'CONSCIOUS CONSUMING' AND TRACEY SMITH LAUNCH CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FIRST "NATIONAL DOWNSHIFTING WEEK" FROM JULY 7-13TH
The USA will soon be celebrating its first National Downshifting Week, an awareness campaign sponsored jointly this year by Tracey Smith, the founder of National Downshifting Week in the UK, and Boston-based nonprofit Conscious Consuming. National Downshifting week is scheduled for July 7-13, 2007 and is designed to help participants "Slow Down and Green Up."
To downshift means to cut out unnecessary expenditure and cultivate a simpler lifestyle with time to do more of the things you want to do. Data from the mid-90's from the Trends Research Institute shows that about 10% of Americans identify with downshifting, voluntary simplicity, and simple living. Duane Elgin, author of several books on voluntary simplicity, calls this a "conservative estimate." While there is a definite trend toward voluntary simplicity, too many Americans sacrifice themselves to their work. According to Lisa Steubing, Executive Director of Take Back Your Time, more than half of Americans will take less than a week's vacation this year.
Smith says, "Downshifting can leave you excited, encouraged and upbeat and can reduce your stress. A positive approach to living with less helps you re-think ways to enjoy time with your loved ones without reaching for your wallet; changes to your spending habits should happen because you want them to."
Donohoe notes that the dates for National Downshifting Week (July 7-13th) were chosen to coincide with the birthday of America's most famous downshifter, Henry David Thoreau (born July 12, 1817). "Modern downshifters don't have to move into a cabin in the woods to simplify their lives, but would to well to stop chasing money and material things. Happiness depends on knowing when you have enough, and spending time doing the things you love to do," says Donohoe. "Downshifters can live deliberately, leave a lighter footprint on the earth, and have even more time with their families and friends."
National Downshifting Week’s slow down top tips are targeted at individuals, companies, and children and schools, and include things like cutting up a credit card and planting a garden. During the UK's 3rd National Downshifting Week in April 2007, almost 11,000 people from 96 countries and 24 American states visited the website. Over the past 3 years, many thousands of visitors have used the The Downshifting Manifesto which allows individuals to print and track their progress on the road to leading a simpler life.
For further details see Downshifting Week and Conscious Consuming.
Conscious Consuming, Public Relations Coordinator
Writer and Broadcaster, Sustainable Living
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