Bigger is not Better
When I think about decorating a space, I consider proportion. Will the décor and furniture “fit.” Rarely do I buy new. American furniture tends to be too big and aesthetically underwhelming (ever been to Ashley’s)? It’s big because it needs to occupy a Mac Mansion, in a big way. Funny thing though, the average American household has declined to 3.1 people in 1970 to 2.6, according the US Census Bureau.
Flea markets — or second hand markets in general – are more my size. They tend to suit my design aesthetic too, not only because Antiques Are Green but because the pieces are usually a better fit and more in scale with the size of the home and the people in it, so bigger is not better. Bigger is not
Bigger is not Sustainable
When the planet contained a billion people, the earth’s ecosystem could sustain that population. The sun rose and set and the seasons and the cycles of farming could feed and care for the people that needed all it could provide. Now, with four billion people, we’ve got some serious sustainability issues. The food we produce is not made in harmony with the earth. It’s is produced artificially and in mass quantities so that we can satiate an ever increasing middle class around the world that is both hungry, and hungry for something better.
Whether it’s furniture size or the size in the earth’s population, we are out of proportion with our real hunger — which may be hard to visualize – which I believe is personal satisfaction and being in harmony with our planet.
Less is Better
Take a look at this Infographic about the evolution of the car which illustrates my point. Yes, they have gotten bigger to us, but have they gotten better for us? Do they do anything better than drive, really?
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) report on life satisfaction in the western industrialized nations the happiest people on earth are the Danes. They live in a tiny country where the most personal happiness and contentment is characterized by small living spaces. So how is it that Denmark tops the list with the most satisfied citizens? Perhaps it’s because of the high employment rate of 73% and a low percentage of 1.92% of employees working long hours contribute to high satisfaction levels. But I can’t help wonder, do they “get” that less is more?
Could it be that in the US of A (which failed to make the top 10) that if we decreased our yen for all things big like furniture and houses and cars, and increased our personal happiness by cutting back on a consumptive mindset we would be happier? What would it be like if we didn’t have to work so much? If we spent more time with family? Or just did what the French call being a flaneur (people watcher).
Could we steer the happiness needle to the other end of the meter, and away from the consumptive, dinosaur economy that drives it, so to speak?