Steps to Living Lighter


Over 90% of Americans agree we’re too focused on work and money, and just 30% of people truly believe a bigger house or more money will make them happy. It’s time to get off the treadmill of believing “more is better,” and turn toward things that really matter like family and community. Many people are already beginning to make the shift to living simply and finding true happiness.

Dream of a Nation Partner
Center for a New American DreamMore of What Matters
Since its founding in 1997, the Center for a New American Dream has raised awareness of the negative impact of a hyper-consumer culture, focused on downshifting and finding balance, and helped large institutional buyers shift their procurement to greener alternatives. Learn more.


Read the Center for a New American Dream essay: "Living Lighter"
Read the CNAD essay

Endnotes & References


No Impact Experiment


What Can I Do?


Reduce your consumption with a few steps

Try simple things like turning down your air conditioner and heater by a degree or two, taking public transportation, not watering your lawn, and a number of other eco-friendly but minimal lifestyle changes. Read Center for a New American Dream's essay for more easy changes!


Make a commitment with your family or friends to make changes together.  Decide which steps are realistic for your life, calculate what kind of environmental and economic savings you can achieve (motivation!) Check out these 19 steps that can save your family hundreds (thousands even)! More easy tips to a more environmentally conscious life here too.


What If?


Q.  What if everyone stopped using bottled water?

A. US consumers buy more than half a billion gallons of bottled water every week, enough bottles to circle the globe more than five times. More than 17 million barrels of oil are used annually to manufacture water bottles—that translates to enough fuel for about 100,000 cars.

Q.  What if you turn your thermostat up just 3 degrees in the summer and down 3 degrees in the winter?

A.  Over the year your household would prevent over 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions and save over $100 dollars, if not more depending on the efficiency of your system.