Children with brimming toy rooms and hard-to-shut toy closets may feel like they are loved generously by their (grand)parents, family and friends, but are they just being bought off? Take it on a case-by-case basis, as you keep in mind that an abundance of choices […]
The events leading up to a minimalist life are usually preceded by a series of shopping trips to the mall to buy whatever you can afford with the money you have, or borrow on credit. You quickly take all of your newly acquired things home, […]
Late one afternoon I was all eyes and ears, watching the second episode of Our Planet – Frozen Worlds. Tears started welling up in my eyes as the walruses were roughly climbing the cliffs in search of a place to rest their spacious bodies. After laying for a short amount of time, they become restless and agitated by the closeness of each other and lack of space. The ones who have climbed the highest, to get further away from the chaos, start to get hungry and must return back to the water…
Hearing the sea (the source of their food) and the others making a ruckus down below, they start to descend at an alarming rate, clumsily falling off the cliff and tumbling to their ultimate demise. Several problems arise at once – they cannot see very far outside of water and neither are they proficient at rock-climbing, up or down, with their flippers. In my world, tears are falling/streaming at the sight of hundreds of bodies piled on top of one another. A waste sight of climate change induced extinction.
It wasn’t meant to be this way, walruses are supposed to rest on ice, not on land, and never venturing too far or high from the water’s edge. Yet their habitat is changing, there is no more ice, it has melted as water temperatures rise and they must adapt – at a deathly cost.
What can we do about a changing climate?
I look outside the window and all is green. The cherries are flowering, though it hasn’t rained for three weeks, despite repeated forecasts from the untrustworthy weather station. We can see the rain pass over us, all around us, it would be so nice to water our garden too… And then it happens, three weeks of almost non-stop rain, causing flooding and cold temperatures to reign. Not so good for the garden, after all.
Back to Our Planet, in the course of an hour my emotions are running in all directions and I cannot help but think “how do we get out of this mess?!” How do we stop the destruction, or at least slow it down to a manageable level? What kind of future are we facing, what legacy are we leaving for our children and next generations?
Sir David Attenborough believes there is still hope to save the Earth from this great catastrophe of global warming, yet he states: “if dramatic action to limit the effects is taken over the next decade.”
We have one decade to set things straight.
That’s just 10 years to clean up the unwanted clutter collected over many decades. This is cause for eco-anxiety and deep wonder what to do about a changing climate.
My mind clings to the fact that there is still hope. Hope. That’s exactly what we need right now, but we all know from past experiences that hoping is not enough. We must take action and we must take it now!
We must take eco-responsible actions every single day if we want to see a positive change. Sitting behind a screen, sipping a coffee or an alcoholic drink while binge-watching Netflix might temporarily numb the pain, though it won’t make much of an impact in the grand scheme of things – even if you are using a ceramic cup for your loose leaf tea (avoiding plastic tea bags) or drinking organic wine from a glass.
The spring air is alive with pollen and as the sun shines, bees and flies are entering through our open front door. Some find their way out on their own via an open window, others need a little encouragement. Rather than stomping or indiscriminately smashing a treasured “bug”, they are all gently removed and ushered back outside, happy to be on their pollen-hunting way. We practice hopefulness by letting all creatures and insects live (40% of all insect species are in decline). This includes mosquitoes, spiders, flies of all kinds, beetles, caterpillars, slow worms – anything that moves. As I release them back to the wild, my mind wanders to what more can be done as we face a radically changing climate.
5 empowering ways to deal with eco-anxiety
Plain and simple, just stop flying. This one little act of resistance counts for a lot of saved carbon emissions with the added benefit of vacationing closer to home. The statistics relating carbon emissions to air travel are staggering and climbing higher every year. This has to stop! Fly if you must, but make sure to calculate the carbon emissions associated with your flight, then invest in a reforestation plan to sequester that carbon.
Young trees absorb carbon at a rate of 13 pounds per year, per tree. At 10 years when they reach their carbon storage peak, they will absorb 48 pounds of CO2 per year.
There are reforestation schemes all around the world, why not invest in the temperate zone, for native trees are needed there too, to foster biodiversity of insects and animals. If you already have the no-flying thing down, how about giving up your car next? Or offset your commute to work by planting trees in northern Romania.
Single-use plastic is polluting our Earth far and wide. The more we produce and buy products wrapped in it, the farther it spreads. In order to stop the flow, we need to reduce the amount we consume as we find suitable alternatives, then stop buying it altogether. Sounds hard? Not so. Here are 100 thoughts for beginners to get you started on your plastic-free journey.
Wear sustainable fibers.
While you are eliminating plastic around your house, don’t forget to look in the bedroom too. Hidden in your closet, in plain sight, are loads of fabrics that don’t fit the sustainable bill. These include acrylic, polyester, spandex, nylon and polar fleece, just to name a few. Search for organic clothes, made from organic fibers instead – hemp, linen and cotton top the list. Animal fibers and leather are included here too, as they are renewable and long-lasting. If you can’t find your style at the mall, go ahead and grab the skills to make your own wardrobe – perhaps even your own earthing shoes!
Declutter – and keep it that way!
When the state of the world has you down, don’t go shopping to lift yourself up – that only pulls the environment down. Instead, get rid of something you no longer use, that someone else may need, for money or for free. The problem with overproduction is the amount of waste, and no industry does it better than fast-fashion. Items “out of season” are not saved for the next season, they are binned or sent thousands of miles away, neither of those making for a great solution. Share your excess belongings with others as you make your way to mindful minimalist status, then find ways to prevent clutter from coming in by saying “No!” to freebies and unwanted items.
Get involved in nature.
In order to love nature, we must get involved in (re)earthing ourselves. Go outside barefoot for hours on end, take a shower in the rain, be thrilled by the wind and embrace the humbling fact that we are nothing without nature – we could neither eat, nor breathe without her help. This may in fact take putting a limit on your technology consumption, by means of a digital detox day, or by participating in life as you eliminate social media for a length of time. You may also choose to clean up garbage in your neighborhood, or your favorite outdoor spot.
Keep busy with activities that are beneficial for the Earth, and forget about your eco-anxiety in the meantime; hope and inspired action are incredible motivators. Make sure to create sustainable, repeatable actions every day and be the #sustainablechange you wish to see in the world.
Imagine a sustainable future, and put your bare foot forward!
As sustainable life designers we know that taking eco-actions every day, isn’t always easy. We are here as sustainability coaches to help you make wise, ecologically sound choices along the way. Whether you are just starting your path to sustainability, or are well on your way, we are beacons to guide introverts, businesses and families as you discover how to live and work simply on Earth.
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 […]
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? It is a big issue when it comes to sustainable living. First things first, before you […]
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.