A Journey to Sustainable Living and a Self-Reliant Lifestyle

Reader Contribution by Emylisa Warrick
article image

At 19 years old, Luke Dinan is a writer, musician, bike messenger, blogger, farmer and, on Sundays, a community recycle coordinator. He hails from Toronto, Ontario, but his journey will ultimately lead him to 40 acres of land on Prince Edward Island, sustainable living and a self-reliant lifestyle.

Dinan’s current goal is to raise funds in order to pay off the land by September of this year. His end goal is to build an eco-friendly home made of natural building materials, run on renewable energy sources. He also plans to build a greenhouse supplying organic vegetables and utilizing permaculture design.

He will set off on Sept. 1 for a 500 km walk from Toronto to Prince Edward Island. The walk is to raise awareness and support for sustainable living. Dinan is a hard worker, already employing different resources to raise funds for his goal. He speaks of his different avenues below, including selling his music, the 2009 album “Canoe” and the upcoming “Long Water Chase.”

Dinan will be documenting his progress on his website: the walk, the building of his home, and the daily successes and failures of a self-reliant lifestyle. To learn about or donate to his cause, see his website or read his personal story below.

“My name is Luke Dinan. I am a musician and writer from Toronto, Ontario. For the last four years, I have been pushing forward on the path to a self-reliant and low impact lifestyle. My path has taken me from the concrete streets of Toronto to the vast interior of British Columbia to the Atlantic homeland of Prince Edward Island, where I am currently working towards relocating permanently.

What lies in Prince Edward Island is a crown of jewels 40 acres in size: a parcel of land with nothing on it not put there by her majesty, Mother Nature.

My goal right now is to pay off the balance on the property by September of 2011. The end goal for the land is the construction of a carbon-neutral earthen materials home, run on renewable energy, with a greenhouse providing organic vegetables grown using the principals of permaculture, resulting in a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, good health and happiness.

The entire process, every failure and every success, will be documented on my website (www.beautifulblueberries.ca) so that I may serve as a lamp post for others looking to lessen their impact on the planet. If I can make the mistake first, I can help others avoid it.

To raise the money I will need for this project, I have entered a number of different avenues.

Firstly, I am selling my music, both in digital format and on disk. This includes my 2009 album, “Canoe,” and my album due to be released this summer, “Long Water Chase.” I am also hosting a show in Toronto, Ontario, at the old Buddhist hall – which has been converted into a beautiful space for performers, at 918 Bathurst St.

During the week I work as a bicycle messenger for a local courier company, Greenteam (http://www.greenteamcourier.com/), whose mandate is to remove as many cars from the roads of the city as possible and replace them with the more efficient, and far more sustainable, bicycle messengers.

I am also working with a Toronto-based company called Fresh City Farms (http://www.freshcityfarms.com/) which enables young people to learn the ins and outs of organic farming by actually doing the farming themselves. Under the guidance of a knowledgeable head farmer, the member farmers work vegetable gardens planted in the front and backyards of Toronto residents who have donated the space to the cause. The organic veggies are then bought by Fresh City and sold at farmers markets around the city.

Finally, on Sundays I run a bottle drive, collecting and recycling the weekend’s discarded glass bottles and aluminum cans for their deposit and putting the money into the earth house fund.

As a man just coming of age in this world of environmental turmoil and international strife in politics, economics, and general well being for the human race at large, I have heard the organ’s moan and I have seen the body in the casket. The bottom line methods and profit-or-die ways of thinking are slowly being replaced with the time-tested methods of sustainable living and self-sufficiency and ways of thinking that put more emphasis on the care of our shared home and on bettering our health than on the size of our houses and the make of our cars. As a young person especially, I have a responsibility to lead the way forward for the generations that will come after me, and do my part to assure them that there is something left for them to call home.”

Emylisa Warrick is an Online Editorial Assistant at Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on .

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368