Happier Human, Healthier Planet

Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and  nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.

 Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

2012 has been a year where I’ve been fortunate to have an active outdoor life. It’s funny how it is so easy to get out of the habit of physical activity when you have a desk job. Once you get active again, you realize what you had been missing – and the importance of exercise to your health and positive mental outlook.

Much of my activity has been pure joy, mixed with adrenalin, some fear, and discipline. White water rafting, kayaking, skiing, and farming. Being in the throws of Mother Earth is exhilarating. Ventilating my lungs in the fresh air, vitamin D from the sun, experiencing the elements of the season. With the farming participation, my energy output is put back into the economic system.

Instead of going to the gym, what if we used our human energy (labor) as an energy input into our economic system? 

Wouldn’t we all be healthier and happier if we were physically moving for at least part of our work week? Getting sunshine, strengthening our bones and muscles, working with Mother Nature? Might you sacrifice part of your professional wage for a lower pay where your working labor participated in the production sector of our economy, decreasing the amount of energy needed to run tractors and and haul cheap goods in from other places?

Ideally, such a way of life would be voluntary, not mandatory. I think it would allow for happier humans and a healthier planet. Days could be lived in the sunshine, working with nature – where the day itself was something to look forward to, instead of endless days pushing paper, in front of computer screens, sitting in meetings.

The good news is, sustainable living is not a spectator sport – isn’t it wonderful?


2 thoughts on “Happier Human, Healthier Planet

  1. Hi Michelle. People can start where they are. Most any DIY project fulfills the objective of putting our own energy into the production economy. Agriculturally, October is a great time to start a garlic patch in the yard. It is also a good time to start sheet mulching for next year's garden. You can also experiment with cold-frames to start growing lettuce, greens, and radishes through the winter. If you don't have access to your own land, your local CSA farm would be happy to use your energy to put into growing food 🙂

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