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dan collins
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David, do you use a "biogrease" for the bearings too?
I would be interested in learning how to make biodesiel, I never have heard of Sepp using it.
 
paul wheaton
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Cassie is pushing me on this.

So I upgraded the list a little today:

level zero: Average carbon footprint of 60 tons.

level 1: Thinking about the environment. Bought some "better" light bulbs. Trying some recycling. Reads an article or two. Buys some organic food. Their power bill is less than average. Learning about how composting is done. Carbon footprint is 59 tons.

level 2: Has a recycling system. Reads at least one article a week. Power bill is 80% of average. 30% of purchased food is organic. 10% of purchased food is local. Is growing a small garden. Has a compost pile. Learning about natural building. Has attended some free workshops and lectures. Maybe read a book. Carbon footprint is 57 tons.

level 3: Is contemplating "zero waste" and is producing about a tenth of the landfill material as the average person. Has a pretty good sized organic garden - grows about 20% of their own food. 80% of purchased food is organic. 2% of food is wildcrafted. Power bill is half of the average. Reads something almost every day. Has read a few things about permaculture. Has read at least a couple dozen books. Has attended several paid workshops. Pooless. No more fluorescent light bulbs. Avid composter. Has eliminated 95% of the toxic gick from their home. Very concerned about environmental problems. Carbon footprint is 45 tons.

level 4: Grows 50% of their own food. 95% of purchased food is organic. 8% of food is wildcrafted. Passionately studying permaculture. Incandescent lights are preferred and used wisely. Power bill is 30% of average. Carbon footprint is 15 tons.

level 5: taken a PDC. Grows 90% of their own food. Participating in building/sharing knowledge online. Might teach a small, free class or workshop. Carbon footprint is zero.

level 6: Living a footprint that is 10 times lighter than average. Maybe living in community. Maybe living in something very small. Actively sharing knowledge and starting to get paid to teach. Carbon footprint is -30 tons.

level 7: Teaching PDCs. Carbon footprint is -200 tons.

level 8: Doing things that are improving the world in big ways. Carbon footprint is -1000 tons.

level 9: willie smits, masanobu fukuoka, paul stamets, art ludwig, bill mollison, ianto evans ....

level 10: sepp holzer
 
Tyler Ludens
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Where does commuting or not commuting fit into the scale? Having kids?

 
paul wheaton
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Where does commuting or not commuting fit into the scale? Having kids?


The primary function of the scale is so that I can:

1) discuss the observations

2) use the scale as a foundation for other ideas

A possible, secondary use could be to come up with a huge algorithm that would help a person figure out where they are on the scale. It would have to include about 200 different factors, including a list of awful companies. Each company would have to have a value assigned for just how awful are they, and then each person would have to estimate how much money they give to each company.

Coming up with a mediocre algorithm would take about a year. And it would probably take a person about a day to calculate their position on the scale.

So, instead of all that, I am exploring the idea of what a typical person at these levels might be like.



 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you!
 
r ranson
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What a wonderful scale. I hadn't seen this before.

I wonder where I fit on it. Somewhere between a 2 and a 5 I think. It's really difficult to tell.

Our electric bill (and this covers water, heating, and electrics) is about 7% of the average for our neighbourhood (and they all heat with gas). We don't supplement our electricity with solar or wind yet. Kind of hesitating on this, as I still want to reduce our total usage before going off grid.

Food, we grow between 50 and 90% of our own food, depending on the season. Of what we buy, about 80% of it is direct from the person who grew it. I eat my weeds - that counts as wildcraft?

Most of our waste is composted or recycled, but we still produce one small garbage bag of rubbish a week. Most of this is from packaging but most of that is for medical reasons... so finding it difficult to get to zero rubbish.

Haven't been on a PDC (have no money) and am still trying to figure out what permaculture is. But I figure it matches pretty well with my idea that farming is about leaving the soil in a healthier condition than I found it.

Travel by car into town about three times per week, but combine the trips with other outings to reduce the number of times we have to go out. Also, plan the trip for the maximum amount of right turns, to save time and gas.

Make about 10% of my clothes from scratch (that's mangelwurzel, sheep, wool, yarn, cloth, clothing - sheep, manure, flax, linen, yarn, cloth, clothing). Working to get this a lot higher. Grow my own flax and sheep.

Constantly borrowing books from the library about anything that catches my magpie brain - permaculture, cooking the things I grow, cloth making, soil building...

Spend way too much time on this site reading and finding inspiration from the posts here.

Spend the rest of my time trying different methods of farming. Lots of different trials to discover what method I can use to grow my food without external inputs like irrigation and stuff. Even terraced a big area of our farm that every neighbour said will never grow anything ever because the drainage is too good. Terrible in the drought of summer time, but I have a feeling it will be a blessing for winter crops during the time when the soil is too waterlogged to grow anything.

Very little plastic or toxins in the home - but that's more health reasons than environmental.

Use shampoo about once every 2 months, or whenever the chickens poops on my head. The rest of the time I'm pooless.

Have a septic field not humanure - but it's the law...so...

Not involved much in the local community because of health issues, and I'm an almost total recluse. But I do mentor a few children about sustainably farming food and growing their own clothing.

Feel clothing is almost as big a social and environmental challenge as diet. Not sure what to do about it - so swamped in the problem. Seeking my way to a solution.



So what's that? Two and a half?
I still have a long way to go before I'm happy with my lifestyle. But I'm actively working on it.

Money is the most limiting factor for not being able to do more faster. But it's also a huge motivator to do as much as I can with what I have now because growing my own food means I don't have to waste money buying it.


Edit to add: All this mention of carbon footprint got me curious. I did a couple of online tests. One came out at 1.11 tons, the other at 2.1 tons (per year for the household). That's probably a bit low because they didn't ask how many hours a year we use the tractor, or what percentage of our chicken feed is bought vs home grown.
 
Kate Muller
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paul wheaton wrote:
Tyler Ludens wrote:Where does commuting or not commuting fit into the scale? Having kids?




A possible, secondary use could be to come up with a huge algorithm that would help a person figure out where they are on the scale. It would have to include about 200 different factors, including a list of awful companies. Each company would have to have a value assigned for just how awful are they, and then each person would have to estimate how much money they give to each company.

Coming up with a mediocre algorithm would take about a year. And it would probably take a person about a day to calculate their position on the scale.





Creating this to be a video game would be an awesome way to get people to use it and spread your empire.
 
r ranson
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I think this thread needs a bit of a bump.

The last few days, I've been thinking of my time dwelling in the city. I had an allotment, tiny little thing, but it was great because it was on city water, so I could go every day and water it. I just grew how I wanted things, which turns out is very close to biointensive. The next allotment over from me, she came twice a week. She watered each plant with a watering can (instead of a hose). She carefully measured out how much water each plant got so that they didn't get more than half a cup each a week. This seemed completely bonkers to me at the time.

Now, I have a whole field of waterless gardening. The only time I water is when I transplant the seedlings among the mature plants. Each seedling get's about four tablespoons of water and a handful of mud. Trying to explain to people what I'm doing, they look at me like I've turned into a mushroom that's been left out in the sun a bit too long. The climate forecasts for our area are intense droughts in the next few years. If I can perfect this waterless farming in an area that already doesn't get rain for half the year, then I'll have it made when everyone else is forbidden from irrigating their farm. Now, I can totally see why my allotment neighbour watered the way she did. Actually, where I am now, I look back at what she was doing and think it wasn't enough.

Funny how our point of view changes as we progress through life.
 
Lori Ziemba
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paul wheaton wrote:The time has come for me to more formally define this.    I have eluded to  this rough idea in the past with some numbers I pulled out of my butt.  I now flush those numbers and clearly define these new numbers. 

level 3: Pooless.

I spend an awful lot of money on toilet paper, because my bf has IBD. So I'm really interested in how one achieves poo-lessness.
 
Burra Maluca
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Lori Ziemba wrote:
level 3: Pooless.

I spend an awful lot of money on toilet paper, because my bf has IBD. So I'm really interested in how one achieves poo-lessness.


That's shampoo, not poop!
 
Michael Stein-Ross
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Location: Temp: Caracas, Venezuela. Perm: Cedar River/Lake Washington Watershed
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paul wheaton wrote:
soil wrote:
how about impressing everyone WHILE saving the global situation


Well, yes, there are some writers that have the ability to appeal to a massive scale. 

I think that if the article is about being green, then it won't be read by the level zero folks. 


This is similar to when my PDC instructor Larry Santoyo told us to never use the word Permaculture outside of class. You have to meet people where they are at and speak their language if you want them to consider your ideas.
 
paul wheaton
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I added to the first post:

Level 0 Poisons dandelions

Level 2 pulls up dandelions

Level 4 Allows dandelions, eats some of them and enjoys blowing on dandelion seed heads

Level 6 Exchanges dandelion seeds with others to get a really great tasting dandelion

 
Michael Stein-Ross
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paul wheaton wrote:I added to the first post:

Level 0 Poisons dandelions

Level 2 pulls up dandelions

Level 4 Allows dandelions, eats some of them and enjoys blowing on dandelion seed heads

Level 6 Exchanges dandelion seeds with others to get a really great tasting dandelion



Level 8 After eating the greens, roasts dandelion roots, makes tea, and has a tea party with neighbors to discuss the wonders of taproots.
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Hey Everyone!
I have been tinkering away on a info-graphic To bring The wheaton eco scale to life!

The more i travel and the more Wacky permaculture people i meet the more this concept rings true to me.
In fact there has been quite a few times where i have thought to my self, whilst chatting to a new workaway host or permie i have met on the road  "What planet is this dude on"  "or what is he smoking..."

But then think "hang on Olof he is a few levels higher on the scale they you are. Don't roll your eyes or let the old preconceptions of mainstream dogma cloud your judgement...
hear him/her out or better yet just shut up and pay attention...

For the most part wether or not they have been talking about peeing on your garden or digging down a piece of bamboo stuffed with rice  in the ground, wich probably to a lot of mainstreamers might sound pretty crazy..
it has paid off, im glad i listened and am proud to be their friend, they knew their stuff and i grew because of it..

So...  without further ado here is my contribution to the Wheaton eco scale.. I hope you like it.



the-wheaton-eco-scale.jpg
[Thumbnail for the-wheaton-eco-scale.jpg]
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's fantastic!  I'm going to spam it around.
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Wow Thanks for all the pies guys 
 
Marla Kacey
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Don't have any pie, but I gave you a thumbs up.  Would give more if I could.  This is awesome!
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Marla Kacey wrote:Don't have any pie, but I gave you a thumbs up.  Would give more if I could.  This is awesome!


Glad you like it
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm sharing it with everyone who follows my Pinterest.  Some might "get" it, some might not.

 
Nicole Alderman
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Wow, it's really depressing when you realize you're only between a 2 and a 4. We eat dandelions and spread the seeds. We get maybe 10% of our calories from our garden/wildcrafting (mostly in form of duck eggs and berries...all our peas and green beans got eaten by bunnies). We don't use florescent. We heat and cook on a woodstove in the winter.  We compost and read a lot. We only clean with vinegar, baking soda and some non-gmo citric acid. We harvest rainwater. Our clothes are almost all second-hand, and are hangdried whenever the weather permits here in the drizzly pacific northwest. It's not bad. It's a lot better than most everyone around us...and we live in a very liberal area!

I wish we ate more from our garden. I wish we drove less. I wish we didn't buy so much packaged foods (even if not processed, and almost all of it is organic). I know a lot of this is learning curve--figuring out what grows and how to keep other things from eating it. Also, a lot of it is convenience and being pregnant (if the daikon radishes that grow so happily on my property make me barf, I only get negative calories from them...not very useful).

Another thing that that should be mentioned is how it is living with a spouse that is a few levels behind you. They want all the lawn mowed with a gas mower. You have to restrain them from dousing bindweed with roundup. They put everything in plastic trashbags ("oh look, meat scraps we can't eat, guess I'll put them in the trash." But, when you put something that decomposes into a trashbag that doesn't decompose, it can't make it back to the earth). They don't care about driving to and from town everyday to pick up a few more things. They pull weeds that aren't harmful and fill an environmental nitch (fireweed, wall lettuce). They want to spray bleach and antkiller all around the house to keep ants and weeds away...even though we have ducks foraging there...

It just shows how those upper Wheaton eco scale people really are amazing to have attained those higher levels!
 
Bill Puckett
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How do you tailor offerings to an audience of everyone? Like on the world wide web...
 
Tyler Ludens
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
I wish we ate more from our garden.


I'm in the same boat.  I have a black thumb, and even though I've been trying for years, am still not good at growing food in this challenging climate.  I can grow salad things well during the cool season, but staple foods elude me, and that's what "growing your own food" means, I think; growing your own calories and nutrients.  There's not much more I can do, not having money for PV and such, except reduce the amount of stuff I buy, the energy I use, and reduce the amount I work for money (which, of course, also reduces the amount of money I have for PV and stuff).  But I don't think the eco-scale is meant to be discouraging, I think it's meant to be encouraging, for us to keep trying.  Also, it looks like you can move up the scale by encouraging other people to do these things, so, for people who can get out and influence others, that's something.

 
paul wheaton
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Tyler is right ... 

Although it has been over six years since I wrote the first post on this thread, and there have been oodles of new things it has taught me, the beginning was that I needed something to help with growth.   There were a lot of people that would point to people behind them and say some really horribly discouraging stuff.   And there were people that would point to people ahead of them and say some really horribly discouraging stuff.

A lot of it was inspired by an eco witch hunt which I wrote about over seven years ago.   A woman was writing about trying to "go green" and she received death threats because she was not doing the green thing the way others would.  So she quit.


 
paul wheaton
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As always, there are suggestions from folks about different scales, different attributes on the scale, etc.  I heartily encourage everyone to make their own scale to be their own idea of perfect. 
 
paul wheaton
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I came up with this scale before I ever heard the name "jack spirko".  I think an excellent question to ponder is "is jack at level 9?"  And the reason for this is extremely important:   I think that Jack does an amazing job of convincing people to move from level 0 to level 3.  Most of the people at level 9 seem utterly crazy to people at level 0.  Further, each level 0 person is making a much larger negative impact, plus there are a thousand times more of them.  Once those people have been moved to level 3, then they are ready to hear about/from the people at level 9.

Without this scale, I would have a really hard time expressing this point.
 
kyle saunders
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this infographic is especially inspiring! i mean i feel like a real ecoguy most of the time but it is humbling to remember that i fit somewhere between 2-4. i'm not even halfway to where i'd like to be! it's kinda nice to know the road is much much longer, as the road up to this point has been really an amazing ride.

i think i actually went down a point this year, as we lost all our seedlings to chance and i abandoned the garden for a season. it's amazing to know how much i relied on that garden. (not just for food, i am so out of shape this year!)

but a simple request from this olaf ! that level 10 graphic, can you make that separate from the rest of the image, and without the info? i would love this graphic on a tshirt/poster, just sepp holzer in front of his downhill paradise sitting on a hoooogel. the whole infographic is awesome on the computer, but for my own personal motivation i just need to remember to let sepp guide it. annd i just noticed the lemon tree. so nice

cool. thanks for starting my monday with some inspirations!
 
paul wheaton
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I just went through this whole thread to see if I already told this story ...  and I haven't!


Many years ago, I met my friend Geoff at a huge community event in missoula.  Geoff is really well known and had lots of admirers visiting with him.   And then a woman came to him and said "hi" and he introduced me to her ....   he was excited to introduce us because we were both avid gardeners.   The woman talked about her tomatoes.  Her secret was to use lots of llama manure.  I found myself being very aware of myself thinking "she is definitely level 2.  Therefore, tell her only of things at level 3 or 4."  In the end, I think she found me exceptionally dull.  I think she wanted praise about her llama manure trick more than anything else.  I, on the other hand, was really concerned about what those llamas has been eating and if they were treated with any dewormers. 
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
Nicole Alderman wrote:
I wish we ate more from our garden.


I'm in the same boat.  I have a black thumb, and even though I've been trying for years, am still not good at growing food in this challenging climate.  I can grow salad things well during the cool season, but staple foods elude me, and that's what "growing your own food" means, I think; growing your own calories and nutrients.  There's not much more I can do, not having money for PV and such, except reduce the amount of stuff I buy, the energy I use, and reduce the amount I work for money (which, of course, also reduces the amount of money I have for PV and stuff).  But I don't think the eco-scale is meant to be discouraging, I think it's meant to be encouraging, for us to keep trying.  Also, it looks like you can move up the scale by encouraging other people to do these things, so, for people who can get out and influence others, that's something.



Nicole and Tyler, I think you both are incredibly supportive and share loads of info on the forums, so I think that gives you extra level-up points! And, yes, I agree with Tyler that I think it is meant to be encouraging and inspiring. If, along the way, it's a bit humbling, too; well, I think that helps us be kinder and more accepting of both those ahead of and behind us on the scale.

Plus, some of us are going to be better at, let's say, building things than growing food; or supporting information networks (forums, data support for small eco businesses, etc. ), than teaching. Meaning, while growing one's own food is a fairly ubiquitous metric, I like this scale because it has more layers to it than that.


 
Fred Tyler
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Bill Puckett wrote:How do you tailor offerings to an audience of everyone? Like on the world wide web...


There are 6 billion people at level 0 and 1 billion people at level 1, so to target "everyone", like on the world wide web, just keep your message for those people. There are fewer people on the higher levels, so convincing them to move up a level is less effective.
 
jared strand
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can we get a Kick starter to print this poster?
 
paul wheaton
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jared strand wrote:can we get a Kick starter to print this poster?


I suppose there could be one of those one-at-a-time poster companies that could make a poster like this. 

Could they make a poster like this?   I suppose it would be pretty long and skinny.
 
jared strand
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Maybe it needs a landscape layout version...  A Kick starter would be nice because one at a time can be expensive. You could figure out a minimum order, how much they would work out to per poster, and sell the heck out of them in advance.
 
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