The coming years hold many challenges. We can help ourselves, our loved ones and the earth by making some changes in how we live. These changes are not minor and may seem intimidating, but they hold the possibility of every bit as much happiness as our current lifestyles. It may take time to consider how to transition to a different way of living, but here are some things to consider:
- Family: Keep your family small. The fewer of us there are to compete for the limited resources of the earth, the better off each of us – and the planet – will be. And because personal connections and community are essential to happiness, consider what community ties you can form that are not family-based. Maximize family interactions by living near other family members. Bring children who have been dislocated from their homes and have lost family members into your family. Find meaningful ways to include older family members in family activities.
- Housing: Keep your place of living small. Do not divide your life between two (or more) homes that you maintain at the same time. Unless you are a farmer or have another livelihood that is dependent on being in a rural area, live in a densely populated area with a small yard or no yard, unless you are actively producing much of your own food.
- Transportation: Get rid of your car, or get a solar-powered car. Yes, this probably sounds difficult to most of us, but it is the future. Walk, bike or use public transportation to get around. Avoid long trips by living near places where you work, go to school and shop.
- Food: Eat less meat, or no meat. It is possible to get complete protein in your diet by combining grains and legumes, e.g. rice and beans, corn tortillas and beans, a peanut-butter sandwich on whole-grain bread. Buy foods that are local, organic and in-season. It is good for your family’s health and also the health of farm workers and the earth. Do not waste food.
- Recreation: Take vacations close to home. Avoid motorized forms of recreation. There are many other ways to have fun and build friendships: card and other indoor games, ball games, music, hiking and biking . . . happiness is one thing that does not have limited availability.