The existence of Thoreau's Walden somehow completely eluded me until I began my post-baccalaureate studies to get certified to teach English. There were some huge literary holes in my high school and under grad classes. When I finally got around to reading Walden, it impressed me greatly.
The well-known passage
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail."
from the wisdom laden "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" chapter has always been in the back of my mind.
If you are familiar with Thoreau at all, then you will know that he went to extreme measures to live a life of voluntary simplicity.
Voluntary Simplicity is a way of life where people choose to live with less so they can have a fuller life. The less is more approach to life.
If you are choosing to cook more meals at home instead of running through the fast food drive through, you are practicing voluntary simplicity.
If you are giving up your expensive morning mocha, half-caf, skinny, blah, blah, blah in exchange for a good old cup of home brewed morning joe, you are practicing voluntary simplicity.
If you are purposely taking your kids to the park to play instead of heading to the video store to rent a movie to watch, you are practicing voluntary simplicity.
If you've taken yourself off of catalog mailing lists so you don't waste as many trees and you know if you don't know the stuff in the catalogs exists you won't want to buy it, you are practicing voluntary simplicity.
The list could go on and on. The benefits to the earth as people live lives of voluntary simplicity are many. I found this list over at the Great River Earth Institute's website:
- Less pollution from transportation, and less traffic congestion, accidents and need for new roads.
- Less environmental impact from resource extraction and manufacturing.
- Less need for new power plants and new water treatment plants as people waste less electricity and water.
- More community cohesiveness, resulting in less crime and more neighborliness, safer streets and better schools.
- More grassroots democracy as people take more interest in how their communities operate.
- More ecological restoration as people find simple pleasure in connecting with their local environment and seek to heal it.
- A flowering of local culture--music, storytelling, drama, games, poetry.
I encourage you to click on the link for the Great River Earth Institute. They have a more in-depth discussion of voluntary simplicity.
Have you begun to practice voluntary simplicity in any ways recently (even if you didn't know that is what you were doing?)