MELINDA
Ok. In this video we’re going to look at why living sustainably – even in a community setting – is actually really hard.

RICHARD
It’s very hard. Even with best of intentions we’re still miles from where we were even less than a hundred years ago in terms of consumption and waste. I was listening to an interview recently with a guy who was born in the 1930s who said the idea of having trash was a completely foreign concept when he was growing up (in the country of course). They just didn’t throw anything away. Even when they’d occasionally buy a sack of flour or sugar they’d use the sack to make dresses for the girls in the family. Can you imagine?

MELINDA
What? Myself in a flour sack? I don’t think so. But it’s true you can’t really be a part of modern society without being a part of a wasteful approach to our use of the earth’s resources that would have been unimaginable decades ago. There’s also the question of travel. …So for the Bruderhof, we have communities all around the world and there’s a lot of travel back and forth between them (not to mention plenty of travel elsewhere as well). But this, of course, has a negative impact on the earth’s resources and increases greenhouse gas emission. But even if we could, would we want to go back to a world where we’re so extremely local with little concept of what different cultures and societies look like?

RICHARD
Well I don’t know if all our globe–trotting has made us into particularly better people. I lived for a year in a village in an underdeveloped country where there were people in their 60s who’d never gone as far as 5 miles down the road. Everything they needed was local. And they were great people to hang out with.

MELINDA
Hmmm. But I bet you flew there. Anyhow, one thing’s for certain: probably the thing that makes sustainable living the hardest is the issue of convenience and efficiency. Living sustainably takes much more work and forethought. That’s why we love our disposable stuff so much. It makes life so easy.

RICHARD
Convenience is one way to look at it, but I think it also has to do with pace of life. Living in a way that’s sustainable forces you to slow your life down and do really mundane things like washing a coffee cup instead of using a disposable one or fixing an appliance instead of buying a new one on Amazon. It’s getting to be a lost art. If we truly want to live sustainably we have to start living deliberately.

MELINDA
Nice work Thoreau. But I think you’re right. Living sustainably does require slowing down, eschewing convenience, and being settled in the place you’re living.

RICHARD
Shouldn’t be too much to ask.

MELINDA
Just don’t look for me in a flour sack any time soon.

RICHARD
Fair enough. Make sure to like, subscribe, and ring the bell. In our next video we’re going to be talking with someone who’s made a big difference to the patch of earth he lives on.