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Perspectiva Ambiental - 44 Acrecimiento (Voluntary simplicity)

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The economic growth has reached its limit: we have experienced it and we know it does not make us happy, but that it increases our mental misery, the contamination of the environment and the destruction of the community links. As Gandhi used to say, we need to "live simply in order to let others just live". It is not enough to assume this reality, but we need to make the effort to change the current popular belief. It is time to say: That's enough!

We need to learn to live with just enough. If after having a nice meal, there are leftovers in the kitchen, and we ask ourselves if we are full, the answer is not always easy. We should think that if we are full, then we would have enough. But, the reality is that, as Epicure used to say, "nothing is enough for the man, for whom what it is enough it does not seem enough", and rounded off with his words: "Poor is not the one who owns little but the one who desires more". At the end, we don't seem to live to be happy or to enjoy the pleasures of life but to wish more in a compulsive way. Our culture encourages us, through the publicity and the media, to transform happiness in an everlasting ecstasy. Distant it is now the time when we used to get satisfaction on the effort of getting to the summit, and after enjoying the views, having to go down hill, more easily, but never stopping walking.

The sense of sufficiency needs to stop the obsession about the social status that the consumption system stimulates. Because the best status is not that of having everything, but the one that values the results over the means, and to prefer what it is good instead of what it is useful. There is evidence showing that changes happening in society do not appear spontaneously, but they are the result of a shared wish. When we think that things can improve, a flux of energy is produced filling us up with optimism and we pay more attention to face the new reality. This insatiable world is an insult for those preceding us, but it's also a snub towards the present and a threat for a future we all desire. From the past, we have plenty of information that could help us to think how we could make the present somewhat better and the future just possible. It may be not as pretentious as we want to imagine. Because the future is not a dream, but a hope to those who come right after us, or still better, to those whom we would always put first because they are born from our love.

For the first time, our consumer society needs to add new ethical examples to attach to the community. The consumerism is thought to satisfy our current necessities, but it threats our closer surroundings. Even though the polluted air of our cities, we keep getting stuck in traffic jams every morning in order to take our kids to school, when this harmful air affects them even more. It is known the exponential rising of several respiratory problems amongst infants: asthma, allergies...

This monographic from the series Perspectiva Ambiental goes deep into the necessity of a more frugal society, and it does so by a controlled and sensible reflection along with a well chosen selection of images and inspiring texts.

Download Perspectiva Ambiental, 44 (in spanish)


Acrecimiento (Voluntary simplicity)
Learning to live with suficiency
The limits of groth
The thermodynamic limits
The increase in the ecological footprint
Energyas an educational tool for voluntary simplicity
Revolution for a lasting society
The subversion of voluntary simplicity
Voluntary simplicity, a new lifestyle
Human límits to be more frugal
The art in nature
Doing things for ourselves
The problem of technological toys
The art of chosing
Maslow's pyramid and the neverending wishes
Bibliography and Internet