Minimalism on the rise

Minimalism – a lifestyle choice

Minimalism is a lifestyle choice that implies the promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts from it.

It’s about owning less and living more.  Everything you own needs some form of maintenance, cleaning and care, eating away at your most valuable resource, time. 

Minimalism fans claim that this lifestyle reduces stress, mess, clutter and financial strain, to name but a few.   

Minimalism is an attempt to balance the excessiveness of modern life as a result of consumerism. It counters the extent to which we have been brainwashed by corporations into believing that simply owning stuff will make us better people. 

This is (possibly) why

Given the complexity of the human race it can be difficult to fully understand the rise and fall of trends, but here are a couple of reasons that are probably contributing to Minimalism’s growth in popularity.

Financial Strain

Worldwide economic forecasts are looking gloomy putting more and more pressure on finances all the way down to individual- and household budgets.  Consumers from all walks of life are re-evaluating purchases in the light of budget constraints.  

Recent trends also show that corporations are reducing the number of full-time employed workers in favour of contract workers.  Consumerism largely relies on consumer debt, which favours a fixed income as opposed to a contract agreement.

Environmental Concern

Thanks to the tireless efforts of environmentalists around the world, society on all levels is becoming more aware of the negative effect that our excessive living is having on the environment. 

Despite some conflicting arguments among experts on a number of ‘green’ topics, John Doe is starting to re-evaluate purchases in the light of the impact it will have on the environment and the future of generations to come.

Realisation that there is more to life

One of the main driving forces of consumerism is advertising agents constantly bombarding us with marketing messages. These messages are tailored to address our deepest fears, insecurities and needs, promising to make us more productive, more attractive, fitter, happier or more successful.

The majority of products out there, however, will not deliver what it promises, and leave us with huge amounts of debt to pay off and less time to achieve the goals that initially motivated us to buy the promised results.

Realising that stuff cannot fill the holes in our lives is a revelation that will leave you with less clutter, less debt, more cash in your pocket and definitely more living.  Sounds like a bargain, don’t it?

And here’s how you can too

Don’t misunderstand this though.  Minimalism does not suggest that you need nothing, it simply addresses the abundance of what we own. 

In attempting this lifestyle you have to evaluate and narrow down what is really important to you and get rid of everything that does not support that.  Easier said than done, but more about that later.

Interested in how you can explore more?  Here are some great resources to start you off:

Becoming a Minimalist

The Minimalists

Check back soon for more green news. 

The Daily News

Sustainable news - Newspaper vs Electronic News
Sustainable news – Newspaper vs Electronic News

There is a guy I meet up with almost every morning on my way to work.  We chat about the weather and sometimes the news headlines.

My day is somehow lacking if he’s not at our regular meeting place.

He is the guy that sells me my newspaper.

I take my newspaper to the office with me and leave it in the Common room.  I see people paging through it, discussing it, having lunch around it.

Newspapers not only connect us with the outside world, it also, somehow, has the ability to connect us to those around us.

Yes, I have a tablet and a phone and a computer where I can get my daily news fix in a more sustainable way, but it’s just not the same as paging through a newspaper.

Researching how ‘green’ my newspaper buying habit is, brought some surprising facts to light.  Facts like ‘It takes 24 trees to make one ton of newspaper’ almost makes me feel like an offender for buying a newspaper, yet it seems that the jury is still out on which of electronic- or paper news has the biggest carbon footprint.  This is, of course, given that you recycle both the newspaper and the electronic vice you choose.

Paper recycling makes a strong argument.  It costs 50-80% less to build a paper mill that uses wastepaper than to build one that uses new pulp.  Producing recycled paper also releases 73% less air pollution than using new pulp.  Recycling firms are plenty and drop-off is easy.

Re-cycling your used electronic equipment, however, is more tricky. Not only are there fewer re-cycling drop-off options available, there are also more risks involved with data stored on your devices as well as SIM- and data cards.

So this is over to you now.  How do you get your daily news fix?  How often do you buy a newspaper? Do you think that newspapers will be around much longer?



Sharing is Caring, or is it?

Reduce by Sharing what you own

While researching even more ways to go green, I recently came across UK-based website Streetbank. Streetbank adresses the issue of reducing what we buy/own by introducing the (age old) concept of sharing stuff that we own or skills that we posses with people who live in our communities. More than just reducing what we consume, it strives to re-create communities that care for and help out one another for free.

Participants share anything from garden tools, french lessons, child care and even vacant land for a gardener without land. Communities are considered as people living in a radius of a mile (approx 1.6km) from you.

A novel idea and one that initially filled me with excitement, untill I got to registering. Because you see, on registering, I had to specify at least one item that I would like to share with my community. That got me thinking and to my surprise, I could not initially come up with any one item that I was prepared to share with just any stranger that popped up on my front door.

I have to admit that I was a little shocked at my own reaction, especially as I am generally regarded as ‘nice’ and even ‘caring’ by most of my friends. After some soul-searching I decided to bounce the idea off some of the other ‘nice’ people I know and found that the non-sharing attitude was mutual. Is it a South African thing? Do you trust people in your community enough to share your lawnmower with them or invite them over for free assistance with their tax returns?

Why not take 30 seconds and tell me if you are prepared to share some of the stuff that you own with people in your community, and if yes, what are you prepared to share? Also, did you actually go and register at Streetbank? I did! Leave a comment and I will let you know what I’m sharing. See you soon.

Why life in plastic is not so fantastic

The aim of All About Going Green is not to have endless scary discussions about the dangers of life as we know it.  We all know about that – or at least some of us know about some of the stuff most of the time.

Instead, I prefer to provide you, my readers, with easy, practical ideas on how to make greener, healthier and more sustainable choices.

When it comes to the debate on plastic, however, I decided to dedicate this one blog entry to the dangers of plastic and more specifically the organic compound Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.  Continue reading “Why life in plastic is not so fantastic”