Monday, November 29, 2010

Free Range Human

City life is more energy efficient than country life. Sadly, this to a large extent is true.

A city does a lot of things. Much of what a person needs in daily life is within walking distance. If too far to walk, then a short metro or a city bus ride will get you to what you need. Out in the country, everything is far away. In the city, a car is unnecessary. In the country, it's almost unthinkable not to have one. In fact, most people will have more than one.

Housing people is more efficient in the city. City apartments do more with less square footage. They don't need the same space. No need for a garage if you have no car. No need for a big pantry if you walk past the market and dozens of restaurants every day. Heck, no need for a kitchen if all your meals are in restaurants or take out.

Apartment buildings tend to be more efficient than individual houses. It's simple geometry. Heat is lost from outside walls. A stand alone house can lose heat in all directions. In an apartment building, most of your walls are shared with other apartments, not the outside.

So cities are more efficient. Why don't I live in one?


What's the most efficient way to raise chickens? Huge factory warehouses. Like a city, they have tremendous efficiencies of scale. Chickens take up very little space individually, as they are really packed in under one big roof. It's easy to feed them in conveyor like fashion. Food in, wastes out, huge production -just like a city.

Free range country chickens are different birds entirely. They see the light of day. Much of their feed is not standardized. Much of their diet comes from weeds and bugs they scratch up themselves. They run around loose, doing whatever they want.

The factory chickens all have exactly the same experiences in life. Everything is controlled and regimented. Free range chickens develop individual personalities because their lives have variety. They live closer to a wild state than their factory farmed cousins.

I like to think of myself as a free range human. Not quite wild, as there are still societal cages around me, but it's a lot easier to jump the fence.

If you live in a city, that's fine, if that's what you like. However, ask yourself; are you a factory farmed domesticated animal?



  1. What's most efficient does not mean what's best. I'm no treehugger but I see the the suburbs encased in concrete and tar. Postage stamp yards and high fences encased in rock and grass landscape. Trees that bloom but are GM'ed not to produce fruit, cause that would be inconvenient. No wonder the bees are confused.
    I'm getting there as free human, not there yet.

  2. Good one Sixbears!Free range human.Wonder if thats why I have so much trouble? Not quite wild but like a dog that don't like being fenced I keep jumpin it and getting in trouble!


  3. Yep, free ranging. I like it. It also helps to have an RV or a boat or better yet, both. Good post.

  4. Another good post Sixbears. I lived in a city once and I enjoyed it, but I cannot imagine living in one again. And suburbs, to me, are the worst of both worlds.

  5. ...born a free rebel,captured,citified,and domesticated upnorth,escaped back to Dixie...i like the term feral for myself...good one Sixbears

  6. Yep, good one. Me, I guess I'm a free range amphibian, ha ha. More like a pelagic critter, but the family keeps me shore bound. Hopefully soon I'll get to escape to my natural habitat once in a while aboard something that floats. Wouldn't want to dry out too much...