Voluntary simplicity: Resources

Categories: How To
Published on: May 5, 2017

Transition Brockville / 05 May 2017

Here are resources — websites, books and videos — mentioned by TB Steering Committee member Christine Stesky in her presentation and discussion on voluntary simplicity on Sunday, April 23.

  • The Simplicity Collective

    Voluntary simplicity, or simple living, is a way of life that rejects the high-consumption, materialistic lifestyles of consumer cultures and affirms what is often just called ‘the simple life’ or ‘downshifting.’ The rejection of consumerism arises from the recognition that ordinary Western-style consumption habits are degrading the planet; that lives of high consumption are unethical in a world of great human need; and that the meaning of life does not and cannot consist in the consumption or accumulation of material things.

  • The Simpler Way

    The aim of this website is to provide a practical action plan for those people who wish to live a ‘simpler life’ of reduced and restrained consumption. If you start with the steps outlined on this website and enjoy the process of transition, soon enough a new way of life – the Simpler Way – will emerge. The Simpler Way represents a life with less clutter, less waste, and less fossil fuel use, but also a life with more time for the things that truly inspire and bring happiness.

  • Choosing Voluntary Simplicity

    Peter Lawrence, author of The Happy Minimalist, now writes a blog about his lifestyle. PL: “What motivation is there for humans to adapt when we are shielded by the comforts of modernity? By shirking comforts in minute amounts, we can over time become not dependent on stuff.”

  • Less Is More: An Anthology of Ancient & Modern Voices Raised in Praise of Simplicity, by Goldian VandenBroeck, ed. (1996)

    This timely anthology brings together thought-provoking maxims on the art of conscious living, inspired by the ancient tradition of the Golden Mean and the natural laws of economy and conservation. Less Is More draws us into the company of men and women from many eras and cultures whose writings explore the virtues of simplicity and moderation in living.

  • Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste, by Bea Johnson (2013)

    The author demystifies the process of going Zero Waste, with hundreds of easy tips for sustainable living (e.g., in the kitchen, bath, bedroom, workplace and housekeeping). By first refusing to acquire unnecessary material items (including packaging), then by reducing what they have, re-using, repairing, composting and recycling, her family has simplified their lifestyle, saved money, found more time for each other and community — and send an astonishingly small amount of stuff to the landfill.

  • The Sweetness of a Simple Life: Tips for Healthier, Happier and Kinder Living gleaned from the Wisdom and Science of Nature, by Diana Beresford-Kroeger (2013)

    Merrickville’s Beresford-Kroeger, one of the world’s pre-eminent scientists, mixes wisdom, wonderment and plenty of common sense in a back-to-basics guide for living simply and well.

  • The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo (2014)

    “This international best seller will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm motivated mindset it can inspire.” While not motivated by a desire to save the planet from the excesses of consumption, Kondo does give extremely practical advice on reducing clutter.

  • Walden, or Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau (1854)

    Walden, or, Life in the Woods, is American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau’s personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. It details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amid woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.

  • The Story of Stuff

    This 2007 20-minute cartoon documentary exposed the damaging underside of our production and consumption patterns. This site has also created similar documentaries that expose the harm associated with electronics, bottled water, microfibers and microbeads.

  • The Minimalists

    Two young men, Josh and Ryan, realize their “successful” careers in the corporate world have given them no real happiness. Choosing to live a minimalist life of few possessions but lots of time to focus on the real meaning and joy of life, they write a book about it and then make a documentary of their experience and that of others who have chosen minimalism.

  • A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

    This 2016 documentary seeks to show why genuine progress today means rejecting consumerism, transcending growth economics, and building new forms of life based on permaculture, simple living, renewable energy, and localised economies.