Take Action

We hold the power to change the world, collectively,
and through our individual actions


There are many ways we can take action! Any move toward a small footprint, sustainable lifestyle fosters peace, equality, and social/environmental justice.

As we begin to make changes, we may find that the move toward simplicity provides a life more satisfying than current ways of living.

Ideas for Action

  • think about your ideal sustainable world, imagine it, talk about it - know that you are creating it
  • meet one of your political representatives face to face to express your concern for the use of unsustainable practices (choose one), keep it brief, ask hard questions
  • be grateful for all you have
  • talk to your children about the dangers of advertising and consumerism
  • get rid of lawn, or keep a small, toxic-free patch of grass
  • plant an edible garden, regardless of how small. Use containers.
  • eliminate hurry from your life, slow down and enjoy the moment
  • do not support businesses or corporations that make a profit by doing harm - write to them and tell them why you are taking your dollars elsewhere
  • attend an Occupy general assembly
  • become a member of a cooperative (food, housing, urban garden, day care...), or get together with like-minded people and start one.
  • learn, learn, learn - simple living and sustainability can not happen outside of an environment of curiosity and life-long learning. Read books, newspapers, pamphlets. Go to speakers, workshops. Meet friends for salons, be creative and have fun.
  • PROTEST - speak out against injustice and wrongdoing where you are at. Throw your body upon the workings of the machine. Make it stop, non-violently.
  • talk to everyone you can about inequality, sustainability, and solutions for the future - be bold, be vocal, be positive!
  • build social capital in your community - friends are more valuable than money
  • May 14th is Give Your Stuff Away Day - declutter and give away unwanted goods
  • consider working and spending less
  • what would you do if you had more time? Make it happen.
  • get to know candidates and what they stand for, then VOTE
  • recognize what cultural programming doesn't work for you, and refuse it
  • work to live, rather than live to work
  • learn to say no, to do less
  • you need the hole, not the drill - rent or borrow rather than purchase
  • have a merry buy nothing Christmas
  • let your life be an example of low-impact ways for others to see and emulate
  • create your own sustainable holiday celebrations that focus on nature and each other
  • learn to do nothing
  • make sure your possessions help you reach your goals - if not, jettison them
  • look for simple solutions to any challenge
  • share your experiences in simple living with others
  • enjoy riding your bike right past the gas station
  • fun is sustainable - embrace and enjoy change
  • become political, exercise your voice, be heard, make change happen
  • remember to slow, and stop (beware of burnout)
  • Cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for everything you have
  • Define what is enough for you
  • Take a siesta (mid-day nap)
  • be focused, but cultivate aimlessness
  • a ceiling fan can save up to 40% off your a/c power bill
  • spend time outside on a hot day... in the shade, preferably with a breeze
  • Choose truly green alternatives
  • Share food with someone in your neighbourhood
  • Learn how to do something you have always wanted to do
  • Challenge yourself to see how much you can live without
  • Plant fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables wherever you can
  • Resist advertising - ad-proof your kids
  • Do things as a family - board games, hike, write letters, bake cookies...
  • Contact your elected officials - tell them you want a sustainable economy
  • Give generously to non-profits working to create a better world
  • Become politically involved at all levels from neighbourhood to global
  • Take inventory of what you have, get rid of all that does not add to your life
  • Appreciate every day
  • Get out of debt, then save money
  •  Use a to-go mug instead of paper cups
  • Use cloth napkins and dish clothes instead of paper products
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Use sweaters and blankets instead of turning up the heat
  • When bottles are empty swish with water to get at the last bits of product
  • Don't go to the mall for something to do
  • Pay no regard to fashion - go for function
  • Look for good used items before paying for new
  • Frugal does not mean cheap - there are many ways to be generous
  • Check the library for repair books to fix your own stuff
  • If you can't pay cash, wait until you can
  • Look for free ways to have fun - visit a park, ride a bike to the store, play catch...
  • Use your freezer effectively to prepackage homemade meals
  • Reuse everything - plastic bags, one-side printed paper, glass jars, etc.
  • Learn to do mending and simple alterations
  • Think about alternative living arrangements like intentional communities
  • Practice home hair cutting... carefully
  • Eat less meat and more beans
  • Live simply so others can simply live
  • Invest in health, family, and stability
  • Know what is "enough" for you
  • Have a plan for tough times
  • Check your privacy settings and agreements on-line
  • If you run into a glass ceiling perhaps you are climbing the wrong ladder
  • Celebrate the healthy functioning of your body - do not take it for granted
  • Use the power of positive thinking
  • Self-assess often, be ready to make mid-course adjustments
  • Moderate consumption of caffeine and alcohol
  • Enjoy being at home
  • Learn to make your favourite restaurant dishes
  • Enjoy this very, very moment right now
  • Contemplate death to help you live more fully
  • A nap is good, free medicine (and the best meditation according to the Dalai Lama)
  • Beware of the hidden consequences of consumption
  • Reduce/Refuse/Reuse
  • It's not what you get. It's what you give
  • Rethink/Reassess/Return
  • Take a moment to do nothing but breathe
  • Redefine wealth as what you can live without
  • Rethink holiday gifts: give the gift of your time
  • Give beans a chance
  • Travel by train, bus, or boat
  • Scour thrift shops first
  • Get to know the beauty of your own neighbourhood
  • Organize potlucks with friends/family
  • Spend an evening playing your favourite board game
  • Eat more vegetarian meals
  • Cancel magazine subscriptions - use the library
  • Wear things out
  • Fix things - duct tape, twine, and wire are your friends
  • Learn to cut hair
  • Avoid fast foods/processed foods
  • Adventure close to home
  • Use a one week waiting period (or more) before major purchases
  • Drive less
  • Look for markdown items in grocery store
  • Eat less meat
  • Eat out less often
  • Buy second hand
  • Use self-propelled transportation
  • Make things last
  • Buy quality
  • Turn down thermostat
  • Bake your own bread products

13 comments:

  1. For me, taking action means to find (and live) my own way; to set a good example; and to vote for a political party that supports a "green" and peaceful lifestyle. I am personally fed up with environmentalists and anti-capitalism protesters, who provoke violence, and increase CO2 emissions by traveling around the country (or the world). They should let others live their life's and stop making the world a better place by evangelizing others. We don't have to change the world to live a simple peaceful life; we rather change the world BY living a simple peaceful life. However, we may inform others about the benefits of a simple and giving life, as this website does.

    Here are some quotations from "Anne Frank's Diary": People will always follow a good example; be the one to set a good example, then it won't be long before the others follow... How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway... And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      Fantastic! That is good stuff. Living more simply is definitely an ongoing process. Thanks for visiting, and participating.

      Delete
    2. Whoa, dude! OK, yeah you make a couple good points, but what you said here:

      "I am personally fed up with environmentalists and anti-capitalism protesters, who provoke violence, and increase CO2 emissions by traveling around the country (or the world). They should let others live their life's and stop making the world a better place by evangelizing others. We don't have to change the world to live a simple peaceful life; we rather change the world BY living a simple peaceful life."

      See, um, there's this little problem there, these anti-capitalism, protesting, violent seeking, CO2 emitting, evangelizing, what else, oh yeah, environmentalists you speak of may exist, but I am quite sure they make up a very small portion of the environmentalist movement. Hey man, the majority of these people are out there trying to save your butt, your children's at the very least, maybe you might think about backing off a bit, OK? And listen, if your OK to live in a shell while Bangladesh falls off into the ocean, the world warms to the point of extinction and our water gets so polluted we can't even treat it, well then, be happy! Otherwise, do your part and support those who do the same. Alright, you have a good day.

      Delete
  2. Good list! I support the occupy movement and others who engage in direct political action. Alas, while I was an activist in college, I have stopped attending rallies since becoming a mom of two. I have chosen to express my disenchantment with c(r)apitalism by becoming a non-post-consumer! We need to spread the word that materialism can be toxic to fellow Americans and everyone around the world, since consumerism is being globalized at an alarming rate! Thank you NBA for all your passionate effort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "C(r)apitalism" - love it! In today's world, practicing simple living and anti-consumption is activism of the most important kind.

      In 2001 I visited India and saw how things like "Western-style drinking" and consumer capitalism were threatening the fabric of this ancient culture. I wanted to warn them.

      Non-industrialized people have more vital things to share with us than we have to share with them if consumerism is all we've got.

      Delete
  3. AnonymousMay 07, 2013

    Hi, Was doing great downsizing my wardrobe to a manageable level, then I began spending furiously yet again. Now I'm back to square one and they call me Emelda Marcos for a reason - mad on shoes. My dear husband has been given charge of my card as I don't trust myself not to do it all over again. With his help, things will work out OK. The sensible things I do are cut my own and hubby's hair and make meals from scratch with cheaper cuts of meat and fish. It's the clothing/shoes thing I fail on, buying online too often, rather than just sticking to a couple of the cheaper charity (thrift) shops. A good site this is though with lots of tips to guide you through. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Way to go on establishing some control in your shopping life. Every little bit helps.

      You are very fortunate to have a supportive hubby - that can make all the difference.

      Good luck extending what you are already doing to establish more control over where your money goes.

      Delete
  4. Challenge yourself to see how much you can live without!
    I do this sometimes and is the best investment one can make.
    I gave 75% of my clothing/furniture,dishes away last year.
    Sometimes I feel that is not right to give my rubish to somebody else,now I give cash,time
    and feel much better.

    Ideas for Action

    I like them,most of them I do .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wimmera, Congratulations on making it all the way through this list. You are truly dedicated to taking action.

      Giving away most of your stuff can be a massively liberating experience. We did so almost a decade ago and never looked back or regretted a thing. As a matter of fact, we are constantly moving unneeded things out of our home in an effort to make it as decluttered, efficient, and enjoyable as possible.

      Thanks for reading, and for caring enough to take action. It is a surefire way to feel better about things.

      Delete
  5. Good list.

    One of your items in your list is to remove or reduce the lawn.

    In our case we have quite a bit.. So I looked around for better ways to manage it. I found it's also possible to care for it so that it takes less energy and requires NO chemicals.

    Cut Long!.. it's as simple as that. put the mower up to a decent hight (1.5~2inch) and the grass will then grow in length less vigorously, but it will produce lots of offshoots as it is then healthier and you're not removing quite so much. (mowing is also easier, using less energy, both yours and electricity/petrol)

    What you end up with is a thick carpet of healthy grass that (at least in the UK) doesn't need watering or chemicals and it looks fantastic, even after the children have finished riding bikes.

    I would add to the list:

    Check your carbon footprint

    I tried a rudimentary online one and was surprised just how big the footprint was for my car.. everything else was more or less ok.. it's the car that's horrendous.

    Derek

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, I have just stumbled upon your blog and have really enjoyed looking through the articles. The reason I was looking about for simplicity/non consumerists sites is because I am really struggling with my partners"stuff" habit. I have personally been simplifying my life for a number of years now and all my possessions fit inside my small car. I realise that simplifying is a long process but the fact my partner doesn't even have the inclination to do so is somewhat frustrating. She has a 3 bed house full, 3 junk draws in the kitchen and is constantly buying clothes new and 2nd hand etc. I find it very hard to spend a lot of time at her house as the clutter mentally drains me, we have been together 3 years and i have managed to put up with it for this long (living with her for a year full time) but it is becoming to much. I realise this is at the same time both a huge problem but also a very petty problem. I have contemplated breaking up with her because I just find it so hard to be at her house. Sorry for the essay, I have looked through your articles but I cant find any that deal with this problem. If you have such an article could you please post a link or direct me to a source if you know of one? Thank you for the great site and I look forward to your reply.

    Kind regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      There is nothing trivial or petty about your challenges. What you are talking about is a very real problem for many people who decide to simplify their lives and be free of the consumer way of life. What if your partner is not into it?

      Initially it seems like an intractable problem. I suppose being patient, gentle and caring in your approach to educating your partner is key. But that still may not work. But maybe it will. I found a very positive discussion on the Reddit subgroup r/simpleliving.

      The poster realized a breakthrough with their partner, and shared that his wife was finally ready to simplify. You can find the link here:

      https://www.reddit.com/r/simpleliving/comments/3j3iex/it_finally_happened_my_wife_is_ready_to_simplify/

      I hope this helps, or is a beginning of sorts, but realize the challenge you are faced with. I would like to do a post dedicated to this topic to see what the NBA community comes up with. Our readers are usually pretty awesome when it comes to figuring these things out.

      Good luck with your simple life and your relationship. Hopefully you can keep both and find happiness. We would love to hear more as time goes on. Look for an upcoming post on this topic.

      Delete
  7. AnonymousMay 17, 2017

    I know this is an old post but I just came upon it. One of the best things we did was getting rid of our tv. Really changed our lives and my son has never had to experience the onslaught of consumerism it perpetrates. I also recommend a severe reduction of movies. From "scratch" should be a way of life.

    ReplyDelete

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