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By Mary Grigsby

An exploration of the voluntary simplicity circulation together with reviews from easy livers and a glance at classification, race, and gender during this stream.

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Buying Time and Getting by: The Voluntary Simplicity Movement

An exploration of the voluntary simplicity stream together with reviews from basic livers and a glance at category, race, and gender during this circulation.

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The sicknesses of people and the planet are linked” (1997, 9). The ideology of voluntary simplicity presents a potentially apocalyptic vision of the future, one that is actually widely circulated in the society, but voluntary simplicity authors maintain that humans choosing to simplify can prevent it. Voluntary simplicity ideology emphasizes human responsibility and ability to control the environ-mental future of the world through making choices in keeping with an ecological ethic. 32 Buying Time and Getting By Most simple livers I interviewed have a vision of the future that includes the very real possibility of environmental collapse and feel it is their responsibility to use daily practices that reduce their contribution to the processes that will cause such an outcome.

Plus the terrain within the movement is contested and the culture emerging in circles and among simple livers is fluid and open to alterations. The voluntary simplicity movement is so “loosely bounded” (Neitz 1994) and changing so quickly that to claim to capture essential elements of its ideology and practices means doing so for only a moment or two in time. And yet, the movement does have distinctive contours that have continuity. There are several consistent patterns in what voluntary simplicity writers make salient, downplay, or leave out of their accounts.

Com/), and that informants say are good. The first text of the movement that I encountered was an audio tape of Cecile Andrews’s book The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life (1997) that I checked out of the public library in the midwestern college town where I live, because they didn’t have the book in print in the collection. 1 Even now, when I think about the book it draws up the image of the walk I took as I listened to the tape. I walked along a nature trail that winds through the old established neighborhood where I live close to campus, in a duplex nestled among houses inhabited by a high percentage of faculty and other university employees, mostly middle-income families.

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