The No Impact Experiment

genevieve asenioWe at De La Salle University in Manila engaged in a one-week carbon cleanse program dubbed as No Impact Experiment last March 24-30.This was organized by the DLSU Campus Sustainability Office (CSO), Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center (BNSCWC), and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (VCRI), in partnership with Redraw the Line, a project of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and The Media Alliance. It was an invitation to “perform small acts to reduce environmental impact, protect our planet, and enhance the quality our life.”

The organizers released examples of these small acts and small steps that make a difference to serve as guide to registered participants who committed themselves to observe these every day for a week. Monday was about Thrash, and the challenge was “Waste Not. Small steps provided were:

Go paperless.

Print double-sided. Or don’t print.

Rid your life of paper towels.

Bring a used sachet for the sachet recovery bin.

Dispose of PET bottles and aluminium cans in the proper bins.

Use reusable eco bags and containers.

Tuesday was about Transportation. We were encouraged to “Burn Calories” by taking a Walk/LRT/MRT, bus or jeepney/Carpool with friends. Wednesday was for Food and “To Eat Healthy” by drinking local, eating local, eating vegetables, eating less meat, ordering just enough food, or ordering a half portion, and loving food by not leaving crumbs for the “duende.” Thursday was Energy day and the challenge to reduce our use by doing the following:

Take the stairs.

Unplug electricity when not in use.

Google less.

No TV.

Use laptop/tablet only for work.

Observe Daily Green Hour.

Friday was for Water. The challenge: “Save Water.” The steps:

Finish your drink.

Bring your own tumbler or mug.

Don’t buy bottled water.

Turn off tap when soaping hands or brushing teeth.

Run water gently when needed.

Saturday was for Giving Back, the challenge to “Share” by picking up a trash, planting a tree, giving time, joining eco-advocacy campaigns, or making contributions (e.g., Haribon, Plastic-Free Philippines, WWF Philippines, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines).

Sunday was to experience Eco-Sabbath, the challenge to “Rest.” Steps include:

Pray and be grateful.

Don’t use any energy-consuming device.

Spend time with family & friends.

Sleep well.

Participants were also encouraged to self-document and to self-reflect to evaluate the impact of the experiment and to share insights in platforms like social networking sites.

Yes, I participated. I have been observing an eco-lifestyle for years. This means using paper bag instead of plastic, and bringing my own Iloilo-bought libon at the farmer’s market on Sundays. Each day, I try to observe the basic rule of “less sugar, less carbo” and “everything in moderation.”  When I’m tired, I take hot shower and sleep early. I have stopped drinking soft drink and been consuming less rice. I boil organic egg, saba, sweet potato or yam or yakun for breakfast. I feel light and alert. I walk. Of course, I could be stubborn at times with ‘digital detox.’ That is why I am already excited for the summer break so I can turn off my smartphone with its unlimited internet access, hit the beach or trek a mountain, and enjoy relative isolation and obscurity.