Doug Fine, Journalist, New Mexico

How an ambitious experiment in ecological living led to a goat pen

Doug Fine (Karen Kuehn)
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And you know, I am not "Mr. Latest Diet," but I have never been healthier. Eating locally and knocking transfats out of my diet, has had a concrete effect on my physical health. So I guess that's sort of the underlying theme – you might set out to save the earth, but you're really saving yourself.

What advice would you give to readers who want to follow your example?
My recommendation to people – and to myself -- is, don't feel guilty if you're not doing it all at once. Most of our carbon miles come in the form of our transportation and the transportation of our food. So I would suggest attacking those two first, and then your utility situation.

Maybe you'll plant a garden and start growing a lot of your vegetables, but you'll still drive your car for a while. Maybe you'll convert your car to run on vegetable oil or something else, but you won't be on solar or hydropower for a while yet. Take it one step at a time and make the changes. It's totally doable.

I'm finding, after a little less than two years here, I hardly miss any of the stuff that I used to have in my life. I don't miss going to the gas station. I don't miss buying eggs and milk at the store.

Every worry that you might get too good at this stuff to be funny?
(Laughs). No. If you just look at my blog, you'll see it's still one screw-up after another. Like a few entries ago, I had to bring a billy goat here, because in order to have goat milk, a goat has to give birth, right? I'm super protective of Natalie and Melissa (the goats). I got them when they were still bottle-feeding, and they think I'm their dad. I didn't want to breed them when they were like teen moms, you know? Anyway, I brought this billy goat in, and it was a nightmare, I was seriously injured by him multiple times, he tore down the goat pen, and I had no idea if he was actually doing what he needed to do... Yeah, there's no danger of my getting too good at this stuff to write about it anymore.

About Amanda Fiegl

Amanda Fiegl is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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