I am hoping that this new decade will become known as the Era of Enough. As I predicted just two years ago, the recession has taught many people to say, “Thanks, but I’ve already got enough stuff and I wouldn’t enjoy having any more.” Many of us – certainly Natural Life Magazine readers – have reached the state that British author John Naish calls “enoughism” in his book Enough: Breaking Free from the World of More (Hodder & Stoughton, 2008). Naish says humans are hardwired to want more and urges us to fight the acquisition urge in favor of liberating enough time, energy, and space to be healthier, happier, and more fulfilled. As we do in every issue of Natural Life Magazine, we’ve provided some tools in the new March/April 2010 issue to help you strengthen those “enoughism” muscles, starting with an article about Give Your Stuff Away Day, which founder Mike Morone hopes you’ll bring to your community this Spring. My “Ask Natural Life” column examines ethical consumerism techniques such as buycotting and concludes that the most ethical consumption is less consumption.
Learning to want and have less stuff is a great start on the Era of Enough. But it’s not enough. As writer Gene Sager notes in his article in the March/April issue, living more simply needs to be accompanied by engagement in civil society, whether in the cause of reversing the damage created by our earlier excesses, fixing our democracies, or any of the other important changes that need to be made. So as we say, “Enough, already!” in regards to personal consumption, we may also be ready to admit that we have had enough of other kinds of excesses by corporations, financial institutions, politicians, and the like. And as we get our own consumption habits in control, we feel strong enough to begin taking back control from these self-serving entities.
Just in the past few months, tens of thousands of parents in England have said no to an arrogant government that insults them while planning to remove their right to parent and educate autonomously; tens of thousands of Canadians have rallied against the undemocratic actions of a dictatorial Prime Minister who thinks he can deconstruct society and remake it in his image, in spite of being elected by a minority of voters; and progressive Americans have watched with horror as a proper health care system slips through their fingers once again and their courts give free range to corporate campaign financing.
In short, we appear to be learning the difficult lesson that excess is never good for individuals, families, communities, countries, or the planet. We may finally be evolving an instinct that says, “Enough.” Enough stuff. Enough debt. Enough anger with greedy corporations that destroy our communities. Enough frustration with self-serving politicians who can’t see beyond the next election to put policies in place that protect our families, our environment, our food supply, our health, our jobs, and our democracies.
Once we’ve said, “Enough,” there is much work to be done. We need to model the alternatives, create the mechanisms for mainstreaming those models, work together in our communities to create lasting change from the ground up. We’re honored to have a growing number of readers who trust Natural Life Magazine to help filter through the excess of information in this Wild West of the Wired Age, and to guide and inspire the creation of the Era of Enough.