Sunday, 12 October 2008

Why are we here?

I have never been happier than I am now. I do meaningful work, I produce some of my own food in the backyard, there are no commercial chemical cleaners in my home. I cook from scratch and bake almost every day. I am living a simple life with my husband in a home we own, and life, my friends, is good. There was a time when I worked as a technical writer and rewarded myself for work I hated with frequent trips to the mall. Those days are over now because I realised it was draining my soul.

When we started out on this simple path, the world economic climate was as healthy as it had ever been in my lifetime. I was born just after the second world war and although I didn't live through the Great Depression, I had parents who did. We, and everyone else in our neighbourhood, were frugal. Things changed as I became a woman - credit cards were invented, we no longer had to save for what we needed and we all fell for a new way of spending. It was convenient and we could have what we wanted NOW. We all became product rich but we were living in a fool's paradise because our debt made us slaves to the banks.

Last Friday was called Black Friday in my country because the stock exchange crashed, again. Australia is one of the most financially sound economies in the world right now. Our government has zero debt, banks are making huge profits and we have very low unemployment levels. If we are doing it tough, others must be doing it tougher. Economies around the world are very nervous. Just like in the Depression, houses are being foreclosed, people are going bankrupt and money is being withdrawn from bank ... just in case.

Of course, the financial crisis isn't the only problem we face today. We also have climate change, peak oil and millions of methane-belching land fill sites all around the world. Add to that the tons of plastic floating in our oceans, droughts that are drying up our rivers and more cars than the planet can cope with. Our lives are full of plastic, chemicals and over packaging. This isn't the good life we were all promised in the TV advertising. We need to change.

If we hadn't made a move towards this way of life a few years ago, I'd be very nervous right now but we have taken control of our lives and we are always mindful of what we buy and bring into our home. That is just one of the advantages of living the way we do, we make deliberate choices and we have gained a certain amount of independence. We aren't self sufficient, we aren't aiming for that, but we live sustainably and we have learnt how to look after ourselves.

Those of you who have read my personal blog would know how I live. It's a simple life with few frills but we're content with what we have, we're fulfilled by the work we do everyday and we feel confident that even if things got worse, we'd be fine. One of the reasons this blog was set up, with all the wonderful writers that have gathered here, is to help you feel that same confidence. We want to help you get out of debt and live simply, whatever that means to you. Your version of "simple" will be slightly different to mine and everyone else's. But that's fine, we thrive on difference.

There are writers here from all over the world who will show you how they live and hopefully through that you'll learn the necessary skills to stay strong through these tough times. We want to help you not only survive the financial crash, but to create a cleaner and more healthy environment for you and your family, and to live well while you do it. Along the way I hope you'll find happiness and rediscover yourself.

Every time there is a post here, the writer will sign their name and leave a link to their own blog below their name. If you want more information from any of our writers, simply click on that link. In the next week or so we will add a webring here so those of you who have blogs covering the topics we discuss will be invited to join the ring - thus creating a large community of like-minded folk who we can visit via the ring.

Thank you for your visit today. I hope you will be back soon to enjoy and use the resource we are creating.

Rhonda Jean
Down to Earth