August 31, 2020

Who Are You?

When you are what you wear, 

who are you when you stop buying clothes?

When you are your job and how much money you make, 

who are you when you quit your job, 

or quit working for money entirely?

When you are the car you drive, 

who are you when you quit driving a car?

When you are the party you support, 

who are you when you don't support any party?

When you are the company you keep, 

who are you when you stay home?

When you are the stuff you own, 

who are you when you don't own any stuff?

Who are you?

Who are you?

Who are you?

August 30, 2020

Peak Car

'Empty Highways' - About 61 Million Americans Have Stopped Commuting In Post-Covid World 

I read the above headline on Zero Hedge, which reminded me of Peak Car, or the beginning of the end of our short relationship with personal automobiles.
This was the reaction to the headline from  over at The Automatic Earth:

"I’m trying! I am! 
I’m trying to feel stupid for thinking that it’s great we finally found a way to make people NOT drive a car an hour+ every day that is 20x their weight and uses less than 10% of the energy effectively that moves it forward. 
I’m trying to feel stupid because, I know, the economy!"

61 million people giving up the car commute is a lot less wasted time and energy for a lot of people. Also cleaner air, less noise, and fewer people maimed and killed in accidents.

Do we each need our own cars, or does the economy need each of us to need our own cars? 

Many of the cars taken off the road since the beginning of 2020 will not go back, but the decline started well before the car-ona virus.

Car ownership in the US has plateaued for about a decade, and declines in private auto use have been seen in many countries such as Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan and the UK.

But won't China save the big automakers? 


Car sales in China, the world's biggest car market (formerly the world's largest bicycle market), fell a whopping 92% in the first half of February this year.

Perhaps we don't need all those millions and millions of inefficient personal mobility devices. They may be "good for the economy", but they are hardly economical. 

Might not our lives, and the world, be better without them?

Besides, where is there to go when the world is tapped out?

August 28, 2020

Making The Break With Vehicle Ownership


Today we sold our wheelchair accessible van to an auto recycler. They gave us a bit of money for it, plus removed from our property. After it was gone a feeling of elation washed over us.

It is another step we are taking toward realizing a low-energy/low consumption way of life that we have been working toward for decades. Letting it go also removed a complication in our lives that we didn't need or want.

Our van had fulfilled its initial purpose - to get us and a few boxes of our stuff from Victoria, British Columbia to Digby, Nova Scotia 6 years ago. 

Now that we are settled in a rural location we love, we can be done with our cross country conveyance.


Back in the day, we both brought a car to our relationship. One of the first things we did as an eco-conscious couple was sell both cars in order to enjoy some freedom from the tyranny of car ownership. 

We gave it a good shot, but it didn't take. 

After enjoying being leather tramps for a few months, someone couldn't help themselves and gave us a vehicle. 

"You don't have a vehicle, we have an extra one - take it! Go ahead - take it! Here are the keys - go, go, go."

We were weak and fell off the wagon. We took the gift wagon, and were hooked again. For a long time. 


Such is the life of car-aholics. In North America just over 90% of us are afflicted, so we are in good company. No one shamed us for going back to mainlining the transportation drug. 

In fact, they welcomed us back, handed us a dirty steering wheel, and bought us some go fast juice (gasoline).

In our car-centric world there are always strong triggers and enablers pulling/pushing/dragging us into private vehicle ownership and its promise of hypermobility. 

But we never gave up on our project, looking forward to the day we would not have to deal with such a large, needy, high maintenance asset. 

Today, that day arrived, and although our family vehicle is now a bicycle, and Linda is in a wheelchair, we feel more free than ever.

August 25, 2020

American Idle

Since the beginning, this blog has been promoting the idea that doing less, not more, is the way to lasting happiness. 

My personal motto is: "Do less with less, and do it less often."

That has set me at odds with mainstream notions of a work ethic, but I couldn't be bothered to care any more.

But is doing less lazy? It could be self-preservation. Or just enjoying life.

When workaholism is the expectation, slowing down (or-gasp!-stopping) reflects a dangerous lack of ambition and initiative. Who thought that shit up?

I don't think it was a worker that invented the work till you drop ethic. It sounds like something a boss would come up with.

Although people in fast nations have forgotten it, not all humans have accepted accelerated lifestyles high on speed and stuff, but low on quality of life. 

Some cultures see no shame in cultivating the art of doing nothing, and have done so since time immemorial without being guilted into exchanging that for "productive activity". 

Whatever that means. Sounds like the bosses again.

Now, perhaps those of us in North America may be finally learning something about the benefits of being idle. Just because we are in a lockdown does not mean we can't gain something from it.

Let that be at least one take away - during this pandemic I hope people discover the childlike heavenly simplicity of doing nothing. On purpose, and repeatedly.

This is an excellent opportunity to Begin Building Better. Sorry, I got a little slogany there. 

But I persist. How about starting a whole new life? One can do that when one finds one's self at the bottom, which is a good place to start a new foundation.

Allowing ourselves idle time will lead to slower, more intentional ways of living, ones which have nothing to do with infinite speediness, and the endless pursuit of wealth, power, and fame. 

Quite the opposite. We can leave that behind us.

This is about being in that glorious moment of non-productive bliss. This is about taking back power and control over your own person. 

For, as Tom Hodgkinson says in his book How To Be Idle, "Idleness is not a giving up on life, but a spirited grabbing hold of it."

So grab hold of a bit of American idle today. 

You might like it.

August 24, 2020

Civilization vs Wilderness

"What is the opposite of civilization?" I ask myself.

Checks dictionary for antonyms. 

"Barbarianism, barbarism, decline, decrease, destruction, ignorance, primitiveness, retreat, and retrogression." 


Those aren't opposites. Most of them describe the current state of our much vaunted civilization. 

Is war civilized? Ecocide? Hate? After hundreds of thousands of years, how has the last 10,000 years of trading equality and freedom for hierarchical societies turned out for us? 

In a blink of an eye, we went from the wilderness and Earth-friendly spartan lifestyles, all the way to the big city, pushing a consumer lifestyle in a bulging shopping cart through the mall parking lot while looking for the car. 

No wonder we are so disoriented.

My dictionary search was not entirely unfruitful. There was one more antonym that actually is the opposite of civilization.

And that word is, "wilderness". It is one I can get behind. 

Whenever I tire of civilization (it doesn't take long), I retreat to its opposite, the wilderness. It is the balm that soothes the soul.

I don't want to be domesticated. Domestication could turn out to be as deadly for us as it has for other domesticated creatures.

Since we will not be going back to the wilderness as hunter gatherers any time soon, we need to envision a whole new form of civilization. 

Or some other new way of living that we have not yet considered.

Because what we have now, essentially 10,000 years of repeating the same flawed model, isn't working.

"I wonder what that might look like?" I ask myself.

August 14, 2020

Pandemic Pantry Progress

Our pantry order arrived! Not a bit of plastic.
Everything is packaged in heavy paper sacks.

We have been working on our pantry since we moved to Nova Scotia in 2014, but didn't really maximize on the space, having never had a real pantry before. We needed to get motivated.

The pandemic provided us with a good kick in the butt, and this year we finally got down to business. 

When we were researching our new home area, we discovered an agri-business in the Maritimes that specializes in locally grown organic staple foods. We also found a food buying group in our community.

But we had not yet connected the two.

Enter The Virus and we had that extra bit of motivation we needed. 

We tried to order directly from the wholesaler, but were told because of the pandemic they were very busy and had to enforce a minimum order of several hundred dollars or 600 pounds of delivered weight. 

We couldn't do that. We are building a pantry, not a bunker.

Therefore, we contacted the local food buying group, and found that they deal with the supplier! We could order whatever we wanted, in any quantity.

They took our order by email, we paid by e-transfer, and when it came in a couple of weeks later, it was delivered right to our front door free of charge.

As much as possible, the products are from local organic farms. All their flour is stone ground, a process which retains more fibre and nutrients than steel roller milling which causes the loss of anywhere from 20 - 30% of the good stuff.

This is what was in our order. All of it is organic.

- 2.27 kg sesame seeds
- 2.27 kg soybeans
- 2 X 2.27 kg cornmeal
- 2.27 kg sunflower seeds
- 20 kg oatmeal
- 10 kg whole wheat flour

I have never seen a 20 kilogram bag of rolled oats before. What a beautiful thing, if you love oats, and we do. We were buying non-organic large oats (for the same price) in 1 kg plastic bags from the store previously. 

That's 20 plastic bags we will not be using!

Over the next few weeks we will be augmenting our progressing pantry with food from the garden. We have already made strawberry jam, and we are looking forward to drying herbs, making pesto, canning pickled beets and cucumbers, as well as tomatoes and/or salsa.

We are also freezing things like bush and pole beans, peas, and kale.

We have also increased some amounts of pantry items. For many things, we try to always keep 2 in stock. Now we are keeping 3 of certain items, like peanut butter. The less we have to shop, the better, and this allows us to take advantage of sales when they come up.

Our food storage has never been this prepared before, and the timing couldn't be better. It all fits with giving up our vehicle, the pandemic, and an impending Greatest Depression. 

And who knows what else?

August 13, 2020

Simple Math

Junk Food Subtraction - like many other things, the less the better.

A consumer life is a life of addition, always adding more and more and more to our lives. Sooner or later, we have no space left for living.

A simple life, on the other hand, is a life of subtraction. It is a lifelong process of subtracting those things that get in the way of living an authentic life. And there are an infinite number of those things that can get in the way.

The subtractive mindset whittles away at the infinity of distractions, and creates space to fulfill our personal potential as human beings. It allows us to expand into a wondrous and beautiful Universe, merging with the joy of Creation.

And how do you get there? Keep subtracting. 

I am working my way down to owning only two pairs of underwear, for example. Do I really need to own 20 pairs? Do they make my life better? I don't see how.

However, the most important item to subtract along the path to the simple and beautiful life is not underwear. It is that blindfold of consumerism that hides all that is real and true and precious in this world. 

Under an eyes open fair and sensible system, we could be living in a paradise right here on Earth. Now. All of us. We already have every single thing we need

Everything, that is, except the cooperation of those that want to keep us blind. They desperately want our eyes closed to the lies and corruption that keep humanity from the better world we all deserve.

Doing some take away, and removing the blinders is the first step toward freedom and change, both personal, and cultural. 

When we are able to see our life in a totally new way, one without the constraints and boundaries of conventional thinking, we can see the lies, illusions, and wishful thinking that have been hiding in plain sight all along.

A simple life remains a challenge. Just living is a full time job. Why add a bunch of extra complications that only make us unhappy in the end?

It is simple math. Perpetually adding to the misery with more, more, more is not the way to go.

Any time is a great time to subtract, subtract, subtract.

August 10, 2020

Get Back To Work, And Keep Consuming!

If you thought that pushing a phony work ethic and consumerism down the throats of the people was bad before the Big Stay At Home, just wait. You ain't seen nuthin yet.

With big business and the billionaires throwing a collective fit about the drop in consumption since the beginning of the year, we are about to witness a Back To Work/Back To Shopping campaign the likes of which we have never seen before.

People who don't get with the program and return to the salt mines will be slagged as lazy incompetents that only want to live by stealing money that rightfully belongs to the .001%. 

Don't be silly - the privilege of a life of leisure is for the idle rich only - everyone else MUST work. Harder than before, and with less compensation.

But simply turning our bodies back over to the captains of capitalism will not be enough. We will also be browbeaten into using the jangly coins in our pockets to resume "normal" levels of consumption. 

Even better, for them, if we increase our consumption. Get ready for the campaign to get you to buy more crap you don't need with money you don't have. 

Those that still have a shred of dignity left, and refuse to return to servitude, and those that have looked down the road and decided to quit consuming like there is no tomorrow, will be labelled as "useless eaters" and abandoned to fend for themselves on the fringes. 

The billionaire class has no use for non-participants, for if we don't work for them and buy their environment-destroying crap, how will we make one of them the first trillionaire? 

And isn't that what life is all about?

The billionaires need you to keep slaving and buying, so get ready to be lured back into their plan for you, your children, and your grandchildren, all of whom the psychopaths think they own.

Are you down with their plan, or will we take this moment to throw them and their sick system to the curb, and begin the hard work of building a better world for all?

The decision is ours to make.

August 4, 2020

Garden Kale vs Imported Oranges

Kale - good in smoothies, great on pizza.

Now that Linda and I are ordering groceries online we have more information available to us about the products we buy. We are information junkies, so have been enjoying the additional data at our fingertips.

When researching where the local grocery store sourced their oranges, this is what we found:


Due to the nature of this product, the country of origin can vary in order to maintain availability. 

Your product will be sourced from one of the following countries: 

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cyprus, Spain, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam or South Africa.

What? That is quite the list, which happens to include a few countries that we are not buying anything from. And the rest are really far away. Do we need oranges that bad?

We decided that we did not want to give our money to oppressive regimes, or to a wasteful, ecocidal system that throws out all common sense and efficiency in favour of profit. 

So, no oranges from far away or corrupted lands. 

It is not that big of a deal for us, because the kale we are growing just outside our door has more vitamin C than oranges, plus a whole bunch of other very good stuff. Just look at this writeup from a health promotion website:

In addition to twice your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K, a one-cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C. The nutrition powerhouse also delivers a sizeable dose of minerals and fatty acids.

And our kale is free and organic. 

Plus, no shipping required. No lending our support to nasty regimes. No middlemen siphoning off profits and adding nothing. No participating in an insanely wasteful global trade situation.


Kale wins!