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Currently Browsing: Defining Simplicity

Just Enough is Plenty: Thoreau’s Alternative Economics (Audio Lecture and E-Book)

I’ve recently started teaching a Masters of Environment course called, “Consumerism and Sustainability,” through the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. Last night I was privileged enough to deliver a lecture on Thoreau, and I have attached an audio file of part of that lecture if anyone would like to have a listen. I have also attached an e-book called ‘Just... read more

Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture

Continuing the July series of publications, this post consists of an essay called “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: Reimagining the Good Life beyond Consumer Culture,’ which is soon to be published in the peer-reviewed, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. This essay, which is based on a collection of earlier posts on this website, is... read more

Ted Trainer and the Simpler Way

Ted Trainer is one of the wisest, boldest, and most dedicated advocates of The Simpler Way.  In 2010 he published a book called, The Transition to a Sustainable and Just World, and I have to say that it is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. If you only have time to read one more book in your life, consider reading this one. It speaks directly to our global situation and condition, and it... read more

Deconstructing the Shed: Where I Live and What I Live For

My essay, ‘Deconstructing the Shed: Where I Live and What I Live For,’ is about to be published in the Concord Saunterer: The Journal of Thoreau Studies. I sent out a draft to some of you a few months ago but have been given generous permission to post the final version here (see link below). The essay gives an account of the two years just past that I spent living in a small, self-constructed, inner... read more

Simplicity Institute Publishes Results of the Simple Living Survey

The Simplicity Institute has today published the results and analysis of the Simple Living Survey. 1748 people participated in the survey (so far), and to the best of our knowledge that makes it the most extensive sociological examination of the Voluntary Simplicity Movement available. To read the report, click below: “The Voluntary Simplicity Movement: A Multi-National Survey Analysis in Theoretical... read more

The Revolutionary Spirit of the Voluntary Simplicity Movement

Voluntary simplicity designates a way of life that is very different from the high consumption, materialistic lifestyles that are widely celebrated today in advanced capitalist societies (and increasingly elsewhere). Given the personal, social, humanitarian, and ecological benefits that voluntary simplicity promises, it should be of concern to all those who are sympathetic to this way of life that it is... read more

Stories of Simplicity

Do you have a story you could share about your personal exploration of the simple life? Was there a moment when you realized that it was ‘the simple things’ in life that matter most? What do you understand by ‘the simple things’? Perhaps you would like to share some of the difficulties with simple living and how you deal with them? Perhaps you would like to share some of the... read more

Does Voluntary Simplicity Prescribe Universal Rules by which to Live?

Any discussion of the practice of simplicity ought to begin by acknowledging that there is not one way to live simply. There is no Doctrine or Code of Simplicity to follow, as such; there is no Method or Equation of Simplicity into which we can plug the facts of our lives and be told how to live. That is precisely what the idea cannot do. Voluntary simplicity, it could be said, is more about questions than... read more

Is the Voluntary Simplicity Movement just about Increased Leisure for a Privileged Few?

The Simplicity Movement is sometimes described, occasionally even by its advocates, as a leisure expansion movement. The criticism sometimes implicit in this description is that voluntary simplicity is a self-centred, narrowly hedonistic philosophy of life available only to a privileged few. While voluntary simplicity by its very nature is indeed ‘an ethic professed and practiced primarily by those free... read more

Is Living Simply Primitive? Regressive? Anti-technology?

Voluntary simplicity, furthermore, does not mean indiscriminately renouncing all the advantages of science and technology. It does not mean living in a cave, giving up all the benefits of electricity, or rejecting modern medicine. But it does question the assumption that science and technology are always the most reliable paths to health, happiness, and sustainability. It is certainly better to accept... read more
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