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More About: Environment

Is poverty a legitimate way of "going green"?

It's often said that in order to go green, we have to change our lifestyles. I say BOSH on that. My lifestyle got changed for me when my partner in a lucrative and growing business had a nervous breakdown.

Al Gore has his mansions and his "carbon offsets" and the wealthy shout "go green" from the windows of their SUVs. Now there are "luxury eco-communities" which boast every amenity. Did you know that for as little as a half-mil you can get a 5,000 square foot house that's totally "eco-friendly"?
Well Oyate has, as usual, the alternative. Just be really but-ass poor. And I'm ready to go toe-to-toe with any eco-ass in the nation. Check this out.
I now live in a 21 foot camper-trailer that was manufactured in 1976. My electric bills run about $45/month IN WINTER WHEN I BURN ELECTRIC FOR MY HEAT. In summer it reduces to about $15.
My potty is a camper potty. Forget your low-flow toilet bowl, I use about a cup, that's 1/4 of a quarter of one gallon per flush. Good old gravity does the rest of that job.

There is no curb-side-pickup recycling program in my area, no beaurocracy to administer it, no expensive fossil-feuled trucks picking it up, what we have is the "crack head recycling program" which consists of me piling all my beer cans into a special garbage can (supplied by me at my own expense) from which the even less-well-off pilfer and redeem for scrap to get their next dose. It's highly effective and efficient. A true free-market solution.
Returning to home heating, I discovered that a TOTAL LACK OF energy-efficient windows and insullation ACTS FOR low consumption; I discovered that I can just TURN OFF THE HEAT IN WINTER NIGHTS and the place goes well down below freezing, the dog's water bowl freezes over in my kitchen, but in a little rig like this, you can turn on the space-heater in the morning and in about 1/2 hour it's warm again. Balance that against running the heat all night just to maintain 60 degrees faranheit. Plus, this drives the dog into bed with you and under the covers which is your "electric blanket" and security system (which uses no electricity) all in one!
In winter we also unplug the refrigerators and rely on coolers outside the door. The atmosphere is supplying all the cold we need. See the cooler is to keep things from getting TOO COLD in the winter. Because it's hard to drink frozen milk and if you've never tried to scramble a frozen egg, well, it's no mean trick I'll tell you.
All of our clothes and household items come from thrift stores (reduce, re-use!) and while I do have a motor-vehicle, it's a 1996 Mitsubishi pickemup truck and I generally drive it once or twice a week to the store, usually so loaded down with neighbours who have no vehicle (car pool to save gas!).
And as I "donate" my scrap metal to neighbours, they repay me in kind by placing 100% of their compostable garbage into bukets which I supply at my own expense/effort and we use it to generate soil and grow all of our own food we can. And no, not all of our seedlings are "non-GMO heirloom seeds". Know what I used to seed my potato patch? POTATOS. Right from the supermarket. Know where we got our sage from? And our mint? We went and dug some up and transplanted it to our gardens. My neighbour Willy does the same with tomatoes, watermellon and cantelope.
And as soon as I can figure out a way to get a wood stove in here without burning the place down, I postulate that I can heat my home all winter just by burning everybody's junk mail. I'll position another garbage can next to the bank of mail-boxes that serves our camp (at my own expense/effort once again).
We also heat hot water using solar power. Which comes in real handy since my 6-gallon hot water heater is on the fritz. There are several methods including leaving the hose run out in the sun and filling it into a bucket. Takes a few "charges" to make 2 gallons of reasonably hot water to bathe in. Your shower typically takes about 15-30 gallons depending on if you have one low-flow, eco-friendly shower head or 6 of them pointed at your body from every direction as is the fashion these days.

In short, Al Gore and the Eco-Nazis got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY TO US. Not unless he wants us to use one of the recovered rebars we use to stake our tomatoes to wrap around his neck.

And this might not be such a bad idea because every time Al Gore opens his mouth, about 5 of my years-worth of hot gasses come out. And what does Al Gore see when he looks out his energy efficient windows? I dunno but around here, you are as like to see wildlife as human life. There are all kind of birds here, there's bunnies, javalina (these weird wild desert pigs), coyote, skunk and coons running around. We keep water available to them.

We even have our own informal pharmacy, courtesy of the Veteran's Administration. You can find pain killers, muscle relaxers, heart meds, antibiotics, just about anything you want 24x7 and we eliminate the middle-man: the doctor. No prescription necessary to be as medicated as a laboratory rat. Not in the campgrounds. That's a whole sub-economy in itself. This aspect has it's positive and negative impacts on the situation as you can imagine.
Come to think of it, food stamps get used as a kind of currency. Credit from those gets traded or sold. I've heard that the standard hard-dollar value in trade for a food stamp dollar is about 70-80 cents. More often when I drive the vets to the store they'll pull an item or two out of my cart and pay for it with food stamps for me.
I'm sure most conservatives are shuddering at this use of public funds but it's a part of the spontaneous micro-economy that exists.
There remains only one legitimate question for me as far as I'm concerned: am I green by choice or has greenery been thrust upon me? And I'm just too motivated and creative to stay poor forever. Success occasionally seems to sneak up on me when I least suspect it despite my efforts to remain socially disagreeable. Well, I must admit, if I had some dough I'd probably upgrade the camper. But I'm not sure I'd trade this lifestyle.
See, I discovered I LOVE CAMP LIFE. I'm part of a family. We rely on each other. We share our ups and downs (plenty of both and seldom anything in the middle), we share EVERYTHING. Help, company, a loaf of bread, a fine domestic brew or some canned produce is just a few steps away. Our "garden" is a distributed shared thing; one grows this, the other grows that. We barter and trade. We have campfires every Friday night in all seasons and everybody is welcome.

See, it's not such a bad life. Our footprint is so minimal we can pick up and walk (or roll more precisely) at any time and you wouldn't even know we were there and we'd leave the land just like we found it: in a pristine state.
And we spare you the high-horse, the sanctimonous preaching of the Eco-nazis. We don't even call it "going green", we call it "making it by".

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Sharon Secor
Entered on:

 Ah, very awesome. We bought land -- just land -- down here in the desert. Started from scratch... tent, camper, bigger (though very old) trailer... cooked outside for months (a peek at my blog and you'll see me making tortillas over the fire) until I got the trailer. It had an ancient propane converted stove... with a working oven (heaven, it was! coffee, even in the rain! cinnamon rolls hot from the oven, woo-hoo). Now, we're in an off-grid little house -- solar, wind, water cachement. Most people here live that way to one degree or another... they have to.

We live in a rather remote area... a grocery store run means a round trip of just about 200 miles. Lots of car-pooling around here. And, the freedom. Ah, yes, the freedom... No Nazi-police tactics here... Police don't want to blow their whole day running all the way to town to lock somebody up for nonsense that can just be handled here. And, as the sheriff explains to his very few local deputies... It can take up to two hours to get back-up... out here, the locals are your back-up... unless, of course, they hate you... so, you'd better treat them with respect. People pretty much handle their own situations here... and, in my experience, tend to be generous with their time, labor, and assistance.

I love it here... couldn't imagine living anywhere else now.  

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