I had meant to write this blog post a couple days ago but three flat tires and work took priority. Life has a way for throwing twists and turns into your path in even while doing the simplest things.
In my last “for the love of stuff” post I talked about how I was going to get rid of my extra stuff. I even made a pledge to get rid of 66% or two thirds of my stuff. I realized that I did not really go into why I wanted to do this. I am not crazy really I'm not!
A while back I learned a little bit about the ideas of voluntary simplicity and the transition movement. Both ideas have their differences but essentially they gravitate around the idea that we can live a life style that may have a lower traditional standard of living (in terms of gdp per capita) but will be higher in quality of life. This goes against our traditional ways of looking at the world but here goes.
Essentially the argument goes like this: Say you work hard get a big bonus and buy a really big and awesome flat screen tv. You take it home set it all up and get ready to watch your favorite movie in ways you never imagined... But then you see an advertisement for a brand new 3D TV! Now your brand new TV seems outdated and not that great and you just got it! So you work hard (again) and get another bonus, buy a new TV and presto the cycle repeats... over and over again. Essentially its the carrot on a stick problem. Just so you know there will always be a bigger, better TV around the corner.
So what if you stopped the cycle? Well for one that bonus could be used for something that won't degrade with time. Say that cooking class you have always been wanting to take. Or you could do the really radical thing and simply take some extra time off work and forgo the bonus!
The idea here is not to never buy anything but to break the never ending consumer cycle of buying the newest greatest product over and over and over... and over again.
This cycle of never ending consumerism is part of what has lead us to our consumer debt crisis and I feel has lead us to feeling disconnected with the rest of the world. Not to count all the environmental impacts it has also created and will create in the future (See BP Oil Spill).
For myself I am doing this to save money, to lower my carbon/ecological footprint and to make moving easier! I really hate having to pack and move a lot of stuff so that is a big motivator for me.
Another reason is that just like being a vegetarian breaking the consumerism cycle is a way for me to reduce my carbon/ecological footprint no mater if I am living in a house or an apartment. Renting an apartment really limits what options you can take to reduce your footprint. Its hard to live off the grid when your renting.
Take a look at the websites linked up top and make sure to follow Michaela and I as we go through this transition. I will be posting pictures of the room over time as I get rid of all my stuff to track the changes. Lets see how it goes!