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College News

Center for Environment Partners with Simple Living TV Series

November 10, 2004

Category: Academics, Environmental Science


The Catawba College Center for the Environment has entered a partnership with the Simple Living TV Series that will bolster the work of both.

 “Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska,” which is produced by Urbanska and Frank Levering for public television stations nationwide, is the first major television series on simplicity. The series focuses on environmental stewardship, thoughtful consumption, community involvement and financial responsibility. Urbanska calls it “a paean to a more meaningful life with less debt, less clutter and less stress.”

 Catawba and the Center for the Environment will be recognized in the credit roll of the second run of the series, which will begin airing in the fall of 2005. The college will serve as the financial agent for the second complement of programs.

 An additional benefit of the partnership for this community and region will be a Simple Living Retreat and Workshop for women at the Center for the Environment facility in July of 2005. The retreat will focus on topics like simplifying our lives, incorporating earth-friendly practices into our daily routines and making housing choices that have a positive impact.

   “One of the reasons we decided to affiliate with Simple Living is the message it promotes,” says John Wear, director of the center and a member of the Simple Living National Advisory Board. “It’s not only an environmental message but also a message about living in this world – about living in a way that uses fewer resources and about enjoying a lifestyle that gives us more time to be with our children and our families.

“Wanda and her staff put all this into a format that is really fun to watch and appeals to people in many walks of life,” Wear says. “That’s the reason it’s available in 75 percent of homes across the United States.”

Urbanska calls the partnership “a really exciting opportunity for two organizations that are interested in making change, in bettering the quality of life and the quality of our environment.

“It’s a natural fit,” she says, “because Catawba is an educational institution, and we at the Simple Living Television Series are also seeking to educate the public. Many of the issues we are tackling in Simple Living also segue beautifully with the work that Dr. Wear and others at the center are doing to raise awareness about the environment.”

Living simply is particularly important today because of the stresses in people’s lives, says Urbanska. “Many Americans are over their heads in debt. We are over-spending and over-consuming at record rates. We experience time pressure because we are spending so much time working and not enough time taking care of other important parts of our life, like building community, protecting our environment or community service.”

Urbanska and Levering embody the simple living message. Nearly 20 years ago, they moved from the fast lanes of Los Angeles, where they worked as a journalist and screenwriter, to the slower pace of Mount Airy to take over the family orchard, located in the Virginia mountains near the North Carolina border.

They first shared their story in a book called “Simple Living.” Urbanska subsequently hosted the 1998 PBS primetime special, “Escape from Affluenza: Living Better on Less.” The two also co-authored the recently published book, “Nothing’s Too Small to Make a Difference.” A frequent speaker on the simplicity movement, Urbanska will deliver a presentation Dec. 7 to an audience of 10,000 at the annual California Governor’s Conference on Women and Families.