The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money. “Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.
But “Living” is also a key word in our name and our vision. “Living” should be mindful and purposeful, but also celebratory and filled with beauty, joy and gratitude. Defining what is meant by living well, or by a life well lived, is as relevant today as it was to the ancients — and as difficult.
Combining these words, “Slow Living” is a more reflective approach to answering how we live, work and play as human beings on a fragile Earth. When we Live Slow, we give back and become more strongly connected to the Earth, to our communities, to our neighbors and to ourselves. A Slow Life is one that seeks the right balance between spirituality, sensuality, introspection and community. A Slow Life recognizes our role as members of our bioregions and of our Earth, taking a nourishing, rather than extractive approach.
What a Slow Living world looks like
- Slow Living is living within our means and living within the means the Earth can sustainably provide.
- Slow Living is more time for family, community, and self. It is a fuller and more prosperous life in terms of human happiness and fulfillment.
- Slow Living is vibrant communities and bioregions with strong economic and social resilience connected to like-minded communities in a worldwide network of mutual learning and support.
- Slow Living encourages Sacred Economics — a gift-centered economy with more connected and sustainable ways of doing business, commerce and investing, getting the food and energy we need, and making the decisions that govern our lives based on stewardship and giving.
- Slow Living celebrates and rewards socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurship and activism.
- Slow Living means building sustainable communities, with businesses, schools, non-profits, and governmental entities based on the needs of our ecosystem, rather than our individual wants.
The Slow Living Vision
The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.
The Slow Living Vision is already being realized all over the world by an amazing array of people who are working on new pathways. These include not only sustainable agriculture, community building, renewable energy, reforestation, social justice, new economic models and resource conservation, but also deeper explorations into the wisdom of indigenous people, feminine and masculine wisdom, and the roles of the arts, ethics, philosophy, science, spirituality and religion in healing the Earth.
We come from all walks of life. We live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities. We are young and old, wealthy and struggling. We are all seeking a better way, a saner way, and a happier way to live and organize their lives.
We will come together in Brattleboro, Vermont for the 2013 Slow Living Summit — June 5-7, 2013.
Farmers’ Market photo by Corey Templeton, used under Creative Commons License.