Going Simpler for a Smaller Footprint
parentcoaching.org Kassandra Brown
April 2, 2012 my family and
I radically simplified our lives and moved from
to an ecovillage in Boulder, Colorado . My husband and I are
very disturbed by the consumer culture ideology we see as marketing
manufactured desire being gratified by more shopping, using, buying, and
throwing away. We simplified our life in Rutledge,
and then decided to make an even bigger change. Not everyone is ready to shift
their entire household. Boulder
Here are a few suggestions for how you can simplify your life and how to see your choices within a wider cultural context.
1. Use reusable bags: Bring your own reusable bags not just to the grocery store but also to the big box stores and little shops. We belong to a culture that shops a lot. Bring your own bag. It may help to store them in your car so you don’t forget them.
2. Bike: Instead of taking your car, ride your bike. This cuts down on your carbon dioxide emissions, allows you to get exercise, and has the possibility of being a family outing. There are loads of neat bike seats, tag-a-longs, and bike trailers to allow your small children to bike with you. If you don’t live in a place with bike lanes or bike paths, consider organizing to get city/county funding for such projects.
is a great city to model bike
friendly planning. Boulder,
3. Grow a garden: Even if you’ve never planted anything before. Even if you don’t know how. Grow some of your own food. You’ll be amazed by how good it tastes and how it feels to be more connected to the earth and your food. When all of your food comes from the store, neatly packaged in plastic it’s hard to understand the link between food and the earth. Grow some of your own and watch your relationship to the earth change. Bonus – get a couple of chickens. Many municipalities allow chickens within city limits and there is precedent to convince your city. Chickens offer fresh eggs, pest control, fertilizer, and an easy place for most of your kitchen scraps.
4. Compost: It can be as easy as starting a pile in your backyard or a wormbin on your counter. While composting can be a science, it can also just be piling food scraps, adding dry leaves or straw, and leaving it alone to decompose. You’ll be diverting a large volume of trash from the landfill and turning it into an asset for your garden. Bonus – help organize a city-wide composting program.
5. Examine your choices: How do your individual choices affect the environment and the earth? How are your choices influenced by the news, advertising, and other media? What needs are you trying to get met by buying more stuff? Just getting curious can be a big start!