The Necessity of More Authentic Living without Excess Consumption

By the MESA advisory and executive committees, March 27, 2014

It is no longer sufficient  to merely protest “supply side” assaults on the environment such as coal-fired power plants, fracking, tar sands & oil shale in Utah, the Keystone XL pipeline, nuclear power on the Green River.

All these actions are necessary and MESA supports them. But these actions address only one-half of the problem, namely, the supply of dirty energy. As long as the demand for gasoline and electricity continues unabated, fossil and nuclear energy supply will find their way to the market despite protests at individual power plants, pipelines, and mines.

This is why MESA is sponsoring a “demand-side” conference to be held on October 3rd of 2014, which will explain to the Utah public that, for most people living here, a switch to a more modest lifestyle with a smaller use of natural resources is necessary, and in fact urgent, in order to prevent unacceptable climate damage for the younger generation living today (and their children).

Modest lifestyles without overuse of Earth’s natural bounty are required by our Mormon principles of earth stewardship, and also by many other religions.

Voluntary simplicity by all who are blessed with affluence is an act of compassion because it frees up resources so that the many people living in poverty can satisfy their basic human needs.

Such a change in lifestyles makes people happier, allowing them to live more authentic lives with more time for friends, family, and for community activities.

Finally, if we simplify our lives now, we will not only slow down future climate damage but also will help us adapt to the damage already done.

There are so many positives about making the shift to simplicity that many “lifestyle pioneers” have already begun to act on this idea, and many more are pondering its benefits. The aim of the conference is to give voice to and enhance this cultural shift and coordinate the movement toward an institutional framework that will allow a simpler, more authentic life to become a real option for all of us. 

MESA is looking for volunteers to help us plan and host this conference in Utah.  Please contact us by email or phone to volunteer.  Thank you!



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3 comment(s) on “The Necessity of More Authentic Living without Excess Consumption

  • I affirm the 3/31 administrative posting for the need for more authentic living without excess consumption BUT I URGE EVEN MORE AUTHENTICITY. Can we please advocate adopting some numbers into arguments made for the upcoming October conference? Bluntly, asking “Whether ‘supply side is 1/2 the problem’?” Is not numeric enough to provide guidance. I attended a meeting in SLC where a lady asked any engineers in the audience to please devote themselves to attaining 100 mpg cars to save ourselves from the plight of fossil fuel catastrophe. As one of her targets, I considered and realized everyone wants a “Lone Ranger ‘Silver Bullet,’ FIX-ALL.” Reality is People/ Culture / Religion change is key – NOT TECHNOLOGY! The 100 mpg car won’t significantly change things when each additional child wipes out all the earnest consumption controls of dozens of responsible, earth-minded people! My Christian roots imbue me with a destructive myth that this sweet planet is a rest stop on the “Highway to Heaven.” I think about the rest stops I’ve known and it is no pretty picture – a place to refuel, attend to body functions, eat lousy food and move on — before the odors stick to your clothes. TIME FOR ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. I’ve adjusted my religion.

    How about a principle of respect for “The interdependent web of existence of which we are a part?” This implies stewardship and crunching the numbers to set forth targets of sustainability and abandoning false beliefs of dominion over the lesser inhabitants and limitless growth and technological silver bullets.

    Going forth and multiplying looks like long division for my offspring. I stopped at ONE in an act of love to my fellow travellers. I don’t want my son or grand daughter going off to war for land or fresh water or fuel or down-winder’s rights.

    DO REVEALATIONS ONLY COME TO TEMPLE SQUARE? There is an interesting guy at Stanford named Paul Ehrlich. Others have done numbers-prophesy – shouldn’t we reflect forward on the meaning of the next 7 decades being at least as important as the first 7 days?

    • Ty Markham

      Charles, thanks for your insightful comments and astute recommendations! Ray Wheeler and Hans Ehrbar are two of our board members at MESA most adept at addressing the issue/s you raise here. I will share your comment post with them for a response to you on this site and also by email. (Sorry for the long delay!)

    • Ray Wheeler


      I love this post and your “rest stop” metaphor. I hope you will come on as a regular op-ed writer for this web site and for the corresponding MESA Facebook web site, for both of which Ty Markham is the editor in chief to whom submissions should be sent.

      I would be interested in hearing more of your personal history; I have suggested that we create a web page where people can post brief biographical sketches of themselves, their communities and families. More coming by personal email.

      Ray Wheeler

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