I spent the last two days moving from one house to another. We’re in a rental now, waiting while our new (small and carbon-neutral) house is being built.
Moving is a great opportunity to take a look at the things I own and minimize. I realize I’m fairly radical in that I insist on owning only what I use, and very little else. I love giving things away. The nicer or more expensive the thing I get to part with, the happier I am.
When I stop riding a bike, it goes to a friend. When I stop wearing a shirt, it goes to charity. When I stop looking at a painting, ditto.
It may sound like I’m a monk or something, but I’m not. I deeply love beautiful, useful, real things. I think I’m as materialistic in this respect as anyone else out there.
And, the things I choose to keep include paintings I actually look at (there is a giant graffiti by french artist Tilt in my daughter’s bedroom and one by Jeremyville in my office), one very good Swiss watch (IWC Mark XV), Six pairs of identical Adidas sneakers, and four bicycles.
People assume the word “environment” refers to pollution, carbon footprints, heavy metals in our water. To me these things are a kind of fiction, since we don’t actually experience “global warming” in our day to day life, and I can’t taste the mercury in my tuna. I’m not saying it’s not important. It’s just that if you think about it, these aren’t the things that really impact our lives on a daily basis.
The word environment in my reality means the actual people, places, and things I choose to surround myself with, and the things that impact me. From this perspective cars ruin the environment because they’re loud and dangerous, and because they isolate us from one another. Same thing for mass produced objects that were made to break.
In this respect I’m a radical environmentalist. I refuse to participate in making the world an uglier place. I do not own things that were made without heart. I choose to see my environment as an extension of myself, and as such, am willing to make sacrifices to make sure that I am nurturing the world by owning things that are worth caring for, and loving.
— Paul Budnitz, June 2012