Those of you who read the blog in 2010-2011 may have noticed a conspicuous lack of posts about ethical living thus far. This is not an accident. But don’t worry, I’ll be striving for a better balance of lifestyle, writing, and personal updates soon.
The reason for my reticence about how I’m working to live an environmentally and ethically oriented life is that I’ve hit something of a roadblock. You see, I’ve never lived in a small town before. Most recently I lived in a city, albeit kind of a mid-sized one (200,000 or so people). Before that, I lived in the DC/Baltimore area suburbs, which are admittedly pretty affluent. Now I live in a small town, with a “metropolitan” population of about 5,000 in one of Maryland’s most sparsely populated rural counties.
To say that things have changed would be something of an understatement.
Well, you might ask, what’s the problem? Don’t the same principles apply? Isn’t it all about reducing your carbon footprint and buying local/fair trade goods and being an active member of your community?
Yes–to a point. There is an issue of access. If you live in a city or a solidly middle class suburb, you have resources. Probably your recycling program is pretty decent. Probably you have access to public transportation. Probably you have your choice of grocery stores and you can shop around for price, as well as organic produce. I too have enjoyed these conveniences.
But I’m not complaining (not really). There are perks to living somewhere more rural. We can buy local vegetables, eggs–even meat (if you eat meat). The air’s cleaner. And there are still environmentally conscious measures being taken, such as the installation of solar panels at the local community center (woo!).
It does require a fair bit of adjustment and research. There are many questions to answer. Given that I live an hour away from the nearest city and public transit is nearly nonexistent, how do I curb my fossil fuel use? Does my local energy provider offer any alternative purchasing options? If not, how do I encourage them to do that? If my community only recycles no. 1 plastics, how do I reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastics I use? How should we set up compost? What environmentally sound initiatives can I support in my newly adopted county? Which local nonprofits can I volunteer with?
In the coming months, I expect to address these and other dilemmas, as they come up. It’ll be frustrating at times. But I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge.
What difficulties (ethical and otherwise) did you encounter the last time you moved? How did you address them?