Friday, January 08, 2010


I keep hearing about various environmental stunts. No Impact Man, the 100-mile diet, and the Little Brown Dress are some of them. They all fall under what used to be called voluntary simplicity.

I'm not opposed to stunts - they make people think, they're noticeable. If labels and stunts help people feel cool about a simpler lifestyle, great.

I was thinking about the ways Jeff and I live simply. Some of these habits just come from having thrifty mothers, I think, but others we've come to on our own. And there's a often happy convergence between what is sustainable and what is cheap. There are exceptions, but mostly:

We do We don't
Live below our means and give away about half our incomeLike the level of inequality we see in the world
Bus, train, subway, bike, and hoof itOwn a car
Use rags, sponges, cloth napkinsUse paper towels and napkins
Line-dry our laundryUse the dryer
Travel by busTravel by plane
Make wineBuy alcohol
Use a little meat to flavor other dishesUse meat as a main dish
Use the libraryBuy books or movies
Have a big apartment by Hong Kong standardsHave a big apartment by American standards
Play music and board gamesOwn a TV
Cook at homeEat out
Buy bulk staples and cook from scratchBuy much pre-made food
Use reusable menstrual products
(well, only Julia)
Use disposable menstrual products
Shop from thrift stores, Craigslist, yard sales, and freecycleBuy new clothes, housewares, furniture
Use fans
Use air conditioning
Budget like hell Impulse buy
Count our blessings

Yes, even when it's cold.

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