December 19, 2014

Where Do NBA Visitors Live?

In the comments on a recent post, Terri and I had a brief discussion about where NBA visitors live. It is something I think about a lot - where do the almost 300,000 visits to NBA come from?

Since 2008 when this blog was started in the throes of the Great Recession, we have had visits from 204 regions of the planet. You can define "country" in a variety of ways, but official lists vary between 195 and 249.

I figure 204 regions constitutes a UN of simple living advocates. We love to hear from readers everywhere. The sharing of experiences in simplicity helps promote an idea whose time has come. Again.

From consumer nations where simple living is still considered an oddity, to places where simplicity has always been the way, your comments are a valuable archive of wisdom and practice from which we can all learn.

And now, the top 10 countries with highest numbers of visits to NBA are:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Netherlands
  6. India
  7. Philippines
  8. Germany
  9. France
  10. Brazil

While visits from 204 countries is impressive, Linda and I really appreciate readers taking the time to leave comments. These comments are very inspiring and we appreciate the lessons we learn from them. 

Keep 'em coming, and we will continue to respond to them as often as we can. 

Thanks for visiting the NBA blog.

December 18, 2014

The Corporate/Consumer Gift

The corporate/consumer gift keeps on taking.

The corporate/consumer gift is a glittering package that we have laid at the altar of greed. It is a gift that keeps on taking... and taking and taking. And taking.

A recent Oxfam study has shown that the number of billionaires has doubled since this blog began in 2008. The study also found that the planet's richest 85 individuals have as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the population.

If anyone is wondering how much of the Earth's resources corporations wish to access and consume, I have the answer. They want to take it all.

All the planet's primal forests, all the clean water, all the pristine wilderness, all the sweet smelling air, all the fish in the oceans. Everything. Until it is all gone.

Then what?

The corporate/consumer gift that we have created, and perpetuated to near-planetary collapse, is a stylish brick on the accelerator of society, speeding us along to the point of no return. Riding shotgun are pro-corporate, jobs-at-all-costs governments that smooth the way toward the brink by cancelling current environmental laws and preventing new ones from being introduced.

All so the corporate/consumer gift can keep on taking. Most of the stuff we buy is the same - it takes more than it gives.

In order to tame the beast we have created, and take the brick off the gas pedal, we can think about whether we wish to burden ourselves and our loved ones with additional fetters before buying superfluous stuff. Especially around this time of year.

Happy holidays - two more days and the light begins to return.

December 15, 2014

Solving The Problem Of Consumerism Through Non-Participation

Are you a cog in the consumer machine, or are you a wrench thrown into its gears? Do you support its workings, or have you pulled the rug out from under its bulk?

The time has come to decide how we will react in response to overwhelming evidence that the consumerism beast is a tyrant disguised as a horn of plenty. Sure, it gives, but at a great price.

Consumerism kills freedom. It kills creativity. It kills life. Why would anyone support these outcomes?

The good news is that fighting back may be easier than you think. You don't have to become an activist getting arrested on the front lines (not that there is anything wrong with that), or live in a cave. You don't have to take up arms.

You just have to stop supporting the beast, stop serving it, stop feeding it with your time and money. This non-participation can be done through the time-honoured traditions of simple living.

Living simply is a withdrawal of support for global consumerism. It is a non-violent response to a violent way of life.

500 years ago, before the French Revolution, a gifted young man named Étienne de la Boétie, was writing about such things in his essay Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Although he was writing about States and dictators, his ideas can be applied to other elite-driven, top-down systems as well.

Basically he said that things can change fast if the people's consent is withdrawn. Without the participation of the people dictators can fall, governments can fall, and other ways of doing things can fall too.

Reading this amazing essay I replaced "tyrant" or "the State" with "consumerism" and it still makes sense.

Consumerism then, has "nothing more than the power that you confer upon it to destroy you. Where has it acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can it have so many arms to beat you with, if it does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does it get them if they are not your own? How does it have any power over you except through you? How would it dare assail you if it had no cooperation from you?"

The solution?
"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.” - Étienne de la Boétie
As simple living catches on with the masses, the tyrant of consumerism and all the death it deals out, will fall under its own weight and shatter for good.

It is up to us - we have the power. We can change everything by not participating in the problem.

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