“Our Life Is Our Message” – Simple Living 2009

‘Our life is our message.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Greetings all,

I am very pleased to report that last weekend at the Sustainable Living Festival hundreds of new members signed up to our Collective, and more are joining everyday. It was truly inspiring to meet so many warm and genuine people, and the conversations I had with so many of you has reaffirmed my belief that a quietly emerging social movement towards ‘simple living’ is firmly underway. Let our Collective take responsibility for leading the way – humbly, passionately, and in the spirit of celebration. Welcome, one and all!

‘Advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life you have imagined.’ – Henry David Thoreau

Thumbnail Sketch of the L.P.S.C. – The Life Poets’ Simplicity Collective is a diverse grass-roots environmental organization dedicated to promoting and celebrating sustainable culture. Our planet needs us to explore alternative ways to live, and one promising way to lessen our impact on nature is to simplify our lives by consuming less and living more. This way of life has come to be known as ‘voluntary simplicity’ (a.k.a. ‘downshifting’ or ‘simple living’) and it is the idea upon which our Collective is based.

‘Voluntary simplicity is a manner of living that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich, a deliberate choice to live with less in the belief that more life will be returned to us in the process.’ – Duane Elgin

Brief Outline of Mission Statement – As I have discussed with many of you, the Life Poets’ Simplicity Collective has two evolving objectives. First, to creatively promote the idea of ‘simple living’ and show that this way of life is both a viable and desirable alternative to consumer culture. And second, to bring together a friendly social network of people, from all walks of life, who are exploring ‘the simple life’ themselves. The idea behind the Life Poets’ Simplicity Collective is that a simple, sustainable life is attainable, but that it requires the use of our imaginations and our creativity. In other words, simplicity calls on us to be the poets of our own lives, and of a new generation. That is the challenge of our age.

‘Those who know they have enough are rich.’ – Lao-Tzu

Voluntary Simplicity: The Poetic Alternative to Consumer Culture (Anthology) – Over the weekend many of you purchased a copy of my anthology on voluntary simplicity which was available on CD. I am extremely grateful for this support and I wish to confirm that every cent received will be used to distribute information on voluntary simplicity to schools, communities, educational organizations, and political departments, etc. (In an aside, I have received two emails saying that the file on the CD would not open so I have attached the e-book file to this email just in case others have had problems. For those who are interested, I have also attached a transcript of the speech I delivered at the Sustainable Living Festival which provides an overview of ‘voluntary simplicity.’)

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

Peaceful Acts of Opposition – To ensure that there remains a practical focus to our Collective, in every monthly newsletter I will be including a few practical tips that I hope will provide some of you with new ways to live more simply and step more lightly on our planet. (I welcome practical suggestions from you all and will do my best to share our collective ideas in each monthly newsletter.) Since so many new members joined last weekend, I have attached my pamphlet, ‘Peaceful Acts of Opposition,’ to this email. This pamphlet is an attempt to reduce the philosophy of voluntary simplicity to a list of 95 broad proposals for personal action. While any such list will be incomplete, to some degree controversial, and everywhere in need of creative interpretation, I hope that it may nevertheless provide imaginative individuals with the raw material needed to begin or continue practicing simplicity and shaping a simple life. I have also attached 95 of my favorite motivational quotes on simplicity in a document entitled “The Manifesto of the Life Poets’ Simplicity Collective.” I hope that some of you will find inspiration in these quotes, as I have and still do. (N.B. The first forty quotes are a bit more ‘philosophical’ and challenging. The rest are more directly related to simplicity.)

‘Simplicity is the peak of civilization.’ – Jessie Sampter

Saving Water – As well as the documents just mentioned, I would also like to take a moment to try to popularize a simple idea that can be used to save vast quantities of water for very little cost and at almost no inconvenience. It is said that our nation has a shortage of water, and there is a sense in which this is perfectly true. But why, then, do we waste millions and millions of litres of clean, drinking water everyday to flush our toilets? Why not use ‘greywater’? If you want to avoid waste – a key idea in simple living – then consider employing (if you do not already) the following simple water saving technique: Acquire two or three buckets for your household, which (if you do not have some lying around) can be obtained for about five dollars each, or less. Place a bucket in the shower as the water heats up and collect the water. Then leave the bucket in the shower as you wash and you will find that by the time you are finished the bucket will be more or less full. You will find also that by carefully pouring half a bucket of this ‘greywater’ straight into the toilet after taking a pee you will adequately flush the toilet and save about seven litres of clean water every time. Think of the hundreds of millions of litres of water that would be saved everyday if everyone in the country applied this most simple method! There would be no need for ten billion dollar desalination plants and there would be no water crisis. It could be said, then, that there is not a shortage of water in our country, but a shortage of imagination. So be a pioneer: shower with a bucket! After all, water is life.

‘The individual who goes it alone can start today.’ – Henry David Thoreau

Would you like to get involved? One of the stated aims of our Collective is to facilitate the emergence of a sustainable culture, but this will require a true collective effort in promoting the simple life as a viable alternative to consumer culture. Many of you will have received one of those nice Life Poets’ Simplicity Collective ‘business cards’ which were handed out at the Sustainable Living Festival. If you would like to drop some of those cards in letterboxes around your neighbourhood, workplace, university, etc. then please contact me. One thousand cards can be purchased for $30, and two thousand cards for $50. Just imagine if each of us did this? This is a small amount in the greater scheme of things and through this action of simply walking around your neighbourhood, etc. you could be personally responsible for quietly bringing the idea of simplicity into the lives of thousands of fellow citizens in your community. So please email me if you are able to help take simplicity to the streets. Enjoying yourself is permitted! (Also, if there is anyone who is in a position to help fund our Collective in any way, then please let me know. Donations are very welcome and would be greatly appreciated.)

‘How we spend our money is how we vote on what exists in the world.’ – Vicki Robin

What can you do today? As noted earlier, one of the main aims of our Collective is to promote ‘the simple life’ of voluntary simplicity and show that it is a viable and desirable alternative to consumer culture. Here is something you could do to help promote simplicity right now: Please consider forwarding this newsletter to others in your own email list (and encourage them to forward it on also). This small act, which may seem insignificant in isolation, could send ripples into the mainstream and go further than we could have ever dreamed. And this newsletter, with attachments, contains a great deal of free introductory information on ‘simple living.’ So please pass on the message of simplicity today and participate in the quiet revolution!

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Let us be pioneers once more,
Samuel Alexander

‘We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.’ – Marie Beyon Ray

2 Responses to ““Our Life Is Our Message” – Simple Living 2009”

  1. silverbeet says:

    Samuel, Would you please post your whole speech from the SLF 2010 on here. I would love to read it again, and would like to point others to it.

  2. samuel says:

    Hi, send me an email at and I’ll send you a copy.


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