Sunday, January 20, 2008

Conscious Simplicity: Is less really more?

In the age of SUV's and McMansions, economist-activist Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.(Times Books, 2007), contends that the more Americans acquire, the less happy we are, and the more we deplete our environment. To compound this dilemma, developing countries are coming online with our consumptive lifestyles and if they continue to follow our lead, the planet will not be able to support the mass rabid consumerism.

The artistic world has held a concept for many years about good design, "less is more". By scaling back and choosing voluntary simplicity, will we actually discover a better design for our lives? We would certainly have to live more consciously. Studies have shown that shoppers at local farmers markets interact 10 times more than shoppers at a supermarket. Think about your last trip to the grocery store. Did you have even one coversation with anyone except maybe a few words to the cashier and in answering the question, "Paper or plastic?"

McKibben decided to test his theory by proclaiming a year of eating locally for his family. Searching out local food was more time consuming and more thoughtful. McKibben forged new relationships with his community and his neighbors. "The winter permanently altered the way I eat," he said. "It left a good taste in my mouth. That good taste was satisfaction."

Post about it: What do you think about the pace at which we consume to support our lifestyles in America? Should we downsize? Have you taken any steps to downsize your life? What steps, big or small, have you taken to lessen your carbon-footprint impact?

Read about it: Voluntary Simplicity

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