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Live Simply So Others May Simply Live
By Terri Wentworth-Davis   View more articles by this author
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December 15

All around us the world seems to be descending into chaos. Global warming and increasing extinctions, largely ignored environmental laws, financial disasters, war, terrorism, and the rhetoric of fear, and on and on. What can we do? We can avoid despair and apathy and learn to live a simpler life while supporting important causes.

A few years ago I participated in a simplicity study group at work. We discussed ways in which we can live richer lives with meaning and conviction, which can lead to living sustainably. This concept is nothing new. Socrates said “How many things are there which I do not want.” Again in 1854 the author Henry David Thoreau said it in Walden- “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!”

Our society has become a consumer-driven machine that steals the resources of other nations and even our own to feed our addiction to stuff. Examples of these changes according to 2004 statistics: in the last 50 years, the average home size has gone from 1,100 square feet to 2,300 square feet while our family size has reduced drastically. Personal spending has tripled from $6,800 a year to $24,000 a year (adjusted for inflation). And, we have added a full month to our annual work hours!

What can we do? Learn the facts then make choices based on whether it has a beneficial or negative effect on the Earth and to the people and critters that share this planet with us. Examples of choices include--buy local, organic food, buy recycled and recycle, buy in bulk, buy items such as shampoo without petroleum products, reduce your use of paper products, use cloth grocery bags, eat lower on the food chain, eat organic eggs and meat, drive less, reduce catalogs, start a simplicity group, and support local campaigns working to give us livable cities and intact wildlife habitat.

I know that I alone cannot save the Earth. I also know that my actions will make a difference and my life will be lived fully while supporting a healthy Earth for all. Each of us is intimately connected to the other all across the Earth and to the air, and water, soil and critters. Together we can have a positive impact that will sustain our world. Join me on this journey and-

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu

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