Understanding the Art of Minimalism in Everyday Life
While you are worrying away at the corner about how to make a sustainable yet economic switch to a zero-waste lifestyle, alarmed at the high amount of harmful and non-biodegradable wastes saturating every corner of the landfills, someone needs to tell you that you are already living one step ahead of others, if you are mentally aware of the energy-economy in the environment around you. Wondering how? Well then, read on, you have come to the right place!
The first step
First things first, awareness invokes insight. We take in various ecological news and facts via audio-visual senses. Our rational mind provokes us to think about things that seem visibly appalling and we start analyzing them semi-consciously. This rational thought process, in the long run, makes us unknowingly do activities that might benefit the environment around us, like reducing wastage, dissecting wastes into compostable and non-compostable categories and their subsequent disposal methods, or taking up social cleaning and plantation activities. Hence, education and awareness is the basic step to living a sustainable life. If you already know what is good for the environment and what is not, you are already one step ahead of the rest. The fact that you are here, reading up about how to be minimalistic in everyday life, shows your bold stand in the matter already! It is time to rejoice folks!
Image credits: Springer
What about Zero-waste?
Next comes a crucial discussion - the concept of zero-waste. The global carbon balance, even if there had been more industries or secondary emissions, is always tilted towards one side or the other. It has always been like this. Major events of warming and glaciations have occurred multiple times in the history of planet earth, and many factors have contributed to it - both abiotic as well as biotic, ranging from long periods of volcanic winter and subsequent warming up of the earth surface due to greenhouse effect of the volcanic gases, to recent blooms of biological flora and fauna. This is another major reason for population control, but we will talk about it some other day. What you need to know is, in our biological reality, zero-waste is an ideal situation, unattainable by physical means.
So, why use this term? You can argue that this term is falsified terminology, but we would rather like to say that it has psychological benefits because it sets for us an ultimate goal for the betterment of the environment. We can settle on the moon only if we aim for the stars, and landing on the moon itself is no less a great idea. Hence, this term, in reality, lets us transition into minimizing our everyday ‘generated’ waste, slowly but definitely steadily. Why focus on ‘generated’ now? Of course, because these are our man-made wastes, with which nature is not accustomed to cleaning up by itself. Upon deeper thought, we would find that most of these, if not all, fall in the non-biodegradable or non-compostable categories. 2+2+4. Simple math's, ain’t it?
Zero-waste, therefore, however unattainable it might seem, trails us in the path of living better, sustainable, virtuous lives, in harmony with nature and earth - our only home in the solar system.
It’s tough, ain’t it?
Now, is minimalism tough? Well, if you are an Indian, brace yourselves for celebration - you have been doing it all your life! Each day we do countless acts of minimalism, unaware of the fact that we have been following a comparatively recent scientifically based ideological lifestyle, for millennia. And what are those? Mostly these are those acts, for which we are mocked by the western lifestyle, and about which, we ourselves joke around as funny and ‘typically Indian’. One very relatable example is using even the last bit of the toothpaste, sometimes even cutting the tubes open to scrape out the last vestiges of the helpless chemical tooth-cleaner XD.
South Indian tradition of severing Food in Leaves
We might find it amusing and acts of misery, but in the greater view, long beyond the economic consequences, lies its environmental benefits - wasting the least. People living in villages, to this date, use herbal powders and even neem sticks, or oil and salt, or charcoal, for oral hygiene. This is a regular lifestyle that we have inherited from our forefathers, and we do not even tend to see how great these steps are to achieve a cleaner and greener world, it is that cliché and regular habit for us.
Our everyday lifestyle includes so many of the steps that the rest of the world struggles to achieve today. From using earthen pots as natural water coolants to using reusable steel, copper, or brassware for meals and storage purposes, to saving electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use, to imbibing a natural inclination towards home-gardens, minimalism is the other name of an average Indian, middle-class life, tied to the roots. We are actually the flag bearers of minimalism in the current date. So, why worry? Just some tweaks here and there in adopting modern practices, and we are ready to face the zero-waste challenge with the greatest fervour!
You’re all set!!
So, next time, whenever you find it difficult to find a better, more sustainable alternative, know that you have already come a long way. And for the extra tip, do not hesitate to call up your old parents and grandparents who have scolded us all our lives for maybe letting the fan run even in our absence - they are the ones who hold the key to our sustainable future! Thank us later for the genius ideas you received after that.