When I started make-a(green) plan I used the Riot for Austerity goal of 90% reductions in electricity, gas, water, food and consumer goods to establish my baselines. Step One – priority baselines . . .
What I am not drawn to are the contortions for calculating things. This is the link for the original rules. The food part is just mind bending. I won’t even try (and I am not alone there). I struggled with how I was going to track numbers and usage from the very first week of this challenge. I was correct in my notion that I wouldn’t want to record usage daily. Three was no way. I mention this because I had followed La Marguerite doing a daily footprint project for a time last year and I found those log numbers in each post annoying.
From the get go I haven’t had too high a numbers ever. Compared to average Americans I am an ascetic living on air. By May I think I was feeling that I was getting the hang of this and excited by improvements and new plans. This post was a snapshot in time.
At the half way mark I assessed again, but this time I just couldn’t make myself do calculations. This was when I’d discovered the word, Listacle (an article consisting primarily of a list) and proceeded to link to all of my posts that were essentially lists. I was really seeing the whole calculating, sharing part as pretty petty. I wrote, "My angst is this; I am wobbly about what part of all this matters beyond my own musings."
Despite the positive remarks of encouragement in the polite comments, I continue to struggle with the minutia aspect. Yet, I know for a fact it is important for a reader to have some measure of comparison. We just can’t know unless we have some figures. For instance, I can say I don’t walk enough and that this is the number one riot for austerity category, transportation, that I am weakest in changing.
The real numbers are that I drive about 16 miles at the very most a week. When my master composter class ends in a couple of weeks it will be back to about 6-8 miles a week. At that point it should be 0 miles a week because I live within walking distance of everything I need in my life. But, I don’t walk at all. Period. I used to walk miles and miles a day in New York, in Philadelphia and in the last year I lived in Phoenix. When I moved here I walked daily on the beach. Oh, did I mention that these daily walks were only for a period of a couple of months each time I started?
Sustaining good patterns is the toughest part. Like many, I am reluctant to start a new pattern (or re-start a routine) if I think I am going to fail. For me it feels more debilitating to have small failures over and over again than to simply hold off until it is time to commit in total. That’s just me.
I thought I was ready to make my big shift towards activity and out of my sedentary phase this last June with my Über Focus post. I then made a tactical error on my part by signing up half heartedly to an addiction challenge. I had to learn (again) that those things are the opposite of helpful for me making changes. In part I believe this is because I am a self-motivated person and handing over direction to a group or group leader dissipates my motivation. This is so important to remember for another reason. I need to be very careful not to rob those around me of their own motivational schemes. Tricky business.
So . . . I have achieved 90% reduction. Trust me.
But, I have in no way achieved my goals. This last chunk of the year will hold the challenge of maintaining or improving my low-impact sustainability reductions.
Nuns in Calcutta
Inspired by Rosa’s comments on the name ‘Riot for Austerity’