Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Year of the Compact

I am beginning the Compact on September 3rd, the first day of my final year of high school, as my senior project.

The Compact is a movement which began a few years ago in San Francisco. The official goals are:

1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc.

2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)

3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)

I am doing this in a personal effort to fight the environmental and social effects of mass production and corporatization. By agreeing to this pact, I vow to not buy anything new for a year.

There are, of course, exceptions, such as food, hygiene products, and underwear...because who really wants to buy those things used? When it is impossible not to purchase new, apply the fair and reasonable standard. Also, for those who are creatively inclined, materials to make things (fabric, yarn, art supplies, etc.) may be purchased new. And in those cases, it is encouraged to shop locally from small businesses whenever possible.

Throughout my senior year, I will be blogging on my progress and findings in various subject areas (fashion, entertainment, required school books, etc.). Part of my experiment here, though, is to encourage others to join The Compact with me and blog their findings as well. Those interested in joining me or learning more are welcome to email me at


dallgeier said...

Go, Larkin, go! I'm so proud of you.

31avas said...

Such an interesting and noble project, perfect example of, "if only everyone did THIS. .." Looking forward to reading updates on the blog and keeping my own consumerism in check.

Gertrude said...

What a great project. I'll be happy to take part. I love to try to buy used stuff. Though I wonder what it would do to the economy? (of China)

Larkin said...

Gertrude, it's great to hear that you'll join me. but who are you? can you send me your contact information?

Aunt Beth said...

What a great project - thanks for inviting me! At the high school where I teach, I am mentoring a senior who decided to take over Earth Day from me this year and organize it herself as her project.

I'm so grateful for the vision and spirit I see in you, and her, and your generation, which will need
plenty of vision and spirit to get us out of this rotting mess.

I believe in you. Thanks for your complete awesomeness, Larkin!
Aunt Beth

PS-- Hey! Think we can get our entire family to commit to all "used or created" holiday gifts for each other this year?

Anonymous said...

WOW Larkin I cant beleive your already graduating. Dawn and I have been doing this for years.. Way to go. I hope more young people will get on the band wagon with things like this. This is what our country truly needs.
Good Luck
Donna and Dawn

Kathleen said...

Hi Larkin,
I may be repeating myself -- looks like my comment didn't survive the post. I'm impressed that you have done such serious recruiting. Best wishes for the continued success in every way, especially as we get into the season of ultimate consuming.

Grandma Murray

Chester P said...

Larkin you are one amazing young woman. Your actions are an inspiration to us all. You could not have picked a better time to join this movement and spread the word. In this day and age of extreme capitalism gone bad life simplification is not only a noble effort, it is a necessity.
Consumerism is something we have all been taught to believe in. It is what keeps our economy going. Unfortunately with this being the only mainstream mindset for the past 60 or so years it is on the verge of ruining this great nation. Greed has overwhelmed the system. The excesses of desire have besieged all of our lives and for what? Things…do we really need them?
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Things lately. I certainly have many of them. Do they really bring joy to my life or are they a distraction? I certainly do not need Things, but I have been taught to desire them. The more Things we have the more successful we are…right? I can honestly answer this in a resounding no!
Will I change my ways? I have my doubts. I may alter them greatly but there will always be a carrot dangled in front of me and I like to nibble. However, the inspiration of one young woman is more than enough to get me thinking about it all and I greatly appreciate that. Keep at it Larkin…spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to lend my support to the rest of these fine folks. I'm very impressed that you are doing this and very impressed by how you're making it work. You always look great!!! I know you're getting very creative and I think it's wonderful. Although I won't be joing The Compact, I am thinking MUCH more about reducing & reusing because of your efforts. I have cut down a lot on my own rampant consumerism and hope that others are doing the same. You are having quite an impact!!! Keep up the great work and know that you have a very bright future! Sincerely - Yr Friend & Boss - Sandra

Charlie Laughlin said...

Great notion, Granddaughter! Seems like you lit a spark in a number of folks. Living as I do in the Silver Weenie, I cannot take the vow, cause so much of what this lifestyle requires is only available new. But it is such a heartful thing to do! Far too few folks have the well-being of the planet in mind when they do stuff. Great project you've taken on there!

Anonymous said...

Larkin, your holiday gift from me will support the intention of The Compact Project and my commitment to the Foundation for Women. The items you receive were made by one of the poverty-stricken women who started a business with her micro-credit loan, making gift items from recycled materials. Knowing that this gift will enable one courageous woman will no doubt make these modest items precious to you.
. . . Grandma Murray