Ever felt that you are running in a hamster wheel? You’re not alone and the world of everlasting growth and eternal consumption is not possible on a planet with limited resources. Although we are getting better at recycling, at least in my part of the world, recycling 100% of all materials is simply not possible. That’s why downshifting is the only option if we don’t want to consume ourselves to death.
To start with, I believe in market economy and free capitalism. I believe that the driving force of the human nature is personal gain, which is not an obstacle for gain for the society and the “greater good” of all humans. I believe that personal entrepreneurship should be premiered and I think that people should be allowed to earn money for themselves. But I think that somewhere along the way we lost our ability to live in harmony with nature, something we humans have done for the first 100 000 years or so of our existence. Our forefathers would probably have argued that we should not take more than we give back.
And currently, humanity is taking far more than we are giving back.
One problem that we have is that we are polluting the environment, we consume more stuff than we need and we waste natural resources in a pace that will inevitably create a hazardous, non livable environment sooner than we think. Scientists recently announced that The Great Barrier Reef is officially beyond rescue, which makes me sad. And among all other things this makes me once again think that we need to change. And we need to change dramatically.
I recently wrote a post (in Swedish) about the fact that we never repair our stuff anymore. But if we would, we would not only save money, but we would definitely save the planet. Why doesn’t anyone repair their socks any longer? Downshifting is about many things, but one part is to start repairing what could be repaired and only replace things that are beyond repair. It’s also about shifting your working time to leisure time. You will earn less money, but get more time. And thinking about it, you have already from start shifted your time for money, so why don’t do things the other way around?
Downshifting will require that you spend less money. You will almost automatically make less of an impact on the planet; your ecological footprint will be lower. Why not use the time you get to start farming? Build your own furniture? Get some chickens and they will provide you, forever if done correctly, with eggs and meat. There are so many things you can do and downshifting will not only save the planet. You will save yourself.