Radical Voluntary Simplicity

Posted: May 28, 2017 in Sustainability
Tags: , , , , ,

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

by Jordan Osmund and Samuel Alexander (2016)

Film Review

A Simpler Way is about an experiment in radical voluntary simplicity in Victoria Australia in 2016 Using donated land, volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and the UK agree to opt out of the money/corporate system and spend a year in an intentional community. The documentary is a record of their experiences.

The premises behind this experiment, called The Simpler Way Project, are as follows:

1. Contemporary civilization has begun to exceed the limits of a finite planet – the fragile Earth cannot support and indefinite increase in people living affluent lifestyles.

2. Technology and the free market can’t save us.

3. We can’t afford to wait for government to find a solution.

4. It’s up to ordinary people to figure out ways of meeting their basic needs that consume fewer resources.

Most of the film focuses on the shelters they erected (after seeking outside expertise) – a combination of tiny houses built from recycled construction materials, cobb houses (see The Revolutionary Mud House Movement) and earthships (see The Earthship Movement: Transforming Garbage into Homes).

Although they would try to grow most of their own food, initially they rely on local organic food from CSA’s (see Top 10 Reasons to Join a CSA). They cook with a combination of open fire and solar and mud overs.

Most find it far more satisfying relying on themselves and other community members to meet their survival needs, as opposed to working at a desk for money. The biggest challenge for all of them is learning the communication and conflict resolution skills necessary to make group decisions. A few become so frustrated with this process they leave and are replaced by new volunteers.

Comments
  1. I watched some of the film but I had to stop because I had some problems with it.

    First of all, every single time I see a project of this type, regardless of whether or not it is across the ocean or here in America, there are no Black people or other people of color to be seen. Why is that?

    Secondly, if the Europeans, which represent the majority of these people who have worked in corporate America and then had some sort of epiphany and started realizing that the very mindset that set this all in motion is just not working for them and so they abandon it for the simple way of life which is what all other cultures were doing long before the Europeans came and decided to construct a capitalistic society, why then are there no people being interviewed whose culture was destroyed in the name of so-called ‘progress’ which is what these people in this video are trying to escape? I’ll tell you why. It is because the obvious would be right out in their faces and they don’t like it! That’s why. The ‘white is right’ way ain’t working for them now and they hate to be shown up for actually thinking that all of their technology was going to make life much better for them when in reality, they are more unhealthy, unhappy and depressed. More is not better is what they’re finally figuring out because all I heard in this video is about how many of them simply gave up much of their hoarded belongings in order to free themselves to live simpler.

    The Indians in America were living just like what these people are hoping to ‘get back to’. The Aborigines Indigenous to Australia were living like this before Australia was colonized by convicts shipped over from England. The Africans were living like this before the Europeans arrived and decided to ship many of them to America to turn America into what these people who are depicted here are now wishing to escape from. The Maoris were living like this in New Zealand.This is insanity! And yet, not one of those whose ancestors actually lived like these people now want to live is depicted here even though if not for the Europeans believing that their way was the RIGHT way, they would not be fed up with what they thought was the RIGHT way to live; slaving away at a desk job, polluting the environment and keeling over thanks to bad food, water and air! For the love of !!!!!

  2. Your criticism of the documentary is a very apt one, Shelby. I think the main target audience of the film is middle class white youth for the purpose of deprogramming them from their corporate-endowed beliefs about continuous consumption. I’m not sure how widely the creators of this of The Simpler Way Project advertised for participants – but I suspect they did so via the Internet and made no efforts to publicize the project to indigenous participants. Here in New Zealand, most of the activists in the Maori groups I work with have access to the Internet – usually via Smartphones – but it takes special effort to seek out and advertise to their networks.

    Another drawback of the film is that it gives the impression that getting everyone to move to a rural area is going to magically solve the world’s ecological and economic crises. The reality is that most of the ecological damage is caused by urban living – and the majority of the world’s poor have no choice but to live in cities. I plan to post a British film later this week that specifically looks at urban alternatives (in Catalonia Spain( to the corporate/banking controlled economic system.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. futuret says:

    I AM ONE WHO, BELIEVES ONLY IN THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST THAT CAN GIVE US AN ETERNITY OF IMMORTALITY. I DEFINITELY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MANKIND WILL BE ABLE TO SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS ON IT’S OWN, NOT WITHOUT THE HEAVENLY CREATOR YAHVEH. WHAT I CAN TELL YOU FROM A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE, IS THAT THESE WICKED SPECIMENS TOOK AWAY OUR SIMPLY WAYS OF LIFE, AND CHRIST TOLD US TO LIVE SIMPLE, BE PRODUCTIVE, AND SHARE WITH THOSE IN NEED. WE ARE TO LIVE SIMPLE AND NOT IN AN EVIL WEB OF TURMOIL. A SIMPLE HOME, CAN DEFINITELY BE TURNED INTO LOOKING LIKE A MANSION. JESUS CHRIST TOLD US, THAT IN HIS FATHER’S HOUSE THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS. WE SHALL BE ABLE TO BUILD THESE MANSIONS AS AN EARTHLY HOPE, AND NOT EVER TO PAY ANY RENTS. YES, WE SHALL BE PRODUCTIVE, WITHOUT WAGING WAR, WICKEDNESS OR EVIL. AS JESUS CHRIST FURTHER TOLD US, HIS KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. MEANWHILE WE ARE TO BE GOOD STEWARDS.

  4. […] via Radical Voluntary Simplicity — The Most Revolutionary Act […]

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