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The Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle:Simple or Complicated?

Anderes Land
Publication Date
  • Social Sciences
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Sozialwissenschaften
  • Soziologie
  • Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle
  • Voluntary Simplicity
  • Nine Dimensions Of Simplicity
  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Sociology
  • Soziologie
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Education
  • Geography
  • Philosophy


Simplicity is generally considered an important characteristic of the environmentally friendly lifestyle. This article questions this tenet. Nine dimensions of simplicity are proposed: non-ownership, lack of power, aesthetics, behaviour, naturalness, freedom of movement, the sedentary life/faithfulness to a place, education, and living lightly. Using these categories, the question is asked whether the cultural stereotype of simplicity corresponds to reality. The images of the environmentally friendly lifestyles are analysed from an everyday perspective, including radical forms of self-sufficiency. The result is a conclusion contrary to the common belief: while the life of the typical consumerist is simple, the life of environmental virtue is complex. This finding directs attention to one part of N. Elias’ sociological theory, which understands the civilisation process as the replacement of simple behaviour with complex rituals.

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