Tag: Environment

Should we have a basic income?

Over 400 years BC, a massive seam of silver was discovered in the mines in Athens. Naturally, how to distribute this new-found wealth provoked great debate. Aristides, a statesman of the time, proposed that the profit be distributed among the Athenian citizens.

The way in which natural resources – not only mining, but water, natural forests, arable land, and the sea – are allocated has always been and remains a major concern of humanity. In Australia, a combination of the mining boom and the global financial crisis is said to have caused a two-speed economy that saw some grow very rich while others became poorer.

Even more alarmingly, there exist companies who have designs on natural resources which everyone should have a fundamental right to – those resources needed for survival.

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How can I calculate my energy use and save?

We’re suckers for research, and enjoy running our home as a personal research lab. One of the biggest things you can experiment with is energy use. Reducing our electricity, water, and gas usage is one of those many intersections between frugality and conservation.

Before we started this experiment, our average usage was 8.22kWh per person per day (lower than the American average of 10.9kWh, but higher than the Australian average of 7.26kWh). I found this ridiculous, given the tiny size of our apartment, the fact that we don’t have airconditioning, a washing machine or a large fridge or a big TV or many other power-hungry appliances that a lot of households do. And we have (unmetered) gas for our cooking. Certainly, there are efficiencies of scale (a family of five and a single person both need to run a refrigerator, it costs no more for eight people to watch a TV than for it to have only one pair of eyes fixed on it). But perhaps the secret was buried in the design of our tiny apartment?

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