Time to slow down… 3


I remember that Meryn once stated that slow was a keyword of our future. It seems he was right as Treehugger published a most interesting article on that phenomenon.

With slow food, homes, cities, travels, flying (!), design, fashion and cars, my guess is that taking one’s time will indeed be a cool green thing in the quite near future.

The great thing with going slowly is that you consume less energy, and thus emit less greenhouse gases. A very nice idea.

Here are some excerpts of the Treehugger article :

It all started with slow food, a movement “that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

But is is a meme that has caught on, the idea that you take it slow, do it carefully, do it right and take the time to enjoy it. The idea can be applied to almost anything we do in life.

The Slow Home

Architect John Brown proposes the Slow Home. “Suburban sprawl is like fast food; cheap and easy but also unsatisfying and boring.” says the intro Slow Home, which says “takes its name from the slow food movement which arose as a reaction to the processed food industry. In the same ways that slow food helps people learn how to become more familiar and involved with the food they eat, Slow Home provides design focused information to empower individuals to step beyond the too fast world of cookie cutter housing. ” He provides ten steps to find the true slow home, including Go Local, Go Green, Go Small and Go Simple.

Slow Cities

It is an outgrowth of the slow food movement and like it, started in Italy. According to Der Spiegel, “Slow City” advocates argue that small cities should preserve their traditional structures by observing strict rules: cars should be banned from city centers; people should eat only local products and use sustainable energy. In these cities, there’s not much point in looking for a supermarket chain or McDonald’s.

Slow Travel

It is happening in Sweden, where 8,000 charter trips were offered this summer, “not just eager eco-travel buffs snapping up the train charter trips, but also a heretofore untapped group of travelers afraid to fly, as well as recent retirees who are nostalgic for the longer train trips of their childhood.”

Slow Flying

We note the return of the propeller, which uses a lot less fuel and flies lower. “Fifty years ago, a flight to Europe from New York meant a stop in Gander, Reykjavik and Shannon- it was slow, it was low, but you got there in a day. For domestic or European flying, it seems completely obvious. Perhaps we don’t need to stop flying, we just have to slow down and enjoy the trip.

Slow Design

“Slow Design, much like its gastronomic predecessor, is all about pulling back on the reins and taking time to do things well, do them responsibly, and do them in a way that allows the designer, the artisan and the end user to derive pleasure from it.

Just like Slow Food, it’s all about using local ingredients, harvested and put together in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Above all, it emphasizes thoughtful, methodical, slow creation and consumption of products as a way to combat the sometimes overwhelming pace of life in the bigger-faster-now 21st century.”

Slow Cars

Our own contribution. ” Perhaps, like the slow food movement, we need a slow car movement, a radical lowering of the speed limit so that the private car can survive in an era of peak oil and global warming, simply by being smaller and slower.

We don’t need hydrogen cars and new technology, we just need better, smaller designs, lower speed limits and no big SUVs on the road to squish them.

I totally agree with that. It reminds me of Jean d’Ormesson stating that he loved trains as they enabled him to read a lot of books, another thing that I truly enjoy.

What about you ? Do you agree on thinking it is time for us to slow down  ? Do you see other ways of slowing down our lifestyles ?


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3 thoughts on “Time to slow down…

  • Meryn Stol

    Thanks for the mention. 🙂

    I indeed believe that the thoughts associated with the word slow will be important in the future. But like green, it will be so ubiquitous as to be invisible. We’re talking about it now, no-one will talk about it in the future. It will be the new norm.

    Treehugger has missed “Slow Medicine”, which is an alternative way to look at modern medicine. For me it mainly means accepting one’s mortality, and not anxiously holding on to life.

    Cost is a major consideration in this. From
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/05/health/05slow.html
    “According to the Dartmouth Health Atlas, which ranks hospitals on the cost and quantity of medical care to elderly patients, New York University Medical Center in Manhattan, for instance, spends $105,000 on an elderly patient with multiple chronic conditions during the last two years of life; U.C.L.A. Medical Center spends $94,000. By contrast, the Mayo Clinic’s main teaching hospital in Rochester, Minn., spends $53, 432.”

    Personally I expect a future where elderly patients will be given almost any treatment they wish, but that they themselves opt for the “slow” way of aging, in part because they know the huge costs involved in artificially prolonging life. I don’t think this should be forced upon anyone.

    I think I’ll add the book mentioned in the article to my next Amazon order.

  • Meryn Stol

    Because of our ever improving medical technology, the thoughts behind slow medicine will become ever more important in the future. In the future, we’ll probably be able to keep humans alive practically forever, if costs were not an issue.

  • Edouard Post author

    You’re welcome Meryn, first it is always a pleasure to read you. So I kind a remembered what you wrote in a previous comment.

    Then… I always give credit where credit is due. that’s all.

    On going alive forever or almost, I think genetics will have a part to play. I read somewhere that aging was due to bad duplication of our DNA over time… 😛

    If the scientists found the way and if we found a way to avoid climate change, energy scarcity and the likes, you and I and the ones we love (and the ones we hate I guess) could live quite a long time….

    but I wonder what would be point ? ah yeah, seeing Martian landscape with our own eyes…

    edit on slow : as a matter of facts, we could get back to lives as we lived them in the 1950s… taking our time, not as much as cars as today, planes only for once in a while… with the tech of the 21st century (computers, advances of medicine…) it could really be fantastic.