Beautiful and Abundant

Publisher Bryan Welch on philosophy, farming and building the world we want.

Add to My MSN

Taking the Steps We Can to Live More Sustainably

1/22/2010 3:35:39 PM

Tags: sustainable living

Rancho goatsLike most young families we didn’t have any extra money. We would have cherished a sleek, fuel-efficient car but we couldn’t afford to turn down my grandmother’s leviathan, hand-me-down station wagon. Our rented house was not well insulated but it needed to stay warm, especially while we had babies, so the furnace ran all the time. There were lots of trips to the market and the pediatrician. I wanted to minimize my negative impact on the planet but I needed to care for my family. I felt I needed to stay engaged with my life in a modern society.

If I stopped holding myself to an unrealistic standard, I found I could take great satisfaction in small achievements. The landlord was happy to pay for the materials and helped me install new insulation in the attic. It made the house a lot cozier, and cheaper to heat. We found an inexpensive, fuel-efficient used car. I kept the leviathan for my short commute to work, but the daily family errands and longer trips could be taken in the smaller car. We bought a living Christmas tree and planted it in the backyard after the holidays. When spring came, we planted a bigger garden. Gradually our life became more sustainable and more satisfying.

We’re still working on it.

This essay is excerpted from Beautiful and Abundant: Building the World We Want published by B&A Books in December, 2010. The book is available now on the Mother Earth News bookshelf.  


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook. 

Photo by Bryan Welch 



Related Content

On Growing All Your Own Food

Thoughts on growing all your own food. How much space is required and other things to consider.

Share Your Vision for a Sustainable Future

Don't miss this opportunity to change the future of American Agriculture!

Small, Deliberate Steps Build a Fulfilling Life

Small steps may bring small satisfactions in the moment, but the thousands of small steps taken over...

Puyallup Speaker Spotlight: Ann Larkin Hansen

Ann Larkin Hansen of Storey Publishing will present four workshops on sustainable farming and bugs a...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

AD_8
3/16/2010 9:12:47 AM
This magazine makes me happy just reading things people are doing to be off-grid, sustainable, independent or whatever else we want to call it. I am still new to this but my motivation is to be self-sufficient, as off-grid as I can be while leaving in small town. This will be my first year - I will grow garden, install rain collection system to water it. I have made my own maple syrup this year and it was extremely satisfying experience eating sourdough pancakes(home made from culture) with home made maple syrup. There is nothing like it.

Margaret Meyer-Smith
3/15/2010 12:04:12 PM
I found that when my husband was laid off it was really handy to have a large garden and our own chickens till he got back to work. I know I am not the only mom in this position, plus it is a good activity and entertainment for the kids.

K. Pinet_2
2/12/2010 9:05:42 PM
t. brandt, You sound like a philosopher. I think you are right on with the individual living a better way of life and their collective impact on society. We need to get away from entities that are "Too big to fail." Smaller more local sustainable businesses will do better for our country and the world in the long run. Living more realistically is the place to start. Bryan does a good job relating the situation to peoples own backyard!!

t brandt
2/4/2010 5:37:56 AM
Population growth + oil depletion + dependence of high yield ag on petroleum = time for each of us to build his own Ark, sooner than we think. If you analyze the population problem and the complexities & consequences of possible solutions, you'll realize that survival will depend on independent efforts to live sustainably, not some universal, mega-society master plan. Do I sound like one of those bearded, white-robed prophets with the sign "The End Is Near?" ;-) But it's not a joke.







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.