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Back on the Coast

Back on the Coast

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What's the Point - For my Vandwelling

Every time you look at the media you get bombarded by the same messages - rising fuel price hence rising cost of everything, food shortages, pollution, high cost of housing, global warming and so on. I'm not going to propose that being a Vandweller is the solution. I'm not going to say you should be a Vandweller. But, it's obvious that free spirits in North America need a break, a different option.

And there aren't many choices out there; or are there? Since the '50's, North American culture has been conditioning us to consume - mass quantities - brand new, the latest, the greatest- as much as you can, all the time. And poor Mother Earth can't take it anymore. There's too many of us. She's changing, and if we don't change, we will go the way of the dinosaur.

A long time ago, I decided to march to the beat of a different drummer. I knew I didn't want to squander my life on the typical pursuit of happiness, the acquisition of possessions - the house in the 'burbs, the two car garage with the Impala and a station wagon for my family. Suburbia was not for me. So, I have been a Nomad for many years, searching for my Shangri-la and enjoying the journey.

And I found it. My Shangri-la, that is. But, so have many others. So now it is very expensive to buy land in British Columbia. It may never happen for me. But, so what. Do we really need to own land and a house and all that stuff? I don't know, because I have deep seated conditioning that makes me think that I do. But, is it really necessary? No.

The majority of the world doesn't own their own home, if they even have anything they can call a home. The majority of the world doesn't live in a beautiful place like I do, have food on their table, health care of any sort, a personal vehicle with gas in the tank. They aren't occasionally free to roam the land at will, holidaying around. No. We are very lucky in North America, yet we complain at the littlest hardship, like paying more for gas and things. Conditioning.

I personally don't have a problem with the way things are going - because it is a wake-up call for all of us. Capitalism, consumerism and unchecked industrialization is killing the planet and us. We are slowly being forced into conservation by the high cost of anything. I think it had to happen, sooner or later. The solution - use less - just what you need.

Is this the legacy we want to leave future generations? I feel they will look back at the last century and curse us for being so selfish, so wasteful, so arrogant. That we felt justified in doing anything we wanted, so we could have lots of toys and money and big houses and big cars and take holidays in the Caribbean via jet planes. And leave them a damaged, maybe beyond repairable planet, past the point of no return. A wasteland.

And this is part of why I became a Vandweller. It follows the tenet of conservation, recycle, reduce and reuse. I found I could be less wasteful. I utilize everything I own, because there is no room to have too much stuff. Recently, I saw a video, Watch it. When you buy stupid crap that you don't really need, you are just feeding the madness. It's not your fault. I'm just as guilty as anyone. We are conditioned from birth to live this way. But, we can change.

I recycled an older vehicle, which would probably have gone to a wreckers soon because the average person wants something newer. I reduced my demands on the planet, by not occupying a specific dwelling (house, apartment), which would require mega-resources to construct, heat and maintain. I reduced my fuel consumption by driving only 200 miles a week, instead of commuting 400 miles a week to that fixed abode. I utilize existing spaces to satisfy my lifestyle and needs, instead of demanding my own. I reuse what I can, so new things don't have to be made.

Oh, I'm not perfect. Hell, no. I drive a gas guzzlin' van, man. But, overall, my carbon footprint is smaller than before, because of my simpler lifestyle.

As well, there are other benefits too. My financial footing has never been better, even though I work less. Why? Because I have decreased one major expense, the expense of shelter. Now, I have replaced my apartment with a van; when compared to having both a car and a home, to only just a vehicle, I save big time. I can afford good food, good health care, recreation and modest travel. You won't save too much in one or two months, but over the accumulated time of years, we are talking of thousands of dollars. And, that becomes freedom - more free time, more savings, no debt.

The whole world looks to North America as the shining beacon, the highest standard of living on the planet. We lecture other countries, no, don't do what we have done and continue to do. Don't cut down that rain forest. Who the hell are we to talk, as we whip our asses with four ply and eat double cheeseburgers. Conserve and save the planet, we preach from our Lazy-boys.

Too late, the industrialization of China and India are going to make North America look like a back water, 'small potatoes'. Maybe if the citizenry of North America really started to rally on saving the planet, instead of ignorant consumerism, we could set an example to follow. We have taught the rest of the world how to follow in our previous footsteps. I hope we find a new path.

That's why I appreciate the old slogan, 'Act locally, think globally.' I think being a Vandweller is a step in that direction. North America is a big place, and unfortunately, most of us need transportation to live and thrive on this continent. Employment is not always within walking distance. So, I have combined two of my major needs, transportation and shelter, to use less of finite natural resources and create less pollution. Maybe, it will work for you. Maybe this way of sacrifice could help us all.


Anonymous said...

Nice one urb, more and more people are catching on, however i dont think china and india give a shit, and who can blame them.

Zen hobo said...

nice one urb,i think more and more people are catching on,the goverment here however are just useing it all just to score points,which is not only sad but a waste of time.