Environmental activist encourages ‘voluntary-simplicity’

By Hana Al-Henaid

Environmental activist Ann Bradley explained the importance of voluntary-simplicity to students during break today in honor of the culmination of Earth Month.
Bradley introduced herself to the audience with a brief explanation of the why she lives.
“I’m Ann Bradley and I’m a breather. If I stop breathing, I don’t live. Breathing is not what I live for, but it’s why I live.”
Bradley embraced environmental activism after attending “No Purchase Necessary,” a voluntary-simplicity conference produced by
Carol Holst at USC in September 1998.
“I came in one person, and left a completely different person,” Bradley said.
After the conference, Bradley said she changed three major habits by always carrying a few specific items with her: a reusable bag, a reusable cup and a reusable napkin – she’s also adopted the habit of picking up her dog’s poop with old chip bags.
“I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, advocating an ascetic lifestyle,” Bradley said. “I have a rich, phenomenal life. It is just much more important to say no to any extraneous items that will generate waste.”
In addition to incorporating those three habits into her life, Bradley has also developed a five-step personal mantra: refuse, return, reuse, reduce, repupose and recycle, the last of which she considers “kind of a cop out”.
Since 2002 Bradley has been car-free and is currently working on improving the Los Angeles public transportation system.
“The great regrets of my life are the three cars I possessed over the course of my car owning years,” Bradley said.
Bradley’s left with a specific message to the Harvard-Westlake community.
“You are the movers and shakers who will be making change in the near future,” she said. “You have to embrace the burden.”
Environmental Club adviser Martha Wheelock
invited Bradley to speak to students about environmental awareness and
activism. The the two met in March while attending artist-in-residence
Kim Abeles’ environmental art exhibit in Feldman-Horn gallery.