Sunday, June 04, 2006

the choices we make.

on npr this morning, i heard a story about vermonters who sought peace and a slower mode of life in the country and are now moving to the big city of burlington. according to the journalist, the costs of living in the country are far higher than most expected. he argued that fossil fuel costs and the damage to the environment were the most severe. think about it...

commuting into town for work
driving to the store for food
mowing using a gas-powered motor
burning wood to heat the house

what struck me wasn't that his examples were true, but that they were choices. this is a person who is trying to live like a city dweller in the country. to be fair, he did try to grow his own vegetables, and found that he either experienced a weed-infested mess, or grew too much for his needs, thus wasting a lot of his bounty. again, this was a choice: canning the foodstuffs he didn't eat in the summer, and paying closer attention to the weed situation could have ameliorated both issues.

the one impact to the environment i couldn't critique was using a wood-burning stove. i imagine there are cleaner ways to heat a house and cook food, but i'm not aware of what they are.

apparently i say, "it's the choices we make" a lot, but i'll say it again. while on the surface, this was an interesting predicament, it fell flat. he even went so far as to say that in the city, he can walk to all of the resources he needs, thus staying more physically fit. yes, that may be true, but gardening and taking walks or riding a bike to work have the same result.

this is a complex issue for sure, but one that left me wondering: what type of solace were these people truly seeking?


david silver said...

nice post.

you do say "it's the choices we make" a lot; you also say, "it's all about choices" a lot. and you know what? you're usually right.

you're definately right about the examples you give. lots of weeds? then weed. too much bounty? then can it. or barter with neighbors. or sell. or give away for free.

one thing i've noticed about wood-burning stoves is that although they might give off bad things, they also magically produce one of the most valuable resources: time. take a wood-burning stove, a glass of good wine, coffee, or tea, and a book and - poof! - time stands still. suddenly, the day that was so busy, filled with so many things to do and to accomplish, flies away leaving us with time, calm, and a wonderful warmth.

plus, with a wood-burning stove, it's fun to poke the fire.

Anonymous said...

i read an article several years ago about new yorkers escaping to vermont, and then being unhappy and trying to make wherever they settled similar to the place they'd left. needless to say this upset the natives quite a lot! the native vermonters didn't crave a corner deli an imported cheese store and boutique shops on main street.