Origins of Slow Movement

During the mid-1980’s, an Italian man by the name of Carlo Petrini started what is now known as the Slow Movement, an ideology rooted in food and sustainability. At the time, in 1986, Carlo and his crew were protesting the incursion of fast-food establishments with the opening of a new McDonald’s in Rome. As a community known the world over for their love of fresh produce, this disapproval wasn’t a surprise. But over the years, the movement has grown in a global drive for sustainability, centered around slow living, similar to the beloved Italian phrase “il dolce far niente” – the art of doing nothing.

What is Slow Living?

The slow living movement today has gone beyond food. The movement now includes anything from slow gardening and slow travel to slow parenting. In essence, the word “slow” has taken on the meaning of a paced or balanced way of living. The slow living philosophy is about focusing on the present moment, being mindful of our thoughts, adopting healthy habits – particularly around consuming food – and finding pleasure in the small moments and things in life. An element of this lifestyle involves slowing the pace of your life not necessarily in terms of the amount of time it takes to do things, but to perform our actions more meaningfully and consciously. Slow living, ultimately, is choosing quality over quantity.

Benefit of Slow Living

Followers of a slow lifestyle believe it is the antidote to the often frenetic lives we live, and that slow living can transform your way of thinking, moving, eating and general being. A few of the most researched and talked about ways that the slow movement can be of benefit:

Deeper relationships
When we aren’t distracted by our mobiles, and spend quality time to genuinely understand those around us, we deepen our relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.

Healthier Body and Mind
Followers of the slow food movement prefer food that is produced sustainably, free from harmful chemicals, and with care by people making a fair living.

A Healthier Planet
As climate change and conserving our environment have become the most important challenges faced by our society at large today, we have become increasingly aware of our consumption patterns. Slow living allows us to be more mindful of the impact we have on our planet and leaves a healthier earth for future generations.

The Slow Lane: Why now?

It is interesting to note that during the course of the pandemic, “slow living” has been trending on YouTube, and astonishingly, there was a four-fold increase in the views of videos with “slow living” in the title in 2020 compared to 2019.

The last year has accelerated this movement. With workers coping with uncertainty in an ever-changing world, slow living has been a counteraction to workplace burnout – taking a slower weekend after a long week, with lazy brunches with friends, or lingering a little longer over your morning tea and papers by taking it down a notch.

Furthermore, at a time when millions felt cut off from the world, our over-reliance on technology during the pandemic to communicate constantly and to stay in touch – to feel human essentially – only exacerbated an already drained workforce.

Finally, slow living has been seen as the kind of ‘reset’ button we needed to press, the kind we didn’t know was sorely needed, allowing us time to focus on fewer things with more concentration and respond to what’s going on around us, rather than react. 

Slow living is here to stay

And so, rather bizarrely, after the most unusual, stressful, and unpredictable year of our lives, the act of doing nothing is now seen as the ultimate act of resistance – an act of self-care and acknowledgment that life can be lived more meaningfully and perhaps richer than we could have possibly imagined.