When Fine bought his 41 acre ranch in New Mexico, he had four goals in mind. “1. Use a lot less oil 2. Power my life by renewable energy 3. Eat as locally as possible 4. Don’t starve, electrocute myself, get eaten by the local mountain lions, get shot by my UN-fearing neighbors, or otherwise die in a way that would cause embarrassment if the obituary writer did his or her research.”
Over the course of a year, as he worked toward accomplishing his goals, Fine found the task a little more difficult that he anticipated and discovered many environmental contradictions in “living green”. For instance, consider the irony of using ancient battery technology to power space-age solar panels; coating solar powered water supply pipes with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals; and intense competition for used cooking oil to fuel his newly-converted bio-fuel truck , just to name a few.
It’s unclear to me how Fine was able to purchase and begin upgrading his ranch with no apparent income, making Fine’s day-to-day adventures into green living an impractical example for the average American. His stories and the lessons learned, however, are fun and interesting. In terms of practical applications, the value of Farewell My Subaru lies in the afterward where Fine offers five ways a typical American can reduce his carbon footprint, as well as spelling out the biggest lessons he learned during his year-long march toward sustainable living.
Fans of sustainable living stories will enjoy Fine’s perspective and those new to the genre will find his book fun and informational.