This was not on the week’s posting agenda, but there's no help for it: Go check out Thomas Hager’s new blog, ThinHouse.
from Tom's Blog, Oct. 23, 2008
It records his family’s ongoing attempt to cut their energy consumption by about 80%. That’s eighty percent. Gulp. At this point he and his wife have decided it can’t be done in their current house, seven or so miles from town. They’re going to have to move.
I’ve written before about Tom’s new book, The Alchemy of Air, first when I’d just heard about it, and again last week, when I was about half-way through it. It’s terrific—not just informative, though it is that, but great fun as well. So much so that I had to write something about it before finishing the thing. Of course I’m planning more on the book, but once again Tom has forced my hand, this time by alerting me to his blog, the first non-gardening blog to make my blogroll. (As soon as I win over TypePad to the cause, that is. At the moment, it's not letting me make any changes.)
Apparently the whole project got started because Tom read that while a sustainable energy-use level for the earth is about 2,000 watts per person, most Americans use closer to 12,000. Cutting by eighty percent would still be over the desirable goal, but it would be a HUGE reduction—much more than most of us would be willing to contemplate.
As for moving? As I remarked in a comment on his latest post, most people would be revising the goal at this point, not planning the move. Here's what they'd be writing, or thinking: Well, it can’t be done. I mean, we can’t be expected to live like hermits, which is what would be required to cut back the town trips to an acceptable level, and of course we’re not going to sell our house; we love our house. Come on, be reasonable!
They might also be wishing they’d never started the blog. Some might even wipe it off the face of the internet. Blog? What blog? Thin house dot net? Don’t know what you’re talking about.
As far as I can tell, though, the blog is still up, and these people are seriously thinking about giving up their house. “These people,” by the way, are Tom, his wife, and their three children. Both Tom and Lauren are contributing to the blog, and as both write beautifully, it’s a pleasure to read. (I do wonder how the kids feel about leaving their home, especially the youngest, who’s still in high school. Will she have to change schools?)
Here’s the short version, though: check it out. And here’s the big question: how sustainable are our gardens?
Now, if Tom will stop doing interesting things that I feel compelled to post about, I’ll be able to get back to my agenda, and if he'll stop doing things that make me think, I'll get back to my life. Think I'll microwave my coffee, turn the heat up a tad, maybe crank up some tunes . . .