Book Review: 99 Ways to a Simple Lifestyle

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PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ SERGEY LLIN
How to repair a leaky faucet is just one of the 99 topics covered in Simple Lifestyle.

A fine book on living with less. 

Remember when you were a kid and you went fishing and put
that first cast way out there and looked down at your reel
only to find a mass of tangled, back-lashed line . . . and
remember how blasted long it took you to unknot all-the
knots and de-loop all the loops and otherwise put your
Wondercast into working order once again?

Well, pardon the less-than-perfect analogy, but many of
MOTHER’s readers have been trying to do the same kind of
thing for a considerable number of years now. The name of
the game is “Simplify Your Lifestyle”, and–though the
idea itself sounds easy enough–most folks have
discovered that untying the multitude of knots that bind us
all to snarled-up society is a trying task indeed.

Which, of course, is why publications such as MOTHER, and
organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public
Interest, have popped up in recent years: to help provide
the how-to information needed by people who are trying to
lessen the impact of their lives on the world at large (and
vice versa).

And, we’re happy to say, CSPI has just made a rather nice
contribution to that effort by putting together an
extraordinarily useful 324-page paperback book entitled 99
Ways to a Simple Lifestyle. It’s a brand-new release . . .
but we suspect (and certainly hope) that the volume will be
around for a very long time to come.

Between the covers of this modestly mimeographed book are
ninety-nine detailed essays that explore ways to conserve
our natural resources–food, fossil fuel, water,
wildlife, people, health, land, and everything else that’s
customarily devastated by modern man-by leading a more
conscientious, less wasteful, do-it-yourself life. And if
you’re thinking such a book would have to cover a rather
monumental mass of information on Heaven-knows-how-many
subjects, you’re absolutely right. That”s precisely what 99
Ways to a Simple Lifestyle does.

For instance, you can sit down with this volume and
learn–within a single reading–how to: keep a
furnace operating properly, avoid aerosol sprays, build a
yurt, consume less meat, plant fruit trees, make and repair
furniture, care for a garden, ride a bicycle, live
communally, buy a flushless toilet, cut hot water costs,
eat wild foods, select and make and mend clothing, camp and
backpack, stop smoking cigarettes, purchase a car,
refurbish an old home, make compost, dehumidify rooms in
the summer, save water, bake bread, avoid unnecessary auto
travel, use natural pesticides, repair a leaking faucet,
watch your weight, choose gasoline, exercise without
equipment, join a craft co-op, fight utility companies,
take care of your feet, and do 68 other equally liberating
things.

In other words, what we have here is the proverbial primer
to low-impact lifestyles. Obviously, the book cannot cover
each topic in all-inclusive depth . . . but the basic facts
are thoroughly explained and–in many cases–
illustrated to make it easy for the reader to build a sound
base for pursuing a different kind of “good life”: the kind
that’s good for everybody.

So hop to it, all you dreamers and doers. Order up a copy
of 99 Ways to a Simple Lifestyle. Though not currently in print, you can find many used copies online from booksellers such as Amazon.com.

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