How Minimalism and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand

A topic that has been gathering momentum as of late. The idea of sustainability is rapidly becoming a popular trend and the reduction in fossil fuel usage is testament to that fact. However, sustainability is not just found in the energy sector. Sustainability has become a trend in all aspects of life. So much so that it has become a lifestyle for some. Minimalism has rapidly become a popular way of life as well, providing great benefits to those living according to it. To start, it is important to define these terms and how they can relate to one another.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution. There are many flavors of minimalism: a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist lifestyle. Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.

Sustainability, in a nutshell, is focused on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social – also informally known as profits, planet, and people.

Minimalist isn’t boring

A person who is minimalist will search for ways to trim down the things they own and the tasks they need to do. This is done with the intention to find even more time for the things they love. People who are minimalist have fewer things to worry about and fewer roadblocks in life. The lack of time is overcome by being intentional about tasks they execute. Chasing only money is cured by buying only essential products and being mindful of their spending. They’re mostly happy because they know who they are and they know what they should focus on. This is an important point to make here because a lot of people will argue that minimalism is boring.

However, minimalism can look elegant and be efficient as well. Negative space in a room makes it feel more open and having the right accent perfectly underpins the efficiency and style of a minimalist life.Going online and finding some examples is a great way to gather some ideas. The article from Modern DIgs Furniture, 15 Modern Accent Chairs to Lounge Away 2020, is a fantastic quick read article of some amazing ideas of how a perfect accent chair works for any minimalist living space. By being focused on what’s important, minimalists would select key pieces of furniture, like seating arrangements which make for a great way to add style to what some consider to be a “boring” lifestyle.

Sustainability is the only way forward

In an ideally sustainable world, 3 main conditions would exist. 

  1. Ecological integrity would be maintained, all of the earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they are able to replenish themselves.
  2. Human commodities across the globe are able to maintain their independence and have access to the resources that they require, financial and other, to meet their needs. Economic systems are intact and activities are available to everyone, such as secure sources of livelihood.
  3. Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people, who have access to enough resources in order to keep their families and communities healthy and secure. Healthy Communities, have just leaders who ensure personal, labour, and cultural rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.

These 3 conditions must exist for a truly sustainable world to exist. Although it is an ideal at the moment, humanity is approaching critical times in evolutionary history. Critical decisions must be made to preserve life as we know it. Every step towards attaining those 3 goals is a step forward and that is where minimalism comes into play.

How the two mesh

Sustainability and Minimalism mesh for a number of reasons. For one they share common resolutions to differing issues. Such that Minimalism seeks to reduce clutter in one’s life, and does so by minimizing the consumption of luxury goods. The ecological pillar of sustainability would state that everyone should reduce the number of consumed goods all together in an effort to reduce the consumption of natural resources as a whole. Both minimalism and sustainability result in reduced consumption of goods for different reasons.

Having both concepts overlap just reinforces their validity. The economic pillar of sustainability would allow everyone on earth to ideally have enough money to comfortably support and protect ourselves and our families, which minimalism seeks to do by focusing on the important things instead of materialism. Family, Goals, and Personal Achievements are what matter to the minimalist lifestyle. These eliminate wasteful spending and allow minimalists to spend money where it matters. The last pillar of sustainability is the social pillar. Sustainable social communities are communities that have just leaders that are able to ensure all rights are respected and everyone can live fairly without discrimination.

Again minimalists provide a huge focus on morality and making important connections with people that matter and their community. Without distractions, minimalists are focused and to the point about their goals and intentions and do their utmost to provide for those they care.

In our modern world there is plenty that needs to be addressed. As humanity moves forward we must find the right path to take that will help maintain the integrity of our planet for ourselves and for our future generations. Adopting lifestyles such as minimalism and sustainability is the right path that will lead us in the direction of positive change. The pillars of sustainability, combined with the efficiency of minimalism, is a force that will likely instill great change in society. The more individuals contribute to the positive growth of our planet as a whole, the more we can share this beautiful world with one another. Hopefully, we keep moving in the correct direction and remember what is important to us; Our world, our community, and our family.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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