The overlapping crises we face can seem overwhelming, but we must not respond with despair. The world needs us – including you and me – to respond with defiant positivity. While it seems that the descent of industrial civilisation is already underway, there are a multitude of things we can do turn these crises into opportunities for civilisational renewal. Building a ‘simpler way’ can be an enriching adventure.
- Educate yourself: action should be based on knowledge and understanding, otherwise our ‘good intentions’ can be misdirected. Educate yourself not only about the defining crises of our civilisation, but – just as importantly – seek out information about all the positive and inspiring movements for change that are already underway. You are not alone! Begin here and here and join our mailing list (see form to the right).
- Share what you learn: mainstream culture and media do not make an effort to educate people about the issues that matter. We need to do this ourselves. Share the Simplicity Institute links with your friends and family, post them on social media, and try to start new conversations about these issues. Do this now. Help change culture.
- Practise what you preach: personal action is not enough to change the world – we also need to create new structures and systems – but changing the way we live our lives is a good place to start. As Gandhi would say, we must ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’. For most of us, that probably means consuming much less stuff, using much less energy, sharing what we have, and generally trying to live our values as we try to swim against the tide of consumer culture. Our personal actions can create currents (or social movements) that sweep others up, or send ripples through culture far beyond where we ever thought was possible. Set an inspiring example and provoke a revolution in consciousness. For a ‘practical action plan’ for living with less, see here.
- Get active building the alternative: the most important thing you can do to promote a ‘simpler way’ is the begin building the new world, here and now. That world will not build itself. Certainly don’t wait for governments to do it for you (they won’t). There is no single ‘action plan’ that can apply to all people in all places, so you’ll have to think deeply and creatively about how best to direct your energies. Ask yourself: how can you help create a localised, post-growth economy where everyone has enough and no one has too much? No one can do this alone, but we can all do something. Here are some ideas for action: Join or found a Transition Town; establish a non-profit cooperative enterprise that provides for essential local needs; create an ecovillage that demonstrates a simpler way; support local food and sharing initiatives (see here too); divest from fossil fuels; build a ‘tiny house‘ and use the money you save to help others build a tiny house; most of all, think for yourself! Together we can make sure the descent is prosperous.