Saturday, December 8, 2007

Voluntary Simplicity

We are the most successful people the world has ever
It's a great time to be riding this wave. Our
enormously productive economy affords us luxuries
beyond the wildest dreams of previous generations and
far beyond the reach of most of the almost 7 billion
Homo sapiens inhabiting & modifying this tiny planet.
A planet on which over 1/3 do not have electricity,
many starving, 99% without computers and
enviro-degradation everywhere. It's an exciting, fun
time for most of us in America. I call it the final
glow of the "Golden Age of Man".

Many today long for a simpler society, a simpler life,
a life- style more in tune with the natural world - a
sustainable way of life. We comprise only 5% of the
world's people we consume over 35% of the world's
resources. People of third world countries watch TV
and aspire to our consumerism. We are the lucky ones;
at least for a little while longer.

Voluntary Simplicity is a movement reducing
consumption and spending, creating less debt, using
less resources, recycling more, living WITH the
natural world. Many in the VS movement take delight in
exercising imagination and creativity consuming less
and recycling more.

On Thanksgiving Day I picked up the morning paper. It
was over 90% advertizing. How many times a day are we
told to buy "stuff"? A local example of VS is Eric
Greening who hasn't owned a car for decades but gets
around by bus, walking and hitching rides; he is
always at the SLO Board of Supervisors educating the
rest of us - a role model for all to emulate.

Defining simplicity is a very individual matter that
covers a wide potential range. A few things for me:

1. reducing trash from 2 barrels per week to one
barrel per month - 3 decades ago,
2. planting acorns of native oaks everywhere I think
they might grow
3. bicycling more - I bike 1K--2K miles each year - 3
4. connected the shower, laundry and sink so that
waste water flows to plants outside - 3 decades
5. hanging laundry on a line in the sun - always
6. deciding to get a vasectomy to prevent "accidents"
- 3 decades ago
7. having a garden - 4 decades

Voluntary Simplicity is a unique trend but one whose
time has come as our resources become depleted. Some
suggestions on things
you might do:

1. AVOID YOUR CAR: Walk, ride your bike,carpool, take
the bus but don't drive your polluter. Walk on the
beach rather than drive as at Oceano & listen to the
2. AVOID SHOPPING: Why do we get over 1000
messages/day to buy more?
The average credit card debt is over $9,200. Before
you buy anything, ask yourself if you really need the
3. GET RID OF YOUR LAWN: Make a bio-intensive garden
as I have done - great food. Grow native bushes and
increase biodiversity - birds & butterflies love it.
We use over 202 million pounds of pesticides/yr. for
lawns in the US plus all that polluting
4. TURN OFF THE TV: Corporations spend over $7 Billion
each year telling us to consume. It is OK to watch
"Democracy Now" by Amy Goodman as there are no
commercials & my main source of the news.
5. STOP ACCIDENTS: Sixty percent of all pregnancies in
the US are unintended (accidents). I urge vasectomies
for males, emergency contraception for gals and condom
vending machines in all restrooms.
6. HANG YOUR LAUNDRY: We have the wonderful warm sun
so much on the Central Coast.
7. READ (then recycle it) HOPEDANCE: This free
publication is dedicated to voluntary simplicity - the
hope for a future.

Bill Denneen