We all wish to live a life which is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just and harmonious. In order to accomplish this wish we need to de-clutter our lives from material possessions and from psychological baggage. Physical and spiritual Simplicity is a prerequisite for sustainability and personal as well as planetary wellbeing.
Satish Kumar has written a new book, Elegant Simplicity, and he will talk about the art of living well on less stuff and have more joy in our lives. Living simply is to shift from glamour to grace and from consumption to creativity.
A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish has been quietly setting the global agenda for change for over 50 years.
He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains, and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.
Inspired in his early 20s by the example of the British peace activist Bertrand Russell, Satish embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage. Carrying no money and depending on the kindness and hospitality of strangers, he and a colleague walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a humble packet of ‘peace tea’ to the leaders of the world’s then four nuclear powers.
In 1973 Satish settled in the UK becoming the editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he held until 2016, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally respected ecological and educational ventures. He cofounded Schumacher College in Devon, where he is a Visiting Fellow.
In his 50th year, Satish undertook another pilgrimage – again carrying no money. This time, he walked 2,000 miles to the holy places of Britain, a venture he describes as a celebration of his love of life and nature. In July 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Plymouth.
In July 2001, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Lancaster, and in the November of that same year, he was presented with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for promoting Gandhian values outside India. In 2009 Satish was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) by the University of Exeter. In 2013 he was made Doctor of the University by the University of Suffolk. In 2014 Satish was appointed an Oxfam UK Ambassador. Satish is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Gross National Happiness Centre of Bhutan. His autobiography, No Destination, first published by Green Books in 1978, has sold over 50,000 copies. He is also the author of You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence, The Buddha and the Terrorist, Earth Pilgrim and Soil, Soul, Society.
In 2005, Satish was Sue Lawley’s guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In 2008, as part of BBC2’s Natural World series, he presented a 50-minute documentary from Dartmoor, which was watched by over 3.6 million people. He appears regularly in the printed media and a range of radio programmes including Thought for the Day and Midweek.
In recognition of his commitment to animal welfare and compassionate living, he was elected vice-president of the RSPCA. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad.