I’ve realized lately that while there is the ultimate goal of reduction to 10% of American average (which I won’t be able to do for some categories), and I have vague ideas about how to get there, I’ve kind of lost sight of actual concrete things I want to achieve in the near future on this project. So here are some thoughts on where I want to go in the next two months or so:

Gasoline: Doing really well right now. My immediate goals are to get on the bike more, specifically to try to bike to Cambridge along the bike path. Before I do this, I’ll need to get a bike lock. We will try to rent the most efficient car possible that will still hold everything/one we need it to for the camping trip at the end of the month. I will ask someone who bikes a lot how securely one has to lock things up in Cambridge. R. previously said that she locks bikes to signs all the time and has never had one stolen, but I should find out whether she’s locking the seat and doing other obessive-seeming things like that. If it looks doable, this will mean that in good weather I can bike to Central Square, lock the bike, and take the bus to class. I’m not crazy enough yet to bike through downtown Boston. It will be dark for the ride back, but it’s almost all along either a bike path or sidewalks, so as long as I have a light, that seems reasonably safe. R. has commented that she can outpace the bus I’d normally take to Cambridge :-)

Electricity: Currently at about 20% of US average. My goal for the next two months is to use the nightlight no more than twice a week, and to try “grape-stomping” some laundry.

Food: Currently doing quite well, though last week wasn’t so great. My current goals will be to ask the grocery store about the exact source of their Massachusetts produce, find out if Welch’s grape juice is actually local, attempt to pickle something (probably either making cucumber pickles or sauerkraut), and make a definite plan for what sort and how much food we want in long-term emergency storage.

Water: So far, a bit uneven, but not bad. The toilet remains an insurmountable obstacle, though using the jar for liquid fertilizer keeps down the number of flushes. I need a bigger jar. So current goals will be finding a bigger jar and using it all the time.

Consumer Goods: Doing well. I’ve weaned myself off of a fair number of consumer luxuries that I really don’t miss. My goal for now will be to buy nothing new except for underclothing and garden supplies (the garden supplies I’ll try to find used, but it’s difficult to find used seeds or bean innoculant, for obvious reasons). Sometime in the next week there will be a thrift store run to get some better-fitting clothes and start replacing the cheap plastic cups and bowls.

Trash: Doing extremely well; already at 90% goal. But I’m still producing trash that I could avoid, so there’s always room for more work. My goal for this category will be to make a notes binder of used paper for use at work, since I’m constantly making notes of things and the library produces endless quantities of one-sided printouts. At home, I will not buy any prepackaged food for the next month. Reusable containers that I have a clear idea for use when I buy them do not count, nor does stuff Ben buys, though I will wean myself off the crunchy snacks he likes so that it’s completely his purchase.

Other: This week I will make that solar dehydrator. I will get back into the habit of meditating every morning so that I do not go all overwhelmed like I was last week.


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