We are at the threshold of a defining point in our culture and society. Never before have so many had more than they need. We are consuming at a greater rate than at any other time in history. But with this privilege comes responsibility. And although we can’t always control governments or politicians, industry or big business, we can take responsibility fo the choices we make within our own lives.
The biggest problems the world faces are of our own making, and we have the power to create significant change. This can begin today, right now, And there is no easier place to start than at home. There are three important steps to make this possible.
The first, and simplest way, is to consume less – it is perhaps the most important tool at our disposal.
Secondly, we can also consider the idea of ‘localisation’, a concept developed by economist Helena Norberg-Hodge, who argues that living locally is one of the most effective countermeasures to globalisation. Our homes are ideally placed to support and promote these ideas, with everything from the materials we source in construction to how we fit out and furnish them. The choices we make don’t have to be at the expense of creating a space that feels warm and welcoming, though. Instead, they can actually make us feel better about how and where we live.
Thirdly, when we choose to connect more with nature, it becomes a bigger priority in our lives.
But to take these steps we need to become aware of why we have become such voracious conscumers. And just of stuff. Our lives are full to bursting. We spend our days in perpetual motion, chasing lists, deadlines and dreams, and our own expectations.
Living mindfully is a central tenet of the slow philosophy, which encourages SLOW – Sustainable, Local, Organic, Whole – choices. Yet it is more than thirty years since Carlo Petrini protested against a fast-food chain opening in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, an action that sparked the creation of the slow movement. So, are we eating simpler, working less, sleeping longer, being more community-minded?
How can we make positive changes in our lives? We can start by asking the right questions – which can help us consider what drives our decisions. When we have a clear understanding of our why, it is much easier to make meaningful change and stay the course. When we simplify from the inside out – rather than attempting quick-fix solutions from the outside in – the changes we embrace become systemic rather than just surface-based. And by communicating about the steps we take, even if we just talk to one person, we can help spread the word and start to change the world.
Like the sound of this? Still, The Slow Home by Natalie Walton is out May 1st, and you can pre-order a copy here.