If you live in the country, and you don’t bicycle into town or own an electric car that you charge with renewable sources, or if you haven’t learned to be entirely self-sufficient right where you are, you probably have a sizeable carbon footprint. That includes me.
I can feel self-righteous because I use no poisons in my garden. My chicken pens and runs are treated with DE, diatomaceous earth. I rotate in the garden, leave wild patches to invite in insect variety, and plant extra. Electronic gadgets discourage rodents, and horse apples (Osage orange, the fruit of the bois d’arc) deter insects. I compost and recycle.
I plant crops for bees and butterflies. I buy local. I eat grass-fed beef and eat yogurt from grass-fed cows.
And I drive hundreds of miles a month. Even the recycling center is fifty miles away.
I’m part of the problem. I may have traded in my lovely gas-guzzling truck for a Subaru, but it isn’t enough.
How does one live “far from the madding crowd,” and still be part of civilization? I started a poetry reading a few miles from my farm, but the poets often drive in from afar, at least as far as I have to drive to attend their readings.
It doesn’t help that my small town doesn’t have rural mail delivery. Or a library. Oh, I can get mail delivered, including boxes of books, if I’m willing to make a post office even farther from the farm my home PO.
I raise chickens, but I don’t raise their feed. I buy from two milling companies within a 50-mile radius of the farm. Neither supply organic feed, at least feed I can afford. I pick up organic millet from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative when it’s available, but I have to drive 45 miles for the pickup.
Maybe I can decide to pick up mail and other items I need from town no more than once or twice a week.
Perhaps I can fence in enough land to let the chickens graze and grow supplemental crops. I need millet and turnip greens and a good hay pasture. And a good tractor. Wait!
What is a worried person with a big footprint to do? I need answers.