Sustainable Community Action

Simple living (similar but not identical to voluntary simplicity or voluntary poverty) is a lifestyle individuals may pursue for a variety of motivations, such as spirituality, health, or ecology. Others may choose simple living for reasons of social justice or a rejection of consumerism. Some may emphasize an explicit rejection of "westernized values", while others choose to live more simply for reasons of personal taste, a sense of fairness or for personal economy.

Simple living as a concept is distinguished from the simple lifestyles of those living in conditions of poverty in that its proponents are consciously choosing to not focus on wealth directly tied to money or restrictive, cash-based economics. Although asceticism may resemble voluntary simplicity, proponents of simple living are not all ascetics. The term "downshifting" is often used to describe the act of moving from a lifestyle of greater consumption towards a lifestyle based on voluntary simplicity.


Some people who practice voluntary simplicity act consciously to reduce their need for purchased services or goods and, by extension, their need to sell their time for money. Some will spend the extra free time this generates helping their family or others in a voluntary way. Others may spend the extra free time to improve their own quality of life, without regard for the well being of others. Living simply may also reduce available time.

People practice simple living in order to improve their quality of life either psychologically, economically or spiritually, and to enrich their interpersonal relationships with family, friends or partners.

Simple living and sustainability[]

There may be some overlap of interest between groups concerned with each of these two things. For example both may advocate reductions in natural resource and energy use and in environmental impact. There may be some differences of opinion on the appropriate uses of technology. Some see the internet as a key component of simple living in the future, including the reduction of an individual's carbon footprint through telecommuting. Technology can also allow communications between communities and provide information on effective simple lifestyles for those who wish to change their lives, and in theory at least, can be run on renewable sources of energy.

Simple living - your questions[]

Please fee free to list below any questions you suggest need answering

Diary USA[]

March 2011


Village cinema[]



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