Friday, July 24, 2015

Looking to the Future

According to the National Association of Home Builders (Housing Facts, Figures, and Trends for March 2006) the average square-footage of a single family home in the U.S. increased from 983 sq. ft. in 1950 to 2,349 sq. ft. in 2004. In my research for my master's thesis (on Sustainability), in 2002, I found that in 1940 the average was 750 sq. ft. By 1970, the average was only 1500 sq. ft., so the Baby Boomer generation grew up in homes that averaged between 750 and 1500 sq. ft.

According to Emma Johnson, (Forbes The Real Cost of Your Shopping Habits), "In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that figure is 30 outfits — one for every day of the month."

Obviously, I am thinking about these things, in part, because of the issue that I mentioned last time I posted - downsizing. However, it is also due to the greater issue of our impact on the earth. In yesterday's news, there was a report of the finding of a possible second "earth," that may have life on it. This is the first time anything like it has been located in our space exploration, and it is 1400 light years away. (In other words, if we could travel at the speed of light, it would take 1400 years to reach it.) Yet, I heard, to my horror, a newscaster suggest we might be able to move there when we can no longer live here. My belief is that we need, instead, to figure out how we can live on the planet we have.

The other night, PBS aired a program called Humanity from Space. It chronicles the development of man, the technologies that have changed the world and how we interact with one another, and explores our potential challenges to survival.

All of this took me back to the message of Pope Francis about limiting our needs that I mentioned in my post Living in Harmony. We would solve a lot of our problems with that simple prescription. One of the current advocates of this lifestyle is Joshua Becker, who has a blog called "Becoming Minimalist." His self-identified Most Popular Posts are a good place to start in determining how to go about doing so and why.

I hope that you will explore these ideas and see how they would impact your life.

Until next time, wishing you peace and all good.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)


  1. Have you read _Overdressed_ by Elizabeth Cline? She writes about "fast fashion" and its effect on workers' issues, the environment and the poor quality of what passes for fashion. Part of the solution she sees is to revive sewing and tailoring skills. Of course, it's very hard to find decent fabric yardage these days.
    Your flowers are gorgeous. Our butterfly bush is just starting to bloom. We thought the winter had killed it but after a strict pruning it has come back with more vigor than ever.

    1. I haven't read it, though I am aware of the issues involved, having followed them for years on my own. There are more stores that are carrying good fabrics, including organically grown. However, another way to handle it is to reuse fabrics available in used clothing. While some fabrics are not worth working with, reusing fabrics eliminates the production issues, reduces the tonnage sent to textile recyclers in the developing world, and prevents their disposal in landfills.

      The tiger lilies have bloomed with abandon this year. We've lost our butterfly bush, however. Even severe pruning didn't help. We're looking for other ways to invite the butterflies and hummingbirds to visit.