Those of you who know me, know that I tend on the ‘personal reduction of consumption and emissions’ side of the environmentalist spectrum. More than counting on changes mandated from above, and more than glitzy (or even appropriate) technological innovations, and even more than encouraging others to act a certain way, I most like to challenge myself to make do with less. Despite the satisfaction I get from this (from knowledge of how it can benefit those with less than I have and the environment, from personal perversity in enjoying self denial, etc), it is hard for me. I have a family that is partly on board, but also wants certain things in their lives and resists radical steps like shutting off the hot water (oh wait, I’m the one addicted to hot baths…sorry for the attempt at transference). My extended 4-plex family also provides some limitations. I can not legally turn off the heat in the winter for the building, and no one but me in the building would even want to try that one on for size. I also live in Alaska, where local food and sustainable warmth can be a bit more of a challenge. Then there is the issue we all have with diets and budgets – best intentions are subject to guilty binges when we are feeling low or deprived. In any case, I do strongly believe that solutions or adaptation to many of our woes (energy, environmental, economic, etc) will require a radically different lifestyle, or at least way of using resources. Mostly meaning using radically less of them.
I know not everyone agrees, but I am ready to play the game and take the challenge. I recently found reference to the Riot for Austerity movement. The link in the last sentence takes you to the rules. My first step will be an accounting of present personal usage, and then an identification of where to go from there. I will try to take as much of the 4-plex along with me as I can, at least as far as I can without breaking bonds of good will. At this point, this is my personal journey of experimentation, of how reducing emissions 90% below national averages might, or might not, work in the place and situation I am already in. I like goals. I will be honest with failures and try not to obsess but learn from them.