Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the 11 men and women profiled in A Different Kind of Luxury have all made the transition to sustainable, fulfilling lives. Based on Andy Couturier's popular articles in The Japan Times, this lushly designed volume has a wealth of stories about real people who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with the natural world, and contributing to their communities. In their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters. Read an excerpt of the book here or here. Read a review of the book here, here, or here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Requiring billions to change their lifestyle"? Hardly

I posted an article today on "All Voices" a political blog.  Part of it read: 

What does it mean to be truly and deeply humble about our presence here on the earth? It doesn't boil down to a simplification like "conservation." It does start with a radical reduction in consumption. Consumption is what we do with the ignition key, the thermostat, the appliance, the one-click purchase, the light switch, and the part of our paychecks that disappears into something disposable. Whatever it is we do that consumes something (or somebody) else. That somebody may be a human, or an animal, or a species, or an ecosystem, or a tree. Do we really need a limitless amount of free electricity lighting up every part of the planet?

Humility is a training of the soul, to achieve within your day to day life the rich abundance implied by less and to achieve this despite the distractions and attractions, perhaps even against the distractions, is a victory of your spirit against the setup of the world as it is.

And one man, Nathan, commented: 

You are correct that Fukushima should not be considered a natural disaster but a human-made catastrophe. Solving this problem and making sure it never happens again will not be accomplished by requiring billions of people to change their lifestyles. The continued existence of nuclear power plans is evidence of a breakdown in the ability of people to govern themselves. That is the challenge that must be addressed first.
To which I replied:

Thanks for the comment Nathan. I did not by the way however say that we should "require" billions of people to change their lifestyle.  But if it's really a "style" isn't it changeable like the way bell bottom pants are no longer in style?  Rather however, I think it's a *value* where we decide, consciously to use less.  The good news is that the less I consume, the happier I become.  That's the message of the people I wrote about in A Different Kind of Luxury, and they've been living truly sustainable lives for 30+ years.  I would add that, lastly, wresting control of the government of Japan from the technocrats and anti-democrats in Japan may prove more difficult than turning off lights.

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