For me, eco-minimalism is a lifestyle that combines eco-conscientiousness and environmentalism with minimal and simple living. It is living simply while also minimizing the impact on the environment.
I started actively practicing minimalism when blogs like Becoming Minimalist & Be More With Less along with The Minimalist documentary and the Tiny House movement all started. Let’s say around 2015. I was already really into sustainability, local food, and low waste living so this seemed like a natural fit for my lifestyle.
I’d like to say that I started by slowly getting rid of things and living minimally, but that wasn’t how it went.
I had just left a long-term relationship where I left almost everything I owned behind. Whether I found minimalism or minimalism found me is really a coin toss. But living with less “stuff” helped calm my anxious mind and allowed me more space for creativity and healing. I had less stuff to clean, maintain, and deal with. Living in that kind of space was having massive improvements in my day-to-day life.
I’ve gone through several phases of minimalist living from the extreme all the way back to dealing with more stuff than I ever thought I’d have again. Today, I feel most comfortable in the middle.
The things I own now have a purpose, make my life easier/comfortable, or simply bring me joy. I strive to use the things I already own before I purchase new things. This brings me to…
I didn’t grow up in nature. I was very much a suburban 80’s/90’s kid. Give me the mall, McDonald’s, and Mario Bros. It wasn’t until high school that I started hiking with a friend and my world got so much bigger. When you spend time in nature, you want to protect it.
In 2007 I read the kind of book that will change of person’s life. It was The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I quickly started to devour any book, documentaries, etc around sustainable (now regenerative) agriculture, industrialized food production, sustainability, and minimalism. I searched out local farms and farmers’ markets with practices that met my new standard and made massive changes in how I lived.
As I learned more and more about the environment and the damages we were doing to it, I made small and large changes in my lifestyle, food, and activities. The more I learned the more I was motivated to make changes.
Where am I Today with eco-minimalism
Today I am no longer seeking the extreme in either minimalism or environmental stewardship because, surprisingly, it’s not sustainable. I keep informed with reliable resources. Make changes as I can and get to the voting box whenever it opens. Individual contribution isn’t going to save the world, BUT it will help. Reducing demand for goods that are not in alignment with the kind of world I want to live in does work. I strive to live eco-minimalistic because it suits my worldview and I enjoy it.
What questions do you have about being eco-minimalist?