New Goals Continued…..

The first figures for my challenge are from my water bill.  Yesterday I told you the goal for water usage was 10 gallons per person per day.

Not sure if someone could find my home by the meter number but thought it smart to hide that one piece of info.

For the months of February and March my usage was 207 and 213 respectively.  My usage rose some since last year.  I added a washing machine to do my laundry where last year I sent out all my larger items (to my lovely daughter-in-law) to have them washed. Also, from June until March of this year I had my son and granddaughter staying with me every weekend, using my shower, flushing the toilet and washing up. With those things in mind, I’m not real concerned about the increase.

In February I used an average of 6.9 gallons of water, March that number rose to 7.1. I’m satisfied with that number. In March I had a houseful of people which left me with multiple loads of bedding to wash which I believe accounts for that spike.

I don’t have the numbers for my electricity at this moment but I know those figures are very low. I also feel good knowing that I participate in two programs which offsets my usage in renewable energy.  One program matches my usage with solar and the other wind. The first program charges me a set amount based on my usage. The company wasn’t thrilled to learn I used so little electric because they only receive $4.95 a month from me. The other program is through my provider and I pay $.02 per Kwh more to participate.

There are other changes coming.

One has been on my mind a lot lately and I can’t shake it.

Eliminating the internet in my home. 

Several things happened around the same time.

  1. The internet can be a huge time waster. I have to avoid turning on the computer early in the day or soon I’ll find hours have passed and nothing was accomplished.
  2. I’ve been hacked one too many times for my liking and it’s making me angry.
  3. My provider has been having problems with delivering our service. I’ve been without internet as much as three days in a row but the company does not adjust their customers bills when this happens. Effectively, I’m paying for something I don’t have.
  4. Congress now allows Internet Providers to sell our internet histories to companies who want to target us with ads while we are online.  This bothers me because my privacy is being sold and because my provider will continue to charge me the same amount while making a bundle from advertisers.
  5. Internet providers can be a bit shady, more on this in a moment.
  6. A little known fact about the internet is that all the servers that run 24/7 burn huge amounts of fossil fuels, it’s not a sustainable technology. “The internet releases around 300m tonnes of CO2 a year – as much as all the coal, oil and gas burned in Turkey or Poland, or more than half of the fossil fuels burned in the UK” Or “Around 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to every person in the UK flying to America and back twice over.” (source)

It was the last fact, the huge waste of fossil fuels, that has me looking at my modem and thinking it’s time to send it back. I feel deceived by this realization. In one of Bill McKibben’s books he argued that he would give up anything but the internet because it would be key to keeping societies connected and running.  For a man who has spent his career preaching about the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, why would he argue for the internet knowing it’s environmental cost?

This doesn’t mean I would be internet free, all my bills are paid online. I’m not sure I could in this day and age but I can limit my carbon footprint on the internet.I still have a smart phone with data and I could take my computer to the library to use their Wi-Fi. The idea of using the library to connect when needed has me thinking this might be a good thing. It would give me a reason to get out of the house and maybe I’d meet some new people.

My son tells me I’m crazy. He points out that I shop online. This is true. I purchase toilet paper and gifts for Christmas and birthdays using the internet. I figure I could carry my laptop to the library and purchase everything I need for the year at one time and call it done.  Plus as part of the challenge by Riot for Austerity my consumer spending allowance is no more than $1,000 a year, so doing all my shopping for the year in one afternoon will make it very easy to see how much I spend.

I mentioned above that internet providers can be shady, they will do anything they can to keep their customers.  My son used to pay only for the internet, his bill was $40 a month.  Then he added cable to get sports and his bill went to $79.  He just found out that YouTube now has a subscription service ($35 a month) where you can get all your local programming. He called his provider and asked to cancel his cable. The customer service rep informed him if he eliminated the cable his bill would go up to $90 a month for the internet!!  Talk about shady.

In 2005, I cut the internet. I had promised myself that unless I was earning an income using the internet there was no reason to have another bill to pay. I even went so far as to sell my computer. For six years I never touched a computer (and I didn’t have a smart phone then either).

As the thought of eliminating internet service in my home keeps popping up, I think back to those six years. I was happy, productive and never missed what I didn’t have.

It’s a pain to shut off service. There’s equipment to return for starters. If I decided I wanted to hook back up there are connection fees as well. For that reason I’ve set May 31st as the date to come up with an answer. In the meantime, I’m taking a good hard look at what I have stored on those servers. I have an old blog with 4000 photos and over 600 posts that I never deleted. Storing all that information knowing the environmental costs has me working to download my content and finally delete the blog. I’ll probably clean up this one as well and leave only the best material here for posterity if I decide pulling the plug is the right thing for me to do.

I’ll keep you posted…..

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “New Goals Continued…..

  1. If you cancel your internet connection, I’m not sure that would reduce the carbon footprint much. There are enough other people out there who want it that the servers would running anyway. However, personally, you could save a lot in both time and money if you cancelled it. We have several people who come into the library every day to use the computers. Personally, I think you should keep the internet. Because you have mobility issues and don’t have a car, it might be more useful than you realize–especially during bad weather. But, if anyone has the determination to make it work, that would be you.

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    1. I am aware that the small amount of space I have on servers for my blog is miniscule but it’s the point of adding to the problem that is on my mind.

      When I started blogging it was to try to embrace the internet, I’m not really a fan of it. I’m too much of the old school mind. I still don’t enjoy reading from a device, preferring to hold an actual book and a computer is still a screen so it’s not something I love.

      I figure I could use the library service in the nice months then get my break from the screens during the winter months. Maybe the break will help me to enjoy using the internet since it’s not something I have available 24/7. We’ll see. For now I’ve been putting the computer aside and not touching it for a few days at a time to see how it feels. Have to say I like forgetting it’s here.

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  2. First of all, I’m impressed by your very low water usage. I finally did get into my account, our billing is done in thousands of gallons, so honestly, it’s a little bit hard to tell exactly how much I’m using. But it looks like in the non-summer months I’m using somewhere between 2000-3000 gallons per month. Yikes! That’s pretty darned close to 100 gallons per day. I fear my luxury of soaking in a hot bath before bed is coming back to bite me here. In the summer, my usage roughly doubles – probably room for improvement there, though in this climate if you want to have a garden, you have to water. I tried not watering a chunk of the xeriscape last year and even most of the toughest succulents died. Sigh.

    Sooo… I dunno. I have mixed feelings about water usage here in the west because our laws and water issues are downright crazy. Colorado FINALLY passed a law allowing rain barrels (limited to 50 gallons per household) so I might consider that – although honestly, I already direct all of the drainage onto the plants so I’m not entirely sure how much good storing it before directing it to the plants will do – though it’s worth considering.

    I have a friend who has worked intensively on environmental issues here, and he says that with the way our laws are written, if you want to help the environment you should waste as much water as possible. This is because the number of new tap permits they can issue is related to overall usage and capacity. So the net result of people conserving water is that they build new housing developments and pave more of our wild lands. Hmmm… I’m not sure his theory is sound, but water is definitely a complicated issue here.

    Anyhow, I couldn’t do without home internet since it’s how I make my living, such as it is. But I have to say that the idea of not having it “looming over me” is very tempting because – no internet, no work! 🙂 But you are correct about servers being on 24/7 – and the cost of running the computer is the least of it – it’s really the cooling that eats the power. Servers need to be kept in air conditioned rooms or else they overheat – and when you have racks upon racks of the suckers… well, it adds up. I am doing my part though – I’m ditching my server and going with a “virtual” server – which is basically just space on a computer rather than the whole machine. I suppose that’s something.

    On the other hand, many of the technology companies (Google comes to mind) are at the forefront of renewable power. Google has invested heavily in solar power plants, hydro electric power, as well as crazy high tech fuel cell technology. So, while the industry is an energy hog, they’re also pushing the technology to get us to renewable energy.

    Anyhow, I hope that whatever you decide, you won’t abandon us completely. I’d really miss your blog if it went away!

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    1. Yay! You can finally have a rain barrel!!! I think with how dry it gets it might be nice to have 50 gallons on standby in addition to what you divert to your gardens for backup.

      We get enough rain here that I rarely ever water my gardens, even in raised beds. My problem is often how to keep my plants from drowning from the amount of rain we get when it comes down. Thinking about your 50 gallon rain barrel would be a joke here. I’d fill that up in a few minutes from my roof in an average storm.

      Your laws are absolutely crazy. So if everyone conserves water the city planners will just find another way to use that water savings. Can we just shake some sense into these people?

      Now that you’ve found how much water you use will you still enjoy your soak in the tub as much? 🙂

      I am so tech illiterate that while the basic concept of a server I understand the rest of what you tried to explain went way over my head. If I do ditch my home internet service I then the reasonable thing would be to delete my blog (it’s taking up space on those servers) but I’d miss you guys so much that I’d have to visit each of you to see what you were up to. So no, I won’t go away completely.

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  3. I can give up a lot but not my internet. I don’t consider it a time waste. I connect with people since I’m so isolated physically and learn a great deal. My server is secure and the library and other public places are not. I don’t shop or bank or anything away from my secure server. They are already letting everyone know what sites I visit. The shopping payment information is encrypted on my computer, not on the library’s. I don’t have many years left but I plan to enjoy the time I have left without being wasteful about it. I buy nothing I don’t need and pass things on as well as buying second hand. My water bill went down very low when I no longer had people living with me. What a shock. My daughter comes here and does her laundry every week or two. My washer is a water saver. I use very little heat because I know how to add layers. Austerity is just not my thing. Waste is not either. I want to live in joy and spread smiles. My car is used once or twice a week for combined errands with my daughter doing the driving. I can’t fix what’s broken and won’t add to it if I can help it, but without the internet, I wouldn’t be able to get to know you and so many others I have found here. I’ll just eat less to pay for it. 🙂 Hugs to you .

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    1. Marlene, I wish I was able to turn my heat down as low as you do but I just can’t, even with all the layers I wear.

      As for the internet, IF I cut my home internet I will still have data on my phone that will allow me to pay my bills and make necessary purchases from home. The library internet would be for things that I don’t need security such as visiting your blog.

      I am thankful for the many wonderful people I have gotten to know online, such as you, but I could still keep in touch with you if I don’t have home internet.

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      1. Hi, Lois I have been searching for your blog for ages and finally I have found you. Am I right that you used to live In a small apartment/room? Can you tell me where you are now (not actual address) and what you have moved into as I cant find an archive of when you moved. I would love to catch up on your reasons for moving. It must be years ago that I lost your blog and then I could not remember the name of it. So glad to have found you again.

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        1. It’s good to hear from you again!

          Yes, I did used to live in a small studio apartment in Northwestern Pa. Two and a half years ago I moved to the Pittsburgh area.

          I moved mainly because I my disability had gotten worse and I needed a wheelchair full time. I needed a wider door in my bathroom that my landlord wouldn’t approve. In addition we thought the complex might be shut down for code violations.

          While this was going on my youngest son who lives in the Pittsburgh area and is in real estate came across a small house with a large enough piece of land for me to garden in. So I decided to make the move knowing that I could make all the necessary accessibility changes I wanted and needed.

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      2. My sister does it the same way. Drives me crazy but it works for her. 🙂 No two of us are alike. You need the heat, I need the cool. I figure in the game of electricity, we make it a wash. Where I save in the winter, I spend in the summer. Heat stroke is not something I ever want to repeat. So I tough it out in the winter months. We are just doing what works for us. I couldn’t do my blog on the phone nor my banking. My sister does everything on the phone. I just keep quiet now. She wouldn’t listen to me anyway. 🙂 Hugs.

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        1. Summer I don’t even pull out the fan unless I have company that complains. I love the heat. I get why you have to be careful but for a young person who has never had a crisis like heat stroke I think they should try to adjust to the natural weather patterns instead of turning on the AC right away. It’s not like it gets unbearable here much. My daughter-in-law turned on the AC on Easter because the house reached 72. I had to beg her to turn it off.

          I couldn’t blog on my phone either. I did once but not this phone I have now it’s horrible! I listened to what you said about the libraries lack of security and decided to forego pulling the plug…for now.

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          1. I know what you mean about the AC in summer. It has to get up to 80 before mine. I run the fan on my ac unit that keeps the house nice and cool all day but doesn’t blow on me. It’s why I always wear a hat and some kind of jacket when I go out in summer. So many places have the ac blowing on your head..Can’t do that. I was 10 when I had heat stroke and we didn’t have ac there. We had no idea how that humid heat would affect us. My mother had a problem and so did my sister but I got hit the hardest. The little brothers didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

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          2. When I lived in Arizona I had to carry a jacket or sweater everywhere I went because the AC was so cold I couldn’t take it. Even living in the desert I kept my thermostat in the summer at 80 so the AC wouldn’t kick on all the time. I also found that when i was in a place with really cold AC it made it hard for me to adjust to the heat when I went outside.

            I had heat exhaustion, came close to heat stroke when I was nice traveling through Death Valley, luckily I still do okay with most heat. I have to be careful once it’s over 100 which never happens here

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          3. I hate when they crank the AC down so low. My heat here is set around the low 60’s. Never up to 70. If I get cold, I get up and move around. You don’t have that option. AC gets set to come on if it reaches 78 but with the whole house fan running, it rarely needs to come on. My AC bill is lower than most around here.

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          4. Yes, my limited mobility makes it harder to stay warm. On those really cold days the simple fact that I have to sit to walk my feet and legs get so cold no matter what are covering them.

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  4. I have a love hate relationship with the internet and the lack of privacy drives me nuts eg when I go searching for something online then start getting advertising on Facebook for those companies or Pinterest will start feeding out what I was searching for. I would love to get rid of it as I am spending less and less time on my computer, also our bank account was hacked a few weeks back using my debit card I use online….unfortunately I rely on it for my business stuff. I am happier now just to use it minimally as I need to and have gone back to books for reading.

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    1. I’m like you, I love and hate the internet, actually all technology could be grouped in together.

      I rarely check Facebook so haven’t noticed any ads but between the ads and people begging for monetary support I’m not enjoying being online much.

      I have tried so hard to use ebooks but I just don’t enjoy them. I am a tactile reader and need to feel the book in my hands, run my fingers along the edges of the pages etc. So I too have gone back to actual books for my reading. Thank goodness for the library!

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