Are you a hippie?

  • Do you believe in peace and non-violence?
  • Do you care about the future of the planet and all life?
  • Do you actively simplify your life to reduce your impact and aim to be zero-waste?
  • Do you grow (some of) your own food and/or support sustainable local food producers and fair trade suppliers?
  • Are you into permaculture, urban farming and community food systems?
  • Do you connect with your community and neighbours and do projects together for community and environmental benefit?
  • Do you wear simple clothing, possibly home-made, second-hand, or made ethically using natural fibres?
  • Could your wardrobe of clothes easily fit into a backpack – shoes included?
  • Do you like going barefoot and connecting with nature?
  • Do you use natural personal care products and possibly even avoid wearing makeup?
  • Did you build your own eco-home, or live simply surrounded by natural materials?
  • Do you create your own flexible work based around your passions and interests with an eco-social focus?
  • Do you find ways to not let money be the key driver in your choices and decisions?
  • Do you love independent and world music, and attend music festivals?
  • Do you homeschool/unschool/worldschool, and/or immerse your kids in nature and community?
  • Do your life goals include wanting to make a positive contribution to society and to leave the world in a better state than how you found it?

If you relate to more than half of the above, you possibly could have already been labelled a ‘hippie’.  I reckon though, the real hippie days are long gone.

It could be said that a lot of the actions and values I’ve described above have been influenced by the radical hippie movement of the 60s and 70s – living and working for social change, peace, freedom and the environment –  but there have also been many other philosophies, discoveries and ideas that have contributed to this way of thinking and living over the past 40 years too.

Am I a hippie?

I relate to all of the above points, but I don’t identify as a hippie (I’m too young). I particularly try to avoid the hippie tag because of the negative connotations that typically come with it – I don’t smoke or drink or have never been into drugs.  I try to avoid other tags too – it becomes to easy to be parcelled up and dismissed. Tags and labels seem to close people’s minds to new possibilities and interesting ideas that are worth exploring.

I know I hold a bit of fear of being labelled a hippie. Considering where I live and what I do, I am an easy target. A recent article about my way of life had the title “Earth Mother, Eco-teacher“. I admit I shuddered when I first read the words ‘Earth Mother’ describing me. It felt like a hippie label, but when I read the article, I realised the title had been given with much respect not condescension.  I think in that moment, I let go of some of my fear and I felt encouraged that this way of life is seen as a positive aspiration.

I love my work, particularly the Nature Kids and permaculture programs I run for kids and the community.

I am not trying to drop out of society. I have my whole life been dropping into living a positive, healthy, community-connected, earth-connected way of life. This feels purposeful to me and brings me a deep sense of joy and meaning. I live in an ecovillage, grow food, teach permaculture, live simply, dress simply, homeschool my kids… Does that make me a hippie? No.  I perhaps embrace a number of hippie culture qualities – love, peace, care for the earth, care for people, living simply and ethically – but I’m just me – me in relation to my community and environment.

Relaxed and happy – barefoot in the garden spreading compost, mulching and planting.

Labels are a great way to be boxed, dismissed and/or marketed to – best if possible to be avoided! Be free, be open, live well, love life, connect and make a positive contribution.


12 Responses

  1. Fiona Chain
    Fiona Chain at |

    Well said, Morag, I am definatly not a hippie but try and live a simple, small life without harm to other people or the enviroment. I love peace and quiet and being in my little garden. It brings me a bone deep contentment that nothing else can. Have a wonderful Non-hippie day.

  2. Anna Read
    Anna Read at |

    In my 60's now – and proud to still call myself a hippie, though many would use a different term. I agree with your sentiment and understand the stigma. These days I often identify with the tag 'minimalist'. A year ago I bought a house in Wollongong and I'm turning the large garden into a permaculture garden, as best I can. I find it a little difficult as I have not yet found a local 'tribe' and others to share my passion and possibly help me! I would be up there in northern NSW with all the other like-minded people, but I have family down here and want to be an involved nanna. I love my life!

  3. earthmotherwithin
    earthmotherwithin at |

    Well I think the term hippie is an honourable one, and being an earthmother something I aspire to!

  4. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Good on you! I love hippies and earth mothers, but like I wrote in the article, I am personally trying to avoid labels. This is particularly because I teach a lot and do a lot of public speaking. So often I hear the term 'hippie' used as a way to dismiss/marginalise ideas around living simply and sustainably. The less excuses there are for not taking action the better – e.g.: to hard (I offer simple techniques), too time consuming (I offer super quick methods), too 'hippie' , to this, to that…. 🙂

  5. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Thanks for sharing Jenn. I sometimes think there needs to be a new term, but then we'd just be boxing ourselves again. I think it's best just to be what we are, live our life fully, walk our talk, be leaders in change by doing it, living simply and having integrity.

  6. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Thanks Fiona – you too!

  7. Morag Gamble
    Morag Gamble at |

    Thanks for writing Anna. I guess a tag is useful if it supports what you are trying to do and be, how you feel and who you connect with, where you've come from. What I have found, and was trying to express in this post was that a tag can also become a limitation. We can still be all those things we love – sustainable, earth connected, peace-loving… without having to give ourselves a label. By moving out of a certain clique, we could open ourselves to new and unexpected connections and pathways.

  8. Jenn
    Jenn at |

    Lovely article, I feel really identified with your words, I have been also classified as a hippie in the past and it wasn't until I was actually surrounded by people that think of themselves as hippies that I understood that the term 'hippie' had nothing to do with me, despite my love for sustainability, peace, the environment and using less stuff. Thank you for writing about this, I think is a very underexplored topic that need to be addressed more often 🙂

  9. Chris
    Chris at |

    I think we're more 'cynic' (the philosophical definition not psychological one) than hippie/hipster. I'm inspired more by the early Greek philosophers than the 60s flower children counter culture simply because there's less hypocrisy. Which I already have plenty of!! 😉

  10. Selina B
    Selina B at |

    great article!
    it's true too about labels limiting us, thanx for the eye opener!
    thanx for sharing

  11. Nanna Chel
    Nanna Chel at |

    Hi Morag, lovely article. I am in my late 60s so remember well the Hippie era. I was never a hippie but I do appreciate the simple things in life much the same as you do and it is nice to see a young person who is not caught up in the materialism of these times like so many others your age are. Love your blog by the way.

  12. allotmentadventureswithjean
    allotmentadventureswithjean at |

    I found that list interesting Morag. I can tick quite a few of those boxes, and my life is happier for it. Your workshops, have enriched my life. The first workshop I ever went to you mentioned Northey Street City Farm for organic food, and from there I went on to being an allotment holder so that I could grow my own organic food, and found so many like-minded folk at the community garden. It's all good.