Activities to Try



SIMPLER LIVING COMMUNITY NETWORK exists to help you do what you want to do -- serve your community -- both your local community and our planetary community.

Here are exciting service opportunities -- some simple, some more involved -- when you're ready to choose to "spread the good word" of simpler living. It is rewarding, fulfilling and SO needed. What works for you?

The free handbook to help volunteers, Simple Living 101, contains over 80 pages of TOOLS, organized for easy use and reference.

The first eight service opportunities below list the page numbers supporting that project in Simple Living 101. For more details about Simple Living 101, click Simple Living 101 in the directory above. We will encourage, support and honor those who share our mission and goals.

We encourage all Network Volunteers to read Simple Living 101. Helpful supports in the archives include Simple Living Works! (the updated version of Simple Living Struggles and Solutions video) and Living Simply and Loving It audio. Now also Let Jesus Come, Let Santa Go audio workshop.

Contact us at SimpleLivingWorks@yahoo.com to tell us how to make these guidelines more useful to you and those you work with in your community.

Activities to Try

1. SPEAK about Simpler Living (See Simple Living 101, pages 7-34)

2. LEAD Workshops About Taking Actions for Simple Living (See Simple Living 101, pages 35-40, 65)

  • Unplug the Christmas Machine (This workshop has its own printed and audio Leader's Guide for free in the Archives.)
  • Welcome to the World of Enough and other workshops (pp. 35-39)
  • Additional material

3. ORGANIZE Simple Living Events in your church, service club or community. (See Simple Living 101, pages 41-56, 65.)

  • An Alternative Christmas Community Festival (pp. 41-51)
  • An Alternative Christmas Workshop (pp. 51-56)

4. DISCUSSION Groups in your community: church, service club, library, neighborhood. (See Simple Living 101, pages 57-62, 65.)

5. WORK on Simpler Living Projects (See Simple Living 101, pages 63-65.)

  • Contacting the media (pp. 63-65, 74-76)

6. HELP Build the "Simpler Living Community Network." (See Simple Living 101, pages 65-72.)

7. HELP Promote Simple Living Works! in your local community. (See Simple Living 101, pages 72-76.) Simple Flier to distribute at meetings, conferences, etc.

8. LEARN more about Simpler Living Works!

  • Simple Living 101 lists many simpler living resources: books, videos and web sites. Many of them are available free in this site's archives. If you, your family, or others in your community want to learn more about simpler living – here's the place to start: Simple Living 101, pages 77-79.
  • LIKE SLW! on Facebook, Follow @GeraldIversen on Twitter, read SLW! blog.

9. MAKE and GIVE No-Cost Christmas Gifts: Workshops, Materials, Advice

  • Dick Haid offers 1.5 hour workshops to plan "No-Cost Christmas Gifts." His goal is helping people have a more satisfying Christmas–and other gift-giving holidays too.
  • Tele-classes can be scheduled. Email Dick at dickhaid@adultmentor.com, requesting the training materials, he'll send the materials to them by email.
  • His workshops cover making your gifts more meaningful by giving a gift of yourself. Discover things about your unique ability to create special gifts for others. Some of these gifts may last through the year. His workshops are helpful to all ages.
  • Dick has offered to help you plan and lead similar workshops. He offers advice, materials and encouragement. Look at Dick's web site and call or eMail him if a workshop could help you and other people in your community.
  • Dick Haid is an Adult Mentor in Hamilton, OH. His eMail dickhaid@adultmentor.com. His Website: http://www.adultmentor.com Telephone Dick at (513) 868-1488.
  • Note: Dick has also offered to do "Tele-workshops" for people who want to learn more about being a local leader and phone in at a pre-arranged time. If this could help you and others in your community call or eMail him. Workshops could be scheduled in the early Fall in preparation for Christmas.
10. CONSIDER a Simple Living Pledge. Read the Pledges below.
  • Consider using one, or ideas from one or more. Make it fit you and your Family.
  • Also consider writing your own pledge. If you do this and send it to us we'll add it to those below, with or without your name as you instruct us.
  • And what about reporting to others how you use your Pledge? Sharing ideas and experiences helps everyone.

Contribute to “Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?” (annual) or “Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?” or Featured Writers.

Contribute to our most widely-read resource, “Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?” Though it's no longer printed on paper, WHOSE Birthday? is published online beginning in 2012. It will be updated as new material arrives, so send ideas and items anytime. Prepare something now while it’s really on your mind. An item may be new or not, original or not. If it’s by someone else, include a complete description of the source. We prefer items of 250 words or fewer (one page double-spaced). We reserve the right to edit.

WHO'S Risen? is a collection for Lent/Holy Week/Easter.

Featured Writers contains longer pieces for any time.

  • ART (line drawing, photo) that depicts the tension between faith and culture, especially at Christmas or Easter. Send high quality scans. If you send a PDF (composite of art and text), please also send the elements separately.
  • PERSONAL EXPERIENCES (especially intergenerational ones) related to simplifying Christmas or Easter or finding meaning and happiness in relationships instead of stuff.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITIES, rituals or worshipful ceremonies for Advent/Christmas/Epiphany or Lent/Holy Week/Easter.

We reach many through our websites, blogs and other media. Sorry, we cannot pay for any submissions.

Read past editions in the archives. WHOSE Birthday? | WHO'S Risen? | Featured Writers

Send your submissions to SimpleLivingWorks AT yahoo DOT com or by US mail.


Prophetic Messages

Following the fifth Life Standard of Living More with Less -- Non-Conform Freely! -- consider

1. Wearing a Message Shirt every time you leave the house. Applying prophetic bumperstickers to your car and bike.

2. Asking your public library to buy and add to its collection prophetic books and videos -- faith-based and secular -- and then promoting their use among your friends and colleagues and the general public, both face-to-face and through social media [see Simple Living 101: Social Media Supplement].

3. Distributing fliers, applying stickers to letters and packages, inserting thought-provoking quotations and art in emails, blogs, etc.

Page updated 24 Nov. 2014

Simple Living Pledges

Here are some personal pledges and statements from Alternatives' friends, followed by other better known pledges.

  • The Enoughness Pledge
  • Earth Pledge
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • The Christmas Pledge
  • Kids Pledge of Nonviolence
  • The Family Pledge of Nonviolence
  • The Shakertown Pledge
  • Personal Pledges

    I commit to using wisely, sharing abundantly, recycling endlessly, and knowing what is enough: thereby living simply and in harmonious relationship with all creation.

    Greg Hanneman, Rose Ann Pridie, Shareen Schwarz, Susan Davies


    I believe everything and everyone is created by God as a gift.
    I therefore pledge to live to the best of my ability, in harmony with the earth and all the life it supports.
    I pledge to share from the areas of my abundance with others, and to accept support from others in my areas of need.
    While being loyal to my homeland, I will respect the people and cultures different from my own as a apart of the great community of earth.
    I understand that God’s creation extends far beyond this globe to countless galaxies. With awe and deep gratitude I am open to God’s continuing revelation in my life and in all the universe.

    Mel Luetchens


    I will listen to the Earth more intently
    I will look at my resources more critically
    I will build & create relationships more wisely
    I will walk my talk more steadfastly,
    All for the sake of simplicity and that others may live more simply.

    Dick Kiefer


    I pledge to work at believing that I am God's beloved and worthy of that love.

    I pledge to work at believing that all others I meet are God's beloved as well and likewise worthy of that love.

    I pledge to work at believing that God loves me and others enough to create a complete and bountiful and beautiful creation that affords enough for all of life to be sustained and thus necessarily shared with others on an ongoing and regular basis.

    I pledge to work at becoming a loving, care-filled and compassionate steward of God's love and creation to such an extent that I do what is possible for me to assure that that creation is preserved for generations to come.

    And thus I pledge to lead a loving life that is filled with simple pleasures modeled on God's love and devotion to me and others and all of creation.

    Mark Lancaster


    I pledge to follow the model of Jesus
    To live a life of integrity between my beliefs and actions
    To strive to use only my fair share of the Earth's resources
    To treat others fairly here and abroad
    To care for creation by what I do and what I refuse to do
    To support others to do the same

    I pledge to follow the five life standards of Living More With Less:
    To do justice
    To learn from the world community
    To nurture people, not things
    To cherish the natural order-care for creation
    To non-conform freely.

    Gerald Iversen


    I live in the heartland of the United States near Kansas City and invite you to join me in working for alternatives to a simpler life style. My efforts are on behalf of the organization "Alternatives for Simpler Living" but my concerns are also personal and deeply felt.

    For some time I have been concerned about the excessive waste and self-indulgent life style of most Americans - including myself. We are living on a planet where our society consumes an inordinate amount of the earth's resources while most of this earth's residents live on a scale far more humble than ours.

    My own personal cost to keep my home running and my cars on the road far, far exceeds what most people on this earth have available to them. Last year I visited the Palestinian people and was truly stunned to learn what they earn in a year to support their lives in a land where the costs of food, housing, and fuel is as great or even greater than in this country. Most people in this world share this dilemma.

    And we live in the one major country that has not ratified the Kyoto Treaty - this is another global failure that suggests we are failing to recognize the contribution of our wasteful life styles to other citizens of this planet.

    Thus I invite you to join in an effort to help change the focus of people in our land from consumption and excessive waste to more responsible, ethical living habits.

    I realize that our efforts may be puny, but as Mother Teresa once said, it may be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that drop.

    And for me personally I remember a layman from Scotland, Malcom Hay, who died in 1962, on the eve of the Vatican Council. His words live on for me - "In this world we are not meant to see the truth triumph, but only to fight for it." Those thoughts propel me in my faith tradition to continue to work for Justice and not be discouraged by the results.

    I pray that you will join me in these efforts.

    Richard Phalen

    Other Pledges

    The Enoughness Pledge

    I pledge to discover how much is enough for me to be truly fulfilled, and to consume only that.
    I pledge to be part of the discovery of how much would be enough for everyone -- not only to survive but to thrive -- and to find ways for them to have access to that.
    I pledge to act and live in a way that honors and preserves the natural world.
    -- New Road Map Foundation


    Earth Pledge (from Grass Roots! CD)

    I pledge allegiance to the Earth
    And to the Flora, and Fauna,
    And human life that it supports;
    One planet, under God, indivisible
    With clean air, water and soil,
    Economic justice, freedom and peace for all!
    --author unknown


    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

    I pledge allegiance to the World, to cherish every Living Thing, to care for Earth and Sea and Air, with Peace and Freedom everywhere. --Lillian Genser, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom


    The Christmas Pledge

    Believing in the true spirit of Christmas, I commit myself to:
    * Remember those people who truly need my gifts
    * Express my love in more direct ways than gifts
    * Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values
    * Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends
    * Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth
    --Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli (Unplug the Christmas Machine)


    Kids Pledge of Nonviolence

    Making peace must start with me. I commit myself as best I can to become a nonviolent and peaceable person:
    * To Respect Myself And Others: To respect myself and other people and to keep from saying or doing mean things to others.
    * To Communicate Better: To share my feelings honestly, to look for safe ways to talk and act when I'm angry, and to work at solving problems peacefully.
    * To Listen: To listen carefully to others, especially those who disagree with me, and to care about others' feelings and not always demand to have my own way.
    * To Forgive: To say I'm sorry and mean it when I have hurt another person, to forgive others when they have hurt me, and to keep from holding grudges.
    * To Respect Nature: To treat the environment and all living things, including my pets, with respect and care.
    * To Play Creatively: To play in fun ways and not mean ways, and to keep from using toys, watching TV programs and playing games that make violence look exciting or funny.
    * To Be Courageous: To challenge violence in all its forms whenever I see it, whether at home, at school or in the community, and to stand with others who are treated unfairly.

    --Institute for Peace & Justice, St. Louis, MO


    The Family Pledge of Nonviolence

    “Making peace must start within ourselves and in our family. Each of us, members of the ____________ family, commit ourselves as best we can to become nonviolent and peaceable people:

    Respect self and others. To respect myself, to affirm others and to avoid uncaring criticism, hateful words, physical attacks and self-destructive behavior.

    Communicate better. To share my feelings honestly, to look for safe ways to express my anger, and to work at solving problems peacefully.

    Listen carefully. To listen carefully to one another, especially those who disagree with me, and to consider others’ feelings and needs rather than insist on having my own way.

    Forgive. To apologize and make amends when I have hurt another, to forgive others, and to keep from holding grudges.

    Respect nature. To treat the environment and all living things, including our pets, with respect and care.

    Play creatively. To select entertainment and toys that support our family’s values and to avoid entertainment that makes violence look exciting, funny or acceptable.

    Be courageous. To challenge violence in all its forms whenever I encounter it, whether at home, at school, at work, or in the community, and to stand with others who are treated unfairly.

    --Institute for Peace & Justice, St. Louis, MO


    The Shakertown Pledge

    In April of 1973, a group of religious retreat center directors and their staffs gathered at the site of a restored Shaker village about 40 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. When talk turned to statistics about the world's poor, the group began to examine their lifestyles and how their choices affect others. At a later meeting, some of the participants drafted this pledge and vowed to seek lifestyle examination and change.

    This pledge was written by a group of religious retreat leaders who felt badly about being members of a privileged minority in a nation guilty of the overconsumption of the world's resources. They recognized that their own lifestyles were part of the problem. They named their pledge the Shakertown Pledge in honor of their original gathering place and because the Shaker community had believed wholeheartedly in lives of "creative simplicity." You, too, may want to sign it, or create a different one that suits your particular family. We suggest you hang it in your kitchen:

    Recognizing that Earth and the fullness thereof is a gift from our gracious God, and that we are called to cherish, nurture, and provide loving stewardship for Earth's resources, and recognizing that life itself is a gift, and a call to responsibility, joy, and celebration, I make the following declarations:
    1. I declare myself to be a world citizen.
    2. I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world's poor.
    3. I commit myself to join with others in the reshaping of institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which all people have full access to the needed resources for their physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth.
    4. I commit myself to occupational accountability, and so doing I will seek to avoid the creation of products which cause harm to others.
    5. I affirm the gift of my body and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical well-being.
    6. I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others, and to attempt to relate honestly, morally, and lovingly to those around me.
    7. I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation, and study.
    8. I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith.

    Share Your Simpler Living Pledge with Us!

    Page updated 22 Jan. 2014

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