Archive for March, 2014

In Juliet Schor’s essay “The New Politics of Consumption” she is very critical of the liberal view of consumer’s and the notion that they are rational, well informed and there preferences consistent and independent. It is no surprise after the readings and video’s we have been exposed to throughout the course that I too share the same criticism as Shor when examining these consumer assumptions. The countless amount of nonsensical purchases I personally witness each and everyday alone is enough to dismiss such assumptions. When discussing this in class on Friday I could not help but think of the movie Dumb and Dumber when Llyod (played by Jim Carrey) heads out to buy only the “bare essentials”. Although a dramatically exaggerated and comical scene it truly does capture the uninformed consumer who buys unnecessary products he simply just wants.

On Food Network a few years ago there was a television program called ‘The 100 Mile Challenge’, where a small group of people volunteered to only consume foods produced within a 100-mile radius of their town for one hundred days. Whether taking on the challenge to improve their diet or indulge in a thrilling experience, individuals involved immensely struggled to adhere to a locavore diet. Though the 100-Mile Challenge was incredibly difficult to adhere to, people who embraced it were able to engage higher levels family leisure-time, gain information about agricultural sustainability, rid themselves of negative consumption habits and finally were healthier and happier after the process. Tying to Elgin and Schor’s readings concerning a green politics of consumption, the 100 Mile-Challenge helped individuals look past commodity fetishism and realize the amount of effort that goes into food production. Because participants freely chose to become locavores for one hundred days, Elgin’s concept of voluntary simplicity directly applies to them. Consciously slowing down their fast-paced lives to engage in local consumption practices, the majority of individuals featured on the program felt fulfillment and found promise for a positive future.

After this weeks reading and lecture it got me thinking about living simple and voluntary simplicity.  Duane Elgin’s theory of simplistic living is “to live simply is to establish a more direct, unpretentious, and unencumbered relationship with all the aspects of our lives: the things we consume, the work that we do, our relationships with others, our connections with nature and the cosmos, and more” (Elgin 398).  I found this article that gives you steps on how to live simply that I think relates to Elgin’s theory.  There are 72 ideas that this article shares.  I believe that it possible to live a simpler life.  However, I think it is easier said than done.  We live in a society that is non-stop, where what we have is never enough and people do not settle for anything less than the best that is out there.  To step outside of that and live simpler I think would be very hard for some people.  I know personally, I would have a very hard time because I always have to be doing something and keep myself busy.


In class today we talked about voluntary simplicity. To expand on the question do we think it is possible to do. I think it is, if we make the choice to do so. However, we will not be able to escape consumerism completely but that us not the point of voluntary simplicity anyway. The point is to scale back. There is no question that it would be extremely challenging, but people all around us to just fine with less. As university students we are already partially doing this, we tend to go with less because we are broke our money has gone to our education. We do not have the money for extra vacations, and we are still doing just fine without them, it would be nice but it is not required. I think this can begin to look at our needs and our wants. We need water to drink, but we want Starbucks instead. We just have to make the choices and have the determinations to follow through and we would be able to live a life of voluntary simplicity. I have attached an article about living voluntary simplicity. It talks about the different ways to go about and the different types of voluntary simplicity there is.   


Posted: March 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Leanne Curlew – Voluntary Simplicity

This is a link to a website that discusses voluntary simplicity.  It provides documents on the matter, a forum, and also help on how to practice simplicity.  This is the invitation it states on the website, inviting others to join them: “The Simplicity Collective is founded upon the idea that a ‘simpler life’ of reduced resource and energy consumption is a viable and desirable alternative to consumer culture. Our position is that simple living will improve not only our own lives, but the lives of others, as well as help save our planet from the environmental catastrophe towards which we are so enthusiastically marching. We must not just fall in line, then, and continue the march ‘business as usual.’ We must explore alternative ways to live. We must experiment creatively, like the artist. We must be the poets of our own lives and of a new generation.”

Here is the link to the actual website.

Here is an interesting video about the secrets of advertisement according to I found, though this is very vague and not the most informative, its is nice to read about advertisement critics on a popular website. Even having a simple video of this sort helps place some ideas into the mind of the consumers.

Hi All,

Your 5th and last quiz will take place here on the blog. I simply want you you write a few reflections on the class as a whole, including:

1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.

2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.

3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.

4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).

This kind of more specific feedback will help me if I teach this class again.

Please post your quiz answer as a comment to this post.

Due by the last class next week for full marks.