Is Minimalism Something That Can Save Our Planet?

Have you ever wondered what all this talk is about being a minimalist?   Downsizing, tiny homes, van life, all of these movements are spawning off of people being tired of the typical consumerism lie that that’s been taught to them for generations.   Happiness only comes from having more stuff and bigger houses and more cars!   That’s what companies want you to believe.   There are a lot of intrinsic issues with this train of thought.

First off,  for decades, we have been victims of a marketing plan that would have us buy new things and then every year or so, upgrade those things for something else new.   New cars, new phone, new toys, new clothes, new houses, new gadgets.   All of those old gadgets, as well as the new ones, are actually designed to wear out and not last.  Clothes are made to not last very long anymore.  Many of these items have been created that way from their inception.  If I’m a company and I want to sell a bunch of stuff, would it be more profitable for me to sell something once and have it last for years?  Or would I rather sell something that wears out within a year and you have to come back to me to buy a new one?   Obviously the latter makes more sense from a consumerism perspective.

Now there are companies out there who are tired of this as well and try to create products that last.  Those products often are more expensive, but you get what you pay for.   The problem with that is you have a lot of people who “must have” the latest Blueray player, for example, and they don’t typically look for one that’s going to last.  They’re looking for one that’s the cheapest.  All part of that instant gratification process that we’ve been sold by consumerists for decades.   It’s why places like Walmart are doing so well.  We’ve completely bought the lie that consumerism is the way to go, so we’ll buy stuff as cheaply as we can, and when it breaks or stops working, we’ll simply go buy another one.  I mean they’re cheap.   What’s the problem?

Well one of the biggest problems is what all these crappy products are doing to our planet.   According to, over 300 million tons of plastic are created every year for all of the “cheap” products, as well as others that aren’t necessarily cheap. Currently,  8 million tons of of that plastic are being dumped, thrown or washed downriver into our oceans every year.   The rest of it is polluting our planet in other ways.   According to a video called, The Story of Stuff, so much stuff is ending up in landfills or in the landfills of other countries.  Yes, we don’t only throw our products away here, but we often ship them to another country to deal with, such as India, who will take our cheap products and extract the precious materials from our phones and computers and then throw the plastic away.   If you haven’t seen the Story of Stuff, it’s an incredible video to watch, and very enligthening.

So, what do we do?   It’s all a little overwhelming when you think about it too much.   But there are things you can do if you really want to try and make a difference.    The change has to happen with us, first, and then we can start doing things to help others.    One of those would be to start thinking along the lines of Minimalism or Simple Living.  Wikipedia defines Simple Living as follows:

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. These may include, for example, reducing one’s possessions, generally referred to as minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency

So what are some things you can do to become more of a minimalist?   There are many ways.  In fact, here is a blog site that talks about it and gives you 21 things you can try doing to be more minimalistic.

21 Benefits of Becoming a Minimalist

Regardless of how you go about consuming less or being more minimalistic in your life practices, I hope this post will at least raise your awareness about what is happening and how we can try to make a difference.

What are you doing to live a minimalistic lifestyle?  I’d love to hear!

P.S. You can also follow me on Facebook, TumblrTwitter, Google+, and Path!


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