Small is still Beautiful

Small is still Beautiful

In the face of growing global warming and climate change, how can we avoid being part of the Mad Hatter’s tea party, where it’s always tea-time but never time to do the washing up?

The featured image above is very revealing. It shows a NASA satellite composite image of the earth at night. Have a look where most electricity is used at night. You may be challenged!

Climate Change

The Mad hatter's tea party

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: ‘No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alice coming. ‘There’s plenty of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table

From ‘Alice in Wonderland’

At the moment bushfires are spreading through Australia, there is severe drought in Zambia and Greenlanders are facing alarming melting of their ice cap. All are warning signs of Climate Change.

With all the pressure we are putting upon it how long can our planet cope with all this environmental stress? We are living beyond our means.

Sindhi tribal women at the well in Pakistan.


In the developed world we consume most of the earth’s resources. Our many supermarkets are full to overflowing with food, a third of which we throw away as waste. I wonder what these simple village women (above) would think about this! They have no say in governments, in business or in the financial world. Is there not some ‘room’ at the table for these simple tribal folk eking out a living in the developing world.

By contrast the rest of us are all thinking of bigger and better, travelling more often, faster and further, using and spending, taking out more than we are giving back.  Earth cannot sustain this level of extravagant living. 

The above photo of Bangalore, India could be taken in any city in the world.  The UN predicts the world population reaching 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. All wanting a larger slice of the cake!        

It’s always six o’clock now”  said the Hatter with a sigh: “it’s always tea-time, and we’ve no time to wash the things between whiles.”           
“Then you keep moving round, I suppose?” said Alice. 
“Exactly so,” said the Hatter: “as the things get used up.” 
“But what happens when you come to the beginning again?” Alice ventured to ask. 
“Suppose we change the subject,” the March Hare interrupted, yawning. “I’m getting tired of this. I vote the young lady tells us a story.

Sadly we. too, are always ‘changing the subject’. ‘Telling stories’ is not enough. The ‘elephant is still in the room’. There is trouble ahead.

Small is Beautiful

“The real problems of our planet are not economic or technical, they are philosophical. The philosophy of unbridled materialism is being challenged by events.”


Some years ago Ernst F. Schumacher’s book ‘Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered’ was causing much interest.  It was a warning against the economics of greed, growth and globalisation, and an encouragement to think instead of the small, the local and the sustainable. Another book ‘Enough is Enough’ was encouraging us to ‘Live more simply that others might simply live’.  Those village women at the well (above) are glad to have a clean water supply. Their insignificant carbon footprint puts us to shame as we remember the huge impression we are leaving in our wake in the modern world. With our fragile planet showing signs of distress:

“Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.”


Who’s for the Washing up?

What about my carbon footprint on this earth ? It need not always be ‘tea-time.’ Could I try to live more simply that others may simply live and encourage governments to do the same ? Well done Greta Thunberg, from Sweden – you put us all to shame!

“The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say – we will never forgive you.”

Greta speaking at the UN Climate Summit, New York, 23 September 2019

We all need to be living a much simpler lifestyle.

“I’ve learnt that no one is too small to make a difference.”


Next time – ”Up there on the Cotswolds’

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