These days, minimalism has become a common way of life. People who become minimalists want to be refreshed by changing their physical environments so that they contain fewer possessions. In other words, they seek just a simple life. Living this lifestyle not only means not buying or owning things that you don’t need but also getting rid of unnecessary things. If minimalists need to buy something, they buy high-quality products that will last a long time, even if those goods are expensive.
There are several reasons why minimalism is emerging in our lives. First, it’s a reaction to the fact that our lives have become too complicated. The development of civilization has led modern people to own, eat and consume too much. Such overproduction and excessive consumption have resulted in environmental destruction and depletion of resources, making sustainable development an important common task for the international community.
Minimalism has some intersections with living a sustainable life. A minimalist lifestyle lets you consume less. A sustainable life relies on you consuming less. Consumption isn’t optional, only what and how much you consume. In other words, minimalism forces you to ask the questions that you need to answer in order to find a more sustainable life. For example, you learn your consumption patterns and the reasons you consume. Both of them lead people who pursue these lifestyles to think about what is most reasonable. In addition, they share the belief that quality is more important than quantity. In other words, they believe it is better to own fewer, high-quality things than many things of varying quality. To begin, think long-term and ask yourself how necessary it is to introduce something into your life? Next, learn what it is made of, how it is made and how it will be disposed.
If you follow this lifestyle, you can get positive effects. In terms of cost and environmental impact, you can easily distinguish things that you need or don’t. That means we focus less on material possessions. Because all the stuff we surround ourselves with is a distraction, having less can help us think more clearly. Thus, reducing little by little is the first step to achieve it. You may be afraid of losing your stuff, but just be confident you doing the right thing. You just focus on what you think are important things rather than compare yourself with others. If you just let go, you could experience freedom from greed and debt.
Servus Ledan is a group that has conducted the Initiative for Minimalism and Zero Waste Campaign since 2019. Here is an interview with Kang Su lim, a member of the Servus Ledan.
1. Please introduce Servus Ledan briefly.
We are one of the leadership programs of Keimyung Adams College that promote awareness of social problems and try to solve them.
2. Why did you start the ‘Zero Waste’ campaign?
These days, global warming and the overuse of plastic are big problems. Our group couldn’t just look at these problems; we had to do something. Therefore, we had a general meeting and planned the Zero Waste campaign to foster the value of essential environmental era.
The purpose of this campaign is to communicate the gravity of environmental pollution with the slogan, ‘Small changes, the different world’. We collected discarded, single-use plastic cups to demonstrate how much people waste.
3. What is the most important thing to achieve this campaign?
It’s time to realize that individual efforts are needed to save the environment. The Earth that we are living on isn’t just land for the present, but a beautiful land where future generations will live, too. Also, it is a basis of life for all plants and animals.
4. How can we achieve Zero Waste?
The first step is to do small things in our lives.
1) Use an individual tumbler.
Originally, coffee shops provided plastic cups and straws. However, plastic cups and straws are now prohibited to use in coffee shops, so they introduced paper or bamboo straws. If consumers use individual tumblers, shops give a small discount.
2) Donate old items.
Most people throw away old but still useful things and buy new items. However, this is a waste of resources, so we should donate them instead, which leads to less waste.
5. What can Keimyung University do to help your cause?
We realized that it was also important to have a sense of awakening in an influential organization and to exercise its influence in a good way, as well as to make a big difference.
In the first semester of 2019, 800 students and faculty at Keimyung University participated in our four-day campaign, and in the second semester of 2019, 200 people participated in the campaign in one day. This has helped us to ensure that students, faculty and staff members at Keimyung University have a high level of awareness of environmental protection and a strong commitment to it.
We urge the university to do several things.
1) First, campaign for environmental protection, such as encouraging students to use eco-friendly products.2) Second, hold contests where students can think about environmental protection and come up with ideas.
3) Third, use school equipment that is eco-friendly.
4) Fourth, establish a sharing economy within Keimyung University.
It is important to collect clothes and books that are not used by Keimyung University students and give them to those who need them, which minimizes waste. Also, shared bicycles or motorcycles can be helpful for reducing environment pollution.
When you clear out the unnecessary items from your life, something unexpected happens. A clear sense of purpose returns. You can feel motivated to do what you set out to do. There is no confusion, and your direction may be clearer than the past. For these reasons, it is a good chance to design a simple life. Try something new and make a new start.