The Simplicity Institute is an education and research centre seeking to:
– seed a revolution in consciousness that highlights the urgent need to move beyond growth-orientated, consumerist forms of life
– envision and defend a ‘simpler way’ of life at a time when the old myths of progress, techno-optimism, and affluence are failing us
– transform the overlapping crises of civilisation into opportunities for ‘prosperous descent’
Some of the defining perspectives that inform our work are:
1. ‘Green growth’ is a dangerous myth that merely entrenches the status quo. Technological progress and efficiency gains in production (valuable though they can be) will never ‘decouple’ economic growth from ecological impact sufficiently to produce a sustainable way of life.
2. It follows that ‘degrowth’ (i.e. planned economic contraction) is necessary in the overdeveloped nations in order to move toward a just and sustainable economy that operates within safe biophysical limits.
3. A degrowth economy implies radically reducing energy and resource requirements compared to overdeveloped nations. Among other things, this means giving up affluent, consumer lifestyles and embracing ‘simpler ways’ of living that provide for mostly local needs using mostly local resources.
4. But it is not enough to live more simply within existing structures and systems. The challenge is to begin building new systems and structures that support and encourage ‘simpler ways’ of life. We cannot wait for governments to do this for us. We must organise and network at the grassroots level and begin to build the new world within the shell of the old.
5. A swift transition to renewable energy is necessary to respond to climate change and peak oil but renewable energy will be unable to sustain a growth-orientated, consumerist society. A society based on renewable energy is a moderate energy society.
6. Material sufficiency in a free society provides the conditions for an infinite variety of meaningful, happy, and fulfilling lives.
7. Please read our ‘Charter of Sufficiency’.
Contributing authors include:
The Simplicity Institute was founded by Dr. Samuel Alexander and Dr. Simon Ussher, who currently direct the Institute.