Minimalism and Sustainability: A Perfect Pair

Photo by Jan Piatkowski on Unsplash

In This Post

  • Why minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand
  • 4 ways that minimalism can help the environment

There’s a lot of momentum in the sustainability movement today. And rightfully so. We have an important role to play in preventing irreversible damage to our environment. As individuals, we need to ensure we look after our planet for our future. One way of achieving this is through minimalism. Minimalism goes hand in hand with being more sustainable. Here are 4 reasons why minimalism is great for sustainability and the environment.

1. You Consume Less

One of the key elements of being a minimalist is choosing to consume less. Whether that be through buying less and consuming less literally. Or, consuming in more intentional ways that have a lesser impact on the environment. For example, choosing to buy second-hand, renting things rather than buying, or avoiding single-use items. The impact of your running costs on the environment is also reduced by owning fewer physical items. This is easily seen if you choose not to own a car. Or, if you choose to own the most economical one available to you.

When people disengage from consumerist practices, businesses have no choice but to listen and adapt. It may feel like your small actions do not have an impact, but collective action by individuals is the only way change has ever happened! Reducing your consumption habits and behaviours is one of the simplest ways to live more sustainably. And living according to minimalism is an easy way to do just that!

2. You Take Better Care of Your Things

If you are living a minimalist lifestyle, the things you own have probably survived one, if not many, rounds of decluttering. So they must be pretty important! The things you do own should be useful and bring you joy. This means you are more likely to look after them, repair them when they are breaking and replace them as a last resort. We live in a linear, throw-away culture, where things are often designed and made to a low standard to encourage the user to buy a replacement product. The garment and textiles industry (aka fast-fashion) is famous for this.

Of course, there will come a time when you need to buy something new. But, if you apply the principles of minimalism, this can be an exciting and sustainable moment! Researching the most appropriate and highest quality item available to you ensures you won’t have to throw it away too soon. Looking after your possessions is inherently sustainable. You are preventing the environmental impact of producing the replacement and avoiding unnecessary waste.

Photo by Alexis Antoine on Unsplash

3. You Avoid Using ‘Retail Therapy’

As you go along your minimalism journey, you gradually unlearn the relationship between purchasing things and using so-called ‘retail therapy’. Many people these days use buying things as a way to fill emotional voids and pacify boredom. By creating a healthier and more intentional relationship with physical things and consumption, you prevent yourself from making purchases you will regret.

When you live according to minimalism, your coping mechanisms for stress, disappointment or boredom are no longer tied up with consumption. This is a sustainable way to be, as it ensures that no unnecessary things need to be created, transported, or thrown away. It is also likely to bring you a lot more mental peace and calm. Feeling overwhelmed by your finances or the clutter surrounding you because of frivolous purchases feels bad!

4. You Can Inspire Others

A seriously underrated way to create meaningful change in the wider world is by focusing on those close to you by leading a good example. Maybe people are not receptive to you preaching to them about the importance of not buying plastic-packaged products. Maybe they don’t listen to you when you talk about not driving a car, or eating so much meat. But they might listen when you talk about how you choose to live your own life. Maybe you can’t persuade them through information alone but by example.

Good leaders and influencers aren’t people who simply talk about what is right, or how to do things. They instead lead through their actions and own life. You don’t need to be perfect, successful, or famous to create meaningful change. But you do need to be a kind, empathetic, and good friend, family member, or partner. Teaching and showing others the things you learn is a great way to bond and strengthen your existing relationships. It is also a great way to share insights into how to live a more minimal and sustainable life and spread the word.

To Put it Minimally

  • Minimalism is great for the environment because it is a low-impact lifestyle
  • You can help the environment with minimalism by consuming less, avoiding having to buy new things and create waste, and helping inspire others to do the same