In Megan’s article a few weeks back, she talked about the long list of items that she “needed” to pack on a camping trip. This seemingly suggests that getting back to basics, or the “slow life” is all but impossible in this day and age.
Few people advocate for a return to the pre-industrial days when heating and lighting one’s home was the provenance of their own hard work cutting down trees for light and heat. Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac romanticized the endeavor a bit, as did Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.
We have become so disconnected from the land that we expect everything to come to us at the flip of a switch and fail to comprehend the energy required to run our lives. I feel hypocritical even mentioning this (much like No Impact Man), I have a major impact just by living in the west and using the material goods that come with my station in life.
While hanging my son’s diapers to dry overnight recently, I started to think more in-depth about the conveniences that we’ve not only come to take for granted, but that stand in the way of us ever making meaningful progress toward a sustainable society. Perhaps compostable diapers will replace the disposable, landfill clogging brands of today. For more on the impact of washable diapers, check out Megan’s recent post.
Perhaps there is a balance to be struck between the rampant consumption that seems so stereotypical of Western lifestyles (now being replicated in rapidly industrializing societies) and a sustainable course. We cannot continue to consume and grow indefinitely. There are limits.