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Can You Be Too Frugal?
Have you heard the term "carborexic" or "energy anorexic" used to describe someone who is conscious of their carbon footprint? Personally, we think the [word]orexic thing jumped the shark at pregorexic, but whatever. The point is that as more Americans try to save money, they're taking the green lifestyle to extremes.
Sharon Astyk, 36, is a writer and a farmer trying to reduce her family's energy use to 10% of the national average. From the sounds of it, they're making excellent progress.
Mrs. Astyk has unplugged the family refrigerator. During the warmer months on their farm, they use the refrigerator as an ice box with frozen jugs of water as the coolant. During the warmer months, they store their milk and butter outside. They have a homemade composting toilet and get their heat from burning wood in the stove. The four kids sleep huddled together to keep warm during the colder months. Being that they live on a farm, they grow and raise most of their own food. They spend approximately $1,000 a year in consumer goods, most of which they buy used. They also air-dry their clothes.
Mrs. Astyk says she's heard all kinds of comments about her lifestyle, from the nicer "they're just eccentric," to the more rude "they're completely nuts." Either way, she knows she's making a difference in the world and doesn't really care what others think of her. While we think that's a wonderful attitude to have, we're not so sure we're on the bandwagon for "carborexia."
It sounds a little like Survivor: Little House on the Prairie to us, but it seems to be working for them. What do you think? Is this too much, or are Mrs. Astyk and her family pioneers (pun totally intended) that will lead us to a cleaner Earth and less reliance on credit? [NYT]