During my last visit to Melbourne before moving permanently from the island of Bali, I noticed just how difficult and inaccessible the minimalist zero-waste lifestyle can be. To say the least, the urban world does not fail to leave me feeling uninspired and stuck. A ‘breath of stale air’ is what it felt like, the city surrounded by advertisements for the new BMW, white person-filled discussion panels on topics that don’t concern white people, climate change debates with little input of youth, clueless civilians wrapping their sushi in five layers of plastic, and the same grey concrete ground to walk on. It’s not a refreshing reality. I’ve discovered that it is basically inevitable to produce some form of trash living in this sort of consumerist environment.
The majority of trash in my 6-month old jar comes from my purchases/lifestyle in Melbourne (a surprise?)...
Thinking about my daily struggles trying to continue my zero-waste and minimalism as best as I could, I created a list of the things I wish were considered and implemented to make living greener more simple than today's damaging consumerist habits.
Here is the list I compiled during my time in Melbourne; a very broad range of solutions to rants that my minimalist self has pondered at some point during my dwelling in the urban world:
10 everyday realities that wouldn’t suck so much if more people lived like minimalists…
1. Walking the bins out at night, in the middle of winter can be replaced with the zero-waste habit of placing the food scraps in a compost tub in the fridge, all in the comfort of your own home. Staying warm is so much more enjoyable.
2. Hearing people complain about China’s refusal to take in any more recycling from the US and Australia wouldn’t be a big deal if we all produced less unnecessary packages and had a proper reduce, reuse, and recycle education.
3. Eco-friendly and biodegradable product alternatives would be affordable for the average household.
4. If most consumers complain about those plastic tags on clothing, there might be less we have to squeeze into our trash jars, and less paper cuts!
5. ADVERTISEMENTS... they won't be crowding all of our electronic screens so much, on continuous, manipulative schedules, making us feel like we need more and more things (and that do nothing for our long-term happiness).
6. The compulsory consumption of materials possessions to prove our worth will be replaced with more happiness and gratefulness for what we already have.
7. The plastic pollution of our oceans will can be cleaned up instead of contributed to, and less trash will be entering our already-toxic landfills.
8. The western-world disconnect from the natural world truly sucks. We may just figure out how to reestablish this connection once we discover our survival depends on all forms life.
9. We will be able to live like we actually care about the Earth. Political, corporate and our fundamental human intentions can be re-focussed on nature’s protection.
10. The capitalist world we live in functioning off of money, power, and inequality can be changed for the better. Creating a world focussed on the importance of relationships, love, gratefulness, and protecting the natural world is only that that will occur when everybody works in unity, TOGETHER.
With a mindset shift and setting of good intentions, minimalist and zero-waste living can only be an individual lifestyle choice. Until such ideals become a unifying trend to live today more sustainably, common and small changes can open new doors to a future filled with (a little more) hope. Maybe choosing not to consume more than you need, and avoiding trash is purely what's involved in making a more eco-conscious decision today?
Go on, start with something small...