Ration Me Up

New Economics Foundation


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Launched at the New Economic Foundation’s (NEF) ‘The Bigger Picture Festival of Independence’ in 2009,  Ration Me Up is a monthly Carbon Ration Book created for The Ministry of Trying to Do Something About It.

Heavily influenced by original WW2 ration booklets this book held one month’s worth of the personal carbon ration (based on an annual global per capita emission allowance of 1.15 tonnes of C02e and the assumed target of 80% reduction by developed nations by 2050). It contains pages of carbon coupons for daily activities such as using a toaster, flushing the toilet or watching the TV. The amount allowed per person in a month was shown as a grid of 40 on the back page and as with old ration books the user sticks the relevant coupons on the panel as they do the activity.  When the grid is full grid your monthly ration of carbon has been used up.

All the calculations were done by NEF. A percentage is taken off for public services (NHS and infrastructure upkeep) and one token allocated for compulsory drinking water.  The book also includes advice on how many coupons would need to be saved in order to account for ‘luxuries’; one return long haul flight to Sydney would need 1096 rations, equivalent to 18 years and 4 months of saving, buying a new pair of jeans requires 100 rations, equivalent to 1 year and 8 months (figures based on a saving of 5 rations a month)

The book has travelled widely and made its way to Copenhagen for the Climate summit in 2011. It is currently being updated and translated into French.