Author Topic: Carbon Footprint alternative  (Read 5938 times)

Offline Shorty

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Carbon Footprint alternative
« on: December 20, 2010, 12:12:57 PM »
Episode # 574
I would like to nominate Self Reliance Quotient: It's time to stop living in fear and start relying on ourselves. Jack's right, there needs to be something else. I believe that knowing your carbon footprint is important for knowing your resource use, but to the world in general it is meant to be negative to show how bad it is. I am working to be self reliant and wish there were some guide to help me gauge my progress. I know things to do to help me on my path, but my knowledge is limited, and with any proper gauge there are guides to help beginners to grow more independent, or should I say self-dependent.

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Offline Cool Blue

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 04:37:33 PM »
I saw a quiz online once that estimated how many acres it took to sustain your lifestyle which is kind of a similar concept.
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Offline Sardaukar

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 08:08:40 PM »
So, when Jack was talking about a catchphrase to illustrate the whole dependency concept it got me thinking.

I came up with a very (maybe too) simple one: dependency chain. The longer it gets, the more links that can fail. And the proverb tells us that the strenght of a chain is that of its weakest link... Fuel shortage, transportation strikes, energy grid failures, cut bridge.

It also ties in nicely with the 'just in time' method of industrial production, which is heavily dependant on a chain of suppliers.

my 2 cents

edit: since this is my first post, i'd like to say 'Thanks for everything you do Jack'.

Offline Amator

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 11:30:21 AM »
After hearing yesterday's podcast, I started thinking about a name to replace Carbon Footprint and serve a similar goal of knowing how many resources you individually consume without the political BS associated with it. 

I came up with a name, Resource Dependency Index (RDI) , and started thinking about how to put together such a system. I am a fan of the ANDI (Aggregate Nutritional Density Index) scale that Whole Foods uses in how it's scale goes from the most nutritionally poor food is rated a 1 (HCFS soda) and the most nutritionally dense food is rated 1000 (kale).  I really like a 1-100 scale in that it's easy to see what is good and bad without having to know a lot of specific information.  Unfortunately, I don't think we could use that as a base because resource dependency has more than one factor and their scale builds up to a high number as a good thing for high nutrition where we want our high number to be a bad thing as it shows someone using way more resources than the average person. 

So what I did is create four categories to factor into the RDI: Food, Transporation, Housing, and Miscellaneous.  Each category has a possible score between 1-20 with 1 using almost no resources and 20 using way more resources than everyone else.  Let's say an average TSP listener who drives an old truck, has a large garden and hunts to supply food, and rarely flies would score a 5, 10, 10, and 5 respectively.  His RDI is 30/80 which is pretty good.

Then you'd apply your RDI score to your household.  Each adult counts as 1, each Teenager counts as .8, and each child counts as .5.  A husband, wife, teen, and kid would be a 3.3.  Multiply your individual RDI score by this number to determine your household RDI.  In this case it would be 60. 

Optionally, you could also add a score for your state.  We'd need to figure out a scale of resources used, pollution, etc. by state and score them from 1(lowest) to 20(highest) and add that to the final household score.  This way your score is determined first by lifestyle, then by numbers, and modified by location.

A few examples:

Single indigenous person living in a lean-to in the Arizona desert:  RDI 4(1,1,1,1), Household RDI 4,State 5  Total RDI - 9

Average TSP family from above example(state TX): RDI 30(5,10,10,5) Household RDI 30*3.3=60 State 10(TX) Total RDI - 70

Ricky Bobby,wife,kids, grandpa (let's say they're in NC): RDI 70(15,20,20,15) Household RDI 70*4=280 State 5(NC) Total RDI - 285

Dugger Family (parents + 19 kids): RDI 40 (15,10,10,5) Household RDI: 636 (8 adults, 4 teens, 9 kids for a score of 8+3.2+4.5=15.9) State: 3(AR)  Total RDI: 639

These numbers of course don't exactly fit a strict 1-100 scale as it is impossible to get anything lower than a 4 and many scores go over 100, but I think the numbers are in a good place.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 11:58:13 AM »
Very interesting concepts - I guess the question with these things is how far do you take the calculations... if someone has a large garden, but buys all their plants at Walmart - is that a wash? Similar, what if I get good prep supplies, but have them shipped cross country via UPS - I bought something low impact, that required high impact means to get it to me...

I would think the resource dependence of someone with an air conditioned house and pool living outside Las Vegas would be very high, just based on what it takes to get electric and clean water to their house.... similarly, how green do you have to be to offset the region penalty for living in DC metro or NYC area?

What about social programs - ie: what is the modifier for someone on social security, disability, medicare, etc?

If you are active duty, live on base, drive a new Mustang and eat at Applebees all the time - are you an 80/80?

The problem is not that 'carbon footprint' is bad and 'dependency footprint' is positive - the problem is setting a measurement on your lifestyle that others want to mandate, tax, etc. It is right back to buying papal dispensations - it's a money scam. I can tax you for being too high on the bad list or too low on the good list - it's the same thing. Change the terms all you want, you think they won't sell dependency offset credits.

Offline Amator

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 12:12:18 PM »
That's when you get into the "guts" of the thing.  I have some ideas, but I imagine it'd be a LOT of back and forth and it'd never be 100% perfect.  But as Voltaire said, "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

And I think of the things Jack was trying to accomplish was not replacing carbon footprinting with another term so you can classify taxation; instead I think his point was that it is useful to have a scale to measure yourself against.  A rule.  I think with as many great minds as we have here we can come up with something that accomplishes that goal without becoming a tool of the system. 

Offsetting is not an option.  <-- maybe a catchphrase for whatever term ends up being used?

Offline buffalojustice

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 01:34:57 PM »
In the process of creating some sort of dependency index there is a lot of info to think about. I add these thoughts as more stuff to think about. I am not a mathematician or even overly smart so take it for what it's worth, plus I am thinking out loud. I really like the idea and think keeping it on a percentage scale is a good idea but with something so complex I'm not sure how you do that. I can see a percentage scale for dependence as it's the inverse of the percentage of independence, that's something Jack talked about on a show way back. The only problem I see is how to put a number on the dependencies. If Joe  is able to power his home via solar and a gasified wood generator, with a large sustainable tree farm, and Bill does it with solar and propane generator what is each of their dependency values? Obviously Joe's is lower but he also has equipment to maintain, probably from outside sources.

I like the idea. I understand the guts aren't all together yet but, the number of people in the household should bring the number down, to a point. If Joe was married and had 3 kids and his gross score was 10 then wouldn't that dependence be less per person than Bill who is single and has a gross score of 10 as well. If you add them up as suggested Joe's number is 15 and Bill's is 11. But Joe has provided for 5 people on the same resource as Bill has for just one.

 Wow, this does lend itself, eerily I might add, to a control measure. On a small usable scale for individuals to asses themselves it's great, but what happens if it takes off and everybody accepts it, boom government tool. I don't see that as a reason not to continue in the process as they will use some system of control anyway.  It's always going to be up to individuals to fight that control and maintain liberty or those who thirst for control will take it away.

Any way sorry for rambling, I just thought and typed and here's what I ended up with.


Offline RVNomad

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2010, 01:49:44 AM »
@Amator

So, if I follow your thought process, the homeless guy living in a cardboard box and dumpster diving for all his needs would be our roll model. Maybe I need to go back and listen to that podcast again because that may be surviving but it's not the way I want to live.

Offline Amator

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2010, 06:34:22 AM »
@Amator

So, if I follow your thought process, the homeless guy living in a cardboard box and dumpster diving for all his needs would be our roll model. Maybe I need to go back and listen to that podcast again because that may be surviving but it's not the way I want to live.

Not our role model, but he is using the least resources, recycling things that are thrown away by more wasteful folk.  Definitely not the way I want to live or suggest that a person should live.  In my experience extremes are to be avoided.   My thought process was not that using resources is always a bad thing, but rather making people aware of what they use so they can do so efficiently.  And it's not a scientific method, just a fun mental exercise for my lunch hour yesterday, so I'm not pissed if it doesn't work. 

Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2010, 02:29:37 PM »
Some really good ideas, but forget about the gov for a minute, this is a tool for the individual. Who cares if the gov will pick it up, were not doing this for them, but for us. So, think about what is important? Using less electricity? Ok so that is a criteria which can be quantified later, garden another criteria, next, and so on... This is the way scientific things are laid out, find criteria, quantify criteria, put in working format (formula), test, rework formula, test, rework, test and so on until it works, but right now at this stage have FUN. When we post the final product and make millionaires of all Jacks listeners then we can get serious about who gets to use it. IF we allow the gov to use it then we will be very well off, leaders in the community, pillars and all (yes, there is a pun there).

Have fun and great holidays
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Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2010, 10:48:02 AM »
We know that there are 5 components to survival: 1) Fire / Energy 2) Shelter 3) Water 4) Food 5) Security. These should be the basis of any self sufficient and or self reliant type system, so it would only make sense to include these as a basis in a comparable monitoring system. How many types of energy do you use? How much energy do you use? How many types of energy do you produce? How much energy do you produce? This continues through the list of criteria expanding the list with each answer. I know of no other way, but I also can not layout all the criteria as each person is in an unique situation. How could such a system be comparable from person to person? That, I think, is the interesting part. I think that as a monitoring system is developed and each criteria is expanded, it could be developed into a resource that compares me to me which will in turn help me to do better for me making the reliance system stronger. I don't know that any one person today could be totally self sufficient, but a community can or can come closer. The goal is to live a better life the circumstance is if times get tough or even if they don't.
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Offline RationalHusker

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 11:28:02 AM »
What about "Sphere of Dependence" of "Ball of Dependence" as an indicator.  The bigger the sphere (i.e., ball), the more dependent on external systems a person is.  I'll have to give some thought to how this would/could/should be calculated, but as dependency increases, so does the radius/diameter of the sphere or ball.  One advantage would be that this term could incorporate the "snowball" effect, because the growth of the ball would not be linear (i.e., it's actually a power function, similar to exponential).  Volume = (4/3) x (pi) x (radius cubed).

OR, maybe "Area of Dependence" would be better.  The large the area, the more dependency you have.  This would also be a power function (i.e., quasi exponential), but not as extreme as the sphere.  Area = (pi) x (radius squared).  Hmm...perhaps this could be calculated so that the area has a practical meaning - so that the area (e.g., square miles) of your dependency or somehow correlated to the actual "footprint" from which your basic needs come from.

Sorry - I'm thinking out loud and my post has taken on two separate trains of thought...

Offline Average Joe

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 01:25:50 PM »
How 'bout "Sufficiency Deficit"?

Offline Insidious

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 09:05:50 PM »
Is the whole idea of a 'Carbon Footprint Alternative' a moot point?

Doesn't it just encourage people to abandon their personal responsiblity to know and understand the consquences of their actions and choices?

It seems like an engineering solution to a human problem, and I don't think the real estate crash in Vegas was brought on by people suddenly realizing that there carbon footprint was too big.

In other words, people that care enough to alter their actions, shouldn't need the index. They should be dealing with local producers they personally know, or encouraging the formation of needed local businesses (with their time/money).


The things I WOULD be paying attention to with someone I wanted to deal with locally is: are they adding topsoil, are they cleaning the water, are they cleaning the air, are they encouraging biodiversity, are they promoting human values (freedom, happiness).


damn thats preachy. sorry.  ::)
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Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 10:58:26 AM »
What about "Sphere of Dependence" of "Ball of Dependence" as an indicator.  The bigger the sphere (i.e., ball), the more dependent on external systems a person is.  I'll have to give some thought to how this would/could/should be calculated, but as dependency increases, so does the radius/diameter of the sphere or ball.  One advantage would be that this term could incorporate the "snowball" effect, because the growth of the ball would not be linear (i.e., it's actually a power function, similar to exponential).  Volume = (4/3) x (pi) x (radius cubed).

OR, maybe "Area of Dependence" would be better.  The large the area, the more dependency you have.  This would also be a power function (i.e., quasi exponential), but not as extreme as the sphere.  Area = (pi) x (radius squared).  Hmm...perhaps this could be calculated so that the area has a practical meaning - so that the area (e.g., square miles) of your dependency or somehow correlated to the actual "footprint" from which your basic needs come from.

Sorry - I'm thinking out loud and my post has taken on two separate trains of thought...

This is exactly the way things are figured out. You ramble, I ramble and someone listening takes something you said and something I said puts them together and viola answer or at least part of one. That is teamwork as well as none of us had the whole of the answer. I think that the answer lies closer to a ratio function: Use/(grid-self produced)= reliance or dependence.
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Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2010, 11:13:50 AM »
Is the whole idea of a 'Carbon Footprint Alternative' a moot point?

Doesn't it just encourage people to abandon their personal responsiblity to know and understand the consquences of their actions and choices?

It seems like an engineering solution to a human problem, and I don't think the real estate crash in Vegas was brought on by people suddenly realizing that there carbon footprint was too big.

In other words, people that care enough to alter their actions, shouldn't need the index. They should be dealing with local producers they personally know, or encouraging the formation of needed local businesses (with their time/money).


The things I WOULD be paying attention to with someone I wanted to deal with locally is: are they adding topsoil, are they cleaning the water, are they cleaning the air, are they encouraging biodiversity, are they promoting human values (freedom, happiness).


damn thats preachy. sorry.  ::)
I believe that the carbon footprint started out to get people to pay attention to what the were doing and not what we have today as what everyone else is doing.
Anything can be used to show how big an asshole you are, I am well practiced at doing just that, but I think that it would help me to know, in some accurate method, where I stand.
My goal is to be self-sufficient, I know that I can not produce everything I use or need. A gauge of some sort may help me to realize how close I am and with others around doing the same thing to varying degrees we as a group may become sufficient. Just a different way to say the same thing as you.
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Offline Insidious

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 01:08:28 PM »
I too would like to know how I'm doing.

Its just that a lot of these 'programs' start out good (as Shorty says) and then get hijacked by some shady characters to make a buck. Example: Organic Certification. It works great for a megafarm, but for a small producer its so costly/time consuming that it isn't worth it. At my local farmers market, I can get two kinds of organic, megafarm 'certified organic' (resellers buy it cheap and setup big booths), or small grower 'uncertified' organic (I talk to the seller about how he grows it).

Another example would be Whole Foods, versus my local single location store. Megacorp Whole Foods likes to import Organic foods from Central and South America (profit!). They TELL you the tomato is from Chile, but thats about it. My local store tells you who grew it, and how many miles away from the store the farm is (they never have any produce thats traveled more than a few hundred miles, usually much less), only stock seasonal vegetables, don't do GMOs, and encourage growers to produce heirloom varieties. Guess where I like to shop.  ;)


Personally, my concern these days is more 'security' based, so if we MUST have an index, I would suggest one based on 'failure points'. Each item is rated based on how many things have to go right for you to get it into your hands.  ;D

Example: I want a tomato
Backyard grown - 3 FP (Insects eat it, Frost kills it, Rain rots it)
Local Market - 5 FP (Above+, Ability to Get tomato to market, market operational (all sorts of things have to be going right for this: ), ability of me to get to market, currency available)
Chilean Tomato - 873 FP (Above+, Ship doesn't sink, Chileans fon't eat the tomato, exchange rate with Chile is good, Fuel prices don't rise, fuel is available, truck exists, truck has fuel, power at docks to unload ship, power at docls to load ship, ship allowed to dock (probably not in pandemic)..

 :D
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Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2011, 02:48:15 PM »
Anyone realize that the homeless guy living out of a dumpster isn't independent but 100% dependent?
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Offline Folinator1

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2011, 01:58:06 PM »
What about "Mark of Freedom"?

Mark as kind of a play on footprint and freedom as measure of independence/preparedness.

You could use a similar scoring system to what Amator suggests (Food, Transporation, Housing, and Miscellaneous) or one that incorporates the five tenents of survival:  1) Fire / Energy 2) Shelter 3) Water 4) Food 5) Security. 

The max possible would be 100 which could be easily broken down into either of the two systems above with 20 or 25pts max in each category. One could create an online questionaire with questions asking their level of preparedness/independence/knowledge in each category and then a result could be calculated with specific recommendations on what areas they need to improve.

Just a thought. Gonna post on the show notes also...

Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2011, 09:12:45 AM »
Anyone realize that the homeless guy living out of a dumpster isn't independent but 100% dependent?
This one I do not understand, as being labeled homeless you are portrayed as one who has nothing. Living off of garbage is about as independent as I can imagine, let me explain. By living off of refuse you reuse everything you use (it being garbage). Now I hear, "but what would he do if there were no garbage?", we would not be here. As humans, in todays societies there are no ways that I know to live without producing garbage. He is trapped in that he needs us to produce garbage, but just turn around and take a look in the other side of the mirror, we will, in turn, be trapped as we need others to produce as well. We may be in a better location (in our way of thinking), but having known several homeless people as an adult and having lived on the street as a kid, a lot of homeless believe that they have the better location as they do not have to pay for it.
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Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2011, 11:55:46 AM »
I am wondering if we are thinking a bit off, looking at what you use and not how you use what you have. We all (dumpster dude included) have the same needs food, water, shelter, energy, and security. Carbon footprint (CF) looks at how much you use, here we are more concerned with how you use what you have. All homes are different, even if they are built from the same plans, because, the family inside is different. As we are all individuals, we all have different required amounts of each need. How we meet each need is what counts in the CF, but that is the only thing that CF is considering, here "what do you do with your food?" apply permaculture , dehydrate, these types of things are what, as I see it, are important and this is where we should consider applying our methods. I have been researching permaculture, and I think that if we step back and observe what we are all saying, what we know of CF, and what we desire in this endeavor we will achieve an honest gauge of independence.

@Folinator
I do like the sound of Mark of Freedom, but I'm not sure how to apply it, yet.
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Offline Shorty

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2011, 04:01:44 PM »
We have been talking about Sufficiency and Reliance, however, measuring them both on the same scale seems a tough task. The only true measure of Sufficiency would be to figure what resources you require no matter their source and then subtract the amount of resource you produce. Then you can run a simple percentage formula to find your Sufficiency. Percentage formula is part/whole*100=%, where your produced resource /(divided by) total needed resource *(times) 100 = Your Sufficiency Percentage.

Reliance is another thing entirely. How would you measure how well you can rely on yourself?
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Offline summer98

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Re: Carbon Footprint alternative
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2011, 05:39:38 AM »
I have been thinking about this, and IMO, it needs to be some sort of Self-Sufficiency Index that gets larger the more independent you are, rather than vice versa. I've always thought part of the problem with the carbon footprint, and why it didn't catch on even with the ardent environmentalists, was that it was all about getting the smallest number. People like to compete, and psychologically, at least in our culture, larger numbers convey more bragging rights and self-satisfaction. Think about it. Every video game in the world list winners by high score, not low score.

Anyhow, just my two cents.
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