Charles Koontz is a man who both lives and works his philosophy of living simply, practicing energy efficiency and respecting our Earth. Charles and his family live an intentional life, growing and canning vegetables and fruit and focusing on family and on the earth. He works at Integrys Energy Services,a diversified energy company helping customers meet their energy needs and save energy resources at the same time.
SL: How did you get started with Simply Living?
Charles: My wife and I were looking for a place to live in Columbus, and we were able to find a house that suited us perfectly. It wasn’t until we moved in and began to meet the great people there that we found out we were living in a neighborhood with an Intentional Community--an open, intergenerational circle exploring community and personal development and living simply, and that those in the neighborhood believed in many of the things we did. I like to say we were the only family to unintentionally move into an Intentional Community! That’s when I heard about the Simply Living organization. The people in this organization are like-minded on issues that are important to my family and me on renewable resources, lifestyle, buying local, and energy efficiency.
We’ve since moved out to a home in Galena where we can have a bigger garden. We try to live a life free of as much environmental toxicity as possible, doing organic gardening and canning, organic lawn care, cooking at home, participating in CSAs, composting, and collecting rainwater. We live television free. We even make our own organic cleaners.
SL: Who or what inspires you in your chosen lifestyle or in Simply Living?
Charles: You know, I think I’ve been inspired by meeting other people in the organization; ordinary people who have the extraordinary ability to live what they believe. Sometimes it’s not just one person or author or speaker, but a group of dedicated people who believe similarly, and, I guess, practice what they preach. I learn more from them every day.
SL: How does the philosophy of voluntary simplicity affect your spiritual side?
Charles: For me I guess it’s just the positive outlook I find in people in the organization. It’s an awareness of the reality of the world but not a sense of helplessness. The people here believe that we can make a difference. We can step back from the global economy and restore a sense of self-control. I find a real sense of unity and of belonging.
SL: What do you say to people new to this organization who are just beginning their journey of exploration?
Charles: Simply Living is now working hard on its mission statement to make clear how the organization can be of value to members. I’m hoping to be involved in that. But people will find a feeling of compassion for people wanting to learn more. Anyone making an effort to engage can learn and grow. Learn to live a more intentional life, de-emphasize money, have a more compassionate and sustainable outlook on life. Simply Living is an organization that values time and commitment to these kinds of ideas and will help you find your own connection to them.