Imagine you’ve decided to live on the global mean wage — roughly $10,000/year, or $833/month.
There’s an obvious problem with this idea. $833 would not even cover monthly rent/mortgage for many of my readers. How is anyone supposed to live in America on that amount of money?
There’s not much of a way around it: the average human’s budget is not enough to afford a conventional American house or apartment all to yourself. Getting by on $10,000/year almost always requires an alternative living situation.
People who live comfortably on that kind of budget have…
In previous chapters I explained how frugal lifestyles can help the world and described the benefits they offer.
But is this the right path for you? Is it reasonable to minimize your monetary footprint right now? Maybe life is a big enough struggle already, and worrying about restricting your spending would make it even worse.
I understand that being frugal is not something everyone would enjoy. Even if it’s best for the planet, it might not make you happy. …
Based on my Pacific Crest Trail experiences in 2014–2015.
Written for the Medium Writers Challenge.
A 100-mile backpacking trip seems like a big undertaking, but this summer I’ve been doing one every week.
The most stressful part is actually the town visit between these trips.
Every day I hike in the cool early morning light. I hide from the afternoon sun like a lizard, climb from desert floors to mountain passes, filter water from creeks, and sleep under the stars.
Other than the long winding scar I follow through the wilderness and the occasional sign marking it, human constructions are…
In my early 20s I was an electrical engineer. I made $70,000/year, and my wife at the time made a similar amount. No kids, no debt, a brand new car fully paid off — money was plentiful. I rarely thought twice about my spending.
When I was 25, a frightening health problem triggered my quarter-life crisis. Dissatisfied with my life track, I got divorced, pared down my belongings, quit my job, and hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail.
I didn’t expect to have my views…
We’ve all met people who claim to have a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus.
Even as a Christian, this was hard for me to understand. No matter how much I tried to talk to Jesus, I never heard anything back, and I envied those who did.
How was I supposed to have a relationship with silence? A love affair with an empty void? Was I doing it wrong? Not praying hard enough? Unworthy? Was I meant to stay in a “desert place” for years and years?
This total lack of interaction led me to doubt that Jesus existed and that…
According to the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5ºC. Then, we need to reduce emissions to zero by 2050.
Here is how global emissions have been trending since 1750 (in navy):
In the introduction, I said the world’s biggest problems were climate change and wealth inequality — and that I had an idea that could fix them.
That’s a bold claim, don’t you think? Why should you trust me to tell you what matters most or how to change things? Certainly, many well-informed experts have already written books about global problems such as these.
Even if I could understand the whole world perfectly, why does my opinion about the world’s problems mean anything? People have all kinds…
“Breathable air is all around us. Life finds a way in every possible place. Liquid water covers most of the planet. Food grows out of the ground. The temperature outside is tolerable. We are not being blasted with deadly radiation or corroded with acid.”
If those statements seem mundane, it’s only because we’ve spent our lives on a very special planet. What seems “normal” for us is anything but normal.
We don’t always stop to think about it, but these hospitable conditions exist nowhere else in the universe that…
After billions of years of evolution, from microbes all the way to primates, Earth finally has a self-aware species. We’ve learned how to use our intelligence in astonishing ways:
I understand why people have complaints about the vegan movement. I’m not 100% on board, yet, myself.
I hate it when food goes to waste; I have often eaten animal products rather than watch them be thrown in the trash. It’s hard to insist on vegan food in certain social situations or when traveling. And if I’m honest, sometimes I crave pizza or a burger, and I buy one even though I know it’s not the best thing to do.
That said, I mostly eat food that I cook myself, and I very rarely buy animal products at the grocery…