Alternative Living, Resilience

The Slow Movement: How to Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

“[The Slow Movement] is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.” – Carl Honoré, author of ‘In Praise of Slowness’

It is truly fascinating how commonplace busy-ness has become. It’s worn like a badge of honor (I’ve talked about this before).

We’re living, without really living. I’ve personally been noticing it almost daily, I’ll be riding my bike home and I’ll get frustrated with a slow rider in front of me who’s enjoying the scenery. Can’t I just chill out?

Or I’ll rush to finish cooking dinner, to do the dishes, or get a work project done, as if the next agenda item on my great life list is always more important than the moment I’m currently in.

And so enters (very slowly or course)…….

…… it comes…..


the Slow Movement.

The Slow Movement is both a way of life and a global organization dedicated to helping people adopt a more intentional lifestyle by just slowing the @#%$ down.

You can check out the Slow movement website. According to them it’s all about connection: whether it be connection to our food, family and friends, or simply life in general.

It’s also about ‘downshifting.’ Self-proclaimed downshifters vow to accept less hours at work and generally consume less to have more time for leisure, quality time with friends and family and less impact on the planet. Sounds great to me!

The one thing that’s not slow is the growth of interest in the slow movement. Since starting, several sub-spinoffs have formed:

1. Slow Money

I first heard about Slow Money in a Vancouver news article. Most of us put our savings in some type of financial investment like mutual funds or stocks. Slow Money suggests we should instead invest in local enterprises, small organic farms, or sustainable fisheries. The return on your contribution might be veggies or fresh Pacific crab.

2. Slow Travel

This is something I’ve never been good at. Whenever I’m on vacation I always try to check off an enormous travel bingo card. Not time to waste! Go go go! But even if I see lots of cool stuff, I sometimes feel more exhausted than when I left.

Slow travel seeks to avoid tourist burnout. Less emphasis on manic sightseeing, and rather exploring in-depth just a few locations.

3. Slow Cities

This one has gone beyond just a movement; there is now a full-blown organization and governing body called Cittaslow that outlines the criteria on how to be a slow city, and gives a city designation if it checks the boxes. I was too lazy to count, but there looks to be about 100 cities that have achieved Cittaslow status globally.

I was amazed to see the sleepy town of Naramata B.C. on the list, where Andrea and I got married! I’m sure it had no problem meeting Cittaslow status…the only other town with the designation in B.C. is Cowichan Bay.

As you’d expect, a slow city has less traffic, less noise, and actively endorses through various means a slower speed of life for its citizens.

4. Slow Food

Slow food was where it all started. Apparently the whole idea was originally inspired by a guy who protested the construction of a Mcdonald’s in a famous Piazza in Rome, Italy, in order to preserve the local nearby cuisine.

Slow Food is simply giving preference to local, handmade cuisine using local ingredients. This helps preserve culture, natural plants and seeds, and nutritious diets. For me, I find eating together with friends and family so valuable, rather than eating on the go as is so common today.

5. Slow Schools

This might mean simply bringing slow food in to the cafeteria. Or it could go so far as fundamentally shifting in how we teach children. The argument being that by leaving our education system up to large government, it becomes a vehicle for standardized results rather than fostering a genuine love of learning.

6. Slow Books

I struggle with this one, why read when I can consume so much more information faster by watching TV shows or Youtube? But there is lots to be gained from getting absorbed in a book. You can flex your right-side brain by imagining characters and places, and you can absorb information at a much more , well, absorb-able pace.

7. Slow Living

For our current cultural habits, this one is the real doozy. At the risk of sounding like Ferris Bueller, with the world moving so fast it’s sometimes hard to jump off and take a break. Basically, stress and over-working are killing us, and the solution is to find ways to slow down, stop worrying and be still, intentional and mindful in the present moment as often as possible.

9. Slow Fashion

Most of you have heard of ‘fast fashion.’ Basically it means cheap, mass produced clothes that suit the latest craze, to be disposed of just in time for the next trend. Slow Fashion focuses on choosing durable, timeless clothes that have been made somewhat locally and with care.

On that note, I’m going to go sit in the sun. Happy slow moving everyone!

1 comment

    Saw Carl Honore speak at a conference in Edmonton in 2012. Very interesting stuff. He talked about how we are so busy so often that we should rename ourselves human DOings instead of human BEings. Also talked about the damage that fast-paced, tons of hobbies, registered-for-every-sport life has on children. Being too busy means no time for free play!

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