A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity
by Jordan Osmund and Samuel Alexander (2016)
A Simpler Way is about an experiment in radical voluntary simplicity in Victoria Australia in 2016 Using donated land, volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and the UK agree to opt out of the money/corporate system and spend a year in an intentional community. The documentary is a record of their experiences.
The premises behind this experiment, called The Simpler Way Project, are as follows:
1. Contemporary civilization has begun to exceed the limits of a finite planet – the fragile Earth cannot support and indefinite increase in people living affluent lifestyles.
2. Technology and the free market can’t save us.
3. We can’t afford to wait for government to find a solution.
4. It’s up to ordinary people to figure out ways of meeting their basic needs that consume fewer resources.
Most of the film focuses on the shelters they erected (after seeking outside expertise) – a combination of tiny houses built from recycled construction materials, cobb houses (see The Revolutionary Mud House Movement) and earthships (see The Earthship Movement: Transforming Garbage into Homes).
Although they would try to grow most of their own food, initially they rely on local organic food from CSA’s (see Top 10 Reasons to Join a CSA). They cook with a combination of open fire and solar and mud overs.
Most find it far more satisfying relying on themselves and other community members to meet their survival needs, as opposed to working at a desk for money. The biggest challenge for all of them is learning the communication and conflict resolution skills necessary to make group decisions. A few become so frustrated with this process they leave and are replaced by new volunteers.