You’re walking amidst a sea of other people. Lights from the buildings above line the sky. All kinds of sounds are reaching your ears from every angle, each of them representing an action or movement of human life. You close your eyes. Now you are in the middle of a field, making your way towards a barn in the distance. On the other side of the trees to your right, you can hear the ocean, water rushing in and dissolving in the sand. Maybe a cow moos somewhere. Now snap back to wherever you are at the present moment. In which setting did you feel most alive? Both in different ways, perhaps? If you’re a student, where do you plan to live after college? As a senior, the question has been more prominent in my mind than ever before. Seattle has successfully turned me into a city person for now, so my immediate future is looking urban. But what are the sustainable benefits of each choice?
City life certainly has the advantage as far as green transportation goes, with resources, destinations, and alternate means of getting to them close at hand. Living amongst so many other people also presents more opportunities for sharing resources through a more communal lifestyle.
On the other hand, living in the country allows you to enjoy more of the nature that we’re trying to preserve in the first place, and it’s still very possible to live green for those who can exist in harmony with the natural world. Having more space might also mean more freedom when it comes to how you consume energy and use resources, with the ability to instill solar power and collect rain water that is absent from apartment living and many tightly-squeezed communities in which city laws often prohibit such alterations. And although some urban centers include access to community gardens, living rural is obviously better for growing your own garden.
So of course there are pros and cons to both options. But since our concerns as human beings do extend past the issue of sustainability, we also take into account a lot of other factors when determining what works for us on a personal level. The solution, I think, is to try our best wherever we are, because being green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the setting in which you want your life to take place. We can all inject sustainability into our lives in different ways.
Are you a city or country person? Or some mix of both? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.