Who wouldn’t want freedom from economic slavery? What would a world of economic honesty look like? Many of us sing: “I OWE, I OWE IT’S OF TO WORK I GO”. In reply to this mournful choir you may hear voices offering hopeful refrains. Ted Trainer urges us to explore simple living. His is an alternative to the obsessive consumer slavery.
Here’s the good news! It costs nothing to aim for lower expenditure. There is no risk of failure in our quest for freedom. Challenging the economics of global consumption can benefit us in surprising ways. We can stop to smell the roses, enrich our social interactions, question what we really need and reduce our waste. Some of us will develop creative, productive habits. Others might explore green technologies. We can all build lifestyles that work toward physical and mental health and a healthier, more peaceful Earth. “What people must see is that ecologically sane, socially responsible living is good living; that simplicity makes for an existence that is free.” – Theodore Roszak
Dr Ted Trainer is a visiting Fellow at the University of NSW. He invites us to go one step further than the noble pursuit for freedom from economic slavery. He suggest we turn work into fun. Much of Ted’s work is invisible. He explores the intricacies of social connections and aims to find ways to support inventive and creative thinkers.
On his alternative lifestyle education site at Pig-face Point, Sydney, Ted has a playful approach to food production. He shifts the focus from a sense of work to a sense of exploration and creation.
Ted says “Work doesn’t feel like work when you’re having fun”. Part of his site was designed for fun (bridges, arches, islands, caves, etc.) and other parts have purpose (dams, rammed earth shed, cob oven, and home-made furniture from found branches. He uses his site as a model to show people how to create an interconnected, well-resourced and equipped ‘village’ or housing complex. Here is one of his students 3D models where we can see retrofits of whole suburbs to better connect the community, reduce waste and increase local production.
Ted is like a happy nutty professor escaped from the lab! He has a lot of energy experiments (tidal energy, water wheels, methane gas, composting toilets, etc.) For years I had believed someone else that said that a methane converter couldn’t work in our cooler climate. Now I know that to be untrue. Simple bio-gas chambers off composting toilets can work in warm-temperate zones. Ted had one working off his toilet. If Ted, hadn’t bravely tried this, I wouldn’t have seen it for my eyes. He also had some low-tech stuff which demonstrated in a fun way, like a simple hose coiled to pump water as you turn it.
Essentially his experiments are not just about the individual successes or failures. His efforts show that is worth trying new things and not just believing other people’s assertions. Ted has an inspiring attitude. Some of Ted’s writings are available online at social sciences at University of New South Wales and at the simplicity institute.
This Video is a Ted Trainer Interview on ‘The Simpler Way’