This is my fifth Report (usually once/twice a year) as a way of assessing my successes, targets, improvements and areas I need to be more vigilant with when it comes to simple, ethical, environmentally sustainable and community living.

It might not be an interesting entry to read but it’s a way to keep myself accountable and constantly improving my lifestyle.

I’ve highlighted positive changes in green and backwards steps red. So, as of today:

ETHICAL/SUSTAINABLE LIVING

• grocery shopping (with % of how often I do it)
— observing a vegan lifestyle (due to my work and my beliefs, I allow myself some leeway but am committed to greatly reducing or eliminating meat and dairy everywhere possible (90%)
— local green grocer for veg (75%)
— leftover bread free at end of baker business day (0% – though eating less bread in general);
— skip-dipping/dumpster diving (0% – slack but they are hard to find and I’m not really looking)
— major supermarket for all else (30% – Coles/Woolies, 70% – Foodland (local);
— Fair Trade where possible (tea, chocolate, recent clothing)
— organic where possible/affordable (15% – food, soap & shampoo; some research suggests organic isn’t necessary for many things. Will have to check more on this))
— use Ethical Guide to boycott bad companies (20% – need more vigilance here as I’m going off older info at times);
— boycott GMO foods (50% where possible; as above, using old info)
— boycott food with known cruel processes (90% where known)
— food miles, locally produced (50%)
— meat consumption (0% of meals)
— dairy consumption (5-10%)
— toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap (50% of proceeds go to developing countries with poor sanitation to help built toilets) (100%)

• grow own food (10% – tomatoes, eggplant, herbs)

• household shopping: I only buy new from store if I can’t get from op shop or build myself;
— purchased new in past year:
—– furniture (0%)
—– clothes (10%)
—–accessories (15%)
—– car (0%)

• home energy:
— electricity: (house-sitting and traveling for next 6 months so we’re not contributing excessively to power consumption, plus there are mixed resources)
—– solar/renewable = some
—– aircon/heating (15%)
—– computer (off at night)
—– fridge (borrowed)
—– dryer (0%);
— water:
—– rainwater tank (50% – places we are staying)
—– grey water for garden (15% – washing machine only)
—– shower avg. duration (5 mins)
—– garden (10%)
—– dishwasher (0%)
—– washing machine (top loader 2/5 star rating)

• waste:
— food scraps (100% goes to compost);
— wasted food (5%);
— recyclables like glass, paper, aluminium cans (95% to recycle bin, 5% kept for food/household storage);
— wasted paper (minimal use of printer, kitchen & recycled toilet paper)
— wood (not saving wood at the moment as we are without a fixed address)
— white goods, electronics, equipment (0%)

Areas to Improve: fewer food miles; support local; buy organic if it makes sense & affordable; grow more of our own food; continue to consume less energy & town water. As it gets hotter, it is tempting to use aircon but we generally don’t succumb until about 35 degrees or more.

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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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SIMPLE LIVING
• “homeless” for the first time since backpacking years ago. Housesitting and WWOOFing for next 6 months at least.
• buy nothing that isn’t essential to the trip or work
• work less, spend time with hosts, wife and friends
• spend money on essentials, friends, charities;

Areas to Improve: this is about as simple as it gets so just keep expenses (like eating out) to a minimum

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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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ENVIRONMENTAL
• approx. annual carbon footprint (avg. based on lifestyle as of today): 4.0 tonnes of CO2 (Australian avg. 16.3 tonnes; world avg. 4 tonnes). SOme success to finally reach the global average!
• car usage per month – approx 400kms ; mileage (approx 10kms/L) – this will go up when we start our forthcoming road trip
• bus instead of drive (20%)
• ride/walk/skate instead of motor transport (20% – 3min skate/ride to shops)
• return flights in past year – domestic (1), international (1); This year was a flight for business.

Areas to Improve: take fewer flights; walk/skate/bus more rather than car; use less electricity; aim for 4 tonnes/yr CO2 including travel

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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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COMMUNITY
• I live with my wife and dog; most friends are the same distance or closer now though
• intentional community living (share house or close living) = YES on this trip for next few months
• share property or resources with community = on this trip, all resources will be shared, including meal-time
• collect hard rubbish from neighbourhood (not for now, but usually, when we have a fixed address)
• engage in conversation or help with mentally/physically challenged people in neighbourhood (0%)
• give to charities (monthly to: 3 x global aid, 2 x animal, 2 x activism organisation, 1 x community fund )
• volunteer with some friends’ and charitable projects
• community gatherings for shared weekly meals and social activities

Areas to Improve: aim to achieve closer and more intentional community; share more resources; give more to charities; get more involved with meaningful & helpful projects

MAR 2015 SUMMARY: I’m still struggling to directly engage in the areas I want to see change (other than lifestyle – vegan, simple living, low-impact, recycle/reuse/repair), namely animal protection and climate-related. I guess it’s hard to know how to make a living while doing it. I’m not one who is big on studying so that’s one problem. If I can meld my interests in filmmaking and other artistic pursuits with my activist desires, I can probably make a big go of it. The follow on to that would be hanging out with a more like-minded community which would likely include lowering environmental impacts further plus be a better group to live with from the point of view of emotional connection. We’ll see how our forthcoming trip to visit intentional communities and like-minded groups fares!

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