Local author debuts book on living a sustainable life
Reduce, reuse and recycle is more than a phrase to Lakeville resident and author Holly Jorgensen. It’s a way of life.
Jorgensen has been speaking and writing about how she lives below modest means by relishing used and found objects since 2005. Her new book “Enchanted - Reflections from a Joyfully Green and Frugally Rich Life” shares her secrets to reduce the urge to buy, rescuing items from thrift stores, rummage sales or items left on the curb.
The book not only discusses how Jorgensen lives but touches on consumers living paycheck to paycheck, the use of plastic, dependence on oil and other pollutants.
“I don’t claim to be an expert on anything except my lifestyle,” Jorgensen said in her abridged introduction. “I have no desire to tell anyone else how to live, but only to offer proof that there are alternatives to following the flock. I hope my humble examples offer strength to resist the barrage of consumer pressures surrounding us. There are many changes we can make and still be, well - normal. Sort of normal. But definitely happy. Very happy.”
Jorgensen adds she enjoys hearing at her presentations about those who find a great piece of clothing at a thrift store, about someone’s organic garden or how they compost.
Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield is hosting Jorgensen’s book launch Saturday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy snacks, door prizes, readings and an appearance from singer and actor T. Mychael Rambo.
Jorgensen spoke with the newspaper recently about her inspirations, way of living and her influence on her listeners and readers.
What inspired you to write this book?
In 2005, a St. Thomas professor asked me to speak to his graduate engineering class. I was surprised, but he wanted me to share how I thought “outside the box.” Since then, I’ve been speaking to all kinds of groups and finding that people are hungry for new ways to look at the world and social norms. As my talks expanded, along with the power point tours of how I’d transformed my wooded homestead with found objects, my audiences encouraged me to write a book. I’ve been working on it for 10 years between work and life events. When I started getting terrific responses to my nature photography, that inspired me to use it in the book to touch people’s hearts and move them to get out there, to enjoy and protect our Mother Earth.
How has living a frugally rich life influenced you?
I’m so grateful that my parents taught me to be frugal. They, along with coming of age in the 60s and great friendships all along the way, encouraged me to be my own person rather than try to keep up with the Joneses. Some might think I make a lot of sacrifices, but I don’t feel that way at all. By always thinking about what’s really important to me, what brings me joy and security, I’ve learned to ignore the ads and pressures to conform. That has brought me tremendous freedom. And I must confess I find treasure hunting through used or discarded goods to be much more fun than shopping in over-priced stores. But even that doesn’t compare with the joy I find in nature, which is always around the corner waiting to give us great peace and strength.
How are you hoping “Enchanted” will influence your readers?
I’ve been warmed by the stories my audiences share about how I’ve inspired them to consume less. I especially like sharing the results of the classic marshmallow experiment. It has shown, for decades, how much more content and successful children are when they are not spoiled; when they learn to wait and to think, rather than expecting instant gratification. I believe that kids who are raised with more outdoor time, whether being active or simply with curiosity and reverence for all creatures, rather than being consumed by screen time, will be happier and healthier while being empowered to make our world the same. I also hope my unique experiences will encourage young and old to seek the blessings of friendships, whether unexpected ones with critters, or by stepping outside your core community to experience the rich rewards of embracing diversity.