Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Since the bride and I first moved to our 20 acres in Northern Alabama, we have endeavored to live simply and in rythm with the life surrounding us. Exploiting the wonders of modern technology and the ingenuity of country folk immemorial we have greatly reduced our impact on an ever tax-hungry societal infrastructure. Our two vehicles (an '85 Mercedes 300D and '02 Dodge 2500 4x4 Turbo Diesel) run on used restaurant fryer oil. (My criteria in choosing automobiles: they must be either old enough to vote and/or not built during either of the Clinton administrations.) In addition to the rich relationship we have established with local dining entrepreneurs, we have greatly reduced our fuel tax donations to the Uncle and the governor by averaging over 300 mpg on the little diesel fuel it is necessary to purchase. We use composting toilets, recycled greywater, and re-use all our waste (including glass). Even though we do not have trash pickup (don't need it), I cannot convince the local utility company to rescind the mandatory $15 monthly fee for said service. We have been without television service since relocating to our beloved MaryGate, and this is a move I highly recommend to anyone. Not only will you free up resources to meet increasing financial demands, but you will rediscover a clarity of mind and a desire for meaningful conversation that had all but been destroyed by that mind-numbing one-eyed monster that rules your living room.
One would think I should be the poster boy for the Green Movement - but here is the rub - I do not believe in anthropomorphic (man-made) global warming theories and I think Al Gore is a smarmy snake-oil salesman. If one follows the money (as if witnessing the hypocritical lifestyle of the global warming alarmists is not enough), one can easily see that the movers and shakers in the Green Movement are either bitter anti-capitalists, opportunistic charlatans, power-hungry politicians, or naive but misguided souls whose genuine love for all that is good and beautiful has been co-opted by the con artists. I have no fears of greedy consumers destroying the planet. The planet is perfectly capable of taking care of itself and consistently does punish those who abuse it. When common sense was more common, people knew better than to build lavish homes on coastlines, in flood plains, and on the edges of forests that periodically undergo natural restoration through intense fire. Most animals will not soil their own living space (for obvious reasons). Humans who should know better will pollute their own back yards until nature says 'enough!'. Witness Chernobyl. It's still there...and it will eventually heal itself. But humans are no longer welcome. A hard lesson learned.
Our motives for living as we do have more to do with the liberty and joy that simplicity affords - less time required working to pay for stuff you don't have time to enjoy; more time free to experience the things that others pay to simulate (exercise, fresh food, sunshine). Along with the goats, horses, chickens, dog, cats and assorted wildlife with whom we share our space we have learned that absolutely nothing composed of matter need ever go to waste. Even manure is a gift (more on that later). Hmm. Now there is grist for some interesting parables. Stay tuned.