goats http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3849/all en-US Book review: Farewell, My Subaru http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-farewell-my-subaru" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/farewell-my-subaru-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of Farewell, My Subaru" title="Cover of Farewell, My Subaru" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="376" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066441?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066441"><cite>Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living</cite></a> by Doug Fine.</p> <p>There are a number of books now by people who set out to live a more local, more sustainable life, and wrote a book to document their experiences. Most of them approach the problem with the perspective that living a lower-carbon lifestyle is going to entail giving up some of the things that modern Americans have come to expect. Doug Fine, though, would rather not. Especially not ice cream.</p> <p>There's a fundamental trade-off that you can't really escape. All that carbon gets released producing energy, so if you want to release less carbon, you've got two options: You can make do with less energy or you can find a way to get the energy without burning carbon. The first option requires sacrifice; the second typically requires either doing large amounts of hard work or else spending large amounts of money. Unlike some of the other authors of recent books on low-impact living, Fine is inclined toward the second option--going to great effort and spending large amounts of money to get his modern American lifestyle with less carbon burned.</p> <p>The book is basically a series of funny stories of Fine's first year or so trying to live more sustainably on forty-one acres of rural New Mexico. The humor is largely of the self-depricating sort--Fine bumbles about making beginner mistakes, but through a combination of perseverance, help from friends and neighbors, a modest amount of good luck, a lot of hard work, and the expenditure of a whopping amount of money, manages to set himself up to be successful.</p> <p>The book actually ends before we see a lot of pay-off from the hard work. It would have been nice to hear about the ice cream that he was going to make from his goats milk. But that doesn't make the funny stories about his hard work any less funny.</p> <p>There are two things this book isn't.</p> <p>First, it isn't out to convince you that living a low-carbon lifestyle is the right choice. The audience for this book is largely people who have already decided that--but are daunted at the prospect of the changes involved in living in accordance with their values. (People who don't think low-carbon living is necessary to save the biosphere could possibly be amused to watch Fine go to all this trouble for no good reason that they can see, but I doubt if they'd really be interested.)</p> <p>Second, it most definitely isn't a how-to manual. Although the author talks about raising goats and chickens, and installing a solar-powered pump and a solar hot-water heater, and getting his truck converted to run on used cooking oil, he just tells the funny stories of his mishaps. It may give you some ideas and it may make certain choices seem more (or less!) reasonable, but this is not the book that's going to tell you how to do any of those things yourself.</p> <p>Probably the best thing about the book is the way it provides a worked example that doesn't seem too daunting. Instead of trying to achieve sustainability through the sort of extreme simple living that amounts to a repudiation of the modern American lifestyle, Fine tries to achieve it through a large investment of time, effort, and money. Where the other books leave you thinking that their writers are capable of superhuman feats of self-deprivation (admittedly alleviated by the opportunity to eat lots of great, local food), Fine's book gives you nice crisp stories that emphasize his foibles and leave you with a sense of &quot;If this clown can do it, I can certainly do it.&quot;</p> <p>Sometimes his tone bugged me. One example was in talking about trying to go hunting. His other stories sounded like the efforts of someone trying (and eventually succeeding) in some endeavor despite a certain amount of ineptitude--which make them fun to read. The story of his hunting endeavors, though, ends in failure. His ineptness is great enough in this case that it seems almost willful. That, combined with giving up right away, makes it less interesting to read about than the endeavors where he perseveres. That's a minor complaint, though.</p> <p>If you're interested in living a lower-carbon lifestyle, but you're not quite ready to make the leap yourself, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066441?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066441"><em>Farewell, My Subaru</em></a> packs a nice mix of inspirational and cautionary tales into one funny little book. I enjoyed it a lot.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-game-over">Book review: Game Over</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-in-defense-of-food">Book review: In Defense of Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-ragnars-guide-to-the-underground-economy">Book Review: Ragnar&#039;s Guide to the Underground Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-drunkards-walk">Book review: The Drunkard&#039;s Walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-retire-on-less-than-you-think">Book review: Retire on Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living book review books carbon emission carbon footprint gardening goats ice cream review sustainability sustainable living Mon, 22 Dec 2008 20:39:42 +0000 Philip Brewer 2668 at http://www.wisebread.com Giving is Better Than Blogging... or IS it? http://www.wisebread.com/giving-is-better-than-blogging-or-is-it <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/goat.jpg" alt=" " title="http://www.morguefile.com/forum/profile.php?username=fotographix" width="215" height="224" /></p> <p>Giving is better than receiving. I do sincerely believe this, as much as I like receiving. And I <strong>do</strong> like <a href="http://www.woot.com/">getting stuff</a>.</p> <p>You know that old saying about giving a man a fish, and he&#39;ll eat for a day... but teach him how to fish, and he&#39;ll end up going to cooking school and opening a swanky restaurant downtown that you won&#39;t be able to get reservations to, despite the fact that you taught him, in painstaking detail, how to tie flies when he was down and out?</p> <p>I bring this up because of... livestock. My mom likes to donate to charities that work in Third World countries, and a recent charitable phenomenon is a Goat Gift Pack (or sheep, or <a href="http://www.heifer.org/site/pp.asp?c=edJRKQNiFiG&amp;b=201452">cows</a>, pigs, even <a href="http://www.kanoute.com/sendagift.htm">fowl</a>) for poor families that have no source of income. It&#39;s sort of a microfinance concept, that a small loan or donation put towards livelihood, rather than pure survival, is more beneficial to a poor family than, say, a bag of rice. Animals produce milk, which can be consumed and sold for profit. It&#39;s something that seems to be very popular right now in the giving world.</p> <p>I&#39;m a tad skeptical about the price tags, however. For instance, my mom recently paid $300 to a well-known religious organization to give a pair of sheep to a poor family in India. $300? I don&#39;t think a pair of sheep cost that much in the U.S., and we <strong>should</strong> have pricey sheep. I&#39;m wary of just how much money is being skimmed off the top for these organizations. I know that there are lots of administrative costs, but we&#39;re talking about a country in which you can get a full, satisfying meal for under a dollar.</p> <p>I&#39;m not sure how to organize an investigation of whether or not Mom got ripped off, so I&#39;ll just caution anyone else who was thinking of paying $300 for livestock to shop around a bit. In my mother&#39;s case, she personally corresponds with thsi family, so I think she felt stuck in using her chosen organization to give them help.</p> <p>By the way, Slate.com ran a good article on the <a href="http://www.slate.com/id/2161797/">best microfinance organizations</a> to donate to. I found it informative, anyway.</p> <p class="heading">Give without really giving</p> <p class="sub-heading"><strong><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/feedhungry.gif" alt=" " width="244" height="47" />Link to Give </strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.greatergood.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/GreaterGood">Greater Good</a> runs several web sites that raise money to combat hunger, disease, and animal abuse. Greater Good is a for-profit company, but they give a portion of their profits to charity. They also started the click-to-give idea a while ago, before Google got involved, in which revenue provided by ad clicks was donated to dedicated charities. The premise is that you can visit any of the Greater Good sites once every 24 hours, and click once on an ad, which usually says something like &quot;Click Here to Feed the Hungry&quot;. The revenue generated by that click goes entirely to charity.</p> <p>I should add that Greater Good has a <a href="https://shop.thehungersite.com/store/item.do?itemId=26450&amp;siteId=220&amp;sourceId=220&amp;sourceClass=StoreSearch&amp;index=1">good price on a pair of goats</a> for Rwandan families, too.</p> <p><a href="http://www.urbanmonk.net/50/blog-apocalypse-2-minutes-from-you-500-to-charity-from-me/"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/apoc.gif" alt=" " width="125" height="170" /></a></p> <p><a href="http://www.urbanmonk.net/50/blog-apocalypse-2-minutes-from-you-500-to-charity-from-me/">Urban Monk</a> is donating $500 from ad revenue to charity, so I&#39;m linking to him in hopes that he gets all the ad revenue necessary to write that check ASAP. You can also link to him - his preferred method is that you write a blog post as though it were the last blog post EVER - and help give without having to open your wallet. Check out his site whether you want to link to him or not - he&#39;s a good guy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/troy-hadley">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-is-better-than-blogging-or-is-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog">Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Personal Development altruism blog blogger blogging charity donation friends giving goats link love links marketing microfinance microloan rip-off tips tricks Wed, 11 Apr 2007 19:22:18 +0000 Troy Hadley 491 at http://www.wisebread.com