Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell My Subaru

Mom got this book from the library last week after deciding that it was finally time to read it. She has seen it last month, thought it looked good, but decided that it wasn't the type of book that she was looking to read at the time. I don't know why it is the right time to read it now, but it is. I don't argue with Mom when it comes to books because she loves them and I don't. I prefer to get all the info I need through osmosis.

Farewell My Subaru is about a guy, Doug Fine, that leaves the good life behind in Manhattan to move to a ranch in New Mexico to see if he can reduce his carbon footprint by living off the land. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong and the book is an attempt to bring humor to serious issues regarding global climate change. Doug has to grow his own food (including animals), use only the sun to power all his electronic gadgets, and consume little to no fossil fuel for an entire year. Sound difficult? You bet it is, considering he had never raised chickens or grown beans before.

The theme of the book is self-sufficiency and how you can cut-back on or eliminate the consumption of fossil fuels. America has become so dependent on fossil fuels that it is killing us - literally. No one wants to give up their way of life and neither does Doug Fine. In order rid his lifestyle of fossil fuel, he has to install solar panels on his house at the Funky Butte Ranch and get rid of his beloved Subaru, the LOVEsubee, in favor of a vegetable oil-powered truck.

Doug also vows to shop locally and finds this very challenging due to the remoteness of his ranch. The only store around that has everything he needs is Wal-Mart. There are so many people in the U.S. who only shop at Wal-Mart because they can get everything they need there. This is a good and a bad thing. We are fortunate to live in an area where stores abound and where Wal-Mart is not the go to place for us. Shopping locally does not mean purchasing everything you need at Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is a global conglomerate. Mom doesn't know what Doug ultimately decides to do about his shopping issues, but so far not good.

Anyone who is looking to make changes in their lives by moving toward a more sustainable, renewable, off the grid existence, should read this book. There are even recipes in the book and Mom can't wait to see what they are. Sidebars in every chapter contain facts about going green that you never even would have thought of. Some of the best sidebars are:

Every year, the average American adds four tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere based on food choices alone. (This is Mom's favorite.)

The average tomato travels 1,500 miles from the field to the table. (Yikes!)

Household use accounts for 1% of water use in the U.S., while irrigation accounts for 39%. (Most irrigation usage is for crop feed.)

I'm not suggesting that everyone up and move to New Mexico to do an experiment like Doug, (though Mom would because her and Dad visited last year and loved it), but I am asking everyone to take a look into making small changes in their lifestyles. We really shouldn't use all the resources we do and we don't have to. We can live with less and still live a comfortable existence. We must make changes now to ensure a future for tomorrow.


Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
oh what a great post and book review!
we will have to read this book!
:) m

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa and Emmitt - Mom is crazy about books like this. She is constantly reading about environmental issues and then asking me to post about them. I love her so I do it. Stubby xoxo

Pearl said...

That book looks pretty cool, Stubby! I don't know how to read. Momma says she'll teach me someday. Anyway, I'll try to get her to read that book to me!

Stubby said...

Pearly Poo - Mom hasn't taught me to read because I don't want to. I will leave the reading to her and she can just fill me in on the good stuff. Maybe when your momma teaches you to read, you can then fill me in on the good stuff :) Stubby xoxo