The connection between unlimited growth, earth exploitation, and the key to a happy life.

Image: RobUrt via Twenty20

We’re addicted to growth. We want to grow as persons. We want to grow our knowledge and grow our skillset. We want to grow in our endeavors and grow our businesses. We feel that this is the right thing to do.

Growth seems natural. Imagine a seed that slowly germinates and starts reaching towards the sky, over the years maturing into a large tree firmly rooted in the soil. We associate growth with wealth and wisdom.

This idea of everlasting expansion is so deeply embedded in our culture that any voice that questions this concept of unlimited growth seems almost…


Why publishing every day probably isn’t the best idea and other insights I learned from Umberto Eco.

Source: ForReal via Twenty20

Write every day, don’t publish every day

I truly believe that writing daily is the most important factor in mastering the art of writing. As I explained in a previous article, as an aspiring writer the key to success lies in an initial high effort. This investment of time will later on in one’s career pay off in high dividends.

However, I would hasten to add that writing every day does not equal publishing every day. On a platform like Medium, it is very seductive to release stories as often as possible. …


And why it’s about time to start living in the now.

Picture by meetjosue via Twenty20

Isn’t it weird that the moment seems to be forever forgotten in this age of eternal progression and instant speed? Too often it feels that this perpetual motion machine called time is almost impossible to stop.

Nevertheless, the past always seems to catch up, with its tricky ways of luring us into the depths of melancholy and regrets of unfulfilled dreams.

Indeed, often I find myself being absorbed by tons of trivialities. Working for the sake of working. Ah, the spirit of our times! But where am I actually heading? What is the bigger picture?

And then, when I do…


A guide to living seasonally and in harmony with the natural cycles of the Earth

Part of our garden and orchard (Photo provided by author)

A few years ago, we had an unseen hot and dry summer that somehow managed to directly shift into a wet yet mild winter. This upset me. What happened to autumn?

There’s no point in denying it: the concept of the four seasons as we know them is slowly vanishing, morphing into this undefinable, unpredictable lottery game of temperature mood swings. Winters are short, spring is starting in February, summers are hot and dry, and autumn just doesn’t really exist. And of course, there are more extreme weather patterns during these seasons.

Figuratively speaking, we have destroyed the concept of…


A short guide to time management, generalism, and the importance of initial effort.

Image by carolyn.devine via Twenty20

I love to do tons of stuff. I admit it, I just have too many interests. First of all, there is writing. Then there’s also making music, homesteading, gardening and of course family time. Oh yes, there’s also this part-time job, and my small freelance business making videos. Does that sound like overkill?

Yes, time management can be difficult. Even more so, being absorbed into too many different things increases the risk of never being really good at anything at all. Like writing for example. It’s this vision of eternal mediocrity that keeps haunting me in my sleep.

I’ve learned…


Reduce your needs, embrace limits and discover true beauty.

Image by juro_zmatek via Twenty20

Basically, we’re all walking contradictions. For example: right now, as I write these words, I’m sitting in the cozy comfort of my centrally heated living room, surrounded by modern technology. It almost feels sacrilegious to criticize this high living standard we take for granted. Somehow even, it feels as if it’s exactly this comfort zone that makes it possible to ponder and contemplate upon such crucial topics.

Still, when thinking about our own actions, it’s so easy to get sidetracked. It’s so easy to stay in this comfort zone of physical and mental laziness. …


A permacultural view on personal economics.

Image by nikkilately via Twenty20

“Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore.” Henry Hazlitt — Economics In One Lesson

I have this strange tendency to connect everything I do to nature. That’s not so hard of course, as I do tend to spend the majority of my free time in the big outside. Surrounded by nature, a most perfect and layered system, everything seems to connect.

I know I’m in good company as lots of fine thinkers and researchers found nature to be their major source of inspiration.

Take the economy for example.

There’s a whole string of…


What I learned from Jorge Luis Borges, one of my all-time favorite writers.

source: SDASM Archives via flickr (No known copyright restrictions)

I believe that one of the prime ways to be inspired is to read a lot. That’s why I like how Medium works. It feels somewhat like the YouTube of the written word. I can easily switch between topics, publications, ideas, and content of all sorts, lose track of time, and be entertained for some hours. And in the meantime, all kinds of new ideas pop into my mind.

The trick is to take different scraps of ideas from other stories and mold them into your own. …


Forget money, do less and be more like a tree.

source: OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons via flickr (No known copyright restrictions)

The other day I was taking a stroll through our little patch of land; a newly grown forest we planted in winter. It’s a somewhat melancholic feeling to understand that these young alders, ashes, cherries, and oaks will easily outlive us. What we planted here is the possibility of oxygen, wood, food, and shadow for a future generation.

One could easily argue that trees are the most important and advanced technology earth has ever designed. Their use is so diverse, their workings so complex. Also, if properly managed, they form an endless, renewable source of energy.

To me, the tree…


How to live a simple life in modern times.

source: Provincial Archives of Alberta via flickr (No known copyright restrictions)

We’re children of modern times. We grew up in a culture of the masses and technological advancement. A reaction to this outsourced living is the so-called ‘back to the land’ movement. Individuals escaping the pressure of society by retreating back to nature. One could argue that this is a quest for a simple life and a search for the small.

These feelings aren’t new. In 1845 Henry David Thoreau started building a little one-room cabin in a forest near a lake called Walden Pond. He then went to live in this cabin for two years.

Actually, this cabin wasn’t more…

Micha van Amsterdam

Simple, sustainable lifestyle design, self-sufficiency and local, perennial culture.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store