David Wann is an author, filmmaker, and speaker on the topic of sustainable lifestyles and designs. Simple Prosperity is a sequel to the best-selling book he coauthored, Affluenza, which is now in 9 languages. A third book in the “trilogy” about creating a more sensible way of life is The New Normal, which has just been published by St. Martin’s press. It presents 33 high-leverage actions that can shift our culture in a more sustainable direction.

He has also produced 20 videos and TV programs, including the award-winning TV documentary “Designing a Great Neighborhood,” about the Holiday neighborhood in Boulder. David is president of the Sustainable Futures Society and a Fellow of the National Simplicity Forum. He worked more than a decade as a policy analyst for U.S. EPA and co-designed the cohousing neighborhood where he lives, in Golden.


David Wann, 1015 Cottonwood Circle, Golden, Colorado 80401
(303) 216-1281720 563-7748

davewann (at) comcast.net, davewann (at) gmail.com

Networks: Facebook, Harmony Village Cohousing Community, Sustainable Futures Society, Transition Movement, Simplicity Forum

Destination, a Sustainable Lifestyle
(Still en route)

How did each of us get here so quickly?  For example, I can reach into the distant past so easily – 40 years back to the moment when, as a student traveling in Europe, I was standing in London’s Hampstead Heath on a sunny Spring day, kissing and saying good-bye to a lovely South African woman, and venturing off to find something meaningful to do with my life. I’d had the strong mentoring and support of my core family – parents and sister – and I was just completing a mind-opening liberal arts program at DePauw University. But I was perplexed by what was happening to our collective way of life, as economic growth and commercial “progress” became the over-riding goals.

As I tried my best to be a butterfly – or at least a moth – I kept wondering, “Growth of what? Greatest good for whom, for how long?” Everyone was chasing a televised vision of success, but I wondered, mostly to myself in those days, “Successfully what?”

I went where I felt most comfortable, in the camaraderie of the “counter-culture.”  I had a great twenty-year marriage, headquartered in a cabin in the foothills west of Denver. I experienced the miracle of watching two curious and energetic kids grow up, with lots of laughter and lots of exploration. I endured fifteen years of very odd jobs, including seven at a wastewater treatment plant – surely society’s least desirable job. (But I learned humility there.) Finally, I got a Master’s degree from University of Colorado, in Environmental Science. I remember walking into the placement office to see what could be done with my new degree. “I’ve been a writer since second grade,” I told them. “Is there any way to combine that with something in the environmental field?” Presto, ten years at EPA, where I made some great friends and learned how to write everything from press releases and feature articles to documentary scripts.

As I confessed in Simple Prosperity, “To my own amusement and horror, I became a salesperson for sustainability — a product not exactly in high demand in the 1980s, during the Reagan years. It was the perfect get-rich-quick scheme, in slow motion. I constantly thought, talked, and wrote about how we can deliberately slow down and focus our attention on qualities like fairness in the market and durability in our products; on health and wellness rather than just wealth and ‘hellness.’”

And that is where you’ll find me now: still a crusty crusader whose strongest trait is probably stubbornness, or should I say persistence. It took persistence to stick with a group of great people to imagine, design, and build the “neighborhood on purpose” we’ve lived in for fifteen years. And it has taken persistence to convert a chunk of high-plains desert into a productive garden that we’ll hand off to the future. I know too well that it took stubbornness to wade through the rejection slips and grant proposal rejections to produce these books and films. It makes me tired to think about all those deadlines, but proud to realize that I met them. I hope you find my work useful in your own work, and play.

You know what? I do have a feeling we’re going to make it, partly because we’re way too bull-headed to let it fall apart.

Career Awards
Timothy Wirth
Sustainable Development Award
For career contributions in writing and filmmaking
Colorado State
Department of Public Health and Environment
For career contributions in writing and filmmaking
Awards for Writing
National Governmental Award Bronze Medal at U.S. EPA for writing excellence
KUSA TV Educational Scholarship for Writing Excellence
National Educators’ Award Best non-fiction books, 2005 revised edition Affluenza
Knight-Ridder Syndicate Top ten non-fiction books, 2001, Affluenza
Colorado Center for the Book Finalist, Best non-fiction book, Affluenza
Nautilus Book Awards Silver Award for non-fiction book, Simple Prosperity (2008)
Grants/Support Received for Writing and Film Production
Mesa Refuge Two-week writing residency, 2007
Salida Arts Council Two-week writing residency, 2005
U.S. EPA Sustainable Development Challenge Grant, to document a model green development community
Merck Family Fund
Weeden Foundation True North Foundation
Support for book project, Affluenza
DST, Inc. Support for work on Placemakers, A TV program on sustainable Communities
State of Colorado Support to research and write Colorado Solutions, about
Sustainable design practices in Colorado
Ford Foundation Support for video work on sustainable communities
Hunter-White Foundation Individual grant for short video on small business incubation, (1998)
U.S. Department of Energy Support to non-profit Greening America (for which I was Creative Director) to produce Placemakers, a TV program
KUSA TV Educational Scholarship for Writing Excellence
National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to publish book of poetry,  Log Rhythms (North Atlantic Press,1983)