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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


Hitting the Mark

By Bryan Welch 


Tags: Beautiful and Abundant, Challenges, Abundance, Ideals, Bryan Welch,

If we commit ourselves to abundance, we can halt the irreversible tide of species destruction. We could celebrate the diversity of life and set a standard of preserving it, by the mutual consent of people around the world. All our food could be naturally wholesome and nutritious, except when we’d rather it be otherwise. We could live on farms or we could live in cities, as we wish. We could live at the edge of the mountain wilderness, or the edge of the ocean. Some of us would no doubt choose to work very little. Others would work hard to achieve something – new discoveries or greater personal wealth. 

Sunrise photo by Bryan WelchIn a stable human population, corporate success will be determined by some criterion other than the greatest number of products at the lowest price. The value of scale will be reduced; the value of quality will be enhanced. Products and companies that support our shared values of beauty, abundance and the preservation of nature will earn more. Quality will be defined, in part, by how well a product or a company supports those values. Innovative, conscientious companies will succeed. Less innovative companies will try harder. Our possessions will be more beautiful and more durable. 

As our population declines, territorial conflicts will become absurd. With more land, more energy and more food available each year, military conflict will seem more wasteful and more stupid than ever. We can decommission most of our armies. Rather than competing with faster jets and more powerful bombs, we will race to see who can preserve more natural beauty and attract more tourists. Who can print the most beautiful books? Who can build the most reliable and elegant machines? Who has the best skiing? Who has the best beach? 

Back at the beginning of this blog post series I challenged you to form a personal vision that idealizes our future. I challenged you to be unrealistic. Now I find I’ve failed to meet my own standard. Why is it unrealistic to believe we can agree that clean air and water are important and limited resources? What’s so crazy about wanting a couple of kids, and no more? How insane is it to think we could imagine a world of beauty and abundance? 

That’s what I’m going to aim for.


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook. 

echo moon
2/7/2014 12:16:00 AM

Crystal, when you see a child put different sized rings on a post? When you see a child figure out and fit 2 pieces of a puzzle together? That is intention and the power of thought. It is also the power of discovery. We don't really need to teach it. We need to nurture it.


crystal stevens
3/25/2013 5:45:35 PM

Additionally, how can intention and the power of thought and manifestation be taught to children?


crystal moore-stevens
3/25/2013 5:33:56 PM

Beautifully written Bryan. The question I have always wondered... is are we (the collective of individuals advocating for, yearning for, and dedicated to the protection of the earth) innately born with this moral obligation? is it a learned trait? What causes a person to NOT care about the earth, clean air and water, healthy soil, natural healthy food? Why are WE the minority of the population? What are the solutions? Education at an early age? Boycotts? Rallies and Protests? Infiltration in social media? All of the Above? Your insight is very important... May I feature you in "Spotlight on Earth Stewardship"? With gratitude & respect, Crystal


bryan welch
1/14/2013 11:43:43 AM

I think that's true, but our desires change with the generations, Paula. Your desires and aspirations are different than your grandmother's. We can adapt to new circumstances. We've done it.


paula bales
1/3/2013 6:00:00 PM

People are not going to change. If a couple wants 4 or 5 children they are going to have them.


bryan welch
1/3/2013 1:12:40 PM

What can't we change? We (thank heavens) invented the capitalistic economy about 200 years ago. Why can't we adapt it to a stable human consumption level?


bryan welch
1/3/2013 1:09:14 PM

Seems to me the refusal to acknowledge the necessity of a stable human population is a lot more dangerous than whatever sinister notion of "population control" you have in mind, Matt.


matt houser
12/5/2012 4:42:59 AM

Unfortunately, it is just as the author said, "unrealistic." I believe it is dangerous to build such dreamy & utopian imaginations on something that has proven to be a very dangerous: population control.


t brandt
8/16/2012 10:18:26 PM

With a growing population, demand for goods & services is always growing too, so the economy grows automatically. With a stable population, demand stagnates, so the economy stagnates. "Planned obsolescence" helps keeps the economy moving. If everyone was like me, driving a car for 25 yrs until it's nothing but a rust spot on the driveway, the country would go broke....We all agree that things should be beautiful & clean, but we all have our own idea of what is beautiful & of how clean things need to be. We're all diifferent. That's something the socialist-types seem to forget....What's that old prayer: God help me to change the things I can change, and to accept the things I can't?