Environmentalists Push for Downsizing … to 200-Sq. Ft. Homes

Posted on Thu 11/29/2012 by

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By Liz Thatcher ~

The environmental movement had an idea on how to cut down your carbon footprint – live in a little house. This movement, often called the Tiny House Movement or micro living, is not new but had picked up steam recently, and not without some media support. However, the media have consistently left out that this idea of living small and downsizing had been pushed by environmentalists long before journalists decided to report on this “trend.”

On the Oct. 22, 2012, broadcast of ABCs “World News,” anchor Diane Sawyer concluded the program with a segment on living small. “And finally tonight, we’re watching a trend here in America and around a crowded world: people ready to live in houses only a couple of feet wide,” she said. That summed up micro living perfectly.

The media have left out one issue about the tiny house movement – that environmentalists are behind it. In 2009, far-left site AlterNet published “Small is Better: Big Houses Are Out and Downsizing Is In” by Kristen Bender. “The best way to be a responsible environmental citizen,” Bender argued, “is to stay in a smaller house or go to a small house because you are automatically consuming less.”

In Jan. 2011, Climate Progress, part of the website Think Progress (funded by left-wing billionaire financier George Soros) posted a blog about tiny living as a way to combat global warming. “Today the trend for the environment-conscious consumer is to live in more modest means,” the post declared, and continued with obvious disdain for consumerism. “When you simply do not have room for a lot of extra junk, you soon find that the idea of buying is simply not a driving force in your life anymore.”

There are a variety of books, blogs and documentaries available on this. One book, “Little House on a Small Planet,” was originally published in 1998. The second edition was updated and republished in 2009. Another book, “The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live,” printed a special 10th anniversary edition in 2009. This idea of living small to help the environment has been around for quite some time. (Radical environmentalist Ted Kaczynski was ahead of the curve. The future Unabomber built his 10-by-12 foot cabin in Montana in1971.)

This movement has been pushed in heavily populated metropolitan areas, like New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. All three cities had proposed micro apartment buildings expected to be built in the next few years to alleviate crowding. But will Americans seeking housing in these cities really want to live in apartments that are 200 square feet or smaller? The size of the average prison cell in America is 70 square feet. One architect is calling for the construction of a house that is roughly ten square feet.

In the Nov. 28, 2012, Style section of the Washington Post, staff writer Emily Wax outlined an entire community of tiny homes in Washington, D.C. in her article “Home, Squeezed Home.” These homes were between 150 to 200 square feet. Wax then stated that this tiny house movement could be the new American dream. “If these affordable homes – which maximize every inch of interior space and look a little like well-constructed playhouse – are the dream, they represent a radically fresh version of what it takes to make Americans happy,” she wrote.

CNN’s iReport online news outlet aggregated all of CNN’s coverage on the subject in Sept. 2012. Two of the biggest perks listed in the blog were saving money and a smaller environmental footprint. The latter is any environmentalist’s dream.

The New York Times has published four articles on this trend since Feb. 2011. The most recent, “One Shed Fits All” by Times reporter Penelope Green, outlined the history of the Zachary House, a house model designed by architect Stephen Atkinson. Atkinson actually gave away the blueprints for his Zachary House but charged to make modifications to his plans. The closer you stick to his blueprints, the cheaper it is to build his tiny home.

The Los Angeles Times also covered the tiny house phenomena in Sept. 2012. Rick Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, stated that the tiny house movement represented a “cultural shift” that proved America’s “super-abundance is a kind of selfishness our county can’t afford anymore.”

The Tiny-House movement is another push by eco-nuts to get Americans to give up comfort and “consumerism.” Living in tiny houses where there is no room for anything means buying less, which – on a large enough scale — means a crippled economy and shuttered businesses. So such asceticism definitely has its attraction for the “responsible environmental citizen.” Just ask Ted Kaczynski.

Liz Thatcher contributes Posts at the NewsBusters site and she is a staff analyst & writer for the Business & Media Institute at the Media Research Center. She was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas and is an alumna of The Master’s College.

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