NWEI’s self-led discussion courses are designed to spark shared learning, shared stories, and shared action. Each course book also includes tips and guidelines to help facilitators organize a course.

A detailed list of articles and resources included in the Voluntary Simplicity course book are available in the Table of Contents.

Participants read each week’s material (which may include brief articles, book excerpts and/or links to online content) on their own. During each session, group members take turns facilitating by leading others through discussion questions  provided in the course book.

“The voluntary simplicity course is beautifully put together, and the readings are well-chosen and diverse. The format of the course is ideal for encouraging discussion and growth. The course provided an opportunity to reflect on current lifestyle, and sparked positive, healthy changes in buying, consumption, transportation, conversation, community, sustainability and living. Many thanks to the Northwest Earth Institute for this service you make possible!”

– Allison Cruse, Course Participant, Alamosa, CO

Sample Discussion Questions

  •  Do you agree that, “all purposes for work other than earning money could be fulfilled by unpaid activities?” What unpaid activities do you find most satisfying?
  •  Do you agree with Richard Sennett’s assertion that we are taught to allow our attention to flitter rather than focus on depth? How can you better focus attention on what is meaningful and important?
  • How would you / your household respond to taking a “secular sabbath” — a day off every week — from using anything electronic (let’s include your phone here, even if yours is corded)? From shopping? From driving? From all three together?

To preview a short discussion activity drawing from this course, please fill out this request form.