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Coliving: An Alternative to America’s Addiction To Large Homes

We are happy to host this guest post by Shannon Yrizarry. Shannon is also an author on She uses her social media to promote a lifestyle that is empowering and sustainable of Instagram at @shannonyrizarry. She was an environmental studies major and just like everyone else looking for more ways to make things a little better for everyone. Welcome to America where we consume 125 gallons of water daily compared to the 25 gallons of most people outside of the US. Welcome to a country that throws away 200,000 tons of edible food daily. How have we reached a societal consensus that more is always better? Why does this social norm threaten the health and happiness of our nation?  The American dream was shaped by the industrial and technological advances that allowed us to quickly develop modern luxuries. We began to dream about what we were shown on color TV and aspire to live these ideals. Yet we thought little of the moral fabric we were weaving in the face of a quickly multiplying population. In order to keep up we are now seeking jobs that pay exorbitant amounts of money regardless of their actual purpose and service to the community.  Millenials have seen the deleterious effects of the working class on both their health and happiness. Their ears are acutely tuned into the effects our consumption rates are already having on the water, soil and air. They see that aging can be a much gentler process when we take care of ourselves instead of working ourselves to death to pay for an image we are trying to keep up with.  And that brings us to a grassroots shift taking hold in our culture of lower cost living that keeps both consumption and stress low allowing people to take care of their health while paying for their bills: coliving.

Another option: Pods and Coliving spaces

colivingPods and coliving spaces are like modern hostels but with style and more defined purposes. They allow millenials to network, keep their overhead low and live an eco friendly lifestyle. All things are shared in these hipster houses so there’s less need for furniture, electricity, pots and pans and even the new houses that these millenials are not choosing to build to avoid crippling debt lowers our use of natural resources.  These trends are popping up in major cities through social networks where tech minded and artistic 20’s and 30’s somethings coagulate, like this one. The baby boomers are flabbergasted by the close living quarters but those who are digital nomads and change agents want to reshape the American dream.  Is this an example of the collective conscious self redirecting towards higher ideals that will protect the planet? Who knows? But what we do know is that more of these living situations are becoming popular and practical for those who dread the ball and chain of a 9-5 life and hefty mortgage that cements them to that grind.  Tiny homes, like this one featured on Inhabitat, are certainly becoming more common in urban areas as well. Yet they are not yet as accessible as these coliving situations which are converting existing structures into modern communal living spaces.  Here’s a little food for thought, “If undeveloped countries consumed at the same rate as the US , four complete planets the size of the Earth would be required. People who think that they have a right to such a life are quite mistaken. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.” 

Moving Towards a More Sustainable Lifestyle

As we wake up in the morning we can decide that with each purchase, each penny spent, we can continue to shift the culture by generating demand for more sustainable products that use sustainable practices and renewable raw materials. Additionally we can share our choices on this TV screen we all broadcast on called social media. You have the eyes and ears of your peers. Why not make living in harmony with nature the new normal one post at a time?  travel sustainablyWhen it comes to our toothbrushes, our razor blades, our clothing, our personal care packaging, the source of our food, the lights we leave on, the length of our showers, remembering reusable bags, the gifts we give and the gas we guzzle, we are making a difference one way or the other. So what type of difference are you making? How are you using the platform you have to spread awareness that we are all connected? At the end of the day these tiny houses and coliving options that are welcoming like minded people who want to leave a light footprint and keep their own overhead down make sense. They are popping up more and more as a sustainable option for both a business and for people who vehemently want to avoid the debt that would chain them to a job they aren’t passionate about.  Could this shift in our relationship to space save both our health and our precious natural resources? Let’s just say it’s a wave that we hope more people continue to ride. That way we can enjoy the sun instead being cramped in an office burning through mother nature’s gifts just because everyone else is doing it.  


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