Friday, January 30, 2009

In which we get serious about reducing consumption

It's February 1 and time for the January report

I'm tracking how much energy my family uses, and how fit I am. And I'm (ahem) sharing this with the whole world.

First a bit of history. Back in 2006 I commuted a long distance to take my son to a very wonderful Waldorf preschool, unfortunately located twenty miles from our house. I drove 1250 miles per month. 

I had to make a decision about what I was prepared to do to improve the health of my family and that of the planet. I was ready to Give Up The Car.

Here's what we've changed:

- I don't commute anymore. I now work part-time from home (since 2005)

- We withdrew our son from private school. We now walk to the school near our house

- I don't do all the grocery shopping in the car. Instead I do some on my bike

- We stopped using the dryer. Instead we use sunshine  

- We don't live in a house with a backyard anymore. Instead we live in an apartment

and my son, age five, now begs to travel by bike, scooter of bus because he wants to save the polar bears. 

Polar bears enjoying the snow (courtesy of National Geographic Kids)

Scooting to school on the beach path

We're making some progress, but we could make more. I want to measure. 

Here's where we stand:

My current weight: 166 lbs 
My goal: 130 lbs

My car mileage: 650 miles driven in January 2009 (down from 1250 in January 2008)
My goal: Reduce by 50% to reach 300 miles per month

My electricity consumption: 225 kilowatt hours in January 2009 or $28.05
My goal: Reduce by 25% to reach 170 kilowatt hours per month

My natural gas consumption: $46.63 (sorry, no measurement available) in January 2009
My goal: Reduce by 50%

Here's my plan of attack:

Car usage
- Do all the grocery shopping on foot, by bike or on the bus
- Experiment with public transport here in L.A. 
- Keep a log of car travel

- Unplug the TV
- Unplug the laptop at night
- Experiment with a few electricity-free evenings

Natural gas
- Take shorter showers. Get a shower timer
- Wash some of our laundry in cold water

My weight
- Eat less
- Exercise more

We'll report how I do on March 1.


Deborah said...

that's really good that you're trying to improve your lives and your health! I wouldn't worry so much about weight though-I would just focus on exercising and eating right and whatever weight you wind up being, that's the weight for you!

Liana said...

Very interesting! I'm going to enjoy watching your progress and what things you do to achieve your goals. You're lucky you have public transportation available to you. In the "wide open spaces" it's harder to cut down on the miles. We have cut our electricity use a lot this year though. At least we're going the right way!

Mary Q Contrarie said...

Wow, You are an inspiration. I have never tracked how much of this that and the other that I use. I think that I am doing things in the right direction. I ride my bike to work as long as it's not raining or the high for the day is going to be below 32. We do not have a clothes line but we do use a clothes drying rack that we can use either inside or on the patio when it is nice. And we have been turning all of our electronics off at the surge protector for a couple years since they talk about the vampire electric usage that is going on.

Good luck and I hope you inspire more of us!