This is the briefest guide to simple living, but it’s a place to start if clearing the clutter, reducing the load and building community are what you’re after. Perhaps the most personal way to make it simple is join the fun on World Naked Gardening Day – yes it’s a real thing. (Maybe it’s just me, but barefoot spade work doesn’t sound too appealing, likewise running a rototiller or trimming the blackberry canes, but hey, whatever puts zip in your skip.)
Here’s the truth: For more than a decade, people around the world have been dropping their socks and everything else on the first Saturday in May – in 2017 it’s May 6 – and heading to the garden in their birthday suits to plant, weed, prune and frolic in the buff.
WNGD observers say there’s plenty of friction, dissatisfaction and fear to go around these days. Resisting these forces takes courage and tenacity, the naked gardeners say. And, they claim one way to find strength for the long haul is to strip away the things that weigh us down and live lighter and brighter – unclothed – as nature intended.
by Michael Aitken
In Winter, when the trees are bare,
We mortals don our winter wear.
In Spring, when trees begin to dress,
We mortals then start wearing less,
Until, for some, with Summer’s heat
The role reversal is complete.
Whether or not naked bathing is appealing, here are 10 simple steps you, your family, friends and neighbors can take to use less energy, become more mindful about choices, and build stronger bonds within your family and your community, while sprucing up the garden.
- Build community. Relationships are the foundation of resilient communities. Get to know your neighbors by organizing a potluck, sharing something, or simply stopping by to say hello.
- Grow some of your own food. You can start simple by growing in containers on a patio or windowsill or renting a plot in a community garden. Or, if you have access to land, start a garden or go all out with a permablitz, a way of bringing the community together and turning a suburban house into an urban homestead… in a single day.
- Share and repair. Two simple and rewarding ways to reduce consumption and save money are by sharing things you don’t use all the time (vacuum, car, tools, etc.) with friends and neighbors, and by repairing items when they break instead of buying new ones. The New Dream Community Action Kit is all about sharing: everything from starting a tool library to organizing a solar cooperative, from holding a clothing swap to launching a time bank.
- Minimize waste by buying fresh and bulk foods to avoid extra packaging, and start composting organic waste.
- Help keep wealth in your community. Buy local when possible, and consider switching to a local bank or credit union.
- Reduce home energy use and save money by hanging a clothesline or conducting a home energy efficiency audit.
- Conserve water. Fix the leaks, take shorter showers, sheet mulch your lawn, and install a greywater or rainwater harvesting system.
- Green your ride. Walk or get a bicycle, learn how to use public transport, or redesign your routine to minimize your drive.
- Build inner resilience. Cultivate meaningful relationships, practice mindfulness or spend time in nature. The Japanese call it “forest bathing,” a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html
- Join a Transition town or community resilience initiative near you, and start transforming your community!
Here is the “Simple Living Manifesto” http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life/
Information about World Naked Gardening Day is online at: http://www.wngd.org/