“I didn't need the message hammered home so literally. The time was absolutely right for me personally to embark on this adventure in living green – other than having no electrical, plumbing, building, engine mechanical, horticultural, or animal husbandry skills at all, that is. After growing up on Dominos Pizza in the New York suburbs, at age thirty-six I wanted to see if a regular guy who enjoyed his comforts could maintain them with a reduced-oil footprint. In concrete terms, this meant raising animals and crops for my food, figuring out some way besides unleaded to get anywhere, and making bank-account draining investments in solar power.”
The paragraph above comes from Doug Fine's new book, Farewell, My Subaru. When he decided to find out whether it was possible to reduce his carbon footprint in a meaningful way, Fine moved to a ranch in New Mexico to take up the challenge of doing just that. Subtitled An Epic Adventure in Local Living, this book is at once hilarious and thought-provoking. Consider the next section:
“I'd lived and worked in extreme conditions on five continents since the beginning of my career as a journalist fifteen years ago, but time and again, after shivering in Alaska and dodging bullets in Tajikistan, I reaffirmed what I already knew: I like my Netflix, wireless e-mail, and booming subwoofers. In fact, I didn't want to live without them. I just wanted to power them by the sun. If my ear-melting music could go solar, and still make my UN-fearing neighbors complain about bass lines interrupting their nightmares of Hillary Clinton, I'd consider this experiment a success. If I had reliable Internet and could download movies into my green world to boot, the feeling would be closer to 'Eureka!' Especially if I was eating munchies I'd grown, raised, or at least bought locally.”
At a later point in his book, Fine writes about his foray into raising poultry:
“I couldn't keep up with the chickens' production. Within a month of picking them up from Lacy's sister, whose flock was getting out of hand, I had five dozen local, organic eggs stuffing my fridge. (My new chickens themselves immediately got out of hand in the truck on the drive home when their box opened during a Dukes of Hazzard jump near my river crossing. The final mile was like something out of a Hitchcock movie.) And this abundance came despite my eating evermore elaborate omelets, quiches, and frittatas three or four time a day. I was running out of cartons. And I could almost feel my arteries clogging.”
From goat-nursing to coyote chasing to installing solar panels for his water heater, Fine's tale of local, sustainable living is a thoroughly enjoyable eye-opener. If you've ever considered going greener, this one's for you – be sure to read all about it!
Copyright © 2009, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.