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On the internet there will always be someone who has produced a video that shows you the differences between all the products on the market.

I’ve been putting this off for a while. I told myself it’s because I’m not a joiner, I don’t need to quantify stuff to improve, and doing the numbers and conversions is not my thing, and and and… and it’s all too confronting. That’s really it isn’t it? Like the first year politics class where Verity Burgmann made us guess how much of the world’s wealth was controlled by the richest ten percent of the world’s population*, there’s something incredibly shocking about finding yourself a member of the top ten percent wealth wise. I am one of the world’s rich bastards. Even when all my clothes come from the oppie, even when my mother is complaining about how low we have the heater in winter, even when the tax bill looks a bit daunting. I live in Victoria where we burn brown coal for electricity, I live in a country where our leaders play childish games rather than make binding commitments, and there’s only so much I can do about our systemic failures.

I’m joining the Riot4Austerity. I’m confronting the numbers, and, while it’s still appalling how much of the world’s resources my family use compared to most people in poorer countries, we didn’t do too badly. Sure this first time round involved a bit of educated guessing about our consumption and waste, and a few false starts where I realised the billing period was longer than the period in the calculator, but it’s really not that hard. And now I’m sort of looking forward to the challenge.

We’re totally going to fail on the consumer spending record-keeping. I couldn’t even guess what we’ve spent for the last month so it’s not calculated here. For those who are new to the game, the idea is to get those numbers down to 10% or less, that is, 10% of the average American consumption.

R4A Calculator summary:
| Transport: 52% | Elec: 16% | H&C: 14% | Trash: 10% | Water: 20% | Food: 30% local, 50% dry, 20% wet |

*10% of the people control 90% of the wealth, and if you own a computer, you’re probably in the ten percent. Outrageous isn’t it? I didn’t even do anything except not get born in Timor Leste.

I’ve been reading, not just for uni, for pleasure. It dawned on me the other day that, although my reading material might to the casual observer look rather diverse, it’s all really about the same thing.

Do you work to live or live to work? Read the rest of this entry »

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