Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Hypocrisy of #Vanlife

#Vanlife snobs are hypocrites! Ok, I need to make one big caveat. My gripe is not with all vanlifers, but primarily with people who claim their #vanlife lifestyle is a means to saving the earth. #Vanlife is enticing, especially for young people. Life tends to be simpler and you enjoy the freedom of the open road, indefinitely. If done right, you can leave behind most all the bills and stresses of modern life. You can go where you want, when you want. You can see the beautiful places of the world and enjoy an endless camping trip. 

Life in a vehicle moves one closer to nature. You cannot shut out all the natural sounds as you can inside a house.  Most vehicles do not have heat or cooling when off, so you are more exposed to the temperature swings of night and day. Modern conveniences like showers and toilets are spartan or completely absent. And, because space is cramped, vanlifers stay outside more. Thus, one feels they are more in tune with nature. 

To truly live in a van requires extreme thought and consideration about what possessions you travel with. Space is counted in square inches rather than square feet. #Vanlife shares similarities with the modern minimalist trend. It purports to be a lifestyle who’s goal is to live with the bare minimum physical possessions necessary. If it were a sport, vanlifers would be the elites athletes. Pruning ones possessions down enough to live in a vehicle is the epitome of minimalism. After all, every pound decreases your gas mileage. So there is good incentive. 

Yet herein lies the problem. Although a vanlifer may have reduced their consumerism of material goods, they dramatically drive up their own carbon footprint (pun intended). The ICE car you drive is the single biggest contributor to global warming in your life. So living in a van is like trying to loose weight by cutting out the sodas and chips then eating dessert as the main course at each meal. You’re going backwards. 

So if you want to do your part for creation, that’s great. Living with less is an honorable goal. It’s even considered a Christian virtue. But as the saying goes, you shouldn’t put the cart before the horse. You must reduce your carbon footprint first, then continue to live with the bare minimum. Living with the bare minimum doesn’t give you permission to burn all the fossil fuel you want. Well, I’ve laid on the horn long enough now, so I’ll wrap this up. If you want to enjoy #vanlife, great! Just don’t try to claim that’s it’s better for God’s creation. 

By David F. Garner