Holiday Reflections On Living Smaller, Living Lighter

December 22, 2012

Christmas TreeObserving the obsessions of most people during this season that seems to revolve almost exclusively around consumption, the simple ideas of living smaller and living lighter on our environment might appear almost sacrilegious.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit a local big-box retailer to pick up a couple of modest items. This is one of those super-superstores with everything from groceries to pets, to electronics, to hardware. As I searched for the makings for humus to go along with the bag of carrots I had in hand (no kidding, that’s what I was there for) I found myself amazed at the show around me.

Throngs of my fellow shoppers certainly appeared to be hell-bent on anything but modest consumption. Cart after cart shoved past, each full to the brim with new plastic doodads, electronics of the latest craze, and enough processed boxed food and red meat to choke any artery.

Everyone was friendly enough, in their harried way–this is not one of those tales of rudeness and lack of Christmas spirit. I was just taken aback at the frantic pace of buying that is ubiquitous with this holiday season in the western hemisphere.

Rethinking The Consumer-centric Life: A Video

Last summer my family and I had the opportunity to join Andrew Morrison for a week of camping in the central Oregon and building a strawbale home. Andrew is a talented builder and even more talented instructor of strawbale building methods.

We were attending one of Andrew’s strawbale construction workshops, during which students actually build a strawbale home.

Over the course of the week, Andrew relayed the story of how he and his wife, along with their twelve year old daughter moved into a 125 square foot popup tent trailer in Baja Mexico.

Andrew’s tales of his experience in that trailer, along with the lessons those months taught him about family, what’s important in life, appreciation of nature, and our consuming ways as a society, made for a meaningful dialogue after each hard day of work.

Below is a simple video Andrew recorded about some of these experiences. Call it an antidote to the seasonal consuming craziness.

I have to admit, these stories were better delivered while sitting around a campfire on a summer night with the gentle roll of thunder in the distance. Still, watch. I think you will come away with something meaningful.

Clicking on the image below will take you to Andrew’s video page:

About the Author:

David Arthur is a LEED-AP and contributor to



David Arthur

David holds a Masters of Science degree, is a USGBC LEED-AP, Green Building Consultant, and Energy Auditor. In addition, David holds professional certifications in green building and construction management.