|Yes... You! And me, and them. All of us.|
Many people would like to see a better world, but not many are willing to consider simpler lifestyle alternatives in order to attain it. Some even say that individual efforts can never amount to anything, so why bother?
Others say there are no alternatives to a Buy Everything economy, and all the unintended consequences are just the cost of doing business. Many of us, including author John Michael Greer, know differently.
"There was always an alternative—deliberately downshifting out of the embarrassing extravagance that counts for normal lifestyles in the industrial world these days, accepting more restricted ways of living in order to leave a better world for our descendants—but not enough people were willing to accept that alternative to make a difference while there was still a chance." - JMG
Voluntary simplicity, downshifting, deindustrialization, simple living, right livelihood, intentional living, anti-consumerism, aestheticism, are all examples of the alternatives that encompass more restricted ways of living that would help heal our ailing planet.
None of them are new ideas.
Epicurus pointed out over 2000 years ago that the troubles entailed by maintaining extravagant lifestyles tend to outweigh the pleasure of partaking in them. He concluded that what is necessary for happiness, bodily comfort, and life itself should be maintained at minimal cost, while all things beyond what is necessary for these should either be tempered by moderation or completely avoided.
Many in the human family have always lived in such ways, and continue to do so today. It is those of us in "developed" nations that need to take on simpler lifestyles, and the sooner the better. We have to decide what to temper with moderation, and what to avoid completely.
Yes, you, me, them. Us. All of us.
For those of you that have already adopted a simpler lifestyle - congratulations. You have officially avoided the rush.