the BSP’s goals? I’m working my way through all of the badges currently available to Junior Girl Scouts in the U.S.

I was a lousy scout as a kid—nothing could have been less cool. Too bad, though, because I might have become a more responsible steward of natural resources early on. Through the BSP, I’ve become enormously impressed with the way scouts are encouraged to understand the effects of “civilized life” on air, land, water, wildlife, and our own bodies. There’s so much we adults can learn. Sigh…

This past week was filled with surprises, mostly from assessing our household’s energy/food/water footprints. There’s no question about it: our household has made a few steps in the right direction to lessen our impact already, but we have far, far to go.

The great news, for me, my husband and millions like us, is that change is not that hard.

Change starts with replacing Kleenex with a handkerchief. Change starts with swearing off bottled water and enjoying tap water. Change starts with unplugging, if only for a few hours each week, to just be still and think. We start with the small changes, and the bigger ones become easier to adopt.

The bad news, of course, is that change is often slow to come.

And for that, I’m deeply appreciative for the No Impact Experiment. Opportunities just like this, repeated again and again, are the catalysts that promote change and tip the scales in the right direction. 

Thanks again for the inspiration and the guidance --
-Jean Synodinos
Austin, TX

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