Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Earth Day! Number Crunching Edition

Creative take on consumption and environmentalism? You have got to check out Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan. His huge photographs depict topics like plastic cups (the closeup at left is a tiny piece of a montage he did of 1 million of them - the amount used up on airlines every six hours). I can't remember where I found this, but it's probably from BB-blog, my source for all things visually interesting.

I figure it's a fine time to do a little assembling of resources for number crunching (ie analyzing my personal consumption and resource use). So much of what's interesting to me right now is just about raising my own awareness level, and learning to make my lifestyle and economic choices more carefully.

On the home front, I've been wondering just how to calculate our basic carbon footprint. There are basic web tools out there for figuring out your water, electricity, and carbon usage.

But my favorite calculator is over at Riot For Austerity. You may have to join the group to see their files, but I've been hearing about the group for awhile from lunatics luminaries like Burbanmom and I think it sounds like a great place to listen and learn. Basically, the group members are going to try to reduce their impact to spur government action and for the larger sense of living simply so that others may simply live. To join the group go to the 90% Reduction Yahoogroup. Here's part of their welcome message:
"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.... 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.”

I don't know about you, but my personal goal? Just to live more simply. I am hoping to use the tools above to help myself learn about my consumption patterns and to make conscious choices about what I'd like to do rather then living blindly and greedily off of resources I don't really even need or notice. I figure any improvement is better than nothing, huh? Slow, steady, continual improvement.

10 comments:

Going Crunchy said...

I just saw this this site this week and was AMAZED. Really, really powerful statements without saying a word. I'm going to ask permission to blow some of the images up and use them in my Library this summer.

MamaBird said...

Yeah, the images seem like they'd be even more amazing blown up. I love the image of the barbies -- with the accompanying stats on breast augmentation surgeries.

Burbanmom said...

MamaBird,

Yeah, I LOVE the number crunching sites too (can't you tell?). I'm going to do a post soon (hopefully this week) on how to actually calculate and track your Riot Numbers so hopefully that will help!

MamaBird said...

Ooh, ooh! I am *so* excited, Burbanmom. TIA, you know I am dying to know how you know just how many gallons of h2o you use to cold rinse your dishes!

Minnesota Matron said...

Oh my -- I'm definitely going to Riot for Austerity. Now that spring is here in Minnesota, we can finally stop using the dryer and hang clothes outside again. That's a huge relief in a household that recycles the tiniest scrap of paper and hauls canvas bags everywhere. But I know we can do a lot lot more.

Melanie said...

Those are some amazing links. Excuse me: I have some numbers to crunch.

Cheri said...

Just stopping by from Derfwad Manor. Nice to meet you.

katydidnot said...

i used to have chris jordan on my side bar. i think he's brilliant. how brilliant of you to feature him on the perfect day.

loved the mrs. g post too!

Laura said...

Hi Mamabird -- It was so fun to see you over to Derfwad Manor!

I'm with you on the living more simply. I think living mindfully (like doing anything else mindfully) is a better inner guide than living fearfully. When my friend made her kids watch "An Inconvenient Truth" I thought -- at this age, wouldn't you rather nurture their love of the planet than scare the crap out them?

Sojourner said...

Great links Mamabird! Haven't been by in awhile, but I always learn tons of valuable stuff when I stop by here! Thanks for all you do.