Man, does this TED talk resonate with us. Mostly because, as travelers and lovers of less, we’ve all experienced this. And we've learned so much from it. And I think we, as Americans, have so much more to learn as a nation from this notion of less stuff, more happiness. There is something incredibly liberating about getting rid of the massive burden of stuff. Stuff…that isn’t really necessary, but is meant to make us ‘happier’. This kind of lifestyle is not sustainable. In this talk, Graham touches on the fact that we Americans have 3x more space than we did 50 years ago, yet we don’t have enough space for all of our stuff (as he notes, the personal storage industry has become a whopping 22 billion dollar industry).
With triple the space, we - the good American consumers that we are - still don’t have enough room for all of our stuff. What has this done for our culture? More debt. Increased CO2 (huge environmental footprints). And, funny enough, our happiness levels have decreased and stress levels have increased. The constant need to keep up with all of the stuff…the best gadgets, the hottest duds, the most sensational digs…it’s just WAY too much. The ol’ needs vs. wants debate. My favourite part is at 4:05 when Graham starts talking about sustainable living - how cool is that toilet? And, moreover, his apartment?! It’s sleek and minimalist and oh-so-cool. I'd much rather live in those digs than in a massive house.
Last week I had a chat with Tribe member Ken Hannigan, of Anthem Heart, said something to me that resonated with me and has stuck with me since. It was beautiful. Ken cycles everywhere he goes. He carries everything he needs with him. And you know what he carries it in? His India 8 Raja Pack. Awesome! He described the act of packing up his Raja as a very 'freeing' act. Pack up your life for the day, or for a weekend camping trip, jump on your bike...and just go. It's easy. It's simple. And it's freeing. In fact, Ken recently packed up his Raja to the brim for a night of DJ fun with his Traktor Kontrol S4, Laptop, iPad, dj headphones, AND posters. How cool is that?!
Anyway, I know I got slightly sidetracked there, but the reason I thought of Ken is because he truly gets the notion of 'Less Stuff, More Happiness' and it was so cool to hear that Ethnotek could be a part of this adventure for him.
After reflecting on this talk, what terrifies me the most is the future. Where will this stuff-focused mentality lead us? What if it doesn’t change? What do YOU think about it all? My only hope is that we - as a society - begin to trend towards more sustainable living.
Here's our challenge to you this weekend: carry the 'Less Stuff, More Happiness' notion with you and see where it takes you.
Less is liberating,