As you know the foundation of the OSN and its approach to living can be described as Voluntary Simplicity. Now I am sure if you Google that you will find millions of different ideas as to what that is but for us what this means is developing a deep awareness of Humanities interdependence with the natural world and closing the consumer driven gulf which separates us from that natural world. It is also about taking time to look into your own consumer attitudes and make those changes and see what actually drives you on.
We have to come to the deep realisation that we do live on a finite and delicately balanced planet. You may hear quite often about the diminishing oil supply (this has been the lifeblood of our modern society), you will hear of proposed solutions to this impending crisis, but do you see anything happening. Governments drag their feet, large companies actually fight against proposals and we keep making plastics and buying SUVs. You will hear people blaming the governments and the big corporations and yes they do have some responsibility but what we as druids say is never forget the power you have in your own hands. In all truth the Governments and Corporations only respond to what we as consumers choose to do.
It is not the Government or the Corporations who make the average American Household burn four times as much energy as a European family of the same size. Or the average European family to burn five times as much energy as a Chinese family. These are results of our direct choices. We want the Governments to stop this ecological crisis and yet as soon as a person in power makes suggestions or tampers with our comfortable life style then they are quickly voted out of office. We all want to move around in huge SUVs when a bicycle would do. We refuse to give up any of the short term benefits of living in a world destroying system. Yet we know it can't go on.
Many years ago I was told that in actual fact most mad people if you actually enter into their reality have a very logical and cohesive internal logic. They do actually think things through and reach conclusions based on logic. Granted their reality has no real links to what is actually going on but on the inside it makes perfect sense. Do you see where I am going with this?
We choose to live as if the world is infinite and we can do what we want. If this was the truth then the way we live today would be sustainable. We lost in a state of madness. The world is not infinite it is very finite. Yet we choose not to live in that reality. This is our choice.
If we accept the fact that this problem will never be solved by Governments and Corporations then we are left with a pill which may be very bitter to swallow. We have to make changes. Now of course people cry out but what can I do. What difference can one make. I will tell you - everything. The modern multi million dollar industry of Organic food was begun by a handful of people in the 60s. Yes they were laughed at but they did it. Now it has grown into a viable alternative. It took only one to start.
We live in climate controlled buildings, surrounded by chemical smells eating chemically flavoured food. The modern discipline of eco-psychology tells us that a human being can never be truly stable and well (whole) if we are separated from nature. Just look at the rise of depression and isolation and control type issues (anorexia, and self harming to name but a few) in our oh so perfect modern society.
What we need is to make small steps back to nature to redress the imbalance. Nature actually means “that which is born”. Yet we choose to live in a world of “that which is made”. This is a call to get back to that which is born and become born again.
I am a great believer in doing what we can. We as druids are not in the business of preaching or forcing people to make changes. We need to make changes in ourselves and become truly born again in the best sense of the word, as opposed to the right wing Christian sense, which means become hateful and judgemental and send everyone who is not the same as you to eternal punishment.
Here are 10 simple steps which were put together by the respected Canadian Ecologist Dr David Suzuki. These are things all within our grasp and simple thing which if we do can and will make a difference.
1. Reduce home energy use by 10 percent
2. Choose an energy-efficient home and appliances
3. Replace dangerous pesticides with alternatives
4. Eat meat-free meals one day a week
5. Buy locally grown and produced food
6. Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle
7. Walk, bike, carpool, or take transit instead of driving
8. Choose a home close to work or school
9. Support car-free alternatives
10. Learn more and share with others
I would like to add something to this which may be the most simple of all. THINK.
Just look at the bigger picture. We are druids because we believe in the bigger picture. Think at the impact your choices have on the whole. Remember everything is interrelated. Here are a great list of questions to ask yourself before any purchase or decision.
What is it made of?
How is it made?
How far did it travel?
What inputs does it require?
How much waste is involved?
How long does it last?
Where does it go?
How necessary is it?
Apply these question to everything and you won't go far wrong in finding Voluntary simplicity.
May the Gods Bless you this day and always.