Jul 212015

This almost 2-hour long interview was recorded in Samuel Alexander‘s backyard in a Melbourne suburb in April 2015. Part of it is slated to be used in a documentary called “A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity”, written and produced by Jordan Osmond and Samuel Alexander. The documentary is set for release in April 2016. (Kudos for picture and sound quality, guys!)

The fimmakers about their project:

The purpose of the documentary is to unflinchingly describe the overlapping crises of industrial civilisation and explain why a ‘simpler way’ of life, based on material sufficiency not limitless growth, signifies the only coherent response to those crises. The dominant mode of development today seeks to universalise high-consumption consumer lifestyles, but this is environmentally catastrophic and it has produced perverse inequalities of wealth. Even the privileged few who have attained material affluence rarely find it satisfying or fulfilling, because consumerism just leaves people feeling empty and alone. Consequently, our forthcoming documentary seeks to show why genuine progress today means rejecting consumerism, transcending growth economics, and building new forms of life based on permaculture, simple living, renewable energy, and localised economies.

But what does that mean? And how should we go about building a new world? Mainstream environmentalism calls on us to take shorter showers, recycle, buy ‘green’ products, and turn the lights off when we leave the room, but these measures are grossly inadequate. We need more fundamental change – personally, culturally, and structurally. Most of all, we need to reimagine the good life beyond consumer culture and begin building a world that supports a simpler way of life. This does not mean hardship or deprivation. It means focusing on what is sufficient to live well. The premise of our documentary is that a simple life can be a good life.

One of the main concerns driving this documentary, and the Wurruk’an project more generally, is the uncomfortable realisation that even the world’s most successful ecovillages have ecological footprints that are too high to be universalised. In other words, even after many decades of the modern environmental movement, we still don’t have many or any examples of what a flourishing ‘one planet’ existence might look. This is highly problematic because if people do not have some understanding of what sustainability requires of us or what it might look like, it will be hard to mobilise individuals and communities to build such a world. A Simpler Way represents an attempt to envision and demonstrate what ‘one planet’ living might look like and provoke a broader social conversation about the radical implications of living in an age of limits.

We hope that this documentary will challenge and inspire people to explore a simpler way of life and to begin building sufficiency-based economies that thrive within planetary limits. If you feel this is a worthwhile film for social change, please support our project by donating here [link coming soon] and sharing the link with your networks.

Home Forums Interview Nicole Foss for ‘A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity’

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    This almost 2-hour long interview was recorded in Samuel Alexander’s backyard in a Melbourne suburb in April 2015. Part of it is slated to be used in
    [See the full post at: Interview Nicole Foss for ‘A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity’]


    A simpler life is almost as possible as less children! In that both will happen, but not willingly. I have yet to read of, or hear about a society that willingly de-complexified, ever.


    I think the producers should rush this documentary to air or it will no longer be a heads up, for viewers, but rather an explanation of what happened! Nicole…you make so much sense. You crystallize everything that keeps me awake at night yet can’t put into words myself.


    I’m trying to implement a simpler life style.
    I can go camping for a week end and live off a cooler of food.
    Next, I’ll try to implement a camping trip that last for a full week with only what I bring with me.
    I love a hot shower so I don’t know if I’ll be able to have an “ecological footprints that are too high to be universalised.” 😉

    V. Arnold

    @ jal
    There have been solar showers for years; they entail a black plastic bag, hose w/shower head, and a loop to hang from a tree.


    I suppose one could consider what is coming, to be an extended camping trip w/o any luxuries.

    Diogenes Shrugged

    Absolutely brilliant analysis. I’m half way through a second viewing already. Nobody does it better, Nicole.

    At some point, I’d like to hear the TAE thinking about:
    1. Thorium and fusion reactor potential
    2. The TPP and other fascist trade treaties
    3. The use of firearms as a means of defense.

    WRT that third point, Nicole rightly stated that a virtue of small, tight communities is their ability to defend themselves from outside forces. Specifically, how is that successfully done if not with firearms?

    What a beautiful venue for the interview, too. Many thanks.



    You know I just cranked one out, Nicole; and a grand trauma it was. But. Needed doing, and reception has been startlingly good so far. AND – incidentally; my book can be traced back to connecting with you, right here. Long chain but – quite true.

    You’ll reach more with the book. One of the reasons I undertook the horror was talking at a large Permaculture thing- the kids were buying any book you’d wave at them; they’re starving.

    Nicole Foss

    Greenpa, I did get a tentative offer from New Society to write a book, and it is something I need to do at some point. I know how long it would take though, and it would make it more difficult in the meantime for me to write about up to date stuff and get it out to people ASAP. It would be 6 months to write, then 18 months to get published, and it would be too late then to be much of a warning for people. I’ll probably write it as a retrospective when it’s already too late for warnings. I need to update quite a few of my primers and convert them to footnoted essays rather than essays full of hyperlinks. I know I’d reach a lot of people with a book, just not quickly.


    Nicole; yup. It’s a long process all right. I was approached to write a book about Topic A; thought hard about it for a year and ended up telling the publisher “I can’t; takes too long…” They came back with “Well – how about a book on just one aspect?” Still took a year to write; but… it was probably worth it. I think. 🙂


    US dry gas production is going up again (and has been for quite some time) after a long recent plateau. Why is that? I was expecting a fall, after the plateau, but it started rising again, and continued. If the gas rig count is down and wells are depleting at 60% per year, I don’t understand how production can continue to rise, even while wholesale prices remain depressed.

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