Apr 15 2011

Voluntary Simplicity

Published by at 12:22 am under Uncategorized

This was probably my favorite reading of the semester, and the perfect thing to read before heading off to Powershift 2011. I think Duan Elgin does an amazing job of breaking down voluntary simplicity to its roots. Many people, me included, do not like the thought of giving things up. Human nature is natually greedy. However, Elgin describes voluntary simplicity in a way that does not make it seem like a loss. I also appreciate how the article is relatable to everyone, univeralizing voluntary simplicity.

Of course the part that spoke to me the most was when Elgin talked about the environmental consequences of the pushes of necessity. Elgin then states “To live sustainably we must live efficiently-not misdirecting or squandering the Earth’s precious resources. To live efficiently, we must live peacefully, for military expenditures represent an emormous diversion of resources from meeting the basic needs. To live peacefully, we must live with a reasonable degree of equity, or fairness, for it is unrealistic to think that, in a communications-rich world, a billion or more persons will accept living in absolute poverty while another billion live in conspicuous excess.” These connections are important to make in order to realize the larger implications and connections of the problems we face today.

Lastly, I would like to end with Elgin’s last message: “We may keep waiting for someone else, but a key message of this essay is that there is no one else. You are it. We are it. Each of us is responsible. It is we who, one by one, must take charge of our lives. It is we who, one by one, must act to restore the balance. We are the ones who are responsible for making it through this time of sweeping change as we work to build a sustainable future for the planet.”

Go make a difference!

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Voluntary Simplicity”

  1. camry3on 17 Apr 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Living efficiently is a great idea! I think it reaches its full potential when efficient living is paired with cost-effectiveness. After all, how efficient is something if you must expend more capital to obtain it?

  2. Brian Auricchioon 18 Apr 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I think a big problem with consumerism today is that we enter a store and buy a product. For mainstream America, that is consumerism. The externalized costs of these products are not accounted for, like the resources taken to create the product and where it goes when a consumer places it in the trash. Corporations maintain low prices by bypassing the cost to create the product by paying low wages to workers and exploiting unethical working conditions around the world.