Minimalism as Advocacy for Sustainable Living
In recent years, minimalism has become a ubiquitous and trendy lifestyle choice. Idolized for its "less is more" mindset and rejecting mass consumerism, it entails a more mindful approach to one's actions, resulting in an interconnectedness that spans all areas of life. The goal of such a lifestyle is ultimately to increase the quality of one's existence, however, it has also, coincidentally, become an exemplification of sustainability. When one engages in a lifestyle of conservation, they are intrinsically able to maintain balance and harmony with the world around them. As the severity of climate change looms and the depletion of our natural resources threatens the future of our society, living sustainably is no longer an option or merely just a trend. It is now essential. As a people, we are intellectually capable of taking the necessary steps to rebalance our many over-indulgences. Living a minimalist lifestyle is undoubtedly one method of doing so. By utilizing the fundamental ethics of minimalism, our footprint has the potential to decrease significantly. It just comes down to our capacity for awareness, intention, and effort.
When's the last time you took inventory of your life? So many of us are weighed down by the sheer excess of "things"; to-do lists of activities we never get around to doing, wardrobes full of clothes that we never wear, and homes full of things we never use. We continue to waste precious time and energy on the overwhelming abundance that consumer culture tells us is "life." And with it, the environment suffers. Minimalism offers us an alternative. By bringing awareness to what we ingest physically and mentally, we may have greater clarity and connection to ourselves and the earth. Mindfully considering what we need over what we want gives us power, and through intentional purchasing, we become aware of the effects our decisions have.
Create a plan. Get as clear as possible about the consequences of your current lifestyle. What are your weaknesses? Are you constantly throwing out excess food that's gone bad from the fridge? Do you often leave all of your lights on or leave the water running? Are you manipulated into buying fast fashion or products you are told you need? There are so many ways in which we are set up to fail. It is up to us to shift our mindsets to protecting our planet and acting from the place of an ancestor, recognizing how generations to come will benefit from the actions we take now. Yes, it might seem heavy or overwhelming, but it's important to remember that living sustainably will not happen overnight. By making even small changes, we can begin to feel the benefits of minimalism and hopefully, one day, heal as a society.
Climate change has already begun to take its toll on our planet. Natural resources are being used up at an alarming rate, and our governments are stuck fighting amongst one another instead of enacting policies to protect our people. This is why it is so important that social movements such as minimalism and sustainability take root. There are more of us than there are of them, and by standing together and fighting for our planet, we will inevitably be the change we seek. So, disconnect from consumer culture and mass groupthink. Create rituals and intentional living practices that protect both you and the planet. Practice continual awareness around your consumerism and watch the way it brings clarity and purpose to your life. Sustainable living has the potential to be a spiritual journey just as much as a physical quest. Become a minimalist for yourself and for the planet. Be vigilant in advocating for your future.