Monday, July 05, 2010

Riot For Austerity: 6 Month Update


Our family made a resolution at the beginning of the year to begin Rioting. Riot for Austerity is a challenged posed to developed nations where people voluntarily decide to live on only 10 percent of the average United States consumption. The idea being, that 10 percent rations are the necessary changes to mitigate global warming. Read more about our attempts here.

Well, June has finished up and we are half way though our year of Rioting. Our family is attempting to make the permanent lifestyle changes to last significantly longer than a year, but are really monitoring this year to find progress. And progress has been made!

We are at 10-12% in four of the seven categories.

Electricity: We switched our electric bill over to 100% renewable energy as provided by our carrier. We are not given a breakdown of exactly how many kWh comes from which form of energy, but most of it is hydro and wind power. Due to the extreme demand for renewable energy being asked for by our electric company, they are embarking on the largest solar energy project in our region and considering closing the only coal power plant left in our state. At 409 kilowatt hours of wind/hydro power we are using 11% of the U.S. National Average for electricity.

Heating Fuel:
This year we are cutting 5 cords of downed and dead wood for our household heating. This is up one cord from last year, but will make our lives more comfortable. We are also most likely going to permanently disconnect the Natural Gas this year rather than pay $3.85 service bills every month. Even with the added cord we are using 10% of the U.S. National Average for heating.

Garbage: We took our garbage service down to only once a month pick up almost a year ago when the switch off of processed foods was complete. There just wasn't a need for frequent pick-ups with so much less packaging. Now we are considering canceling altogether in favor of transporting our own recycling and yard debris to the municipal center and only taking trash as needed. Currently, we have 50 lbs of garbage a month divided between 3 people; totaling 16.6 lbs per person per month and putting us at 12% the U.S. National Average for Garbage.

Food:
This one was a bit trickier to figure out just where everything fell into categories. We consider local to be within 100 miles in each direction. Our grains, milk, chicken, cheese, cream, and most fruits and veggies come from "local" sources. As such, we considered these local. Our spices, sugar (though refined locally), beef, beans and rice aren't locally grown and thus went into the appropriate categories. We are looking into expanding our personal spice growing and accessing local beef, but those are still a bit far off. Currently, we are working with 70% local, 25% dry and bulk, 5% wet.

Areas We're Still Working On:

Transportation: With Jules now out of school and me working from home, our transportation plummets. At least 300 miles a week are removed, however with a road trip we easily gain them back and then some. Daily driving is down quite a bit and we are attempting to curb this issue slowly but surely.

Water: The water bill is calculated quarterly, so we won't be getting it again for a bit.

Consumer Goods: I have given up on calculating our exact expenses with consumer goods. I know it is higher than 10% monetarily, but our main goal is not purchasing new. Our lives are close to not needing the consumer grid for much other than lumber and hardware, undies and socks or the occasional clothing item for Jules to wear to work, and toilet paper. We still have our vices: books, coffee, and sushi but everything else is second hand and most comes from either garage sales or the Goodwill Outlet where the next stop is the landfill.

2 thoughts:

babbaapril said...

You are doing marvelously AND I do not consider books a vice!!!

Mel said...

That's awesome that you are doing this! We try to be smart about what we use, but I'm sure we aren't down to 10%. Maybe I should try to calculate it and see where we are.

Some of the things you have access to we don't (alternative energy--unless we set up a system at our house, but not from the power company; local food--in summer, but Montana winters are tough for gardening, although I do can and freeze from the garden=more electricity; garbage--I tried to get a reduced pick-up schedule, but it was a no-go)

If it wasn't so darn scenic and I didn't love cross-country skiing so much, I would think about moving somewhere more prgressive. I guess we all do what we can.

That was a too-long comment. Sorry about that, but you got me thinking...

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