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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Twelve by Twelve

A one-room cabin off the grid and beyond the American dream – by William Powers
“Walden for the global warming era -- A memoire of what can be gained by going without”

I recently read this book Twelve by Twelve.   The title interested me right away with my interest in living a more sustainable life.  How does an individual live in a one-room cabin, off the grid, in North America, where the seasons and weather changes from very hot in the summer to freezing/snow covered in winter ?   And why would they when they could have more?   A lot of people all over the world live like this and some would consider this luxury – however, in this book it was a choice. 

A Successful American physican chooses to live off the grid, in a 12 x 12 cabin, without running water or electicity near a no-name creek in North Carolina  -- why?   She’s a tax resister.   She could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, but chooses to only earn $11,000 – so she doesn’t pay income tax.   She chooses to live in a 12 x 12 one room cabin, because it doesn’t count as a house, you don’t pay property tax and don’t receive electric lines, sewage or roads from the state. 
Friends call her a wisdomkeeper – elder women who inspire us to dig more deeply into life.
She was completely engaged in permacultre, wildcrafting, activism and doctoring – contributing to a high purpose, a love for life – none of which were linked to material positions. 

Some of the gains talked about in the book are, sense of community – sharing with neighbours,
a smaller footprint, learning to live in harmony with nature and each other, living lightly and artfully, gaining a deeper appreciation for the preciousness of water and the natural world.  "The joy of simplifying one's material life is you don't have to work long hours to buy and maintain a bunch of stuff."

This motivating book offers penetrating insights on clues for a smaller footprint, the joy of ordinariness and a more meaningful life.    It is not a “how to” kind of book – it is very thought provoking – let your imagination run wild and see how some little steps can change your footprint and meaning on life.  Well worth the read.


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