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The Theory of Anyway

By Bec Pollock — August 09, 2011

The End of The World as We Know It, also known as TEOTWAWKI, is something you may not have heard of, besides in the well-known REM song.

These days it’s not just used by Survivalists: those camo-clad, gun slinging, grain storing, Mad Max (or The Road) watching ‘doomers’, but a term often used when you read about Peak Oil, Climate Change, Economic Collapse, or any number of impending crisis situations.

It’s not about the Earth exploding into pieces in some 2012 apocalyptic event, or a Zombie Invasion (though I’m not ruling those out!) It is more about the collapse of human civilisation, or at least, enough changes in the way we’ve become used to living, that our ‘world’ isn’t the same as it used to be.

Sometimes it all gets a bit overwhelming and it’s hard to enjoy the wonderful life that my family have right now, with all the worrying about potential situations and how best to prepare for them. But there is hope that instead of a ‘doom and gloom’ future, that in fact, the future could be better than the life we have now, that things may improve for the world in general. Perhaps the revolution has already begun!

It’s a notion you hear people like Rob Hopkins of the Transition Town Network talk about, and one that those who are a part of various simple living movements have already discovered.

We could embrace the idea that our lives can be better by making changes and choosing a different way to live, rather than being forced to adjust because of an environmental, energy or economic crisis.

I like the Theory of Anyway, originated by Pat Meadows, but I heard of it from Sharon Astyk, who says:

95% of what is needed to resolve the coming crisis in energy depletion, or climate change, or whatever, is what we should do anyway, and when in doubt about how to change, we should change our lives to reflect what we should be doing “Anyway.”

Living more simply, more frugally, using less, leaving reserves for others, reconnecting with our food and our community, these are things we should be doing because they are the right thing to do on many levels. That they also have the potential to save our lives is merely a side benefit (a big one, though).” From here.

Looking after ‘our world’ is the ‘right thing’ to do, whether a crisis situation eventuates or not. Why? Because this is where we live, where our loved ones live, and where future generations need to live.

Because everyone deserves to live in decent, hospitable conditions, with access to clean air, clean water, food sources, and to feel safe and loved. Because if we keep polluting the air and water, depleting our precious resources, ruining our soil and eco-systems, and fighting with each other, we are destroying our own home. It might not be directly affecting you yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

So, there are many changes you could make, which may or may not improve the chances of the human race surviving into the future, but in the mean time, you could improve your own life!

Growing organic produce, riding a bike or walking, participating in community groups, bringing less toxins into your home, reducing clutter in your life and relying less of fossil fuels may all be good ways to ‘save the planet’, but they are also good for you.

While I do not profess to be an expert in any of these subjects, I know firsthand of the simple pleasures in life, those of which may seem absurd, boring or quaint in these modern times. Line drying your clothes, picking ripe raspberries from your own vine, finding a treasure in an op shop, toting home bags of fresh produce from a local farmers market, sharing tales of your gardening adventures, or doing recycled craft with your kids.

Can simple things, or ‘slow living’, make us happy when in these busy ‘modern’ times, complication and convenience cannot? We might be living longer, faster, be more technologically advanced and instantly gratified, but apparently it’s not making life happier or easier.

Movements like Slow Living, or Voluntary Simplicity, embrace ‘making do, or doing without’ and seek contentment from living within your own means (time, money, energy) but also the means of the planet.

Wanting more is an ongoing struggle, but accepting what you have and making the most of that, can bring a sense of contentment, or serenity. It’s about changing your perspective to be able to accept that life is challenging and there may be hard times ahead, but there is also joy in the simple things in life, in the connection between people, and the possibility of a better future.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Bec Pollock, AKA dixiebelle, has been living in Canberra for three years now. Her claims to fame include Kid Wrangler, Wife Extraordinaire, Part-time RN, Wannabe Urban Homesteader, Novice Permaculturalist, Earth & Communities Supporter, Ambling Prepper, Laptop Activist, Rambling Blogger… read more of her musings at or at local ACT blog,[/author_info] [/author]

About Author

Known as the crazy ‘urban homesteading’ gal, Bec is mother to two, wife to one, keeper of five chooks, thousands of bees, and one cat. She believes in building resilient local food systems, and connecting with other people who are also making changes to way they eat and think about food. Her passion is growing heirloom, organic produce in her backyard, transforming it into delicious and nutritious meals for her family, and preserving it using many methods. In between all this, plus kid wrangling and working part-time, she recently started, Growing Home, a small ‘urban homesteading education’ business,

View all Bec Pollock posts.

(4) Readers Comments

  1. August 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    • Amanda Whitley
      Reply →
      August 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Fantastic, Lisa!

  2. August 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    That is one of my favourite cartoons/ images, Lisa, I’ve had it on my blog for ages, and show it to everyone!

  3. Roslyn
    Reply →
    August 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Why is common sense so rare?
    I completely agree with what you are saying Lisa – we don’t need to be tree hugging greenies to live well and simply. Everyone can aim to be ‘light green’ – perhaps a pretty ‘eau de nile’ – and every little thing does count. I live in the southern suburbs so I can’t give up my car but I can reduce the number of trips, plant lots of trees, keep chooks, grow vegies and make compost. I can’t give up watching TV (especially movies) but I can turn unwanted lights off and the heater down a degree or two.
    There was an old slogan that said ‘save the planet – it’s the only one with chocolate’ but it also the only one with us humans living on it.

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