So I am putting together the Happy, simply handbook for people who can come and stay in the Happy, simply home after I leave in a week and a bit from now (I know only get to spend two weeks in my home before I have to leave for the rest of the year!!! Polio eradication won’t wait…).
Anyway here are a few excerpts to let people know about the Happy, simply story from a dream to idea, concept, plan, project and now a reality… Also a slideshow of the incredible Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast (map) where the Happy, simply project is in residence.
The Happy, simply home is just one part of the model. To sleep, eat and be housed in simplicity is currently seen as unique, novel or almost a gimmick. The Happy, simply home is a way of living where we don’t need everything and therefore want very little.
The home is 10m2 with a loft for sleeping which determines just enough is plenty. There is no space for extras but it is enough to be warm, dry comfortable and to carry out daily needs (the real and essential ones).
The home was made by a group of volunteers from mostly reused, recycled, leftover and donated materials. It was a community-building and learning experience where the process was just as important as the end product. There is more info on the home later.
Essentials are local, seasonal, organic, natural and where people and environment are put first ahead of profits, wants and at the expense of humans and nature.
The idea for the Happy, simply model around food is to have our own organic garden either on the roof – fed by rainwater, filtering it in the process and usable for grey-water or a simple garden(s) surrounding the home.
We actually don’t need a huge amount of water per person as I have learnt from the world’s poorest who don’t have long hot showers to ‘wake them’ up’ in the morning or make showering a habit instead of a need.
The Happy, simply model tries to be self-sufficient in water. Capturing rainwater, storing it and using it as needed. Some of the practices around this are: drinking rainwater; using water twice – once for cleaner activities like face and hand washing, washing dishes, rinsing food, etc and then again for things like watering the garden, using for cleaning floors, bicycle, etc, and diluting toothpaste and urine for better disposal; having showers as needed (when dirty or smelly); and giving water a value.
Of course we rethink, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle but this is the starting point not the end point. The other more practical components for the Happy, simply model are a bio-compostable toilet, a worm farm, composting, not having a fridge and an aim to be as waste free as possible.
Reduction in waste is an important element to a Happy, simply lifestyle. This means not having too much to begin with. Our consumption of ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ contributes a significant amount to not only our carbon foot print but also to our unhappiness as we aim to have everything, updating, keeping up with others and then being ‘happy’ – even though it never really comes. Sharing and interacting with your community is key.
Walking, running, cycling, public transport, ride sharing, hitching and other human-powered or shared forms of transport has the biggest environmental impact and clearly contributes to happiness.
A difficult aspect to undertake in transport is to give yourself time to walk, ride and take public transport. Consider transport as an important part of your life where you don’t have to save time but appreciate it and choose your favourite happiest for of transport and the more human-powered and slower the better you can appreciate your community and environment. I think this is one of the happiest components of the model.
Volunteering is a very rich thing to do. The highest quality experiences I’ve been involved in have usually been when volunteering. Think healthy, happy and with lots of friends. Volunteering maximises community participation, active citizenship and usually interaction with others and nature.
The best gift anyone can receive is the gift of giving but really it is about doing meaningful work that is just a part of being a global citizen. Volunteering can be individual / collectively, sedate / active, short / long term, local / global and a great opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and do something for someone else.
Just make sure your volunteering is needed, wanted and a help not a hindrance as not all volunteering is necessarily good. We should want to match good intentions with good outcomes.