Live Simply So That Others May Simply Live

Live simply so that others may simply live. Elizabeth Ann Seton

In thinking about what I should write about this week, I decided to look up quotes about downsizing the home, and this quote, by Elizabeth Ann Seton, is the one that appealed to me the most strongly. Because it seems to me this quote is the most relevant in our 21st century world.

It is not a contemporary quote: born into a socially prominent New York family in 1774, Elizabeth Ann Seton grew up to become the founder of both the first Catholic girls’ school in the United States, and also the first American congregation of the Sisters of Charity. Her life story is an interesting one.

While there are many reasons for Americans, and citizens of other affluent countries, to cut down on the rampant consumerism that we seem to have become caught up in, especially over the past 50 years or so, it seems to me this is both the most difficult to fathom, and the most important. Because truly, our daily habits are affecting our planet, and all of the billions of people who inhabit our earth.

We have written often on this blog about the importance of becoming more ecologically aware, of recycling, of reusing, of not consuming harmful products in the first place.

Scientists tells us, with increasing urgency, that the climate change crisis we are currently facing is real, and that urgent action is needed. The solution(s) to our problem are neither simple, nor anything any one of us can enact on our own.

But on our own, we can realize that our individual actions, when taken collectively, can indeed make a difference.

And that these things matter not only for the health of our beautiful planet, which will indeed survive, no matter what.

But for each and every one of the more than 7 billion people–our fellow human beings–who call this planet home.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher. She is coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home and author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You

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