90PercentReduction : Riot for Austerity: 90% Reduction

90PercentReduction : Riot for Austerity: 90% Reduction

Welcome to the Riot for Austerity 90% Emissions Reduction Project. The goal that participants have set for themselves is to cut their emissions by 90% of what the average person in the US consumes – the approximate amount people in the rich world need to reduce by in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming. The eventual goal is to reach the 94% that George Monbiot calculates would represent a fair share of the world’s emissions for Americans, but we’re starting slow ;-).We’re doing this for several reasons. First, because it is necessary – if we want to bestow a decent world on our children, we have to cut our emissions, and much harder and faster than any government has proposed. The reason governments do not propose it is because they believe it is politically infeasible. So we want to present our leaders with as many people as possible who will stand up and say “I did it. Our nation can too.” We’re excited that people want to join us, and we invite anyone who is ready to participate! 
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I wanted to introduce the Riot for Austerity since it is a phenomenal project and since it has been mentioned in the comments section by fellow rioters. The Riot started in June of last year when two women with blogs were discussing the state of the environment and the world. Sharon of Casaubon’s book ( http://casaubonsbook.blogspot.com/ ) and Miranda at Simple Reduce ( http://simplereduce.wordpress.com/) are those two women. They say they never expected anyone else would join them in this adventure, but the last figure I heard was 1000 people had signed on for the challenge.

I signed on in July and my family has been working our way towards sustainability. Where this fits in with my blog is two fold. First it was my fellow rioters that gave me the support to start this blog, and secondly, one of the seven categories where we are reducing is garbage. In the USA the average person produces 4.5 lbs of garbage per day. If your garbage is picked up weekly, that means 31.5 lbs per person each week. If our family of four were average, we would be producing 126 lbs each week.

Good thing we are not average! I honestly don’t know what our trash production was prior to the riot, but we have successfully gotten it down to 14.5% of average or an 85.5% reduction.  That is 78.55lbs per month. This weight includes recyclables. I think the recycling is not separate, because no reliable numbers could be found on what was average. Each week I weigh both the trash and the recycling on an old kitchen scale. Our actual trash weighs in at 16.7lbs a month or 4 lbs per week. I think that is pretty good!   Our recycling weight could be reduced simply by buying more plastic and less glass, but I don’t think plastic is good for the planet  or us (for the most part). Glass and metal can be recycled easily where plastic can really only be what I’ve heard termed “down-cycled”. Meaning you cannot make another soda bottle out of a soda bottle, but you could make carpet. Glass and metal objects on the other hand can be remade into exactly the same thing.

What is in your garbage can? Could you cut down on the amount of trash you make? One of the ways to do this is by precycling. Precycling means buying the product with the least amount of packaging. It means when you go to purchase an item, you think about the amount of packaging you will have to  throw away once you open it. Sometimes it means not buying certain kinds of items because they are always over-packaged. Like six small packages of Doritos in a fiberboard box, covered in plastic. If you are going to buy that kind of junk, which I really don’t recommend, then at least buy the big package and dole out the servings into a reusable container. For some people, it’s just a matter of changing a few habits, for others it is a complete lifestyle change. But it is doable!

If you want to check out the Riot, you can  go here- http://riot4austerity.org/. This will give you all the rules and guidelines. It also has feeds from lots of bloggers who are rioting.  If you are really serious and think you want to give this thing a real try, then you should join the yahoo discussion group.  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/90percentreduction/  Here you can read about other rioters successes and failures as well as ask for advice. Let me know if you decide to give it a try.

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