It depends on what you call work

Thursday morning at the Sustainable Summer School 2012, workshop “The Aesthetics of Simple Living”. Nina Gellersen and Luzius Schnellmann from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and 11 students are quietly lying on the pier. A minute later they are slowly walking around. After some moments again, they are sitting quietly, drinking tea and enjoying the late August sun.

–       So, your students have not yet started their work, Nina?

–       Well, depends on what you call work, she answers. We wanted to start the topic of simple living from ourselves and just got a lesson in Mindfullness.

Thursday, late afternoon. The student groups are discussing their ideas with each other. Now there are interesting ideas in the room. Phillip and Johannes from the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen/Germany are thinking about facilitating people to make some kind of inventory of their things at home.

–       It could be something that helps them to cherish their things, to know the history of the items, but also to know if they really need all the items. When have they used something last time? Could they give or borrow it to friends?

I start to remember the inventory of things we organised for the 27 participating households of the FIN-MIPS Household project. It took them two weeks time to make an inventory of their things at home, and they did it thoroughly: thousands of items per person, with a material footprint of thousands of kilograms per person per year. One ten years old girl had 125 pairs of shoes at home.

Well, maybe people would not need to make an inventory of each and every item at home. But something reminding that we would often do with much less would be good for me, too. So, I’m waiting with enthusiasm for the results we’ll get presented on Saturday.