The good life is still, all too often, portrayed and seen as something like the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
We are quite aware that these kinds of lifestyle may be costing the world, as even a decent standard of living for the entire world, based on current ways of doing things, likely would – but at least, they hold a promising allure.
Responsible ways of living, supposedly of “saving the planet,” on the other hand, seem to entail nothing but sacrifice – and even that may not be enough to avoid future trouble. Sure, you can do some things to make yourself feel better about your influence, perhaps even to prepare for future collapse, but it will cost you.
So, it may seem strange to focus on individual happiness (or rather, better lives, with sense and sensuality, obstacles and opportunities, entrepreneurship within ecological boundaries and processes) when looking to shift society towards sustainability.
Yet, given how a call to “save the planet” is rather too steep a task (and rather misguided, anyways), how companies and politicians will not do what we won’t – the whole litany of problems – why not focus on how life gets richer when it is lived better, in tune with our needs and the necessities for living not just as a less destructive but even a (co-)creative part of this world?
This is what The Ecology of Happiness is exploring, in simple steps and radical responses, in following the lead of positive psychology and personal development, but also in looking at community organizing and the (re-)creation of local economies and ways of (making a) living that are at home in this world.
For 2013, a major aim for this initiative is to not just write and seek to live ecohappy, but to ask for *your* input in order to present more of the diversity of #ecohappy approaches.
After all, there are many and diverse initiatives out there already; not so few people are attempting to live better for the world and also for themselves and their communities – “multiply better.”
Some work on transition, regional renewal and local economies, others on self-sufficiency, permaculture, and urban greening, yet others on ecological design and social-benefit businesses, on voluntary simplicity and minimalism, on frugal luxury and companies that can continue their business not just for the next few quarters – and they discover that the two, planet and people, but also other ways of (making a) living and the deep pleasure and purpose of better lives, are often, of course, interdependent and mutually supportive. They are not a choice between poverty and powerlessness in the midst of possibility, or the use of any and all current advantages at the cost of the future.
- … if you are working in and for fields like these, please submit photos and notes illustrating how lives lived with more care for “the planet” and people, with more profit than the financial, more riches than money and things, are not poor and worse, but richer and better. These will be collected and shared via the ecohappy blog/site and social media channels and perhaps brought together into a book.
- … if you are a researcher or ‘thought leader’ in a relevant field, please contribute a summary of your ideas, considering the “ecohappy” perspective: How do we follow your insights in practice, and what can a person and a community – and what can we as societies and cultures, economic agents and emotional beings… – gain from doing so? Are there ways, thinking ecologically, to have the cake and eat it, too – for example by ecological conservation and restoration even in urban contexts and for entrepreneurial activities? What is your suggestion for living better without having it cost the world?
Send your contributions to ecohappy[at]outlook.com or connect on facebook.com/ecohappy #showecohappy
As for me, I’ll be here…