Like millions of other people around the world I first came upon Mark Boyle through a viral Facebook post. The story was headlined by an iconic photo of him sitting bare chested outside next to his homemade rocket stove and his clothes hanging out to dry.
This photo kept popping up in my news feed and eventually led to an afternoon of reading up on him. I was highly inspired by his life but at that point I never knew how much of an influence he’d have on me. Somehow I ended up with his first book, The Moneyless Man, in my hands. I may have ordered it online I don’t remember. But I do remember that it really opened my mind to the idea of living with much less money. At that time money was still a central priority in my life but I was undergoing drastic changes. This book was largely his experience of living for an entire year in England with no money.
Fast forward some time to the end of 2014 and I finally got around to reading his second book, The Moneyless Manifesto. This book is a quite detailed guide on exactly how to live with no money. I was reading it as I was preparing myself to live off the grid in a tiny house of sorts and it taught me so much of what I needed to know. I picked up great knowledge on food growing tips such as seed saving and planting perennials that will grow back year after year, how to build a rocket stove for cooking, how to grow my own medicine and take care of myself naturally, how to compost human waste, and wild foraging. The book truly is an absolute gem for anyone interested in living in harmony with the earth and with less dependency on money.
But both of these books took me so much deeper than just how to live without money. These books completely made me rethink the way that I was doing life and inspired me to pursue life with the deepest of passion that I could muster. These books forced me and inspired me to dive deeper into myself then ever before. With the knowledge I gained from him I had no choice but to make great changes in my life to live out my beliefs.
In The Moneyless Manifesto Mark quoted Albert Einstein as saying, “The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.” I beleive that to be the case as well. This is rising above ourselves as individuals and acting based on the best interest of the human race, the millions of species we share the earth with, and the earth as a whole.
In the fall of 2015 I was sent a copy of his latest book, Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, by my publishers to write an endorsement which ended up on the back cover. What an honor this is for me!
But I do have to curse Mark a little bit because he’s made me have to rethink the world that I live in again. Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi was the most painful read of all but the most necessary in realizing what must be done to live on a truly sustainable and just planet. There really is no hiding from the truth after reading this book. More than ever before this book makes me think about every action I take and how I can be a truly earth changing citizen. I’ve realize that being the change may just not be enough. It’s going to take some serious work and we must inspire others to be the change as well.
I could ramble on forever about how pivotal it was for me to read Mark’s books and explain all the benefit that I received from them but the best thing to do is to read them yourself. I highly encourage you to read his books and to come at them with a very open mind.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All thingsare bound together. All things connect.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
We need to defend the Earth with the same ferocity we would evoke if it were our home, because it is. We need to defend its inhabitants with the same passion as if they were our family members, because they are. We need to defend our lands, communities and cultures as if our lives depended on it, because they do.
Climate chaos, soulless jobs that can barely pay the rent, violent ecological devastation at untenable rates, disconnection from the natural world, the death of authentic community, gross disparity of financial and physical wealth, extreme energy extraction and use, industrial diseases of both the mind and body – none of these things are facts of life. We know what we don’t want any more of, and we know that another world is possible. The questions presented before us, therefore, are these: are we prepared to leave our comfort zones in order to make this world a reality, and if so, how do we get there?