Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people
“Access to land liberates people from market growth and facilitates ways of living consistent with degrowth. We can restructure access to housing and work in order to live sustainably.”
This excellent story by Samuel Alexander and Alex Baumann in Ecologist – Informed by Nature describes how I live so well with so little – but home ownership is crucial.
In a nutshell, it tells us of how 19th century philosopher Henry David Thoreau “spent two years living on the shores of Walden Pond, where he built himself a small abode, grew his own food, and generally lived an abundant life of voluntary simplicity.”
Both his example and his words are inspiring – and, in an age of overconsumption, more important today than ever before. In a key passage, he wrote: “I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely.”
But Thoreau’s living experiment at Walden Pond depended on access to land, which is the prime barrier to people living simply and sustainable today. It is hard to follow his example of sufficiency-based living, even for those of us who want to. After all, most of us have to work full time in an unsustainable growth economy just to afford somewhere to live.
The huge cost of land and housing has significant implications, affecting what we do for work, how much we work, our need for a car, and a range of other consumer habits. Our economy has developed in such perverse ways (particularly when it comes to land cost) that we are often locked into high-impact consumerist lifestyles.https://theecologist.org/2020/mar/04/towards-walden-wage?fbclid=IwAR0os45oc373vCJe0W4L4nBToGjB21RpvnpSo0WTITW5JpvthKf5_oW9kWg