Simplicity: living within the Earth’s means

Live simply so that others may simply live – Ghandi

Recently I have read two excellent books by Australian authors – one fiction and one non-fiction- that have explored what is means to live within the means of our planet. Both made a case for the need for simple living to be at the heart of discussions on sustainability.

from Story of Stuff project

Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation is set in the future on an island in the South Pacific which has been cut off from the rest of the world after the collapse of industrial civilisation. Instead of the dystopian novels that are all the rage at the moment, Dr Samuel Alexander uses this premise to provide an example of a flourishing society based on the principle of simple living. This detailed and well written novel does a good job of providing alternative models for how to approach structural issues including governance, welfare, education, food, biodiversity, and population. While it is not the definitive manifesto for a sustainable world, it provides a hopeful vision of a happier world that values our connections with each other and the rest of the planet over the misery and toil that endless consumption imposes on the planet.

While in Changing Gears: a pedal-powered detour from the rat race, Greg Foyster takes us on a very honest, thought-provoking and entertaining journey to find out what sustainable living means.  Quitting his job in advertising, Greg and his girlfriend cycle from Melboune to Far North Queensland to meet and see first hand what downshifters and sustainability experts such as David Holgrem, Samuel Alexander and Ted Trainer are doing and in the process discover the value and importance of living more simply.

It’s not about saving the planet by depriving ourselves. It’s about switching our focus to things other than shopping – Ted Trainer



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