A while ago I read a post from a person who had been participating in the Riot for Austerity, but decided to drop out. If memory serves… the dropping out was not because the household wanted to go back to their previous lifestyle of consumption, but because they had dropped their consumption as much as they were going to (a sizable amount if I remember correctly) on a monthly basis, were maintaining that reduction, but were not ready to do the full 90%. I admire the person for their honesty, and wondered if I should do the same.
After eight months of participating I know there is no way I am going to get to the 90% reduction. I work out of my home, so I use electricity for the office – the computers and printers. I am not ready to give up my television, refrigerator, washing machine or dishwasher just yet. And I still use the furnace (though I keep the temp in the house low.) After eight months my gas and electric reduction doesn’t look like it will get much better than 60%-70%.
So the question is: “Should I bow out of the Riot for Austerity?”
The answer for me is: “Not yet.” I think by continuing to participate I am keeping myself open to learning more about how I can continue to decrease my footprint over time. I am more aware of my usage when I keep track of it, and there is always room for improvement.
I have discovered those things which I hadn’t realized were big energy wasters, and now know that thermal windows in my office, and a new storm and kitchen door that fits the space without gaps would make a dramatic difference.
Staying with Riot for Austerity also gives me something to talk with others about – to get them involved. To hear that there is a movement out there of folks who are trying to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. I tell them it doesn’t look like I’ll make the 90% reduction this year, and why. But still they see a large group of folks trying to make a difference. And, in doing so I have gotten a few others to join me in keeping track of, and reducing their consumption.
So I will continue to “riot” – but perhaps it will be for something just this side of austerity. And, maybe over time I will find ways of decreasing my consumption without giving up those things I am not ready to do without. Perhaps a smaller refrigerator, a more efficient dishwasher, another way to wash clothes that I will actually do. I will keep plugging along… learning from all of you out there who are cutting your consumption. Finding all those small ways of doing something that add up to the larger reduction. And in some way I hope I can inspire a few more folks to join in.