Introducing the Minimalism Project

Minimalism is a lifestyle that emerged recently. It stresses the elimination of excess in physical/worldly possession and living with only what you need. The purpose of living a minimalist lifestyle is to “remove the distractions from life and realizing the valuable aspects of our lives”. Minimalism is not necessarily associated with environmental protection, but from recent years, people discovered the overlap between them.

One of the factors that contributed to climate change is Consumerism. Yes, the interests of the consumers should be protected and people have the right to own whatever they have; however, Consumerism now is deviating from the rational consumption and are gradually turning into accumulation of excess and useless things. 

Having a lot of makeup and clothing became very popular among girls: who doesn’t want 30 lipsticks and 200+ pieces of clothing? From my own knowledge and experience as a girl, I realize that we do not care if five of our lipsticks have the identical color as long as the packaging looks different. And some clothes are meant to be worn only once. And it’s not only girls, everybody may, at some point of their lives, store up something in excess. It is, of course, not prohibited to make a collection of something you like; but we need to understand at what expense do they come from. 

The clothing that people store up are likely to be from fast fashion brands, which harms the environment through toxic chemicals into the ecosystem and plastics released into the ocean. Also, other things that people buy a lot are likely to contain plastic, which is known to not decompose and harmful to the environment. For instance, the packaging of makeup products and the more components of pens are not recyclable. 

Minimalist lifestyle reduces the consumption of things like those mentioned above and more; if minimalism is implemented on a large scale in the current society, the impact will undoubtedly help the environment.

For me personally, I possess a ridiculous amount of stationery such as pens and notebooks. Same with makeup and clothing. I get them when I think they look good but don’t really consider if they are necessary for me. I now have 8 years worth of standard black/blue pens and over 10 years worth of colored pens. Almost all the barrels and caps are plastic; no matter how small the pens might be, they still pose harms to the environment. 

So for the next few weeks, I will introduce ways to properly get rid of useless things (recyclable? Donate? Take to specific locations?) while researching about fun knowledge about the thing and the environment (how much damage they can do to the environment from production to recycling to decomposition?), hence the Minimalism Project.

—Wenqian L. 02 May 2020

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