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Currently Browsing: Thoreau

Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class: Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’

Below I have posted my new Simplicity Institute Report, “Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class: Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption.'” The report has also been published with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and the PDF is available here. 1. Introduction How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal... read more

Ten Most Popular Posts of 2011

As the year draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the readers of this website for their support and contributions. Our community is now over 1,000 strong, and I’m very much looking forward to exploring voluntary simplicity, and all it entails, with you in 2012. Now, more than ever before, we need to be reimagining the good life beyond consumer culture. I have plans to relaunch... read more

Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture

 In 2009 I published (on a not-for-profit basis) an anthology of articles on simple living, entitled Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic  Alternative to Consumer Culture. It includes 20 chapters from leading advocates of simple living, including Clive Hamilton, Juliet Schor,  and Henry Thoreau, among many others. I’ve just noticed that Fishpond is having a sale and currently my text is only $16... read more

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

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

Travelling the Simpler Way: In Praise of Camping

This post was written on the invitation of Zero Carbon Moreland. Henry David Thoreau, the pioneering environmentalist and philosopher of the simple life, once wrote an essay called ‘Walking’ in which he informed his contemporaries – in all seriousness – that they didn’t know how to walk properly. In fact, he claimed that he had only met one or two people in his life that knew how to walk. When I... read more

The Walden Experiment

(For the background to this post, click here.) On Independence Day, 1845, a few days before his twenty-eighth birthday, Henry Thoreau left his town of Concord, Massachusetts, and went to live alone in the woods, on the shores of Walden Pond, a mile from any neighbour. He there built himself a modest cabin and for two years and two months earned a simple living by the labor of his own hands. He also wrote,... read more

Thoreau on Materialistic Culture

‘Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives,’ Henry Thoreau began one of his most provocative essays, noting that since time was short he would ‘leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism,’[1] as was his way. ‘What is it to be born free and not to live free?’ he asked his fellow citizens. ‘Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast?’... read more

Technology and the Simple Life

Apparently, ballpoint pens don’t work in space because of the lack of gravity. It is said that NASA, troubled by this realization, spent many millions of dollars designing a ‘space pen’ that could function in the absence of gravity. The Russians used a pencil. Whether or not this story is true, it raises interesting questions about how technology is used in modern society. Are we, like NASA,... read more
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