My decision to join this revolution a few years ago was based on a conversation that I had had with my father.
We had talked about the negative impact that humans have upon the earth, and how seemingly, everything that we do is impacting the earth in a way that is not conducive to any kind of long term sustainability.
We mutually had come to the conclusion that the only way to have less of a negative impact on the earth, was to do less.
And from there, the idea of the do less revolution was born.
Considering the name, it might seem that this revolution would be really easy: “Sweet, all we have to do, is less!”
But, if we are to take a look at mainstream society, and quite frankly, most of our lives, no matter how mindfully we are currently living, most of us are doing a lot more than we need to be doing in order to sustain our life. We are also encouraging each other and our children to do more. Get involved, play sports, learn to dance, read a book, write a book, and the list goes on.
These are all great things to be doing, they’re good for the body, mind and soul. But are they good for the planet?
When looked at in a more acute manner, my overall conclusion would be that no, they are not good for the planet. Not in the way that most of us are doing them. We are often forfeiting the concept of true sustainability for the joy of participating in these activities and pursuing our hobbies.
We drive to dance practice, zip our kids around to the soccer field in our fuel powered motor vehicles, we purchase new equipment to participate in these sports and activities, and more often than not, this equipment and gear is not made in way that is sustainable or from sustainable materials. We use paper and pens or a computer to write our transcripts, we go to the book store and pick up a top selling novel—but while we’re doing this, are we considering the energy that has gone into making that notebook, printing that paperback or building that computer? Are we making sure our paper is recycled, the ink is vegetable-based and the metal is not mined in a way that is destroying the surrounding nature?
We can choose to become more conscious of these decisions—mindfully choosing to support products and companies that are making an effort to have less of a negative impact on the earth. And by researching and choosing to spend our money with companies that are themselves making the decision to operate in more ethical, moral and environmentally friendly ways.
This is one step to a more sustainable system.
A second step is to really be mindful about all of the things that we “do.” We need to ask ourselves, do we really need to do that? Are we just doing it out of habit?
Even though I’ve been an active member (which actually translates to a “non-active” member) of the do less revolution for a few years now, I still struggle sometimes with finding ways to do less while still feeling fulfilled.
I was lucky for a bit because I had lost the desire to travel, and so I was quite content spending most of my time just living a fairly simple life in the small town that I call home. I made exceptions to visit my family who coincidentally live two thirds and three quarters of the way across the country. I train travelled a few times to slow things down—regularly doing nothing more than watching the provinces pass by my eyes through the window.
The hardest part of attempting to do less is the burning desire to wildly create my own existence on this earth. I love creating! I love building businesses, developing products, painting, crafting, writing, cooking more than I need to, eating more than I need to and quite simply and ironically, doing more than I need to do!
I mean come on, I even created the do less revolution, rather than just choosing to quietly do less! It’s evident how challenging this is to me, even though I’m a super casual, laid back, simple soul who loves to sit and watch the waves crash on shore at the beach, stare into the night sky at the glittering stars above and walk through the forest, feet bare to the ground, speaking softly with the trees. My point is: even for the people with super simple lifestyles, doing less can still be quite a challenge.
Creating the revolution has helped me be more mindful of what it is that I choose to do.
I certainly still have not given up on the extravagancies of life—I love chocolate (making it and eating it), a good cup of coffee, soft organic cotton sheets, summer trips to Europe (yes, the travel bug has since returned) and I’m always dreaming up the next sustainable business to create, and the next string of words that wants to pour forth into an informative article or soulful poem.
I’m always dreaming, and I’m still almost always creating, but I am doing less by choosing to work less, sit more, move more slowly, breathe more deeply and be more mindful with that it is that I choose to do.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to re-assess our lives, slow down, and basically, do a little less tomorrow than we did today.
Doing less equals being more.
May this be of benefit to anyone who wishes to join the do less revolution.
Author: Morgan Leigh Callison
Editor: Catherine Monkman