An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of April 7, 2007
Issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquaters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO

LIVING WITHOUT A REFRIGERATOR

electricity use in the US home NOT using an air conditioner

The other day as I prepared my mid-day meal for cooking in the solar oven I spotted a bit of mold on half a head of cabbage that had been lying on my food shelf. It was a simple and quick matter to pare off the moldy spot. Fresh, wholesome cabbage lay just below. And I thought: Up North most people would throw away this good cabbage, and a goodly percentage would freak out seeing me going ahead and eating this.

In fact, it's all I can do to keep from freaking out when I see the waste of food and other resources typical in North American households. I've seen people throw away a dozen eggs because they were accidentally left out of the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Here I regularly eat eggs I've kept in my uncooled room for a week or more, and I buy them from little stores with no refrigeration at all. All my produce comes from open-air stalls and I assure you that on the average my fruit and vegetables are fresh, nutritious and tasty. During all my years as a hermit in Mississippi I never had a refrigerator and I didn't miss one at all.

Besides not having to work to make money to pay for a refrigerator and the electricity to keep it going, I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I have no refrigerator using electricity. Remember that most electricity in North America is made by burning coal (mostly stripmined).

Mining this coal causes massive land destruction, and burning it contributes to global warming. Using any form of grid-supplied electricity encourages the building of more nuclear power plants.

At the top of this page you can see what a big slice of the energy-pie a refrigerator is responsible for, in an average US family NOT using an air conditioner.

My experience is that when you have a refrigerator you develop addictions to foods and drinks that are richer, more caloric and more sense-deadening than need be. You don't know your senses are dead until you have been free of your addictions for some time and find that foods and drinks you thought were bland and characterless begin pleasing in subtle ways. Also, you don't know how wonderful a cool drink is until you've been away from ice awhile.

It's beautiful to see wholesome grains, fruits and vegetables on shelves in my daily living space, not sealed inside a vibrating metal box. It's a healthy meditation to walk back and forth between home and the local market every couple of days carrying the food that will keep me alive and healthy. It's liberating to not have to pay for the electricity and maintenance having a refrigerator demands.

And it contributes to my spiritual well-being to know that I no longer require a kitchen with a refrigerator humming away every hour of the day sending out this message to power producers: "More, more, more, send me more electricity, no matter what the cost or consequences... " Facebook Icon.