“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. His experiment in stripping down has inspired generations of environmentalists to cast off possessions, or at least aspire to — but simple living doesn’t look so appealing when it’s the only choice you have. Today, anthropologist Elizabeth Chin puts a new spin on environmental consciousness as she examines rich and poor consumers, and the difference between simple living and survival.
- new in Soapbox: I Will Simply Survive
- see also, in Grist: Poverty & the Environment, a special series