Making the Riot Easy

Sharon February 11th, 2008

Kiashu has a terrific post over at Green With a Gun about what a 1 tonne carbon lifestyle looks like. For those who have been terrified by the calculations of the Riot for Austerity, Kyle gives you a mental picture of what a fair share life actually looks like. I was very impressed by this, and the level of detail involved.

I think one of the hardest things about making changes is having a sense of what it would look like.

I particularly liked this point:

“But I can’t because…

In the developed West, the average person can do this. For every person who is 100km from work and won’t cycle, there’ll be another one who is just 3km from work and can walk, not even having those public transport emissions. Some will need more meat because they’re menstruating or recovering from surgery, but others will be vegan. Some won’t have any yard at all to garden in, or even a balcony for container plants, but others will have relatives living in the country who’ll be delighted for them to plant trees in some disused paddock. Individuals may be able have less emissions in one area but more in another, walking to work but eating more meat, using less electricity but buying more books, and so on and so forth. So this represents an average. Just because you find one area difficult doesn’t mean you have to forget the other areas.

Doing these emissions-reducing things, living the one-tonne-carbon lifestyle, is not something everyone can do, because we don’t have the public transport or renewable energy generation capacity. It’s a bit like becoming rich - anyone can do it, but not everyone can do it. The difference between this lifestyle and becoming rich is that as we put in the public transport and renewable energy infrastructure, everyone will be able to live like this, whereas it’ll never be the case that everyone can be rich. As the public transport becomes used more, and more people sign up for wind energy and so on, the infrastructure will be built. This is why even though the lifestyle suggested here you could live tomorrow, in the Goal Emissions article I allowed a decade for everyone to change to this lifestyle. That also allows ten years while you say, “but I can’t because…”

And a lot of us can do a lot of this sooner, rather than later. We live out in the country, and my husband can’t bike to work in the winter, but he can carpool, and I can stay home altogether, and share my emissions with him. My oldest son has to be bussed to a school for kids with disabilities, but his brothers can be homeschooled, and share their fair share of emissions with their big brother. We can all change our diets to a degree. We can all do some of this now, and a little more each day.

Nice one, Kiashu!


6 Responses to “Making the Riot Easy”

  1. Gregory T. Jefferson 12 Feb 2008 at 3:38 am

    Hi Sharon,

    I have a blog that I want to move to newly named sight, much as you did. I was hoping that you could explain the mechanics of how you did it.

    my blog is and covers energy and the economy.

    BTW, I have read your stuff for some time now. My wife and I live on an organic farm in Middle Tennessee and we enjoy some of the ideas we pick up from your work.

    You are a beautiful person. Live long and prosper in good health!!

  2. Anonymouson 12 Feb 2008 at 5:22 am

    Hi Sharon

    Do you and your husband know about studded bicycle tires made by Nokkian? I’ve been using them for about 4 years now and they are great! Thus far no spills (knock wood!) I’ve probably talked about 5 people into getting them so far, and I think everyone has been satisfied.

    Hans Noeldner

  3. helwenon 12 Feb 2008 at 3:38 pm

    It’s a good post, and I was glad to see it up at Energy Bulletin too.

    Wish we had someone to balance our miles, but there’s just the two of us, and the nearest (useful) towns are 15 and 24 miles away. So we combine errands and try to increase the number of things we can do/produce at home to decrease those trips. Come summertime, I might consider biking to the closer town, but it’s 15 mi. downhill going there (yay) and 15 mi uphill coming back :( No level spots, no dips — we’re on a mountain.

    You and I both know that there will never be public transportation in the countryside… altho’ once in a while we manage to combine one of our shopping trips with L’s parents’ trips — nice for them since L does the driving, and saves gas. Another year or so and our trips will probably be down to 1-2 times/month, if that.

    Heather G

  4. Rosaon 12 Feb 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Helwen, i just want to say that there is NO SHAME in walking a bike up a mountain. None at all.

    It’s slow, but it gets you there.

  5. jewishfarmeron 13 Feb 2008 at 1:21 pm

    I hope there’s no shame - I do it all the time. And ours are little weenie mountains ;-).

    Thanks for the rec on the studded tires!


  6. green with a gunon 14 Feb 2008 at 6:48 am

    I’m glad you liked it.

    I wouldn’t say it makes things easy, as such. It just makes it clear. “Here are some things you can do to reduce your impact, any one of them is good, all together would be great. And if you lived a low impact life, here’s what it might look like - not exactly the Stone Age.”

    Physically, financially, it’s easy. But psychologically and socially it’s harder. We’re just stuck in a certain way of living our daily lives. Anyone who’s ever lived kosher or as a buddhist monk or cloistered religious or similar, and then stopped, or who’s worked just part-time and then over-full-time, or who’s gone from being a vegan to meat-eating, or vice versa - these lifestyle changes can be a shock to the system, even when they’re good for us in the end. And if they’re entirely voluntary, they can be hard to keep up motivation for.

    Which is where using your balls or ovaries comes in.

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