November 18, 2013

Living According to Our Values: Nature & Community (The Grand Dream, part 4)

Nathan and I believe that everyone has a certain responsibility to leave the world a better place than they found it. It can be overwhelming if you think about all the problems that the world faces. We are all too aware that it is difficult for one or two people to make much of a dent in these problems. But rather than being complicit in the world's injustices and problems by doing nothing, we choose to focus instead on the small things we can do. The homestead is our small act of defiance against all the wrongs and problems we see in the world.

The Natural World

The natural world is one of our biggest inspirations.

The natural world is an inspiration for Nathan and me and we believe that it is important for us to help protect the world and its fragile ecosystems.

The world faces many environmental challenges, and the homestead will be our biggest response to  these problems. While the homestead itself won't be able to solve all of these challenges, we can at least focus on one small place where we can act as responsible stewards of the land, to live a life that minimizes our impact on the planet, and perhaps even inspires others to make small changes in their lives that can make a difference.

In the meantime as we work towards the homestead, day to day we still try take actions that reflect these values. Even though we would be able to save for the homestead more quickly if we worked in more lucrative occupations, Nathan currently works in the field of habitat restoration, and I work in the science & environmental education field because we want our daily work to make a small difference. Outside of work we also try to do small things to minimize our impact on the earth.

This year's harvest of squash from the garden!

A list of the small ways we try to minimize our impact:

  1. Walking, carpooling, or biking to work
  2. Living in a small 500sq ft. apartment (in a sustainability focused community)
  3. Reducing our waste & recycling, or composting as much as possible
  4. Using CFL/LED light bulbs, turning off lights, turning down the heat, using fans rather than an air conditioner,  hanging laundry up to dry,  unplugging appliances, etc. to save electricity
  5. Buying used and minimizing purchases & consumption of goods (clothing, furniture, electronics, etc.) in general
  6. Gardening using organic methods, supporting local farmers & sustainable agriculture, & cooking at home
  7. Eating a vegetarian diet, buying local free range eggs, and eating vegan meals a few times a week
It is just an added bonus that these actions also help us to live frugally‚ which helps us move closer towards the homestead dream.

Community

In a similar vein, we also believe that it is important for us to do our part to help relieve some of the human suffering in this world and to strengthen our local community. We are acutely aware that we were born into this world with privileges that many others do not have, and that from this position of privilege we have a responsibility to do something to help correct some of the social injustices in the world.

Just like the world's environmental problems, we choose to not focus on how little we can actually do, but on the small things we can do.

Teaching children at Title I schools about the interconnectedness of ecosystems...
an example of how my values influence my everyday work. Photo by Paul Colvin.

Most significantly, day to day we try to be aware of the impact our actions have on other people and we try to avoid negatively impacting others as much as possible. We also try to help out in other ways by volunteering regularly in the community and helping to build community, mostly with the residents at the Kailash Ecovillage where we live. I also chose my current line of work coordinating a program that teaches science to underprivileged elementary school children because of my belief in the power of education to help correct inequality.

I also see the homestead as another potential way to help our community. I dream of eventually opening an education center, but even before that, I dream of helping to strengthen our community in small ways by supporting our neighbors, continuing to volunteer in our community, and growing and donating extra produce to local food banks.

We are by no means perfect, and we would both like to do so much more than we realistically are able to, but we do our best to do what we can!

Catch up on the rest of our story:
The Grand Dream, part 1
Our Goals and Plans (The Grand Dream, part 2)
Living According to Our Values: Family (The Grand Dream, part 3)
Criteria for a Place to Call Home, Part I
Criteria for a Place to Call Home, Part II



2 comments:

  1. Kristy, I am honored that you commented at FIMBY and include me in your blogroll. thank you so much! Since posting your comment at FIMBY I have been reading through your "we have a dream" posts. Damien and I likewise chronicled our dream to work at home together and have location independence, on our blogs a few years ago. Now we write about living that dream and making and living new dreams!

    Damien and I also believe that marriage is the cornerstone and we have built our life on "how do we do this (parenting, work, the fulfillment of personal dreams etc.) together". I am so happy when I see other young couples committed likewise to that hard and happy journey.

    You are blessed to be able to make these choices at such a young age and without the responsibility of children. Kudos to you for making the most of these years as you work towards your dream.

    I would love to live in Idaho (my vote for your future location) or interior BC (the Cdn equivalent perhaps).

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  2. Thank you so much Renee! Your blog has been such an inspiration to us. It gives me so much comfort knowing that your family has succeeded in living your dream...it makes me feel like maybe my dream isn't so crazy. Now we are hoping to pass what we can on as we learn and dream as well.

    We are also leaning towards Idaho. We really have fallen in love with the Kootenai Valley (which runs from Northern ID into BC)... but only time will tell where we ultimately end up!

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