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Tunes for Transition

Something a little different today – free music! After a silent hiatus of several years without composing a note – justifying my musical alias “Samuel de Silentio” – over the last few weekends I’ve written and recorded (at home) a short album and posted it online for free download. Most of the songs are ‘simplicity’ related, so I thought some of you might be interested in a listen. Music 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

How to Win the Wilberforce Award: The Problem is Overconsumption not Overpopulation

There are now many credible scientific studies establishing that the global economy is exceeding, by some way, the regenerative and absorptive capacities of Earth’s ecosystems. One way to understand this defining problem of our age, and perhaps move towards its resolution, is to look at the problem of overpopulation. The planet is in such a dire situation, it can be argued, because there are just too... read more

Property beyond Growth: Toward a Politics of Voluntary Simplicity

Over the last four years I’ve been working on my doctoral thesis, which I submitted for examination in January this year and which has recently been passed. The thesis, entitled ‘Property beyond Growth: Toward a Politics of Voluntary Simplicity,’ explores the notion of a private property / market system ‘beyond growth’ and argues that any such system will depend for its realization upon the... read more

We are not Machines: The Parable of Sufficiency

Let me define a machine very broadly as something incapable of thought that reacts predictably to a given stimulus. Take a vending machine, for example. Someone puts money in, pushes certain buttons, and without thinking about it, the machine distributes the goods selected. Now imagine another type of machine – a robot. Suppose every time this robot has an opportunity to acquire money it does so and then... read more

An Introduction to Peak Oil: Some Online Resources

For some time I have been interested in the notion of peak oil, but recently I have had the opportunity to research quite extensively on the subject. I am currently working on an essay about peak oil and its implications for high consumption lifestyles, but presently I would just like to share some of the best online resources (articles, videos, and websites) that I have discovered in my research. Before... read more

Less can be More

Greetings all, several people have asked me to write a short ‘press release’ summarising the key findings of the recent Simplicity Institute Report. The aim is to make it easy for those people who wish to post a link to the study on their websites, etc. I hope the following statement is of some use. Please feel free to amend it as you see fit. LESS CAN BE MORE, SIMPLICITY INSTITUTE REPORTS We... 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

Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth (Film)

Growthbusters: Hooked on Growth is a film by the visionary filmmaker Dave Gardner that is currently in production. The film is questioning the growth imperative that lies at the heart of modern economic systems – the film’s trailer can be viewed here. The Growthbusters team is currently on a fundraising campaign to pay for the final phase of production, and their current project is a soundtrack album... read more

Three Simple Messages

———– (1) The Great ‘Simple Living’ Survey is still open and looking for more participants. If you are exploring ‘a simpler life’ in one way or another, the Simplicity Institute (a non-profit research organisation) would love to hear from you. If you haven’t participated yet but would like to (it only takes 4 mins) please click... 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

Money, Stuff, and the Deathbed Experiment

If you’d excuse the rather confronting title, I’d like to invite you to undertake what I call the ‘Deathbed Experiment.’ It’s simple and goes like this: Imagine you are on your deathbed and someone asks you: “What attitudes defined your life?” What would you want to be able to say? This thought experiment never fails to move me in some way, and I always feel that it moves me in the right... read more

The Great ‘Simple Living’ Survey

If you live a ‘simple’ lifestyle in one way or another, the Simplicity Institute needs your help! The Simplicity Institute is an organization dedicated to research and policy analysis around the topic of simple living, downshifting, and similar lifestyles. This research is profoundly important as it touches the core of global problems such as climate change, over-consumption, work-life balance... read more

Alternative Hedonism and the Pleasures of Simplicity

Hedonism can be defined as a way of life which treats pleasure as the ultimate good. It can be distinguished from utilitarianism, which treats happiness as the ultimate good. Hedonists are not so much concerned with happiness, in the sense of overall wellbeing. They are more interested in the carnal, sensual, and immediate pleasures of food, intoxication, sex, leisure, nature, art, and the like. By... read more
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