Riot for Austerity – The Calculator is Back!

A very quick post (which turned into a much longer one than expected).

Riot for Austerity Year 2 Outcomes from MamaStories

The riot for austerity calculator that I talked about in this earlier post is back on line.  See link to the calculator here.  Brooklinemama’s current success (through February 2012)  in her quest to cut her family’s energy usage to 10% that of the average American family is chronicled  here.

Sharon Astyk (and friends) are the originators of the calculator. More information about the background on the calculator and references for source data about  current energy, water and resource use by American families appears in Sharon’s post Time to Riot here.

I’m planning to try this for March. It should be pretty easy to track.

  • Transportation mileage: I already pay for gas by debit card and keep receipts. Per Sharon, the average American uses 500 gallons of gas per person, per year.
  • Public transportation mileage: I keep receipts of when I travel by public transportation.  For MARTA, I’ll need to estimate the mileage of my average trip.
  • At home electricity: easily available from monthly bill. The average American uses 2,000 kwh per person (“at home” as opposed to “at work and other places you go”) per year.
  • Heating and Cooking Fuel: easily available from monthly bill.
  • Garbage: I’ll need to weigh my trash. I don’t have much  I do a lot of recycling and composting. Per Sharon, the average American household produces 40 lbs of garbage per week.
  • Water: easily available from monthly bill. I found Sharon’s figures confusing so I found some statistics from the American Water Works Association. They cited indoor per person use at 69.3 gallon per day and total household use at 350 gallons per day (at 2.6 person/household, this is equivalent to 135 gallons per person per day)
  • Consumer Goods. Easily available. I keep monthly receipts. Per Sharon, the average American spend $11,000 per year on items that don’t include food, insurance, energy, housing and other necessities.
  • Food: percent locally grown, dry and bulk goods, wet and conventional goods. The trickiest of the lot.  Initially I’ll estimate.  Probably I should weigh these for accurate figures.

Also, see here for link to “when to start what” planting date calculator from Johnny’s selected seeds.

I’m already way behind.  Trying to catch up with garden planning and garden work this week.

Riot for Austerity – A Project

A few days ago I stumbled upon a blog that challenges its readers to cut their  emissions by 90% within a year and to hold them at that level.  The writer proposes that people do this by reducing use in 7 areas:

Riot for Austerity Year 2 Outcomes from MamaStories

  • Transportation
  • Electricity
  • Heating and Cooking
  • Garbage
  • Water
  • Consumer Goods
  • Food

(I’m not sure what the basis of a 90% emissions reduction target is.  Here is one thought. Looking at National Ecological Footprints produced by the Global Footprint Network,  the 2007 data indicates the US global footprint was then 8 hectares/person while the global average was 2.7.  In comparison, the average for Europe was 4.7 hectares per person while the average for China was 2.2 hectares per person. Their figures show that  global footprint exceeded the biocapacity in 1975 and that in 2007 the available biocapacity was 1.8 hectares per person. Getting from 8 to 1.8 is a 77% reduction.  I don’t doubt that available biocapacity has decreased since 2007.)

In any case, reductions to a consumption levels that matches the biocapacity of the planet is a good preliminary target on which to base any attempts at self-regulation (Principle 4).

This project was originally started in May 2007 at Simple Living but stopped.  Sharon Astyk one of the co-developers has resurrected it at Casaubon’s Book  here.

I don’t know what is doable in a year’s time, but this format makes a lot of sense in terms of tracking my use and making reductions.

This will also be a good blog to follow; there should be lots of good ideas that are relevant to permaculture beyond the garden.

Riot for Austerity – Project Information:

  • Leverage Point Priority: C (Increase access to feedback.)
  • Importance: A
  • Difficulty: 1 (collecting the feedback) 1 and 2 (initial reductions)
  • Cost: $0 – collecting the feedback
  • Comments on functions: This activity will provide feedback on electricity, natural gas and water use, food consumption and waste reduction.