Hey there! I’m Jim Garlits, the protagonist for a new lifestyle that is gentle on the planet and supportive of universal human needs. I want to form a massive digitally connected tribe bent on saving the Earth and ourselves.
It seems that even with all of our relentless activity, people are becoming less happy every year. We’re stressed out. Our resilience is wearing thin, and we feel powerless in the face of some very daunting challenges. What kinds of challenges? Personal ones, to begin with. We are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, and from nature. We work ourselves ragged just to cobble together some semblance of that constantly flashing advertisement for “the good life,” where success is measured by the number of toys we own, the age of the cars we drive, and the exclusivity of our addresses. Isn’t that a bit tired?
The most woke among us have discovered that if everyone on this planet adopted the Western lifestyle, it would take at least five Earths to support the collective ecological footprint. America alone makes up only five percent of the global population, but we consume a fourth of the energy produced. Who else thinks that is unfair? We like to rail against “the one-percent” but fail to recognize that more than a third of the world makes about $2 per day, or about $700 per year. Those of us who make $70,000 per year are the one-percent to the global poor.
And globally, the challenges can seem insurmountable. There is a vortex of plastic garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas, but we keep churning out tons of single-use plastic bottles and containers, and recycling practically none of them. We are guzzling down the last of the fossil fuels yet most businesses and consumers turn a blind eye to renewable energy, all the while helping to heating up the atmosphere to near catastrophic levels. The polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. We’re poisoning our soil with petrochemicals, the runoff washes into the creeks, the creeks into the rivers, and the rivers into the seas. Coral reefs are dying. Species are going extinct at an exponential rate. Whew!
But what can the average person do?
During nearly twenty years of research into the reasons why, amid such supposed abundance, everyone seems so down and the planet is under assault, I found that people are much happier when they are allowed to live at a comfortable human scale and pace. But it wasn’t until more recently that I discovered an even more important connection. Adopting this new lifestyle would also save the Earth. In researching the thoughts of some of the greatest minds of the past century, I discovered a way out. A way forward. A way to a bright and sustainable future.
The New Leaf Lifestyle
It will only be through adopting such a lifestyle that people like you and me can reverse the threat to our planet caused by our current lifestyle.
Society is no longer structured to encourage that, and it hasn’t been for over a century, but nobody wants to go back to that time even if it were possible. That is why it will take deliberate action to make it happen in our day. The deck seems to be stacked against us, but that is only an illusion. We have the power to create a bright future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.
I’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting in completing the first draft of “The New Leaf Lifestyle” but I can’t do the next steps alone. That includes the recent release of the short but power packed New Leaf Manifesto, available for free right now (Amazon is charging 99 cents until they price-match the other ebook retailers). I’m looking to create a group of like-minded collaborators who will help me push this boulder the rest of the way up the hill. You’ll also get to watch it roll down the other side, if you stick with it! Organizers like to talk about the importance of grassroots activism. I like grass and I like roots, but I’m not an organizer or an activist. I’m a disruptor. I’m not a seed, I’m a weed. Will you be part of this tribe that will be large enough and persuasive enough to change whole societies for the better? We could be seeds, sure, and bloom where we are planted, but we wouldn’t stand out. If you’re looking at a lawn, you don’t really notice the grass, you notice the dandelions. I like dandelions better than grass, so I think we need more weeds in this monoculture.
I’m writing “The New Leaf Lifestyle,” to show the world (especially the developed world) how to practice what society clearly abandoned decades ago in favor of a quest for more things that don’t inspire happiness or well being. More and more people are discovering that the dreams we thought would lead us to happiness have instead led us to a different destination, where our water is tainted with dangerous chemicals, the soil nutrients in our farm fields are nearly depleted, the climate is growing unstable, and we export these woes to struggling countries around the globe in the name of progress. It is tempting to believe that there is nothing that one individual can do to change any of this. That may be true, but if enough of us adopt a new lifestyle that reverses the damage, reconnects us to each other and to the natural world, and enough other people see the positive results in the lives of those who adopt this lifestyle, then we have an opportunity to change the world – saving ourselves and the planet in the process.
That is what the New Leaf Lifestyle is all about.
G. K. Chesterton once wrote that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, so in that spirit, I know that my grand experiment of living life at a gentle human scale and pace will lead me into a truly bright future envisioned by some of the greatest thinkers in recent (and ancient!) history. As I said, for years I have been piecing together what I call the golden thread of thought running through the words of writers like Fritz Schumacher, Kirkpatrick Sale, Manfred Max-Neef, David Brower, Helena Norberg-Hodge and David Wann. My goal is to be completely transparent with you as I detail my trials and successes in my blog posts, podcasts, and books. For the ones who are brave enough to adopt this new lifestyle, I appreciate your company. One step at a time, we can regain our birthright: The right to go slow. To be small. To live locally, happily, with a spirit that is wild and free. Sound good to you? Let’s do this! If you want to learn more, click the leaf below.