Embracing a Simpler Lifestyle
When I think about the simple lifestyle my mother was born into on a small, Midwest farm in the 1920s, I realize just how quickly and relentlessly climate change has emerged to become the biggest threat facing humanity today. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, the family farmhouse’s 12 tenants didn’t waste water on daily showers or burden the electrical grid. Their fruit and vegetable crops, along with eggs from the barnyard chickens and milk from cows in the fields, supplied most of their food. A weekly shopping trip to town in the family car provided them with other essentials. Weekend flights across the country or Amazon delivery trucks were unimaginable then.
Today, we have trendy words like eco-living or minimalism to describe what was the norm for previous generations. This month’s feature on page 28, “Less Stuff, More Joy: Ways to Live Simpler and Lighter on Mother Earth,” wouldn’t have been relatable a generation ago, but now the proliferation of environmental disasters and mass displacement of people serves as an urgent wake-up call to live more sustainably and kindly on our precious planet.
No one really wants to give up modern conveniences, but our feature story showcases achievable ways to live simpler, sustainable and more conscious lives by decluttering our homes, moving and downsizing, eliminating household plastics, buying local produce and reducing energy consumption. Our “Living Lighter Checklist” on page 31 makes it easier to up your game with minimalist, ecological and conscious-living approaches and tasks. After reading this month’s Eco-Tip on page 46, I joined our local Buy Nothing Group on Facebook. I look forward to using this free platform to give, borrow or lend items or services to neighbors. Check it out!
This month’s Healthy Planet issue offers other valuable, Earth-friendly advice and information. On page 44, you’ll discover ways to effectively talk to anxious kids about climate change. Hearing the truth from the people they love in a calm and reassuring way can help them develop the resilience and hope needed to become part of the solutions.
In “Water Scarcity Woes,” Jeremiah Castelo, founder of World Water Reserve, talks about severe water stress around the globe, estimating that half of the Earth's population will be unable to access the water they need by 2025, and that one-third of the world’s largest aquifers are running low on water. You’ll find solutions to these challenges on page 21.
Sometimes it feels like today’s most critical issues are too big for us to make a difference individually. But we can all do things that collectively add up, and you might just discover that it’s not about what you are giving up, but what you are gaining. In their top-rated blog TheMinimalists.com, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus tell their 20 million followers, “Getting started is as simple as asking yourself one question: ‘How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?’” Perhaps you’ll design a life with greater time, money and freedom to live a more meaningful life!