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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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