Minimalism is a way of thinking that aims to cut back on waste and reduce one’s carbon footprint. This mindset generally aims to reduce the overconsumption seen in western culture and reduce the amount of space taken up by oneself and their possessions. The main way this is achieved is through the donation and removal of unused or unneeded possessions in one’s life. An easy way to determine if you actually need an object is to sit down and ask yourself if it brings you happiness, or if you use it often. If it meets one of these criteria, you should keep it, if it doesn’t, you should donate it.
The goal of minimalism isn’t just to buy less, but to own less.
That being said, how does minimalism relate to a high schooler? Well, for starters, adopting some minimalistic practices can let you be more environmentally conscious, decrease clutter in your living space, and add more value to each of your possessions. One would do this by getting rid of junk and little or never used items. This can be beneficial by helping decrease clutter, and the donation of unused items rather than throwing them away makes it so that there are less environmentally damaging items being made because those that have been made are being reused.
It’s a good idea, especially now, to start finding ways to be more environmentally conscious. Some easy ways to go about incorporating minimalism and eco-friendly practices in your day-to-day life are to sort through your possessions and donate any that you haven’t used within the last 3 months. Another common method is to use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones. Plastic shopping bags are especially dangerous, because they take upwards of 20 years to degrade and are often consumed by wildlife. Due to this, many states have banned disposable bags altogether, including California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, and Vermont.
So, how have minimalism and environmental consciousness affected the way businesses approach environmental concerns? In an interview with Chris Berry, an Economics and Government teacher at Odyssey ECCO, he said, ”Companies are beginning to produce more eco-friendly products because of consumer demand. They’re also thinking about and reporting how they are trying to be greener to shareholders, rather than just how they’ve profited.”
Overall, minimalism spawns from a desire to take up less space and leave less damaging of an impact on the environment. You don’t need to entirely cut out certain activities or move into a tiny house in order to be a minimalist, you can do things as simple as limiting how often you use single-use plastics, or how often you buy replacement objects.
Even if you don’t want to become a minimalist, it is encouraged that you reduce your waste. It doesn’t cost much, but it will benefit the world for generations.