Realities of a Low Emission Life in the French Pyrenees

Living off the land is often seen as the ideal for many aspiring greenies. Bucolic bliss. Healthy harvests. Cheery chickens. Milk making moo cows. Plentiful potatoes and a fresh figs. Sunsets sipping Sauvignon.

During a international sojourn multi-media producer, Amy York Rubin, washed up on a farm in the French Pyrenees, that was a three to four hour hike down the mountain to nearest town. She made this 12 minute video of her experiences. Warts and all.As Amy discovers reality can greatly differ from the vision.

Twenty years ago I had similar occasion to spend a month working on a farm in Cornwall. Fourteen hour days of hard labour, very basic food, and a shower every other day, if we got lucky. It was no picnic.

Sunsets are more likely to be spent still slaving away in the fields or pens. Animals don't milk themselves and vegetables don't grow themselves. But pests certainly do help themselves. Bliss can soon morph into boredom.

Farm machinery was developed to remove much of the tedious drudgery that is so often part of farm work. But its subsequent extensive use of fossil fuels has seen agriculture and livestock production become one to the top emitters of greenhouse gases.

Surviving Thriving on the Land book photo
Amy's video observations closely parallel those of the UK's Rebecca Laughton. Rebecca holds a Masters of Science in Sustainable Agriculture, and worked four years on a 40 acre community farm without the use of fossil fuels. She later toured around the UK and France (including the Pyrenees) to glean material for her recent book "Surviving and Thriving on the Land."

I'll write a review when I finish reading this excellent tome. But in short Rebecca's basic premise is that living on the land in an ecologically sensitive manner can indeed by a hard slog. Physically, emotionally, financially and socially. But with great insight she highlights the tips, tricks and personal attributes useful in overcoming human-energy-based problems related to such a life.

Book image: via Amazon UK

Both Amy's video and Rebecca's book are honest appraisals of the immense joys and annoying travails that result from lives spent close to the land.

::Amy's Life in the Pyrenees
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