Growing up, I was never explicitly taught anything about environmentalism. I learned an appreciation for nature through my dad who took my brothers and I fishing throughout our childhood. Our love for the outdoors has blossomed as we continued to explore and grow. My appreciation for nature certainly laid the basis for my current interest in environmentalism. The influence from my mom set in much later in life.
Twelve by Twelve features a loose theme about the value of simplicity. The author experienced a vastly different life while living in Jackie’s humble cabin. This life was more modest than his previous existence and certainly more modest than the lives of most people in the developed world. Although his standard of living would be considered lower than his previous, I believe the author would argue that his quality of life was higher.
As long as I can remember, my mom would always tell us “less is more.” What? This short, contradictory statement makes sense now, but I haven’t always been able to appreciate it. As a child, I thought it was stupid and didn’t really make any sense. Of course more is better. Who wouldn’t want to have more of something good? Of course now, I get what she was saying. Even though she is in no way an environmentalist, she really values minimalism. Many people see our house as empty, but I see the lack of clutter as just less overwhelming and more room to breathe. Whenever we would go on vacation, we always were limited to packing just one bag. To her, having just a couple things to reuse throughout the trip was enough. Nothing could stress my mom out more than having too much junk or having too many things going on at once.
This lifestyle meshes extremely well with living in harmony with the environment. The less stuff you have or use, the less pollution created.
In today’s world, it is hard to try and live simply. With all the busyness going on in our lives and the focus on consumerism, culture pushes in the opposite direction. I struggle to find minimalism in my life, but I try to take advantage of the opportunities I receive. I would argue that nature is complex, but moving closer to nature, living in harmony with the earth and spending more time outdoors are all ways to live simpler.
I don’t think that everyone has to try and live in this fashion. Jackie’s existence is on the far spectrum of simplicity. To me, everyone has different desires and comfort levels. I cannot say that not living a simple life is bad, but I can say that less is more and living simply isn’t worse than an average existence.