Frugal, Green, but Solitary

Most people seem to want to save money and be green alone. Each person, or each family, is an island unto themselves. They might share tips on coupons or discounts socially, or tips on being more green. Social media is the most social they get in their "activism". And why not? Clearly you can cut costs and be green alone. Some may think it's easier; some may think other people are scary in the real world. What's your reason?

I'm not here to lecture anybody, or tell you you're not trying hard enough or not doing your part if you do it alone. I just want you to consider that a group of people is often much more powerful than the sum of each individual. This has certainly been my experience with my community. We determine what we need and are not subject to the whims of chain stores with their coupons or discounts for things they'd like to promote. Our costs are significantly below even the warehouse stores, and the quality we find is much better. For many of us, the costs of buying organic would be prohibitive as individuals; as a group the prices are very attractive.

Only as a group can you reduce costs, packaging and waste by splitting bulk purchases. Only as a group can you buy a top quality truck for 10% of its purchase price. Only as a group can you knock 40% off a gym membership. Only as a group can you have a community garden, or share produce from many backyard gardens. Only as a group can you share rides, or other community or household equipment, or expensive tools, or a quality lawnmower, etc. etc. We are doing all of these and much, much more. In a future post I'll talk about how we did it, and how you can do it too.


Amanda said...

thanks for stopping by my blog...i am interested in seeing your ideas for splitting, sharing, and going green! :)

JAM said...

I am very interested in your blog - just found it from One Green Generation. I'm also in MA and I have to say finding out you were from here surprised me - it's a very anti-yankee mentality to bond so much with neighbors! But I really love the idea. So many of us have one of everything. I'm especially interested in the bulk purchase splitting.

Annette said...

Very good point about the location. You're right that it's not a natural fit, we certainly didn't jump on it with gusto from the very start. It started in part because we were already having regular meetings due to an unrelated neighborhood crisis. The topic of joint purchases and sharing was raised at one of these meetings, and things evolved very slowly. Our mentality is definitely different today. I think a new web service being created will take the community activism out of the equation by letting people virtually find others with similar interests located near them. I'll talk about it in a future post, but in the meanwhile you can apply become a beta tester by going to - mention my blog and you are likely to be approved. Our friend is the one building it - and my husband was actually the one who suggested a web service for everyone to use - similar to what we have been using, but to help people anywhere find others nearby.

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