I am sometimes asked what it’s like to be a relatively conservative (I’d say moderate or “progressive”) Evangelical Christian living in the “liberal bastion” of Vermont. Well, to be honest, I’ve really grown to appreciate Vermont. In fact I’m thankful for a few things in particular that I’ve picked up from Vermont:
- Stewardship of the environment: Vermonters are very connected with the land, working hard to protect their streams, rivers, forests, and mountains. We depend on these resources for our economy, but it also just makes sense to make sure we’re preserving the land for future generations.
- Buy local. Vermont has been leading the charge in building local economies, revitalizing down towns (see Bellows Falls for one example), and teaching lessons about the importance of investing our consumer spending locally. When we look at spending as a community investment, we learn it’s not about just buying something. We are building a community, supporting our neighbors, making our towns more vibrant, allowing local businesses to support local charities, and can know exactly where our gifts are coming from.
- Eat local and organic. Vermont’s local farms, CSA’s, and farmers markets have raised the value of eating seasonal, local, and organic food. It’s great when you know exactly where your food is coming from and just how safe it truly is. We like to think we’re saving fossil fuels by eating locally, not to mention the benefits of supporting our local economy.
- If you want good services, you’ll need high taxes. Vermont’s taxes are on the high end, which is exacerbated by wealthy folks moving up from NY city and inflating real estate prices. However, even with this high cost of living in a state that doesn’t have the job market to make it work, Vermont offers great schools and some decent services for such a small state. I bear no grudge toward my state taxes because I see them at work and appreciate what I get for them.
I could go on, but these are a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned while living in Vermont, many of which the people themselves have taught me in one way or another. Thanks Vermont.