Give Mother Earth the holiday gift of freecycle.org. I have.

Give Mother Earth the holiday gift of freecycle.org. I have.

Summary: Taking care of the planet seems like such a big job that sometimes, it seems like it's relatively impossible for us to really make a difference on an individual level. You hear about big issues and how, for example, if we all lowered our carbon footprint by just a little bit, the cumulative impact on the earth could be extraordinary.

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freecycle logoTaking care of the planet seems like such a big job that sometimes, it seems like it's relatively impossible for us to really make a difference on an individual level. You hear about big issues and how, for example, if we all lowered our carbon footprint by just a little bit, the cumulative impact on the earth could be extraordinary. But a lot of people need feedback to stay motivated. Sure, keeping all but the most necessary lights off or buying a hybrid car will help. But it's really hard to size up what other people around the world are doing along those and other lines and get a feeling for the difference your contribution is making. As humans, positive feedback really works as a motivator. Without it, it's human nature to lose interest and at that point, it takes people who simply operate on faith (that what they're doing is making a difference) to make a difference.

For example, I've often wondered why someone does't print big bold text on the side of the recycling truck that says "Thank you for doing your part to save Mother Earth." I'm a rabid recycler. It's not uncommon to find me fishing used yogurt containers and the like out of our garbage can, rinsing them out, and saying "tsk, tsk" to who ever forgot they're recyclable. I'll spend half my Sunday with a box cutter if that's what it takes to make sure that every box we've gotten in the mail gets recycled (if it doesn't get re-used first). On recycling day, it's not uncommon to see 2-3 cubic yards of recyclable material sitting outside the Berlind household. But I have no real sense of the difference I'm making. Not even a "thank you" can be seen on the side of the recycling truck (even something small like that would make me feel better about all that effort).

Enter Freecycle.org.

Freecycle.org seems to me to be the biggest of all the grassroots movements on the Web that seeks the Earth's sustainability through re-use. The idea? Instead of throwing something out (perhaps something that can't be picked up by the local recycling truck), post it on the Web to other members of your local Freecycle group as being free for the taking. Looking to get something for free? You can publish wanted ads too.

A friend of mine recently turned me on to the existence of the Freecycle group in my area. I'm not sure if all groups work the same but the one I'm a member of uses Yahoo Groups as the place to which four different types of posts get posted: OFFER, WANTED, TAKEN, RECEIVED. As a member of the group, I elect whether to have new posts forwarded to my inbox as they are posted to the Yahoo Group, or aggregated in summary form twice per day.

If one man's junk is another man's treasure, then nothing proves it more than freecycle.org. Knowing that one of my daughter's favorite things to do is play pretend make-up (and knowing that her preference would be to use real make up brushes instead of the toy ones... but not real make-up), I decided to buy her an inexpensive blush brush at the local drugstore. Its cost was $3.99. But just before going to the check-out counter, I spotted a huge make-up kit with about 10 different brushes for different sorts of applications and a boatload of real make-up (blush, eye-liner, nail polish, etc.) for $9. Just to have the brushes for $9 was a far better deal than the one brush I had in my hand. So, right there, I made an executive decision. I decided to get the kit, take the brushes out for my daughter, and give all the make-up away through Freecycle.

When I got home with the kit and explained to my wife what I'd done, she bet me I'd have no takers. Not having an ounce of femininity in me, how was I to know that make-up (even new unopened make-up) is of limited appeal to make-up buyers? But I accepted her bet because for the last couple of weeks, I had been watching as items were being offered (items that I never dreamed anybody ever wanting) and subsequently taken. I sat down at my PC and wrote my first Freecycle.org offer advertisement:

OFFER: Stocking Stuffers? A bunch of unopened make-up from CVS

A whole bunch of unopened, still-in-the-original box, brand new (purchased today) make-up (blush, mascara, eye-liner, lipstick, shimmer powder, nail polish, etc.) that came with a kit that I purchased from CVS because of the brushes that were included. I'm keeping the brushes for my daughter to play with (with her dolls) but you can have all of the make-up. Would make great stocking stuffers!

Within 4 minutes, I had my first response. I couldn't get a TAKEN post into the Yahoo Group fast enough. By the time I did, six more people responded saying they'd pick it up with in the hour if they could. My wife was astonished. To be honest, so was I. Not that the make-up is junk. But if one man's junk is another man's treasure (figuratively speaking), then Freecycle is like the Internet's junk-treasure exchange. Even better, by joining, you get some sense of the movement that you're a part of. On the home page, the Freecycle.org Web site says:

Welcome! The Freecycle Network is made up of 4,188 groups with 4,177,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on "Browse Groups" above the search box. Have fun!

And the bit about the local moderators being good people is true. The local moderator of my group just put out a note about how many members are in our group and how prolific those members have been in posting ads: everything from used wallets (yes, used wallets) to, well, make-up! It's just the sort of feedback that makes me open every e-mail I get from the group, hoping that maybe, there will be something I need, or something I have that someone else has asked for through a WANTED posting. If there are global grass roots movements on the Web that can keep stuff out of landfills -- ones that you can join in a way that your personal contribution can make a difference to the Earth as well as to someone else, then Freecycle.org is one of them. Consider joining.

Topic: PCs

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47 comments
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  • www.craigslist.com has been my freecycle.com for years. NT

    .
    ye
  • RE: Give Mother Earth the holiday gift of freecycle.org. I have.

    Obviously you're unaware of all the problems with The Freecycle Network (TFN). You might find the following articles helpful.

    http://tiny.cc/zNafi
    http://tiny.cc/20jxi
    http://tiny.cc/1wDXO
    http://tiny.cc/9nN6m

    TFN is still sending out cease and desist emails to various on line freecycling groups threatening closure because they dare to mention the word freecycle on their group's homepage. TFN is obviously unaware of the difference between an application for a trademark and a copyright on the written word.

    I invite you and everyone to join a truly grassroots free recycling group near you. The sooner the bullying tactics of TFN are put to an end the sooner we'll all breathe a lot easier. To find a group near you, I'd suggest http://www.freesharing.org.
    ashara
    • RE: Give Mother Earth the holiday gift of freecycle.org. I have.

      The previous response you received came from a group of people who left the Freecycle
      Network because of a personal dispute with some of the upper management. We,
      on the local level, have no opinion about who was at fault in the dispute.
      It involved issues that have little or no impact at the local level.
      However, the individuals who left are now waging a campaign to undermine the
      Freecycle Network because they remain personally angry at the upper
      management.
      We're here to make the world better and cleaner by recycling usable goods
      through a gifting network! Freecycle.org is a GREAT site, much better than the freesharing site....A FREECYCLE MEMBER SINCE 2005
      scorpio31f
  • Freecycle is good. Environmentalist rant is bad

    Spare us the environmental rant and just tout freecycle on
    its own merits.

    Oh, and FYI, most climate scientists now say that even
    reducing our carbon footprints worldwide to 1990 levels
    won't make a whit of difference on climate change,
    although it will cause an economic depression that will
    make 1929 look like a boom.

    Probably because, compared to water vapor, CO2 is a
    trivial greenhouse gas.
    frgough
    • Still living without a clue

      I see. When are you going to take the Bush glasses off? ]:)
      Linux User 147560
      • Ah here's Linux User again.

        The same person who describes himself as being part of the "elite". Yes, you're credible.
        nizuse
        • Funny thing.

          He's still substantially more credible than anyone involved in the creation of The Great Global Warming Swindle, especially all those who directly claimed to not be funded by big oil while running institutions for 'research' which received very large donations from Exxon et al.

          It's like all those muppets who start going on about the 'solar' cycles as though all the climate scientists in the world had never heard of Milankovitch and start bibbling about how there's only 0.04% CO2 in the atmosphere as though all gases had the exact same effect per Kg.
          odubtaig
          • big oil, donations, muppets etc. (yawn)

            That kind of stuff doesn't add to your credibility. Also, dismissing the facts shown in The Great Global Warming Swindle because you think something about funding, is not helpful for your credibility either. Discuss the facts. Try to debunk them. Stay focused on the facts.
            nizuse
          • The facts are very simple

            Global warming and cooling are a naturally occurring process. This is documented in the polar caps and the earths strata. What current global warming is on about is the impact that man has had with the advent of technology. Primarily he burning of fossil fuels for energy and heat.

            The fact is we have actually accelerated many of natures processes and by doing so are setting ourselves up for a pretty nasty fall.

            What is sad is people like you, the Bush administration and big oil know these facts are truth, but because they care more for money than a healthy place to enjoy, a stable environment, et cetra they are willing to lie and place in harms way the poor.

            You have to be pretty blind to see what is going on around you. Either that or you are part of the problem and cannot accept that fact. Bottom line is we have had a significant negative impact on global weather patterns and warming trends. There is an excellent history of this planets cycles available for all to see and study. And it is with these records and the knowledge of catastrophic events that modern day scientists are able to extrapolate the negative impact our way of life is having.

            You don't need to be a scientist to see what is going on. If you actually spent time out in the woods and the mountains you would see first hand for yourself the negative impact. Go to any major metropolitan city and check out their air quality. Remember when smog alerts were first issued in Los Angeles?

            Then look at the negative health impact living in crowded and polluted cities has had. Also look at average rain fall and temperatures. Bottom line is the evidence is there. The polar caps are melting faster than expected and we are in a world of hurt. One that can be mitigated but no longer avoided. And you sit there with all the evidence in front of your eyes in denial.

            It's because of this denial and the attack on the American people by big oil and other major corporations that we are now having to suffer major ecological damage and strife. You fail to understand that this has a more far reaching impact than just warming and cooling trends. It will impact food, medical supplies and unless we start moving away from our dependence on oil now, it will result in a war we cannot win.

            And guess who the other big players are in this? China and India. You better believe that we cannot hope to even come close to beating these two in a conflict. Sure we have the tech, but in limited quantities, they have sheer numbers. It's simple math Sherlock, continuing on the current path we are on will end up in the destruction of the American Empire. Don't think it can happen? You better check history and look at how many other empires were brought down by greed and ignorance. ]:)

            So global warming is only part of the bigger picture. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Feel better now?

            ...
            nizuse
          • You know based on your

            responses and your attitude I would have to say you are a republican with an extremist christian bend. Your lack of willingness to see the proof in front of your eyes or take into account that it isn't about you but everyone is astounding.

            Not only are you incapable of seeing the fact before you, you cannot find the compassion to be proactive for even your own health and well being. That is what is so sad about people like you and the Bush administration. What is the matter?

            Bottom line is your stance is not only indefensible it is not sustainable. Nor is our current way of life, as in power production and transportation.

            But I will have to admit here and now that trying to reason with the likes of you and your kind is about as productive as talking to the wall and expecting a reply. You can't see reason, even when it's presented to you. You probably watch the Fox network for your news which would also explain your inability to get straight information. Anyone of any intellect knows that if you want factual news you DON'T go to Fox!

            You continue to live in your house of cards. And when they start to come crashing down around your ears, look back to this series of posts... ]:)

            Have a nice delusion.
            Linux User 147560
          • Don't get too excited User of Linux.

            Think about your blood pressure.

            Also, don't make all those assumptions - it doesn't add to your credibility. By the way, we don't even get Fox here. Why assume I live in the USA? Point proved again.
            nizuse
          • LOL

            My blood pressure is fine at 116/59 with a resting heart rate of 59bpm. So no worries there, unlike many of my country-men I don't have high blood pressure or a weight problem.

            As for the assumption you are an American, well you sound just like an American republican. Most people from Europe that I have met are pretty laid back and very pro-earth and pro-green. Now if you are from Asia... well who knows. Most of the Asians I have dealt with seem to be pretty reasonable as well, when it comes to environmentalism.

            Either way... you fighting on the wrong side of success. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Congrats

            Those are good numbers. Just for the record, I'm Dutch (so, a European), and currently living in Canada. It's ok if you feel a bit stupid now...

            'Branding' people by their area of origin like you do is actually quite ignorant you know. Take some trips abroad and live among other cultures, and you'll find there's not much difference at all if you get to know people better, say like below the tourism surface. Politics and power structures do differ though. You come across as someone who knows a lot of things on the surface and then gets excited about that, even feeling 'elite'. Maybe add some more years first.
            nizuse
          • Ummm I do take trips abroad...

            I am married to a Catalonian woman. We spend a good amount of time in Spain, Barcelona and Villanueva Spain, we also will go to Italy, Germany and then off to Sweden, Norway and Finland to visit friends. Last stop is Scotland to visit some of my family. So I do get out and about.

            We all do stupid things occasionally. After we are homo-sapien. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Congrats again..

            that's international indeed.
            nizuse
          • OK, have some facts.

            http://www.medialens.org/alerts/07/0313pure_propaganda_the.php

            [b]Eight of the scientists in the film - John Christy, Paul Reiter, Richard Lindzen, Paul Driessen, Roy Spencer, Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer and Tim Ball - are linked to American neo-conservative and right-wing think-tanks, many of which have received tens of millions of dollars from Exxon.

            Greenpeace provides a fascinating online ?map? detailing how Exxon funds these climate sceptics. Go to: http://www.exxonsecrets.org/ index.php?mapid=831 (click ?Launch? then click ?skip intro?)[/b]

            Funny how the only 'scientists' he could find to back his piece were all in the pocket of Exxon.

            Except for Wunsch:

            [b]"I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about."[/b]

            [b]"If they had told me even the title of the programme, I would have absolutely refused to be on it."[/b]

            http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2355956.ece

            [b]"The programme-makers labelled the source of the world temperature data as "Nasa" but when we inquired about where we could find this information, we received an email through Wag TV's PR consultant saying that the graph was drawn from a 1998 diagram published in an obscure journal called Medical Sentinel. The authors of the paper are well-known climate sceptics who were funded by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing Washington think-tank.

            However, further inquiries revealed that the C4 graph was based on a diagram in another paper produced as part of a "petition project" by the same group of climate sceptics. This diagram was itself based on long out-of-date information on terrestrial temperatures compiled by Nasa scientists."[/b]

            "Other graphs used in the film contained known errors, notably the graph of sunspot activity. Mr Durkin used data on solar cycle lengths which were first published in 1991 despite a corrected version being available - but again the corrected version would not have supported his argument. Mr Durkin also used a schematic graph of temperatures over the past 1,000 years that was at least 16 years old, which gave the impression that today's temperatures are cooler than during the medieval warm period. If he had used a more recent, and widely available, composite graph it would have shown average temperatures far exceed the past 1,000 years."[/b]

            Awesome, out of date data and massaged graphs, as only a true fraud could do.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5314592.stm

            [b]"Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms."[/b]

            Just to pre-empt any possible claim that CO2 levels have ever been higher than this (especially in an ice age).

            Big oil, donations, muppets, etc.
            odubtaig
          • Kudos

            Good work. Now, what about the facts that you decided to ignore?
            nizuse
          • Which are...? (NT)

            NT
            odubtaig
          • Thanks for proving my point.

            ..
            nizuse