Taking Things a Step Farther- Small is Beautiful


My friend Jim wrote this in response to my blog “The Day The Cars Stopped Rolling.”

“Last night I walked through a neighboring sub division and discovered, not everyone is wallowing in the gloom and doom of the faltering economy. I saw Escalades, Hummers, and a multitude of vehicles that must have cost over $100.00 to fill every time they pulled in for refueling last year.These cars would never have made it through one night in the area I grew up in as a kid! They would have looked liked scared turtles missing their wheels and their engines.
I also noticed that these cars were parked outside concrete castle-like homes, that had a multitude of lights on, and doors wide open. This journey made me think: am I fighting a losing battle trying to conserve electricity and gasoline. When does this fight to conserve and save become a hockey game… a knock down drag out affair! I would love to see concrete castle dude tell his neighbors “Hey let’s have a candlelight cook out on our block (keeping the lights off in our homes), or hey guys “can we car pool to work”.
I am really glad I lead the life I do. One where conserving and saving is the norm for a multitude of reasons. I think it s a good lesson to think before you do and treat the environment as though we are guests and not only the strong and the rich survive. “

I believe that Jim got it right. We have to conserve, make do with a little less. What does it really mean to live well. Living in a big house or living in a real home. Driving in a tank of a car or having a good vehicle that save on gas and still gets us from point A to point B?

Let take this thinking one step further. I think big houses with miles of living space is ridiculus. Think about it. We have built large houses that eventually became out of reach of most if not many I   Americans. So, that people could buy these houses, we invented the sub-prime mortgage. People rush to buy the houses that they always dreamed of having. At least they were told that that is what the American dream, was supposed to be. The sub-prim loan business went bust and now they lost their home. Housing failed and we are stuck in this country with thousands of large home that have become empty, meaningless shells-ghost homes.

If we had built smaller homes that did not cost as much to build, perhaps people could have bought them with regular loans. They would have been smaller for sure but they would be filled with families and laughter. Not what we have now.

Of course cities and towns made codes that specified what home could be built and what square foot size they should be. A big mistake. Now they are left with home that are empty and neighborhoods deteriorating. What is the use of building large homes for the property tax if the people that would have bought the homes cannot live in them any more? A great community of homes is only as good when you have people in them.

When I was growing up, my family lived in a home that was about 800 square feet in area. There were five of us. We managed and did well living there. When my parents became older and couldn’t climb the stairs to the bedrooms we built an addition that took care of that problem and I moved in upstairs and used it like an apartment. We used the space in the house to the best advantage. Thare was no waste of space, ever.

Now that my Mom in a nursing home, unfortunately, I live here alone. It’s really too bug for me. But it’s my mother’s home, so I won’t sell it right now. Perhaps some day I might. But any when my Mother is no longer here. Then I’ll find a place to live that fits my circumstances. Small is beautiful.

Same thing for autos. How many cars can you drive. Do you need a Hummer to Ge to work. Would a Neon do or perhaps a Focus? Unless you live in a wilds of Alaska, and not in Chicago, I think the Ficus would do. I know that these days, every one needs a car; you, you wife, your older kids. But if you car pooled with others, perhaps your wife or kid can have one of the cars and you could not only save gas, but save on insurance, maintainence, and what ever else you might save on cars.

I noticed that people are getting smaller cars these days. I think that’s good. I also see more older model cars these days. People are finding out that they can’t afford the larger cars and SUV’s any more.
Perhaps people are finally learning. I like to think so. We have a long way to go, but the first steps are being taken. We need to take this into more aspects of our lives. Small Is Beautiful.

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