How Much Is Enough?: From The Editors

Getting to Enough

Aug 10, 2021

What is enough? 

The question is relative, and can be asked and answered in a number of ways. Answers may vary from quantitative to qualitative responses. 

We had this in mind when considering the question of enoughness: What is enough money, time, work, food, stuff? 

Or, am I, as an individual—or are we as a collective—enough? Are there enough resources for the growing human population around the world as we struggle with a perception of scarcity, ever-present climate devastation, crumbling infrastructure, failing government systems, and in many cases state violence? 

The simple answer is, “yes!” But the overall answer is a bit more complex. All the aforementioned challenges undermine the drive toward the ecological civilization we envisioned and explored in our spring issue.

As a global society, we’ve bought into the idea of scarcity—yet that scarcity is a fabrication. Our problem is not that we don’t have enough, it is that the majority of us—particularly our most vulnerable—don’t have access to the abundance of resources Earth provides. And the hoarding of those resources by the wealthy reinforces a system of exploitation under which most humans on the planet live.

There is plenty of food for every person to receive the optimal 2,353 calories a day of culturally appropriate nutrition, plenty of money (another fabrication, but with very real consequences if you don’t have it) to fund the health care needs of everyone, plenty of clean water to drink (although our toxic habits are polluting it every day), plenty of land to steward, and plenty of energy to cool us in the hot summer months and warm us when it’s cold outside. There are plenty of houses available so that no one has to live on the street. We, in fact, have all that we need to transform society into one where everyone has enough. 

In this issue of YES!, we look at all aspects of “enoughness”: How much energy can we consume without exceeding the Earth’s boundaries? How can the rich give their wealth away to have maximum positive impact? Is a four-day work week the answer for overworked/underpaid U.S. residents? Can we be happier with less, while ensuring that those with less will have more? Also included are vignettes of enoughness, encompassing rest, public safety, diversity, and other aspects of life. 

We know what a better way forward looks like, and now we know without doubt that we have all we need—and are all we need—to forge ahead. Let’s do it!


Zenobia Jeffries Warfield, YES! executive editor

Chris Winters, YES! senior editor

Featured photo: Today, resistance involves creating change—redefining what is enough. “Not to have a bank account, what do you rely on? You have to rely on people,” Brother Chân Pháp Dung says. “It’s not that we do this alone, we do it together.”

-Megan Sweas, “Where the Search for Simplicity Leads

Zenobia Jeffries Warfield
Zenobia Jeffries Warfield is the former executive editor at YES!, where she directed editorial coverage for YES! Magazine, YES! Media’s editorial partnerships, and served as chair of the YES! Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. A Detroit native, Zenobia is an award-winning journalist who joined YES! in 2016 to build and grow YES!’s racial justice beat, and continues to write columns on racial justice. In addition to writing and editing, she has produced, directed, and edited a variety of short documentaries spotlighting community movements to international democracy. Zenobia earned a BA in Mass Communication from Rochester College in Rochester, Michigan, and an MA in Communication with an emphasis in media studies from Wayne State University in Detroit. Zenobia has also taught the college course “The Effects of Media on Social Justice,” as an adjunct professor in Detroit. Zenobia is a member of NABJ, SABJ, SPJ, and the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. She lives in Seattle, and speaks English and AAVE.
Chris Winters is a senior editor at YES!, where he specializes in covering democracy and the economy. Chris has been a journalist for more than 20 years, writing for newspapers and magazines in the Seattle area. He’s covered everything from city council meetings to natural disasters, local to national news, and won numerous awards for his work. He is based in Seattle, and speaks English and Hungarian.