Monday, March 15, 2010

Combating Affluenza: The Slow Movement

After all the talk of the causes and effects of Affluenza we finally spend some time on a specific method for combating it.

The method we discussed in class was known as the Slow Movement and has been around for awhile.

Slow Movement:
- Address time poverty
- Lack of connectedness
- Promote connection to place, people, life
- Place (Bio regionalism, local economy, neighbourhoods)
- People (Family, friends, community)
- Life (Food, nature, animals)

As listed in my previous posts titled Stuff, The idea arose from the ideals and lifestyle that defines Western Living such as seeking fulfillment in consumer goods, always want more, conformity required, etc. Before going on to how to combat Affluanze we took a look at redefining wealth. “Consumer culture has an impoverished definition of wealth” Mark Burch. The support for this statement can be found in the fact that society has substituted depth for novelty.

All dimensions are required for wealth:
- Material
- Aesthetic
- Intellectual
- Ecological
- Spiritual
- Health
- Social

The idea Slow Movement is essentially for people to slow down, literally. Stop rushing to and from stores looking for things we don't really need. Don't burden yourself with extra work hours for money to pay for said useless items.

Now we come to the second concept: Voluntary Simplicity.

Voluntary Simplicity is
“A way of life that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich” (Duane Elgin)
- The choice to live more simply
- The choice to live for different values
- The choice to live with greater self-reliance
- The choice to live in deeper connection
- The choice to live with mindfulness
- The choice to live with non-violence
- The choice for a higher quality life

However, it is Not…
- New
- Religion
- Poverty
- Deprivation
- Living cheaply
- Living without beauty
- Inconvenient
- Going backwards

There are various ideals and steps that can be taken to ensure good Voluntary Simplicity and they are to:
- Consume less
- Buy quality, environmentally friendly
- Find meaningful work
- Do what you love
- Live out your values, spend time on relationships, family, community

Also you should avoid High-Impact activities such as motor related activities and sports (ATVs, Sea-Doo's, SUV's), pesticides and fertilizers, Products made from endangered species , etc. A more controversial step is to avoid having children. It is true that a child, especially one who is born into western lifestyles has a large impact on the world, but could teaching the child green and environmentally focused ideas help offset this? I don't really know and this is a topic I would prefer to avoid.

Sources for more info are the books:

- Voluntary Simplicity, Mark A. Burch
- Stepping Lightly, Mark A. Burch

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