Although it has been out for a couple years, I just finished reading the book "Farewell, My Subaru" by Doug Fine. In it Doug decided to kick it into high gear and become fully green, moving to the middle of nowhere New Mexico and living life locally. It was a very entertaining book, with a lot of funny stories, I highly recommend it. However, I find he went about it in a very extreme way.
His first mistake, in my idea, is that he moves to New Mexico. Now, I have nothing against New Mexico, or any other state for that matter, but it is the move. He thinks that by moving to a place to raise his own meals that this will help his carbon footprint. Living in the middle of nowhere, in whatever place, is not really sustainable. I would personally like to live in a city type environment, close to the things you need, and comfortable enough to be able to have a lower carbon footprint. Also, the moving, sustainable? Plane trips count for the highest carbon creator by those who travel. I'll stick with staying where I live.
He decides that his current car, and gas, are not to be in his horizon anymore, and instead converts to a VegOil truck. Now sure, this is a lovely idea. But then you have to consider to get the grease that powers this vehicle, their has to be unhealthy food made. Isn't part of being green considering your health and wanting to make it better? I personally would prefer to live somewhere close enough to walk, or ride a bike, or take public transportation everywhere I go. I do the public thing to go to school, and if I had a bike it would take me on my daily adventures, and I currently live in sprawl. He brags about not driving for days. When I was in New York I didn't get in any sort of car the weekend. And if I worked at home, and Doug did, I wouldn't have to get into a car for days either. I'll stick to my small, good gas millage car instead of the pain of converting a new one.
Solar power is another thing he tries. This is his best move. If every home had one or two solar panels, the world would be so much better. The panels aren't really as expensive as everyone thinks they are, it is really the set up. Solar requires so much extras to make it work. But did Doug have to move to New Mexico to get the sun? I don't think so. Plus, solar isn't the only renewable energy source. Wind is also a good one, and a large turbine is not needed. I have seen some only 2 ft by 2 ft, 4 feet high. When I finally have a house of my own, I am putting up some of this technology, and hopefully then getting paid from the electric company.
He also decides to put in a well. I'm happy for him, living in the middle of nowhere with a well area is fine. I do not live near an aquifer however. But this doesn't mean I can't be smart about my water. We have all heard of cutting back. But their is also a way to get in from mother nature, as Doug does. It is called rain water collection. Now, in a lot of states, such as mine, technically it isn't legal to collect rain water. Theoretically it works great. But a completely legal way of doing it is to let it go into your soil. Yes, that is right, into the ground. Concrete driveways and sidewalks, and other large things just put the water into the drain. However, if you allow the water to go into the ground it helps water your plants (and weeds) and is better for the environment.
As the last thing to be green, and live locally, he plants a garden. This is the easiest way to work on the green movement. Chances are, you live in some sort of sprawl like I do. I have a 8 ft by 20 ft garden in my backyard. I know, I am lucky. But how much lawn do you have that could be replaced? Gardening really is easy, you can be as involved or non-involved as you want. Doug finds that the weeds protect the plants from the harsh sun. Plants, with some care, and simple know how, will grow just about anywhere. Think you have no room? Container gardens are way popular. As for me, I just barely planted some new plants, last week. Yep, they are herbs, growing in my windowsill. You know, inside the house. I want no complaints about lack of space. Go out and plant something! Go.....