New Mexico A Different Way Course Participants Reflect on Change

Since the launch of our newest discussion course book, A Different Way: Living Simply in a Complex World, over 600 people have organized discussion courses and come together to learn about and commit to living in simpler, more authentic ways. This new course book shares insights on how simple living is a way to make our own paths in life – paths that allow for investing our time in the things that matter most to us, making choices that create less waste and more good, using (or not using) technology intentionally, and critically examining the messages that tell us what to believe, what to value, and who to be.

In May, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center in Los Alamos, New Mexico offered the A Different Way course with 13 people participating. Just last week, the group hosted their final celebration and NWEI had the chance to connect with course organizer and Pajarito Environmental Education Center volunteer Sue Barns. Sue shared, “It was quite an experience, for all of us. Everyone truly dug into their thoughts and feelings about a huge range of topics over the six weeks, from recycling to media use to politics to climate change, and beyond. Overall, folks really loved the opportunity to come together and talk about these issues and have the support of others in implementing changes.”

During the final meeting of the course, participants shared what the course meant to them. “Folks talked about changes they made in their lives, everything from building compost bins, to completely decluttering their homes, to not shopping as much anymore,” shared Sue. Participants also cited having conversations at work about the topics covered in the discussion course. One participant shared that the course made them “think about what I can do to help with activities in my community that support these ideas explored in the course.” Sue also shared that participants cited the importance of examining their media consumption. “One participant even decided to change jobs in order to have time for the things they value – like serving on our County Utilities Board. . . By the end of the evening, we were discussing how to get our County to sign onto the Paris Climate Agreement. Pretty amazing.”

Other participants shared reflections on changes underway. “I’ve implemented 10 changes in my life, in service to the health of our planet. I’ve been doing them for 6 weeks now. They’ve become habit,” reflected one participant. “No more plastic throw-away containers, I joined a local food co-op, started buying in bulk, began composting, cut way back on electronics, and am buying only from sustainable sources.”

The Parajito Environmental Education Center won’t stop here. They’ll be running the Change is our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions discussion course in July and the 7-week Choices for Sustainable Living course in the Fall.

We can indeed find a different way during these complex times – and invite you to join the NWEI community in connecting our individual values and actions to the larger picture, finding power to make real change in our lives, communities, and in the world at large. For more information on A Different Way, click here.

A Different Way Discussion Course participants celebrate with a final session and potluck in Los Alamos, New Mexico

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