The Sustainability of Minimalism

the sustainability of minimalismIt’s no secret that the earth is groaning under the pressure of hosting around 7.5 billion humans.  It has been suggested that if everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average American, we would need 4 earths to sustain us.  Not good!

It is clear that our habits & mindsets seriously need change.

You probably know the reduce, reuse and recycle mantra, but did you realize that becoming minimalist could be a major stepping stone to a sustainable life?  As you become satisfied with less, the need for recycling etc. is also reduced.  Minimalism has the potential to serve as an antidote for overconsumption, and might just be the mindset we need to save our planet.

Before you dismiss it as impractical and unrealistic, take note that your idea of what minimalism is may not be entirely accurate.

True Minimalism in a nutshell

If your only idea of a minimalist is some billionaire-turned-hippie who gave away everything and now travels the world with only the clothes on his back, you are wrong.


You don’t have to be a hippie to be a minimalist

Although that could be what your minimalism looks like, Joshua Fields and Ryan Nicodemus (the guys who made minimalism cool), point out that there are many successful minimalists who live vastly different lives from one another.  Some minimalists own 50 things in total and live in tiny houses, some minimalists have a career, a big family and a nice car.  Melissa Wilkins from describes 5 different types of minimalists, although there are probably many more types out there!

The thing is, minimalism is merely a tool, not a list of do’s and don’ts.  The concept has probably been greatly misunderstood as people often have a stereotypical view of what it means to live this way.  It is meant to guide you to more freedom.  Freedom from getting your value from the things you own, freedom from the culture of consumerism and the freedom to get rid of that which does not add value to your life.

How do I apply it practically?

Steve Mueller from identified 11 steps that will help you incorporate minimalism into your life (these are not rules, just guidelines).  He discusses it in greater detail here.

  1. Assess your life, set priorities
  2. Evaluate your possessions
  3. Evaluate how you spend your time
  4. Evaluate who you spend your time with
  5. Set limits
  6. Stop multitasking
  7. Evaluate your goals and ambitions
  8. Start small
  9. Live deliberately
  10. Limit screen time and media consumption
  11. Ask yourself: Does this help me live more minimalistic?

How Minimalism can benefit the environment

We face two major environmental issues today.  We are running out of useable space to live and producing waste at an alarming rate.

Minimalism is not the one and only solution, but if embraced by everyone, could help alleviate these two issues.  Here’s how:

1. Conscious consumption

If you are shopping with a minimalist mindset, you will make choices more carefully, buying only the things you truly need and want, not buying unconsciously in excess.  Less consumption means less waste which in turn reduces the impact on the environment.

2. Less space usage

As you reduce the clutter in your life, your need for space is also reduced.  You won’t need a huge house to accommodate all your earthly possessions. Bigger house = more energy expenditure. We rarely need as much space as we think we do!

For more details on how minimalism can help you become more sustainable, read about Sarah Green’s journey.

Final thoughts

You will not become a minimalist overnight.  It is a journey that will take bit of time to figure out and will have to be adapted to your needs and goals.  The results will likely be totally worth it though, so why not give it a go and save the planet while you’re at it?

If this is something you really would like to incorporate into your life, I suggest you start here.



On October 6th, 2017, posted in: Lifestyle, News by ,

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