Sunday, 1 July 2007

Here goes....

This month we are officially starting two challenges:

1) The Eat Local Challenge, organized by Crunchy Chicken, and;

2) the Riot for Austerity/90% Carbon Emission Reduction challenge, organized by Miranda at
Simple Living and Sharon at Causabons Book.

Crunchy is encouraging people to eat as much local (i.e., within their 100 mile 'foodshed') food as possible for the month of July. It is a project designed for success, because each participant can choose just how involved they want to be in doing the 'locavore' thing for themselves. We have set some fairly modest goals for ourselves this month:
  • To find out where our local farmers are located
  • To buy as much produce as possible from these farmers either at their farms near us or at the Farmer's Market(s)
  • To learn more about growing our own food, and keep good care of our little 4X4 garden.
  • What ever fresh produce we do buy from the grocery store will be grown in Canada or the USA only.
  • To check where every food product we buy comes from, and when we have a choice (which is most of the time) to buy the one that is produced closer to home.
We have been doing some of this already over the past couple shopping trips, and it has been quite the eye-opener to see how far our food has to be shipped to get to us. More about that another day.

The second challenge is a year-long project that the Austerity Rioters already began on June 1st. Here is how Miranda and Sharon outline the project:
The goal that Miranda, Sharon and other 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 ;-).
George Monbiot is the author of the book, "Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning." I haven't read this book yet, but the essential premise is that the developed world has to drastically cut its emissions to prevent greenhouse gasses from reaching the tipping point after which we can't stop global warming anymore no matter what we do. Those of us in the US, Canada and Australia must cut our emissions by 90%; those in the E.U, by about 85%.

Here are the seven key areas of consumption in which we must make reductions:
  1. Gasoline/Diesel
  2. Electricity
  3. Heating/Cooking energy
  4. Garbage
  5. Water
  6. Consumer Goods
  7. Food
The full set of "rules" are available here at the Simple Living blog.

This is a huge challenge, no doubt about it. I don't know if we can do it without radically changing our lifestyle. But we would like to try. It would be good to see just how low we can go by only making moderate changes. Then maybe if we have to make drastic changes one day [insert ominous music here], maybe they won't seem so drastic anymore.

I'm working on a spreadsheet that outlines our consumption in these 7 areas, and once I get it finished I will post it here, that is if I can figure out how to post a spreadsheet on a blog.


Anonymous said...

You continue to inspire me Theresa! I love the idea of both challenges. I think we do very well with a few of the 7 areas of consumption and could certainly improve some of the others. Think I'll go crunch some numbers to see how we fare on these....


Theresa said...

Crunching the numbers has really been informative for us alright. We were pleasantly suprised in some areas and slightly dismayed in others. I hope to have our spreadsheet up here in a couple days...

daharja said...

I think you're an inspiration!

I do wonder about the '100 miles' thing being considered 'local' though (and I know its not you who has dne the deciding, I'm just commenting). I'm thinking that when Peak Oil really hits, 100 miles is going to be considered quite a distance. Which makes me wonder - what *is* local? Really local? And how can we encourage local food growers in our areas?

I think the Transition Towns people are on the right track (and Relocalize.Net in the US). But we have such a lot of work to do!

I'm enjoying readig your blog - am new to it, and found it through Chile Chews.


Daharja XXX