Sustainability. That vague concept, conjuring images of metal water bottles, hemp fabrics, anti-plastic movements. News reports, climate change, the horror of unsustainable choices and their effects on our world. It can feel uncomfortable to think about sustainability, and our place in making the world more sustainable- and many of us avoid that discomfort by avoiding sustainability.
After all, minimalism isn’t about sustainability, it’s just about just having less, right? Wrong. It’s not just about the amount we have, or the amount we acquire- it’s about what we acquire, and how we choose to make purchases. After all, what is the point of minimising if we have to make more future purchases than necessary due to unsustainable choices?
The thing about sustainability, and making sustainable choices, is that it takes time, effort, research, compromise. Unlike minimalism, where often the first stages are the most rewarding, the first stages of sustainability can be difficult- finding replacements to favourite products, budgeting, finding ethical retailers. Finding all of those things is a worthwhile effort, but it’s an effort that in our fast-paced world, many of us simply don’t feel we have the time for.
We’ve become complacent about a lot of unsustainable things which make aspects of our lives more convenient. The plastic cutlery in take out restaurants, the quick, cheap clothing we can buy as soon as we get bored of what we already own, the disposable products which we use for ease. Unsustainable products would have no place in the market, if it wasn’t for price and convenience.
Here’s where minimalism comes in: when we minimise, physically and mentally, we gain some time and space, away from the endless bustle- we gain the headspace to take more time for the important things, and sustainability should be one of those things. When we no longer spend our money on five pieces of cheap fast fashion, then we can instead spend it on secondhand or ethical purchases. When we spend our time researching sustainable options, instead of window shopping, we make a choice which benefits ourselves and others.
How have you combined minimalism and sustainability? What sustainable choices do you make?
Featured image: Maria Ilves via Unsplash.