Riot: Where are we Starting From?

Last week, I was feeling a bit discouraged and overwhelmed at the idea of the Riot.  The Riot for Austerity (R4A) sets the incredible goal of reducing your consumption to just 10 percent of what the average American consumes in each of seven categories.

Although I was initially discouraged, I decided to at least look at where we are at currently with our resource consumption.  One of the rioters created this calculator which allows you to see where you are at compared with the national averages.  I was really excited when I plugged our current numbers in.  We are doing much better than I thought, and I found it really encouraging.

Transportation energy:

August 2011:  19 gallons of gasoline per person per month (counting two people) = 46.2% of national average
Average usage for last 12 months: 231.35 gallons per person for the year (19.28 gallons per person/month) = 46.9% of national average


 July – August 2011: 781 kWh = 86.4% of national average
Total usage for last 12 months: 6547 kWh = 59.5% of national average

Heating & Cooking Fuel (Natural Gas):

July – August 2011: 9 therms = 10.9% of national average
Total usage for last 12 months: 451 therms = 45.1% of national average

Garbage guess-timate (we’ll start weighing this month) is 12 pounds per week = 30% o the national average


Average of April – June 2011: 1,166.67 gallons per person (counting four people) per month = 38.9% of the national average
Actual usage from 9/8/2010 to 6/3/2011: 43,000 gallons, we don’t have a bill yet for the final quarter, so I average 14k more gallons for June – August.  That’s 57,000 gallons for a year.  This is 14,250 gallons per person per year = 39% of the national average.

Consumer Goods:

August 2011 (not counting our new mattress):  New items: $474.24, used items: $5.91, total: $474.83 = 52.8%% of the national average for a household of 2.6 people
Average dollars spent per month for last 12 months:  New: $6630.05, used: $29.04, total: $6632.95 = 60.3% of national average for a household of 2.6 people.  If we average it per person for four people, we’re at 39% of the national average.

For our food, we are right on track.  It’s hard to measure exactly in this category, so we are still mulling over what method we will use to track this.

Overall, we are starting from a good place.  It’s much less daunting to think of reducing consumption from fifty percent to ten, than taking on a full ninety percent reduction.  Rick didn’t seem surprised at our numbers at all, but I really was.  I’m getting excited about this challenge.

Something even more encouraging… my mom told me after reading my last post on the R4A, that although she’s not interested in rioting herself, she’s starting thinking of ways she could consume less.   And that is the point of the riot.  A few people making extreme reductions in consumption can show others that maybe they can make some small changes too.

Categories: Sustainability | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Riot: Where are we Starting From?

  1. Cool calculator. We’re way over for fuel, which didn’t surprise me, but I found it hard to figure out how many gallons of water we used, for example. Very interesting…

  2. Pingback: Riot for Austerity « Learning As We Go

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