The Riot for Austerity Meets the Emperor of Ice Cream

Sharon May 25th, 2007

“Let be be finale of seem
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.”
-Wallace Stevens

Miranda has graciously put together a yahoogroup for us to discuss our rioting for austerity project - she and I are having trouble keeping up with all the comments on all the different posts, so we’re trying to bring the discussion together. You can subscribe by sending an email to this address [email protected] (I’m supposed to be able to set up a link, but so far no luck - but if you go over to Miranda’s blog at, you can do it there in a 1 click - have you noticed that Miranda is much cooler than I am? I have.)

You can still post comments on the blogs, or link in through the webring Miranda has put together, but the nice thing about a yahoogroups is that it allows us to have threaded discussions. I really hope you’ll join. And don’t forget, if you have a blog or website where you are discussing this, link it through Miranda!

I thought it might be worth pointing out why it is we’re doing all this one more time. I think it is easy to get caught up in the logistics, and the worries - the “I can’ts” or “it is too hard.” And what we are doing is, in one sense, very difficult. As someone says in some now-forgotten baseball movie I once saw, “Of course its hard. That’s what makes it great. If it was easy, everyone would do it.” I don’t know if this being hard makes it great, but I think it is truly possible that by making it clear that this can be done, we might actually get to everyone doing it. And that would probably make us better than we are.

So here are 5 reasons to participate in the 90% reduction challenge.

1. Because we need to make be be the finale of seem. Instead of seeming to act, instead of talking about things like raising mileage standards on new cars, we need to deal with the reality that most of the cars have to come off the road. Instead of talking about biofuels as though they are meaningful substitute for oil, we need to start talking about feeding people in an increasingly hungry world. Much of what is happening now seems to be action, but isn’t. The lie that we can keep things basically the same, only with windmills needs to be killed and buried, and the truth brought forth, with all its horny feet.

2. Because what we are doing is simply rational preparation for what is to come. Dave Pollard’s analysis of the economic impact of further rises in gas prices is really important the fact that we’ve absorbed 3.50 gallon gas is no indication that we can continue to absorb price rises. I think Pollard’s conclusion is an important one, and should remind all of us that we *will* be making massive cuts in our energy usage sooner or later. But sooner is better for the earth and better for us - voluntary cuts are a lot less painful than mandated ones.

3. Because with great power comes great responsibility. We’re rich. If you use a computer and can read this blog, the odds are excellent you are among the richest 10-15% of the people on the whole earth. Yes, I know you don’t always feel rich, but you are. So making major, voluntary cuts is not impoverishing yourself - it is balancing the scales a little, making things a little more just.

4. Because in order to keep up our lifestyle, we’re doing things like this:,1518,484661,00.html, and that’s just plain wrong. Does anyone think that the damned war wasn’t about the oil anymore? The less of it you buy, the less incentive you give the bastards who orchestrated this to keep killing them.

5. Oh, and it helps stop global warming too ;-).

Remember folks, the emperors are posturing scum who don’t believe that other people matter as much as money and oil. I’m pinning my hopes on be, and the Emperor of Ice Cream!


7 Responses to “The Riot for Austerity Meets the Emperor of Ice Cream”

  1. anna in canadaon 25 May 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you for posting the reasons, Sharon–after reading the rules and faq, I had decided to give up almost entirely!

    What I’ve decided to do instead is this: 1) keep in mind the ultimate goal of 90%, but 2) approach this with an attitude of exploration and discovery instead of panic and pressure (which is always my first response to a huge project like this).

    While I’m not sure I can manage what you’re doing (however much I’m inspired by it!) I’m curious and excited to know what I *can* do–rather like I’m curious and excited to know how much of my own food I can grow on my city lot!

    Thank you for all your inspriation.

  2. anna (again)on 25 May 2007 at 10:38 pm

    I just found this quotation, and it also seemed to speak to the issue very directly~

    “We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. . . We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.”

    -Wendel Berry

  3. lavonneon 26 May 2007 at 1:35 am

    Sharon, email links have “mailto:” in front of them instead of “http://”, so it would look like this:

    <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>fake address</a>

    Hope this helps. :o]

  4. deliberatelyon 26 May 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Your experiment is a challenge to the progress we’ve made so far, pushing it further. We’re making more changes everyday trying to make our step on the planet lighter.

  5. alexon 27 May 2007 at 7:22 am

  6. alexon 28 May 2007 at 9:10 am

  7. Jessica at Bwlchyrhydon 29 May 2007 at 10:27 am

    STILL haven’t had the time to sit down and work out the numbers yet, but I did weigh my rubbish this morning before putting it out for the bin man — 630 grams (just over 1 1/3 lbs) for two people for a week! :)

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