I was watching a show about tiny houses last night and was simultaneously baffled and amazed. The tiny-house movement is an attempt to simplify your home by—you guessed it—choosing a tiny one! Tiny houses offer typically between 100 and 400 square feet of living space.
While a tiny house isn’t my cup of tea (Where would I put all my shoes?), witnessing real people downsizing from 2,000 square feet to 200 inspired me to think about developing a more minimalist lifestyle, even if that means just starting with the little things. For instance, maybe I can stop stockpiling bobby pins since I know there must be hundreds scattered throughout my house.
Today, do a little something to make a more minimal impact on the planet. Think like a tiny-house dweller and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 30 Years
The other day, I accidentally left my iPhone at home, and I thought, “Is this what it’s like to live off the grid?” Well, not quite. Living off the grid means living without public utilities or access to an electrical grid or water supply. While most of us have a difficult time even imagining such a life, some people relish in it.
Take Jill Redwood, who built a self-sustaining home in Australia and has been living off the grid for 30 years! She has an abundant organic garden, generates her own solar power and gets her water from a local creek. The closest shop is about an hour and a half away, and she manages to visit it only every six months. Her only 21st century reliance is the Internet, which she uses for her freelance writing. Talk about a self-sufficient woman!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Danielle Williams, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
Another remarkably self-sufficient woman is Danielle Williams, the executive director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture, the nonprofit at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Yeah, try saying that five times fast!
The nonprofit focuses on education, outreach and research. Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage has its own governance system made of a five-person village council. It’s considered an “eco town,” a place where people live cooperatively and focus on sustainable living. Dancing Rabbit rests on 280 acres of land and hopes to become a village of 500 to 1,000 people.
Vehicles used in this eco town rely on biodiesel and electricity, and are owned cooperatively. Residents eat local, organic food that is in season, including many homegrown veggies. In an effort to restore the land’s natural ecology, community members have planted more than 12,000 trees.
Dedicated to cultivating a world she wants to pass on to future generations, Danielle has a degree in peace and global studies, which helps inform her vision about sustainability and how ecovillages can become part of a global movement toward creating a better world for everyone. She says while many leaders hide their authenticity and vulnerability, this can actually be a strength. This free-spirited gal also spent three years studying and apprenticing to become a shamanic practitioner, and earned a certificate in hypnotherapy. These are integral parts of what Danielle calls inner sustainability, ways to sustain one’s self in order to contribute from a place of health and happiness.
Danielle truly practices what she preaches. She lives in a tiny home called The Hermitage, an adorable 213-square-foot round house meticulously handcrafted by her partner and made entirely from recycled, upcycled and locally harvested materials. It’s absolutely gorgeous and fits right in among native plants and flowers. In the cold Missouri winters, they heat the home with passive solar and a simple wood stove.
So, maybe you don’t want to give up your city apartment or suburban bungalow to live off the land, but Danielle is living proof that there are ways we can all live a little greener alongside Mother Nature. It’s as simple as the old saying: reduce, reuse, recycle.
QUITE THE QUOTE
We could all stand to make the kind of effort Danielle Williams has, as she is a shining example of something the venerable Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.