The Wheaton Eco-Scale

The time has come for me to more formally define The Wheaton Eco Scale. I have eluded to this rough idea in the past with some numbers I pulled out of my butt. I will now flush those numbers and clearly define these new numbers.

Further, while in the shower this morning, I decided that I am obnoxious and arrogant enough to come up with something and put my name to it. I also give everybody else license to come up with their own scales for whatever they want. I just need to express myself, so I need ….. SOMETHING!

The purpose of the scale is to introduce the idea that three people can be eco, and that one can be more eco than the other two, and one can be less eco than the other two. To show that there ARE levels of eco-ness. Then to talk about the relationships between the different levels, which includes some stuff I see as problematic.

wheaton eco level 0: about 5 billion people
wheaton eco level 1: about a billion people
wheaton eco level 2: about 100 million people
wheaton eco level 3: about 10 million people
wheaton eco level 4: about a million people
wheaton eco level 5: about 100,000 people
wheaton eco level 6: about 10,000 people
wheaton eco level 7: about a thousand people
wheaton eco level 8: about 100 people
wheaton eco level 9: about 10 people
wheaton eco level 10: sepp holzer

Observation 1: most people find folks one or two levels up pretty cool. People three levels up look a bit nutty. People four of five levels up look downright crazy. People six levels up should probably be institutionalized. I find the latter reactions to be inappropriate.

Observations 2: most people find folks one level back are ignorant. Two levels back are assholes. Any further back and they should be shot on sight for the betterment of society as a whole. I find that all of these reactions are inappropriate.

Finally: I can put whoever I want at the spot of eco level 10. I choose the mighty Sepp Holzer and I don’t give a damn if you think somebody else should sit in that spot on my scale!

Here are some possible attributes of people on the scale

Level 1: is thinking about the environment. Bought fluorescent light bulbs. Is trying to do a good job of recycling. Reads an article or two. Buys some organic food. Their power bill is less than average.

Level 2: 30% of purchased food is organic

Level 3: Has an organic garden and 80% of purchased food is organic

Level 4: Grow 40% of their own food. Studying permaculture. Got rid of all fluorescent light bulbs

Level 5: has taken a PDC and/or grows 90% of their own food

Level 6: Living a footprint that is 10 times lighter than average. Maybe living in community. Maybe living in something very small.

Level 7: Permaculture teacher

Level 8: Doing things that are currently improving the world in big ways

Level 9: masanobu fukuoka, Paul Stamets, Art Ludwig, Bill Mollison, Ianto Evans ….

Level 10: the mighty, the glorious, the amazing Sepp Holzer

I think a lot of people would call themselves eco and they are barely at level 1. They think they are eco because they bought fluorescent light bulbs. I think that if a person takes a PDC, they qualify for level 5 if not higher. I think a person that gets 90% or more of their food from their own garden/farm, they qualify for level 5 if not higher.

When somebody is starting down the eco path, many people that are further down the path appear to think that the beginners are fools. And that the people that are further down the path are insane.

The level of zealotry is unnerving! And how angry somebody can be if others do not choose to live their lives in exactly the same fashion …. is vulgar. People at level 2 might someday go to level 3. Or they might always stay at level 2. Or they might even go to level 1. That is not something to get angry about.

Recalling a piece of observation 1, “People three levels up look a bit nutty. People four of five levels up look downright crazy. People six levels up should probably be institutionalized.”

Therefore, if you try to move a person from eco level 0 to eco level 6, they will just think you are crazy. Therefore, when talking to somebody at eco level 0, I think it would be wise to limit the conversation to eco level 1 or eco level 2.

Another thing to think about, because three levels ahead looks crazy, and because 90% of the population is at level zero, that means the only stuff that can be shared on big media is level 1 or level 2 stuff.

Things at level 3 or above could be shared in big media, but it would need to be carefully crafted to be digestable.

I also think there are a lot of middle class, or upper class people that have a major impact on our laws that are brainwashed by the greenwashing, and are SURE that they are eco. But they are not. And then they push for changes that are not of benefit to the planet. So the test is based on one simple little metric so that hopefully, some of these people will come to the conclusion “oh my. I thought I was eco, but I am not eco.” I even wrote about this very concept a while back in a blog that hopefully opened up some people’s eyes. It was called, testing to see whether you’re an eco poser.

Here is me talking about The Wheaton Eco Scale a few years ago:

One path to smooth … in my obnoxious opinion …. is to recognize that “eco” or “community” or “permaculture” is not a boolean value (on/off, yes/no, true/false, in/out) but more of a multi variable spectrum. Some folks are further along a path than others. And there are many paths that intersect. I think things will be much smoother if we accept that “eco” comes in infinite flavors. Some folks are big on fluorescent light bulbs, some are big on candles, some are certain that incandescent lights are the most eco. Some are cool with the dark.

My mission is not to assign everybody a number. My mission is to clarify a problem. I have seen this happen hundreds of times. I think that by showing the scale, people will be more aware of the problem and, hopefully, we will have better progress.


About ephemeralcas

I am a Freelance Writer who grew up under the big blue skies of Montana. I recently received my B.A. in English from The University of Montana and have headed out west to try out California life. I am a very passionate person and I have a fire in soul for all things regarding gardening, literature, permaculture, and feminism. In my spare time I enjoys reading heady philosophical novels, and going fishing in the dark.
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