Saturday, June 28, 2008

U.S. National Downshifting Week

We're coming up on US National Downshifting Week (July 7-13th), which we are sponsoring this year based on the work of Tracey Smith, founder of Downshifting Week in the UK. While she went International this year, the week of April 19-25th kind of gets lost in the hoopla surrounding Earth Day, Earth Week, and Earth Month here in the U.S. We believe downshifting is deserving of its own attention, and so we chose the week of Henry David Thoreau's birthday (born July 12th). Thoreau is America's most famous downshifter, having left the burgeoning Boston suburbs to build his own cabin in the woods in Concord, MA, on the banks of Walden Pond. Thoreau lived for two years with very little "stuff" in his cabin, and wrote his famous book, Walden.

We don't advocate selling all your stuff and moving to the woods, though quite a few people do effectively downshift in a similar manner (like empty nesters selling the big house for a small condo). While smaller spaces generally cost less and fit less stuff, you can also successfully downshift by staying right where you are and evaluating how you spend your time and money. With inflation on the rise and a recesssion kicking in, there is no better time to figure out how to spend less, buy less, and enjoy your life more. Visit our website for a copy of the US Downshifting Manifesto.

For a wonderful introduction to one family's transition to a happier, more simple life, please check out our friend Heather's blog, who kindly wrote this entry to help us spread the word about National Downshifting Week. She leads her blog with one of my favorite quotes; a favorite long before I had even heard of conscious consuming:

"Happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have." -- Anonymous (or was it Thoreau???)


Anonymous said...

What an interesting idea! I thought I would bring to your organization's attention that a discussion of cloth diapers compared to wasteful one-use diapers may be of interest to your supporters. Their use goes hand-in-hand with the National Downshifting Manifesto as well as the other ideas promoting by Conscious Consuming.

Heather said...

Susan, in response to greenwithbaby's comment, I just wanted to mention that I wrote a fairly detailed post about cloth diapers, which I've used for both of my children.

The link is

I estimate that by the time my youngest is out of diapers, I will have kept 11,000 disposables out of the landfill!

Heather said...

Sorry, the link got cut off. Here it is again: