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Green Living Strategy: Less is More

The notion of “ethical” living [www.sundance.tv] and embracing “ethical” design [www.sundance.tv] is not always easy; though in some ways more specific than “green,” everybody has a slightly different idea of ethics or what it means to be ethical. As a natural extension, then, we want to talk about a very concrete strategy for following some or the ideas we laid out. The first of these: less is more.

It all starts with the basic assumption that we all use too much of everything: too much space; too much land; too much food; too much fuel…the list goes on, and it’s not entirely pleasant to hear, unfortunately. Nor does the solution, at first glance: use less stuff. Our existence is predicated upon the idea that our goals are to do better, which has, in many cases, become synonymous with more; think about it in terms of a typical career cycle: the idea is to get a better job, a bigger office, more money, a bigger house, more stuff to fill the house, etc., etc. Nobody wants to go backwards on that scale, right? So it’s against our nature, in some ways, to scale your life back.

That said, it sounds simple enough — this “use less stuff” ideal — but isn’t always so quick and painless as it might sound. For some of us, it’s a matter of culling a few articles of clothing and spending an afternoon cleaning out the garage; for others, it’s a major lifestyle change (we prefer to think “upgrade”) that requires re-thinking the way you look at the world. Ask yourself: is my (fill in the blank) house, home layout, collection of stuff, etc., as space and energy-efficient as it could be? Am I using things to their full potential? How could my stuff not only be used more efficiently, but function in a way that would please me better?

We think the key to the “less is more” lifestyle is to just have high standards. Don’t just settle for quasi-functional stuff, or just-okay use of space. Don’t let your stuff tie you down. We think you’ll find the idea quite freeing. Stay tuned for some specific examples of how to do more with less.