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Downshifting: living better by earning less


Downshifting it means going down in the sense of downsizing, but also - and perhaps better still - it means downshifting in the sense of slowing down, taking it easy, enjoying it more. The downshifting it is therefore a re-dimensioning, a becoming smaller, but positive and bearer of personal and collective benefits.

Downshifting is a word in vogue among those who, and there are many, think that in order not to gamble the planet it is necessary to change certain habits, starting with consumption (of territory, raw materials, energy ...) contenting themselves with less without worsening their quality of life. Downshifting it is not tightening the belt, it is consuming better; it is not downpricing, quite the contrary, it is aiming for quality rather than quantity, only to realize that this is how you live better.

Being told that you can live better by earning less seems like a nosebleed, but according to supporters of downshifting it is possible and not that difficult. The secret is to make efficiency - another word rediscovered by the crisis - by eliminating unnecessary consumption. In this way, you will actually spend less without sacrifices, and the lower income will not only not be a problem but will allow you to discover the truest aspect of quality.

The downshifting it starts with the little things. The prejudice is rooted in the collective imagination that the small daily gestures of each are too small to affect the real causes of environmental and social degradation. In this way, we forget that our way of life is precisely the most important of these causes, therefore affecting daily individual behaviors is essential to reduce waste.

To do downshifting and being able to live better while earning less, you can start by preventing electric light from shining in empty rooms, using appliances correctly and installing devices to save energy. Equally useful is limiting the waste of water and the consumption of chemicals.

We said that the downshifting it's in the little things, here's one: only 3% of domestic water is used for cooking or drinking, while 40% is used for flushing the toilet or washing dishes. The toilet drains alone (traditional types use 16-20 liters of water at each flush) represent 16% of total water consumption and 28% of domestic water consumption. To reduce these consumptions it is sufficient to adopt the two-compartment cisterns with 4-12 liters of waste.

Looking around you realize that the desire for downshifting it already takes shape in cohousing or in good neighborhood houses, old-fashioned farmhouse-style villages that allow you to meet certain needs thanks to sharing and mutual help (sharing in energy costs, help in managing children, collective purchases ...). The urban garden is also an example of downshifting, as are all the car sharing and bike sharing initiatives that are sprouting numerous.

Here you find one updated and accessible bibliography on downshifting


Video: Downshifting - My story so far (October 2020).