We can all feel the weather getting warmer, stormier, scarier; and we can all see it becoming dirtier too, on land and especially in the sea – and we have no one to blame but ourselves. For some obscure reason, humans have attached themselves to […]
Author: Cheryl Magyar
Are your daily activities pushing your carbon footprint over an unsustainable limit? Or have you come to a crossroads, wondering how and where to reduce your carbon footprint next? First things first, before you begin to reduce your carbon footprint, it is beneficial to know […]
Earth, our one and only home, is in a state of disarray as the clutter from our homes escapes into the wild and ends up in the strangest of places.
In recent months, whales have perished from ingesting too much plastic, including missing flip flops and golf balls, random items floating among thousands of plastic straws; birds are feeling the ill effects too. The damage has been done and it will continue until it peaks, as all environmental catastrophes do.
How did we create this un-/cleanable mess and what are we going to do to stop it?
One cannot pinpoint the exact beginning, but it seems to have started somewhere around the discovery of plastics. This, in turn, led to disposable products with a short lifespan in the home and a much longer life of 500+ years, possibly forever, in nature.
In a matter of decades, our disposable incomes were able to absorb what industry had created to keep our hands and our minds occupied. It is not wise to point fingers, as we are all on the guilty side.
Corporations and businesses in general, are often guilty of clever advertising and cheap products that cannot be repaired. We, the people, are blameworthy for wanting more, and more, and newer, better; an upgrade to keep up with fast-paced-get-it-or-be-left-behind changing technology.
Let’s set guilt, shame and any hard feelings aside for the moment, so that we may expand our ecological consciousness, because it goes hand in hand so well with mindful minimalism.
Ecologically conscious beings look at the planet as a whole and indivisible ecosystem, where every living creature is worth knowing. This includes plants, animals, trees, insects – the good, the bad and the ugly.
We are not above any of them. We are in fact, equal.
We breathe the same air, we all drink the same water. We all take what we need and leave the rest in place, oh, if only it were so easy! Humans have developed a habit of creating whatever nature hasn’t already dreamt up for us, as a result, our lives are focused on comfort, softness, warmth and convenience.
Cars take us places further than our feet can walk, microwaves cook at alarmingly fast speeds, fast fashion jumps into our closets at a cheap price and we take it all in, that is, until we start questioning where we may have gone wrong.
The problems with overconsumption
When we buy more than we need, we are sometimes left with debt, remorse or the need for a storage unit. None of these have room in a happy, stress-free life. Think about how many non-essential items you buy a year, such as:
- Luxury items
- Items on sale
- Eating out
- Extra storage space (digital or physical)
- Vacations to faraway places
- Anything that goes above and beyond what you already own
Could you have done without any of them? Are you willing to give any of those “luxuries” up for the sake of living simply?
Consumerism plays with our emotions, suggesting us that in order to fit in, we need to both dress and act the part. Nothing could be further from the truth, for when we choose mindful minimalism as one of our core values in life, not only are we taking wonderful care of our mental and physical well-being, we inevitably take great care of the Earth too.
Naturally, as we consume less, the amount of plastic packaging goes down. As we choose to eat a place-based diet, we eliminate senseless food miles in favor of plants and animals that are suited to our locale.
As we step into a minimalist wardrobe sourced from ethical fabrics, created by smaller brands and local artisans, we are stating a case against the over-production of fast fashion. And as we lessen our carbon footprints, choosing not to fly, we are left with the opportunity to travel slowly and take the landscape in.
The further we fall into an eco-minimalist mindset, we begin to unclutter our homes and find that we have more moments in the day to shut off all technology and get outside, relishing in the chance to embrace nature instead.
Minimalism is a lifestyle, as much as it is a state of mind. One can either love it or loathe it, depending on their point of reference. If it is forced, then the act of living simply and frugally is no good. When it is welcomed, every day will be met with joy.
Mindful minimalism, ecological consciousness and climate change go hand in hand.
Shop less, live more – that is the plan! If you are concerned about climate change and wondering what you can do to ease the situation ahead:
- Instead of buying what you need, make do with what you have
- Plant trees to offset worldwide carbon emissions
- Get involved with beach/forest/stream garbage clean-ups
Anywhere and everywhere there is nature, let’s pick up the clutter we have created and stop buying into more of the same!
As green living mentors we are here to guide you along the way, as you (re)discover and (re)awaken your ecological conscience.
Has the state of the environment influenced your decision to become a mindful minimalist? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
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Busy is as busy does – and these days, life is busy all over the place, which leaves us with very few hours in the day to fully embrace nature.
From the moment our dreams are abruptly ended by the sound of the alarm, as we rush through breakfast to get to school or work on time, only to rush back home, tired and ready for an inviting bed with oversize covers. An oversimplified everyday story, yet for most of us, the daily grind is a never ending reality.
Likely you’ve heard it before, but I am here to tell it to you again – it doesn’t have to be that way! You get to choose the life you want, and you need to take inspired actions to get it.
An overabundance of responsibilities can overwhelm even the most seasoned adults, and when you add children into the mix? Well, this situation allows for all sorts of emotions to arise from the chaos. Chaos is caused when too many different types of energies are colliding together. This can result in meltdowns, breakdowns, and ultimately, frowns. None of that sounds friendly or inspiring, right? So, how can we get to that life-saving space of being unbusy enough to spend quality, sufficient time in nature?
When you hear your intuition shouting “Slow down!!”, take heed and listen with an open heart. It is calling out to you in protection of your own health and the wellbeing of the environment. It is essential to become unbusy to see the exciting opportunities that you are passing by at breakneck speed.
Embrace nature as a family in order to slow down, to become unbusy.
Once you have made the decision to voluntarily let go of “required” responsibilities, you’ll find that you have much more free time in your day. Rather than fall for the conveniences of entertaining technology to bide your time, you must do exactly the opposite.
In order to embrace nature, you must carve out time for precisely that, and there are three ways to accomplish this. Choose just one, or dive into them all, depending of course, on how unbusy you are, and how unbusy you wish to become.
Set your intention.
If you want to make time to embrace nature, you have to find time to embrace nature. Often times, this means saying no to other distracting opportunities, and an uncluttered/uncomplicated life is all about the no. But not just any kind of no, more like “I/We have other priorities at the moment”. Not to be selfish in any way, this is something that we should all be doing, and the more we do it together, as a family, the more we show respect for all siblings and parents involved. One happy little tribe is what we are after here, and how can one (individual or group) be more enthusiastic than in nature? Open up to the possibilities that going to the park will be an exciting family event, going on a bike ride, or even planting trees can be too. Start the day with a brisk walk or a run around the yard, even before turning on a screen.
Invest your time in a family digital detox.
Screens, by their very nature, are also a distraction to life. They absorb us with their luring glow and captivate our minds for minutes upon hours, though they rarely touch our hearts. They cannot give back like a human can, so the more we can give them up, do it! Carving out time in your day for a digital detox fosters engaged communication within the family. Replace the likes and hearts with hugs in real time. Forget the messages, and speak in longer sentences with deeper meaning attached to each conversation.
Can you, could you, would you?
- Go for an entire day without your smartphone…
- Allow for all meals to be enjoyed screen-free…
- Shut off all technology for the night with the wi-fi unplugged…
When everyone does this at the same time, there is no jealousy, only more time for each other, like it or not. Use this time to get to know each other – explore, hike, play board games, read books and cook together. The important thing is that you support one another – and by all means, get outside and embrace nature!
Stumble upon eco-minimalism.
As one becomes unbusy, they naturally step into the world of eco-minimalism. And as the desire to shop gradually fades, in favor of more time spent creatively at home, it is the home that becomes the center of stability and sustainability. Paring down your belongings can, and should, be done as a family. Bringing new items in, comes with the same disclaimer. Above all, choose nature for your newfound sense of sustainable minimalism and bring it indoors! Foraged wreaths are beautiful any time of year, the materials can even be collected on your digital detox day for all to enjoy.
Bringing the consciousness of green, natural things inside your home, your nest, fosters a sense of belonging to our greater world. Turn off your devices and let that sink in, while you all sit, together, in quiet contemplation.
How will you find the time to become unbusy enough to enjoy nature as a family? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!