You may ask yourself how home size relates to animal and environmental protection. It’s a fair question. The connection to animals is more subtle than the obvious green link to sustainability issues like water use, energy efficiency, etc. North American homes in the 1950s averaged about 900 square feet. In 2013 that average hit 2,600 square feet! Is that much space really necessary?

Large homes need more energy and natural resources than small homes obviously. But all those resources come at the expense of animals and their natural habitat. Large homes have higher electricity needs from dams or mines which destroy valuable habitat. Building materials and furniture are shipped long distances which contribute to ocean noise pollution. Noisy oceans have dire affects on marine mammal health (like dolphins and whales). Larger homes encourage higher consumption levels which means more waste. Discarded materials end up in landfills or worse, polluting waterways and harming wildlife during their long toxic life-cycle. I’m glossing over some issues for the sake of brevity.

Make the connection. Everything is connected.

The time is here. It’s hip to be efficient and live consciously. It’s chic to be happy without taking more than you need or without causing unnecessary harm. Unfortunately western culture glorifies gluttony en masse and supports the harmful status quot through relentless advertising and marketing. But we can learn to live with less. My personal experience taught me the more I gave up, the lighter I felt. For me the “anxiety of choice” was altogether removed by dramatically downsizing. The gravity of each “sacrifice” is only in your mind after-all. Developing an awareness of how we affect the world is the first step. Changing attitudes and behaviors come next. If you care about animals and the environment, why wouldn’t you want your lifestyle and home to fully reflect those values? The places in which we live are outward exhibitions of our inner principles.

Question everything. Learn to live small.

Check out some of my current favorite small homes.

For more info on these projects:

East Village Studio by JPDA

Manhattan Micro Loft by Specht Harpman

Portable Home APH80 by ABATON Arquitectura

Kofunaki House by ALTS Design Office

The Big & Small House, by Anonymous Architects

About The Author

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Brad Anthony is a Canadian ecologist and author who left his life behind to travel the world helping animals. He lives a simple, eco-savvy, mobile lifestyle, commonly found in a small village in Bali with a few of his closest monkey friends. Brad is the Founder of the Global Animal Welfare Development Society.

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