Posts filed under ‘Reducing Consumption’

Waste Reduction Group Launch

Filmed by YourTV Cornwall. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the 7 R’s of waste reduction at the launch of Transition Cornwall +’s newest action group.

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November 27, 2017 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

The monster footprint of digital technology

Circuit board 1

The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated.

When we talk about energy consumption, all attention goes to the electricity use of a device or a machine while in operation. A 30 watt laptop is considered more energy efficient than a 300 watt refrigerator. This may sound logical, but this kind of comparisons does not make much sense if you don’t also consider the energy that was required to manufacture the devices you compare. This is especially true for high-tech products, which are produced by means of extremely material- and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. How much energy do our high-tech gadgets really consume?

A handful of microchips can have as much embodied energy as a car. And since digital technology has brought about a plethora of new products, and has also infiltrated almost all existing products, this change has vast consequences.

Last, but not least: the energy-intensive nature of digital technology is not due only to energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Equally as important is the extremely short lifecycle of most gadgets. If digital products would last a lifetime (or at least a decade), embodied energy would not be such an issue. Most computers and other electronic devices are replaced only after a couple of years, while they are still perfectly workable devices. Addressing technological obsolescence would be the most powerful approach to lower the ecological footprint of digital technology.

Read the full article: The monster footprint of digital technology at by Kris De Decker Low Tech Magazine.

July 12, 2017 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2)

oil-spillAs long as you and I consume oil, we make oil nastiness possible in the most basic way. Our money, and how we spend it, is an extension of our values, our intent, our convictions. If we don’t consume the oil, then, yes, someone else might. But when we participate in the ugly world of oil by consuming its products, we not only make it profitable, we give the whole craziness our implicit consent. Our efforts to change this are not useless drops in the bucket. Paradigm shifts most often happen first within small subgroups that eventually form enough critical mass to cause large-scale cultural change.

Now I know you’re not going to shed your junk miles, move to a ten-minute neighborhood or replace all your flights with trains tomorrow. It may, in fact, take you years to squeeze the oil out of your travel. I suggest for 2017 that you adopt the task as a kind of hobby, (after all, we don’t mind spending time and money on our hobbies) and get creative, flexible and even adventurous about the options available. You may be surprised by the life benefits that cheap oil has been hiding from you.

Read Squeezing Oil Out of Your Travel (Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017, Part 2) by Karen Lynn Allen at Musings.

May 1, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale

By gosh, there’s nothing better than a good sale. And I’m not talking about shopping. Selling off your stuff can be surprisingly fun, liberating, and profitable. It’s hard work, though. To ensure good profits, your best bet is to organize a multi-family or neighborhood sale. Bigger sales bring more customers; a well-run, well-publicized event can net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

So how do you do it? Well, you’ll need more than a newspaper ad. Get organized, plan ahead, and use social media to make your sale stand out.

1. Start early and in person.
A month or two before the sale date, start calling your neighbors and friends. Hold a planning meeting, potluck-style. Topics of conversation: location, date, theme, and price points. Make an action plan and let every household choose a manageable task.

2. Create a web presence.
This step makes all the difference, but it doesn’t need to be complicated! The easiest method is to create a Facebook event. It’s quick to set up, and you can invite most of your friends and neighbors.

3. Catalogue the goods.
Create an online photo album (e.g. on Flickr). Use a shared login so your co-sellers can upload photos. Ask everyone to post their interesting or valuable items, along with information about any antiques or collectibles. If possible, set up a separate album for each participating household.

Read all 8 tips at How to Throw a Successful Yard Sale by Jessica Reeder at Shareable.

April 24, 2017 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen

taking-stockOur hope is that over the course of this year, we will practice living our values more fully, save money to invest in improving our neighborhood, make our home, garden, and neighborhood more resilient and antifragile. So far, Frugality Month is off to a good start. It’s hard—really hard—but when you see your savings rate soar you realize how quickly you could be saving for that business venture, home, or real estate project.

This is a bit of a departure from the typical Strong Towns terrain, but in our movement, getting the “right answer” or understanding the problem is only half the battle. If we are not able to change our own behaviors to respond to our predicament, if we only ask what hypothetical “other people” should be doing differently… we’re never going to get there. We need to develop a practical path to becoming stronger citizens, for our families, neighborhoods, and cities.

Read New Years Resolutions for a Strong Citizen by Seth Zeren at Strong Towns.

February 13, 2017 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

10 Really Good Reasons to Repair Stuff

blenderThings break. Everything we own, from air conditioners to zippers, eventually wear out or stops working. We can toss them and get new stuff — or we can try to repair them. The Fix-It Club offers ten really good reasons to repair or recycle household things that break:

  1. You can be a smarter consumer by knowing how things work and what to do if they don’t: appliances, heaters, air conditioners, mowers, plumbing, electronics, clocks, paint, flooring and more.
  2. You can save money by not having to replace things that you easily can repair. It might just need a fuse, a new electrical cord, or a screw tightened. You can do that!

Read 10 Really Good Reasons to Repair Stuff at Fix-it Club.

October 12, 2016 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Swap Before You Shop

Much of the advice out there for reducing your fashion footprint involves buying more sustainably made (and often expensive) clothes. But there are a number of ways – many of which we explore in our new Fashion issue – you can lower your impact that save money, both in the short- and long-term.

One way is to hold a clothing swap, which is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people get together and trade clothes with one another. Swapping is an extra-familial version of hand-me-downs, and something friends – particularly those who can’t afford to buy new clothes all the time – have been doing intuitively for years. But more formally organized swaps of all sizes – including city-wide events – have been gaining recent popularity. My tips here are for smaller-scale events.

Read Swap Before You Shop by Lauren MacDonald at the Alternatives Journal.

September 12, 2016 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

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