Anil Rajvanshi

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Is it possible to live a modern and sustainable life in 30-40 GJ/person/year energy consumption? This is almost 1/10th of that used by US.

One of the major problems of modern world is the runaway consumptive lifestyle of western nations. I am proposing for debate whether we can live a sustainable and emotionally satisfying life in about 30-40 GJ/person/year energy consumption. This is almost 1/10th that used by an average American citizen.

I have shown with my own example that it is possible to do so

One of the important factor in simplifying life is to reduce the greed for resources and that is possible by becoming spiritual. Spirituality allows us to have a perspective in life and caps our greed for material goods.

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    Jun 1 2011: I am no electrical engineer but it seems to me utilizing "joule thiefs" on devices and or power supply lines would help get the most out of what we are currently producing (no pun intended of course). Efficiency and reducing waste are key factors to accomplishing this goal.

    A joule thief is a circuit that can stretch the amount of power, Somewhat like watering down the lemonade to make it last longer.

    This is a little video in the Bill Nye Stylee to explain the concept.
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    May 31 2011: Dear Anil,
    It is absolutely possible to live a modern sustainable, emotionally satisfying life with less consumption in western cultures. How do I know? I do it:>) A great gift to me was that my parents were very conscious of the environment, and also low income, with 8 kids to feed and take care of, so we learned from an early age to recycle, reuse, restore, and grow our own food. It is pleasurable to know that we are living a healthy life while helping to protect the environment.

    I notice in your introduction, you write: It "is possible by becoming spiritual". Do you think this statement may limit the number of people who might participate in this discussion? There are many people who do not consider themselves spiritual, and are still very engaged in the process of protecting our environment.
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    May 30 2011: i'm not entirely sure this is the way we are going. technology can (soon) provide with clean and cheap energy. technology also can (soon) provide with sustainable cheap materials. and so on. we should focus on these efforts, rather than limiting our lifestyles.
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    Tero -

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    May 30 2011: I will write my opinion and then get into reading your example.
    I believe we can. It wouldn't even require a hugely significant change in life (if adapted as a whole, or you have the resources to do so). By this, I mean: recycle, use public transport/your own body to go to places, buy energy efficient equipment and only use them when necessary, flush only when necessary, try to grow some of your own herb & vegetables, and most of it could be achieved by creating energy efficient households that: are built with earth sustaining materials, have things like solar panels and kinetic energy, with space for gardening and the such.. Currently, I'm living a rather wasteful life (Western life) but I do recycle, buy used clothes as well as pass my clothes on, flush only when needed (at home), turn off electrical equipment, buy organic and I do grow some of my own herbs.

    My personal ideal would be to make enough money to create a close to self-sustained building with my own water well, and garden area, in nature.. we can all dream :) lets see what happens with the world first.. Fukushima, US hyperinflation, wars and all other things considered..

    After reading your article, I must say you are an impressive man. I hope that society can learn from examples, such as yourself, and become more self-sustained, much less wasteful and harmful to society.. however, the way things are with LDC's aspiring to be more Western and increase 'GDP' and with CO2 emissions being historically the highest ever last year... its hard to see this happening.. Perhaps if we get more examples, such as yourself.

    Keep up the good work and spread your methodology and ideas further!
  • May 29 2011: Having read your excerpt, I am strongly inclined to agree - however, as an American, I find the biggest barrier to sustainable living is a cultural one. My family, in particular my mother, expect a lot of things from me for the sake of following the norm. On a basic level, my definition of "good" gravitates towards the affordable, durable, and simple, while theirs gravitates towards the elaborate, expensive, and spotless. Many times I've argued in vain to prevent them from making purchases on my behalf - jackets and boots and clothes that are still usable, but must be replaced because they don't meet their standards.

    I suspect many Americans face this problem; so long as there is cultural resistance to simple living, it will be difficult to pursue on a personal level. I hope that this will change, however, and intend to do what I can for myself in that regard.
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      May 29 2011: Thanks. The very fact that you feel about this issue means you will do something about it specially your generation. Just spread the message. All the best.