I have to tell you, it is a pleasant feeling to read stories such as this one, about heating oil prices being up 32% (84¢ / gallon) over last year, and realize that the news will not directly affect me at all. An acquaintance (who I believe lives alone) posted on her Facebook page that she expects this increase in oil price will cost her an extra $800 for heating this winter. Algebra suggests that her total oil bill will thus be somewhere over $3,000– a number which just about gives me apoplexy. Anyway, she is shocked, and I would be too. Indeed, I was shocked, three autumns ago, when oil was close to $4/gallon– so shocked that I didn’t turn on the furnace until New Year’s, and started a new, and rather liberating, way of winter life. My sympathies go out to everyone who is looking at these numbers, looking at their furnaces, looking at their paychecks, then looking at real estate in South Carolina. But I have some hope that a few may be sufficiently jolted that they start to look instead at other options for living more sustainably here in beautiful New England– “radical” as the options may be.