A magazine-style series advocating enhanced quality of life through environmental stewardship; thoughtful consumption; community involvement; and financial responsibility. Simple Living, hosted by Wanda Urbanska, addresses such subjects as lowering your carbon footprint, reducing your personal waste stream, buying locally, green building, and reconnecting with nature. In short, taking one’s life back from the grip of consumerism.
Each episode makes the case that change is not only possible but inevitable; it urges viewers to adopt the mindset that “nothing’s too small to make a difference.” Wanda will show you how to replace time-starved, possession-cluttered, high carbon-footprint lives with a more meaningful approach.
LENGTH: 39 x 30 minutes
ASPECT RATIO: Seasons 100, 200, 300 (SD 4:3) Season 400 (HD 16:9)
INTERNATIONAL TRACK: Yes
CLOSED CAPTIONS: No
PRODUCTION YEAR: 2004 – 2008
RELEASE YEAR: 2009
SUPPLIER: Simple Living
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
RIGHTS TERRITORY: Worldwide
This program can be screened at Hulu.com for viewers in the United states.
Season One (Filmed in SD – 4:3)
Episode 101: Simple Living
Stroll down the slow lane in Wanda’s home town of Mount Airy, NC, and learn the basics of simple living through a “time tracker” exercise, and with money pointers from Washington Post syndicated financial columnist Michelle Singletary. Also, review energy-saving transportation choices, such as driving a hybrid car and taking a restored trolley in Charlotte, NC.
Episode 102: Decluttering Basics, Work, and Service
Join Wanda as she provides tips to clear the clutter in your home or work space with “stuff-lock busting” dynamo Marla Cilley. Today’s project: decluttering the condo of Wanda’s elderly packrat mother, Marie Whittaker. Boston College professor Dr. Juliet Schor, author of “The Overworked American,” discusses ways to simplify your work life, and Wanda visits Winston-Salem State University to learn how “service education” is being integrated into the collegiate curriculum.
Episode 103: Overcoming Option Overload
Too many options, like too many things, can overwhelm, and be detrimental to your health and happiness as we hear from Harvard’s Dr. Daniel Gilbert. Wanda tunes into the benefits of walkable communities in New York City and North Carolina. Finally, learn how to avoid excess at the holidays by simplifying your celebrations and employing eco-friendly practices.
Episode 104: Build Community and Reduce Your Personal Waste Stream
Learn the joys and health benefits of engaging in community with Lew Feldstein, co-author of “Better Together: Restoring the American Community.” Wanda visits the world-famous Recycling & Disposal Facility in Wellesley, Mass., and offers workable tips to reduce your personal waste stream with the World Watch Institute’s Gary Gardner. Also, come be inspired by Thoreau’s magnificent Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., and discover how your soul will soar from signing onto simplicity.
Episode 105: Slow Food and Frugality
Fed up with fast food? Then explore the allure and benefits of “slow food” as Wanda talks with plant-centered diet advocate Frances Moore Lappe, author of “Diet for a Small Planet.” Join us on a trip to the Big Easy where Wanda whips up a batch of gumbo made from local ingredients with New Orleans chef Poppy Tooker. Reclaim frugality, and take a sneak peak inside a “simplicity circle” in Long Beach, CA, where participants support each others efforts to change.
Episode 106: Simplicity and Children / Eco-Action In a Faith-Based Community
Explore the benefits of buying locally, and meet Minnesota’s own Barbara Z. Carlson, co-author of “Putting Family First,” who provides ideas to simplify child-rearing. Travel to Wayland, Massachusetts, to watch a church celebrate its eco-friendly “Roll-Or-Stroll for Your Soul Sunday,” in which congregants walk, bike or carpool to church, and in Tenafly, NJ, learn how to implement green practices in your house of worship and faith community.
Episode 107: Sarah Susanka’s “Not-So-Big-House”and Wildlife Friendly Backyards
Wanda talks with architect and best-selling author Sarah Susanka about what’s needed for livable, human-scale homes. Learn the importance of “thoughtful television viewing” with Los Angeles-based scholar Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and find out how to attract birds and wildlife to your garden with native plantings and hand-powered yard implements.
Episode 108: Simple Transportation Choices and Streamlining Your Office
Ride along with Wanda and actor-environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., as he bikes or takes public transportation in Los Angeles. In San Francisco, explore the fast-growing “car-share” system. Learn how to streamline your office while making it more eco-friendly, in Des Moines, IA, and follow your bliss to find the work you love.
Season Two (Filmed in SD – 4:3)
Episode 201: Health and Simplicity and Moving To A Small Town
Join Wanda as she discusses the vital link between conscious choices, a slower pace, and good health with UCLA’s Dr. Peter Whybrow, author of “American Mania”; Dr. Richard Swenson, author of “The Overload Syndrome”; Simple Living America founder Carol Holst, and others. You’ll want to try out these easy, green cleaning techniques. Also, travel to Sauk Centre, MN, where Wanda follows in Sinclair Lewis’s footsteps to pose the question: Is life truly simpler in a small town?
Episode 202: Pay As You Go and Overcome Noise Pollution
It is possible to stay debt-free when you adopt a personal “pay-as-you-go” policy, which Wanda discusses with Washington Post syndicated financial columnist Michelle Singletary. Les Blomberg, head of the Vermont-based Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, presents strategies for creating a soothing soundscape and taking back our peace and quiet. In Copenhagen, Denmark and Minneapolis, MN, Wanda tunes into the dying art of conversation with engaging conversationalists.
Episode 203: The High Cost Of Convenience and Co-Housing
This show examines the hidden personal and environmental cost of convenience, and Wanda visits Takoma Village Co-Housing in Washington DC, Baxter Village in Fort Mill, SC, and a Danish coop to find out how these increasingly popular communities foster friendship, connection, and sharing. Finally, learn the power of giving with Peggy Payne, co-author of “The Healing Power of Doing Good.”
Episode 204: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Special
This special program examines the Carters’ commitment to simplicity before, during, and after the White House. Wanda interviews the beloved 39th President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in his hometown of Plains, GA, as well as tours his boyhood home and chats with neighbors about the former president and first lady’s work locally and internationally to promote a just and sustainable world. We watch as the former President delivers a Sunday School class, square dances with Rosalynn and shows off an historic inn in Plains which they helped restore.
Episode 205: The Farmer and You / Biking
Do you know where your food comes from? Coop America’s Erin Gorman explains fair trade coffee and products, and Wanda visits with an organic farm in Floyd County, VA that operates as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Examine environmental initiatives on campus at two North Carolina colleges, Catawba and Guilford, and one high school, American Hebrew Academy, in Greensboro, NC. And take up biking with Wanda in Denmark, Sweden, and Mount Airy, NC.
Episode 206: Conserving Water / Repairing and Repurposing
Wanda offers tips for conserving our water supply and gains insight from the University of Pennsylvania’s Stan Laskowski and World Watch’s Erik Assadourian. Learn how to shield your children from consumerism perils by signing onto Nathan Dungan’s Share, Save, Spend money management program, and see how repairing and repurposing household items saves money and reduces waste. Finally, Wanda visits the iridescent “Bottle House” in Hillsville, VA, constructed from vintage wine and medicine bottles.
Episode 207: Poland Special
Be inspired to trace your ethnic roots as you travel along with Wanda, a first generation Polish-American, as she travels to Poznan, Poland, for a first-time family reunion with her sister and four first cousins. Along the way, Wanda visits numerous sites including Auschwitz, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, the Rising 44 Museum in Warsaw, meets up with noted historian Norman Davies, and authors Lynne Olson & Stan Cloud and others to learn about recent Polish history.
Episode 208: Bartering and Sustainable Business
Wanda visits the Neighborhood Service Exchange in Stillwater, MN to learn the dynamics (and benefits) of group bartering. She then travels to Sparta, WI, to meet the visionary Father Bernard McCoy, a Cistercian monk and mastermind of Lasermonks.com, an on-line business, which sells recycled office products and charitable giving. In Hastings, MN, learn the importance of preserving historic sites to your community and your character.
Episode 209: Alternative Power and Earth Gym
Join Wanda as she travels to Samso Island, Denmark, a Danish experiment in energy self-sufficiency, and to Browntown, WI and the Inn Serendipity, an eco-friendly, window-powered Bed and Breakfast operated by Lisa Kivirist & John Ivanko. Then, jog along as Experience Life’s editor-in-chief Pilar Gerasimo advocates for outdoor exercise and, finally, delve into the wisdom tradition of the Quakers at Philadelphia’s Pendle Hill.
Episode 210: Overcoming Obesity and The Foreigner Next Door
Join Wanda as she gives an overview about the obesity epidemic and provides some insight on conquering over-eating with help from UCLA’s Dr. Peter Whybrow and others. Learn from the simple customs and habits imported by our foreign-born neighbors “the newest Americans,” and discover the benefits of connecting with nature at Eagle’s Bluff in Lanesboro, MN.
Season Three (Filmed in SD – 4:3)
Episode 301: Overcoming Overload
Listen in as Wanda taps the wisdom of experts on the near-ubiquitous problem of “overload”: too much to do in a day and not enough time to do it! We talk to Dr. Richard Swenson, author of “The Overload Syndrome,” Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA’s Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute, Dr. Juliet Schor, author of “The Overworked American,” and others. Wanda picks the brain of life coach Elizabeth Barbour for ideas about getting the most out of your day.
Episode 302: Simple Beauty and Healing Environments
We examine beauty basics, such as proper nutrition, sleep and exercise, and bring back forgotten techniques such as good posture, natural and homemade beauty products, and the right philosophy. Spend an afternoon with architect Carol Venolia of Santa Rosa, CA, author of “Healing Environments,” and visit a Zen garden located in Winston-Salem, NC.
Episode 303: Simple Weddings Special
Join Wanda as she watches fiance’s Eddie McGee & Anna Nixon of King, NC plan their simple wedding. Enjoy the emotion and theatrics of the main event, and listen in on their “post-mortem” about the Big Day. This special program shows viewers how to cut costs, cut waste, and stage simple, elegant weddings for a fraction of the American average, which now hovers around $30,000. Experts Shonnie Lavender & Bruce Mulkey, authors of “I Do! I Do! The Marriage Vow Handbook,” Washington Post- syndicated financial columnist Michelle Singletary, and California First Lady Maria Shriver weigh in with advice.
Episode 304: Experience Living History and Rediscover Reading
Join Wanda as she visits the living history museum of Old Salem, North Carolina, and learn simplicity tips from the village’s original 18th- century Moravian settlers. Rediscover the pleasure of reading by attending a book club, and visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in Burr Oak, IA as well as Hans Christian Andersen’s home in Odense, Denmark for inspiration.
Episode 305: Simple Travel and Foreign Language
Wanda enlists the help of family and friends to provide tips on simple travel and the benefits of learning a foreign language. Discover hidden, off-the-beaten-track gems such as Estonia, Poland & Denmark. In Tallinn, Estonia, Wanda visits with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and the U.S. Ambassador Dr. Aldona Wos.
Episode 306: Green Building
Learn why green is the new gold, as Wanda visits LEED-certified buildings around the country and speaks to their designers, builders & backers. In this episode, we watch as Greensboro, North Carolina’s Proximity Hotel goes up, and take a tour St. Louis’s Earthways Center and the refurbished Schlafly Bottleworks restaurant and brewery, housed in a former supermarket.
Episode 307: A Different Set of Wheels and One-Car Families
Explore transportation options as Wanda travels the nation showcasing ways that people are reducing and eliminating their need for gas-guzzlers. Visit the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC, which houses the nation’s largest collection of antique motorcycles, and learn the financial, environmental and social impact on families who have reduced to one vehicle. Check out Austin, TX’s Plug-In Partners National Campaign, which is pioneering the next generation in eco-friendly design: the plug-in hybrid. Finally, set your teen on the path to financial responsibility with Minnesota experts Nathan Dungan and Darryl Dahlheimer.
Episode 308: Public Places, Open Spaces and Rekindling Public Life
Learn how public places strengthen a neighborhood and enhance community ties as we visit parks, cafes, and booming downtown districts across the nation. Learn how to make your public spaces more enjoyable and accessible with Ode editor Jay Walljaspar, Cecile Andrews, author of Slow Is Beautiful, and Carol Holst of Simple Living America. Check out the renaissance of Springfield, MO’s downtown, and explore open-space planning at the Shaw Nature Preserve in St. Louis and Piedmont North Carolina Land Conservancy.
Season Four (Filmed in HD – 16:9)
Episode 401: Simple Living In the City
Cities with mass transportation and quantities of scale could be the easiest places in which to live simply. Meet Chicago’s Sadhu & Manda Johnston & Jane Zawadowski, who show us how to live simply in the city, and hear Mayor Richard Daley’s green pledge. Visit Chicago’s fabled City Hall Roof Garden and Ken Dunn’s moveable Urban Farm. Additional footage was shot in St. Louis, San Diego & Los Angeles.
Episode 402: What You Can Do About Global Warming
Assess the problem of climate change and review ways to lower your carbon footprint with such leading thinkers and activists as author Bill McKibben, former President Jimmy Carter, World Watch Institute’s Christopher Flavin & Gary Gardner, and Coop America’s Alisa Gravitz. Wanda meets students at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania who are tackling climate change in Michelle Kozimor-King’s class. Also, hear from a 10-year-old in Topeka, KS about her climate concerns.
Episode 403: The Artist Within
Discover the vital link between art and simplicity as well as your own “artist within” in this special program. Wanda visits NC’s legendary Penland School of Crafts glass-blowers, painters and weavers, and visits the studio of mosaicist Jan Detter. New York City’s pop singer Dana Parrish and composer Andy Hollander complete the program by offering an inspired performance in Mount Airy.
Episode 404: Down On The Farm and Farmers Markets
Bryan Welch shows off his Lawrence, KS livestock farm which he calls “Rancho Cappuccino,” and explains why hobby farming is increasingly popular in America. Grit editor Hank Will gives us advice about how to get started with small farming. Also, join Wanda as she visits farmers markets in Lancaster, PA & Greensboro, NC to find out why they’ve become the “cat’s meow.”
Episode 405: Ed Begley Jr. Specials / Local Food
Join Wanda for an exclusive interview with green living poster-boy Ed Begley Jr., wife Rachelle and daughter Hayden at their modest by-Hollywood-standards home located in Studio City, CA. Tag along with Wanda as she visits Local Burger in Lawrence, KS to learn why “local” is the new “organic.” And pull up a chair at Greensboro, NC’s Zaytoon Mediterranean Cafe to hear from Palestinian proprietors Annah & Masoud Awartani. And watch Wanda’s son Henry prepare a “zero-waste” school lunch.
Episode 406: Things That Refuse To Die Special
Check out these treasured old things still in use past the date of planned obsolescence: the giant 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign peanut from Plains, GA.; Mary Ann Cook’s 1967 Electrolux vacuum cleaner in New Orleans; Bill Casstevens’s 1923 cash register in Mount Airy, NC, and many more!
Episode 407: The Park Next Door
Join us as we visit some of America’s favorite parks. Millennium Park in Chicago, St. Louis’s Forest Park, New York’s Central Park & Greensboro, NC’s brand-new, community-planned Center City Park. Learn the significance of parks and public places to community life, while meeting the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Houck Medford; Appalachian State’s Neva Specht; and Seattle-based parks advocate Al Runte.
Episode 408 : A Sound Sleep / Elder Wisdom
Join Wanda as she explores the question of why sound sleep is so elusive these days. Visit a sleep clinic and hear recommendations from sleep specialists Dr. Walter Pharr & Dr. Jan Kriska, and check out herbal remedies from Herbs for Health Editor K.C. Compton. Then, learn how the “simple life” includes a healthy connection to our elders, including HGTV founder Ken Lowe and his parents, Barbara & Wayne Lowe, as well as Dr. Aldona Wos & her parents, Paul & Wanda Wos.
Episode 409: The Vision from Bill McDonough
Join Wanda for an exclusive interview with world-renowned architect and designer William McDonough. Winner of three U.S. Presidential Awards, Time magazine named him a “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that is changing the design of the world.” Meet Van Shields, who is partnering with McDonough to create the new green Kanawha Development and Museum in York County, SC.
Episode 410: Connecting To Nature and Gardening
This episode lays out the steps needed to overcome “nature deficit disorder” for children and adults. Meet Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, in San Diego, CA; Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature With Children, and Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work. Visit Timberlake Farm where nature education is offered to educators and children. Also, learn how to get started with your own organic garden, featuring Mother Earth News editor-in-chief Cheryl Long, Topeka, KS.
Episode 411: Greening the “Sunflower House”: Part I
Join Wanda as she embarks on the “green remodeling” of her mid-century brick ranch house in Mount Airy, NC. Green building guru David Johnston, author of “Green from the Ground Up” & Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence travel from Boulder, CO to guide Wanda’s choices. Part one of two programs identifies remodeling goals, and the work begins on such basics as deconstruction, upgrading insulation & adding low-e windows.
Episode 412: Greening the “Sunflower House”: Part II
Work continues on the remodel, including the addition of Energy Star appliances, locally sourced salt-and-pepper granite countertops, reclaimed wormy chestnut mantle, locally- built bathroom furniture & low-VOC paints and aesthetic touches, such as hemp window treatments and bedding. In Part II, which features Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence and a team of green decorators, the house’s remodeling reaches its grand finale.
Episode 413: Farm and Ranch Preservation
This special program features Chatham County, NC’s farmland preservation initiative and Beau Turner at his family’s bison ranch outside Bozeman, MT. Wanda speaks to Royce Hanson in Montgomery County, MD, creator of Transfer Development Rights (TDR) initiative that land trusts around the country are emulating.
“the de facto Martha Stewart of the voluntary simplicity movement.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
“If you feel overwhelmed…watch the series.” – The Washington Post
“…A kind of This Old House for the American Dream.” – Utne Reader
“Wanda Urbanska is a spokeswoman for the simplicity movement.” - The New York Times
“If you are looking for a more environmentally responsible way, watch Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska. If you are looking for inspiration to live your life in closer alignment with your values, Simple Living – with its delightful stories and useful tips – is the show for you. Here’s a show that could not be timelier, both for you and for our planet.” – Ed Begley, Jr.
“Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska presents five episodes of the popular public television series designed to teach the viewer about ways for more cost-effective, conscientious, and sustainable living. The first nationally syndicated series of this kind, Simple Living shows ways ordinary people everywhere can be better stewards of the environment and more informed consumers, while promoting a strong, positive message of fiscal responsibility and community involvement. From reducing one’s carbon footprint to doing a “green remodel” of one’s home to enjoying the pastime of gardening, Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska is a wonderful and refreshing show – the frugality and energy-saving tips especially are and more valuable than ever during tough economic times. Highly recommended.” - Midwest Book Review
“Make the city your city; be kind to yourself; keep it green and simple” are the themes of this serial documentary which ran on American Public Television. Host Wanda Urbanska conducts on site interviews in major American cities about land use, energy conservation and urban efforts towards the “green earth” movement. Projects and site visits by Urbanska include green rooftop gardens, city farms on vacant lots, planning natural protected habitats, green business strategies, and requiring green standards for all public buildings. Urbanska then interviews a young Chicago family with two small children who live the “green” lifestyle.
“As people move back to the cities, they are able to walk to work, support local markets and partake in communal gardening. The Lewandowski family in Chicago does just that. They do not own a car but bike, take public transportation or “car share.” Jane Lewandowski picks her own vegetables at the community garden, shops locally, prepares the family meals from scratch, uses canvas shopping bags, cloth diapers and napkins; conserves energy by washing clothes in cold water, and line dries laundry in the apartment bathroom. The public library is a place to share ideas, find books, and community events/classes.” – Educational Media Reviews Online