Pioneers of our carbon neutral future

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The more we spend and the richer we are, the more we pollute. The world’s richest 10 per cent produce half of all carbon emissions, according to a recent Oxfam study. A person among the richest one per cent produces several hundred times more carbon emissions than a person among the poorest ten per cent of the population.

So an obvious way of attending to our carbon footprint is to be able to spend less, and to live on less. But in a rich consumer society like Australia, that message has proved to be hard to sell to the general public: “Spend less! Live on less!”

Enter carbon-neutral pioneers Patrick Jones and his family based in Daylesford, Victoria.

“Poverty is owning a car,” says a sign on one of his bicycle-bags. He is keen to show Australians not only how it is possible to live simply and sustainably – his message is that “that’s just a wonderful way to live”.

“What we’re trying to do as a household is model a way in which we really attend to our carbon outputs,” 45-year-old cycling-enthusiast told journalist Peter Barrett who published the interview titled ‘No car, no worries: meet the family travelling Australia for free’ in The Age on 9 January 2016.

Patrick Jones believes the first step in combating ecological damage and climate change is to recognise how we move around and how our resources – particularly food – come to us.

“We’ve been scrutinising those two things in our lives for about seven or eight years. Our fundamental message is that a family of very low monetary means can enact these changes, therefore, maybe, so could you.”

10 per cent of the family’s diet is derived from “wild plants”, including bitter greens such as dandelion, mallow, hawksbeard, flatweed, plantain and stinging nettle.

“They have really good [health] benefits but they also plant themselves – they don’t need any agriculture fossil fuels,” says Jones.

What began as a carbon-conscious mission to gather research for a book about free foods in Australia turned into another book: ‘The Art of Free Travel’


“Their aim was to live as cheaply as possible − guerrilla camping, hunting, foraging and bartering their permaculture skills, and living on a diet of free food, bush tucker, and the occasional fresh road kill. They spent time in Aboriginal communities, joined an anti-fracking blockade, documented edible plants, and dodged speeding cars and trucks on the country’s most dangerous highways. The Art of Free Travel is the remarkable story of a rule-breaking year of ethical living.”



artist-as-familyFoodForest

Connect:

» Artist as Family blog:
www.theartistasfamily.blogspot.com.au

» Artist as Family Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/Artist-as-Family-146311775390910

» Artist as Family Twitter account:
www.twitter.com/artistasfamily


Read more:

» The Age – 26 January 2016:
Cyclists are climate-change heroes but we are often treated as villains

» The Age – 9 January 2016:
No car, no worries: meet the family travelling Australia for free
“How to see Australia on a very, very small budget.” Article by Peter Barrett

Artist as Family have conducted a number of fruitful projects in the past including ’17 Days’ (2009), commissioned by the Lock-up Cultural Centre in Newcastle and ‘Food Forest’ (2010–), commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.





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Related articles and posts


“The journey to fossil fuel freedom

Book about the path to carbon neutrality, and eventually, carbon freedom.

“Our main family car is now an EV; we have double glazed the house; we have installed 8.5kW of solar PV; we have turned off the gas. We are now well on the way to becoming a fossil fuel free family. I have documented our energy transition process and produced a book called ‘Our Household Energy Transition: Becoming a Fossil Fuel Free Family’…”
Dave Southgate

The book explores the actions Dave Southgate and his family have taken; why they have done what they have done; and the energy and carbon outcomes of their actions. The book also provides details on the costs.

Dave Southgate retired from the public service in July 2012 after a 31 year career as an environmental specialist in the Australian Government Transport Department and then as the Australian Government representative on the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). Since his retirement he has expanded his climate change interests and has become fascinated with renewable energy.

» Download Our Household Energy Transition: Becoming a Fossil Fuel Free Family (PDF 3.5MB)

» View the book on Scribd

» Read more: Footprinting the Decarbonisation of Energy and Transport





can-you-find-love



Slide
Image from Peter Kalmus’ powerpoint presentation

“Life with a tenth the fossil fuel…

…turns out to be awesome!”

Peter Kalmus is, among many things, an atmospheric scientist, physicist, a gardener, a beekeeper, a cyclist and the father of two boys aged 6 and 8 years, living in Altadena, California, USA. Through a series of lifestyle changes he has managed to reduce his personal CO2 emissions from 19 tonnes a year – which is about the US national average – to two tonnes. And he says he’s had a great time doing it.

He is now writing on a book about becycling. ‘Be-cycling’ meaning: ‘Beyond Recycling’. He has already uploaded a first draft for the new work – a PDF of 337 pages with the working title ‘Be-Cycling: Better Living Without Fossil Fuel’.

airplane-emissions

In the introduction to the book Peter Kalmus writes:

“I knew that burning fossil fuels was causing irreversible harm to our planet’s life support systems. And yet I continued doing it for years. I tried not to think about this dissonance, and if I did I could always fi nd a rationalization.

For most of my life, I haven’t thought about global warming. A sixth grade teacher taught me the basic idea way back in 1986, but it had seemed like science fiction, not something that would ever concern me. This was the only time global warming was mentioned over the course of my education and I wouldn’t think about it again until I’d become a father almost two decades later. And even after nally grasping the urgency of global warming, it took me five additional years before I began to develop a coherent response.

During this five-year period I grew to understand our predicament intellectually, but I had no idea what to do. Without a deeper awareness – without knowing what to do – I felt afraid of the future and alienated from the people around me. I was lost. One of my hopes in writing this book is that it helps others with emerging awareness shorten this period of panicked limbo.”

Peter Kalmus is guest in this Root Simple podcast, discussing his “Be-Cycling”-response to climate change.
This is what he calculated his emissions looked like before he started, in 2010:

PeterKalmus2010emissions

During the Root Simple podcast, Peter Kalmus also touches on:

His transition from astrophysics to climate science and why he made the switch.
The carbon footprint of climate science.
Not giving climate skeptics any more airtime.
The disconnect between evidence and action.
Meditation.
Techo-fixes vs. “pulling back.”
Figuring out your carbon footprint.
Avoiding flying.
The carbon footprint of food.
Becoming a vegetarian.
Dumpster diving.
Growing food.
RIPE Altadena.

» More info about the podcast

» Check this interesting slideshow from one of Peter Kalmus’ presentations (PDF, 58 slides)

» Peter Kalmus’ book currently also has an alternative title, ‘Life with 1/10th the Fossil Fuel – Turns Out to Be Awesome’

» Visit Peter Kalmus’ website, www.becycling.life



“Can you imagine arriving home from work, and after parking the car in the garage, checking the levels of energy stored in your own power station? Yep!! Enough to run the house tonight and top up the electric vehicle for tomorrow. You check your mailbox knowing you don’t have to worry about any gas or electric bills being there because you are not on either grid. You have built a freedom home!”


» One Step Off the Grid – 27 January 2016:
How quitting the grid – in an energy efficient home – will save you



Dig deeper


» One Step Off the Grid is a great Australian resource about the household transition to fossil freedom.

» Check the Twitter hashtag #SimpleLiving


Changing-Gears-Front-Cover-only-194x300» Blog: www.simplelives.com.au

» Book: ‘Changing Gears: A Pedal-Powered Detour from the Rat Race’, Affirm Press, 2013




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“There’s plenty to be said about the universal benefits of shedding that mortgage, hitting the open road, climbing a tree, and going off the grid — something that I’ve learned firsthand while producing alternative lifestyle shows for TV. These are five less obvious lessons I’ve taken away from following along on this dream-big, think-small revolution. I hope they speak to you as well”


» Mindbodygreen.com – 26 January 2016:
5 Big Reasons To Consider Minimalist Living

» ABC News – 22 December 2015:
Eating locally to create a sustainable future: one-year local food challenge
“Eating only local food for one year is a virtue people often aspire to and rarely pull off, but a group of dedicated families in South Australia’s south-east are giving the challenge a go.”



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“Create the food system that you believe in”

» www.youthfoodmovement.org.au




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A manifesto for a simple life

Eat less, move more

Buy less, make more

Stress less, laugh more

Feel blessed, love more

Find a quiet spot every day

and breathe

40,021 shares on 28 February 2016





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“There is no cavalry coming to the rescue.”
Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition network, which promotes local, self-sufficient economic development

“Sweeping changes in history are made not only by ‘big’ people doing big things but by groups of ‘ordinary’ people doing smaller things together.”

» The Guardian – 15 June 2013:
Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are Transition Towns the way forward?
“Locally grown food, community-owned power stations, local currencies … can small-scale actions make a difference? Yes, according to the Transition network – in fact, it’s our only hope.”


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“Renewables can make the world richer and happier”

“The International Renewable Energy Agency says the UN climate goals are within reach – if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiency could make up the rest.”


» The Guardian – 16 January 2016:
Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within reach

» Climate Change News – 15 January 2016:
Renewables can make the world richer and happier. Here’s how



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» Ecowatch – 10 March 2015:
Zero Waste Guru’s 10 Tips for a Happier and Healthier Life
Bea Johnson’s 10 easy steps to zero waste living



Song by Formidable Vegetable Sound System

Formidable Vegetable Sound System produced this song in celebration of the UN’s International Year of Soils.
Published on youtube.com on 7 January 2016.



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Song by Costa: ‘Get Down and Dirty’

Published on www.youtube.com on 28 November 2015.



» What we all can do

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