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Shopping As a Climate-neutral Act

In my last post I told you about using Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay to reduce-reuse-and-recycle my way through a total refurnishing of my new, post-divorce life. It was a lot more fun and I found better quality things than shopping at garage sales and second-hand stores. There's really great stuff out there if you follow the ads.

A major benefit is that by not buying new, I wasn't contributing more climate-changing carbon emissions. Another benefit was the interactions I had with the sellers. Every piece has its own story.

The four-poster queen-size bed frame came from a wealthy woman in Walnut Creek who was making way for a king-size bed in her suburban castle.

A banker's desk lamp came from a woman whose house was in total disarray. She'd gone into a clinical depression when her dog died 18 months ago and was just coming out of it. Wanting to create some clear space in the house, she sold me her lamp. She had plans to hit the road and live out of a camper, taking pictures of dogs along the way.

I got the desk that the lamp sits on from a man who was recently divorced and on his way to care for his dying father in San Diego. He was living in a condo he'd bought for his college-bound son; for the summer, the son was camping on the living room floor while the father had the one bedroom. The rolltop desk seemed to be his last possession. He had let it all go, and now he was about to let his father go, too.

And then there's the Italian leather sofa I got for a song from a gourmet chef. When the movers were delayed 90 minutes in coming to pick it up, Seamus said, "Wayne, let's have breakfast," made gourmet pancakes, and showed me how to make lemon marmalade.

When my move was all done, I unloaded thirty boxes, packing paper, and bubble wrap, all of which was taken away by a freakishly tall hippie.

So check it out, people. Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay your way to a carbon-neutral future. And collect some stories while you're at it!