I recently watched the documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, and found it exceedingly intriguing and important. The idea that less is more  to some people within society is just a fad; however, it is much more than that. Becoming a minimalist helps one gain freedom, opportunity, and simplicity. After watching the documentary I came to the realization that by embracing minimalist living, one can gain opportunities to pursue areas of life that are more important; such as compassion and joy, not physical things that are perishable and fade away. Too much of peoples lives, even my own, are devoted towards “things,” and health, relationships, passions, and personal growth are often abandoned.

Living a minimalistic life also affects the environment. After tracking my carbon footprint the other day, I discovered that I need 4 planet Earths’ to sustain my lifestyle. If everyone in the world lived the way I did, we would need several planet Earths to create enough resources for everyone. The average person within the U.S. uses a great amount of resources. It varies among location, personal choices, and habits. Many daily activities depend on disposing of waste, driving a car, and using electricity. The documentary expresses why a minimalistic way of living is a seemingly good way to reduce the eco-footprint that society has on Earth. Many humans, especially those of a developed country, have a tendency to over-consume.

Documentaries, such as this one, are used to express awareness to its audience. The main points I got from the directors and producers was that we as humans only need to use what we need to use, we must live within our means, eat less meat, and purchase less clothes so that the textile industries produce less and do not pollute the environment and do not use way too many resources. Living in tinier spaces is environmentally friendly. Tiny homes, shipping containers, and smaller apartments has become a trend recently; and by doing so one greatly reduces their eco-footprint.

living a minimalistic lifestyle benefits not only the environment, but also the person doing so.

Lets Learn How to Garden

It wasn’t until this past semester that I began to question why schools don’t emphasize learning about agriculture and farming more. After taking college courses and becoming educated on topics of my interest, my eyes were opened to many of the issues we face. As a society, we have become accustomed to food being readily available on a shelf, in plastic packaging that has been processed and shipped from all directions. We’ve been lied to about our food long enough, and I believe it is our generation that will change these injustices.

Through the office of sustainability, I was able to join an Urban Garden Apprenticeship where other students and myself created our own urban garden here in downtown Charleston. I had always wanted to learn how to garden, but never knew where to start. The program was student-led so we all worked together twice a week to plant a bed of multiple types of crops. We also made a bike trellis to support pea plants, a compost bin full of worms, and plant terrariums. Not only did we get to grow fresh produce for the Charleston community, but we learned the importance of an urban garden and how it is a great step toward a more sustainable community. I learned that the city of Manhattan would run out of food in just three days if we were to cut off the daily food shipments. Often times we don’t think about where our food is coming from or how much effort is put into getting the product to the destination. In a small, yet jammed city like Charleston, it is hard to produce enough food to sustain oneself, let alone an entire community. However, I think it is possible by gaining awareness and educating about agriculture and living a sustainable lifestyle.

As kids we were always told “eat your fruits and veggies” and “don’t litter” and “recycle your plastic”… and of course we tried, but it isn’t until you see the real impact these choices make on our society and ourselves as individuals that you begin to change.

Overpopulated Documentary

While watching the Overpopulated documentary, I found it very interesting how overpopulation can lead to so many problems. You do not really think that there is so many overpopulated areas around the world until it is actually brought to our attention. However, it is a major issue all around the world today. With the world and our environment being in this position, there becomes less and less resources available. That being, natural resources. The more, people that there are, the more resources that will become used. The earth cannot naturally produce but so many resources on its own. One way in the documentary to show ways to prevent overpopulation was a woman in Bangladesh who went around door to door educating woman on the importance of the environment and giving them resources to access ways of things such as birth control methods. Women conceiving at such a young age and continuing to do so has become a big issue in today’s society and for the environment. Not only is it affecting our government but it is affecting our environment as well. When people are living with larger families and little income, they begin get aid from the government. When the government runs out of money that makes it harder for it to aid to things such as bettering the environment. Therefore, people themselves have to take money out of their own pockets to create groups and organizations to help and educate communities about the importance of the overuse of resources from overpopulation. This makes it harder for people to do because to get a legit organization started, it takes money, people, and educational factors to get it started. This documentary helped me think about the environment a lot differently and encourages me to make changes within my own life to be more sustainable.

Extinction and Tobacco Waste

I am far from an expert on environmental issues, and if I am being honest, before this class I didn’t really know much about what issues our Earth is actually facing.  After watching the documentary about overpopulation, it made me want to do some research on my own and find out more about what is going on.  After doing some research online, one problem that I saw our environment is losing is biodiversity.  This basically means that because of actions that are being performed by humans, species are going extinct.  This is happening mainly because of pollution and also because we are taking some of their important resources.  This really stuck out to me because I am always hearing about how different species are going extinct all over the world but I never really sit down and think about why they are actually going extinct.  I’ve never thought that environmental problems that are being caused by humans had that big of an impact on different species.

Another environmental hazard that we as humans are causing is tobacco waste.  According to the World’s Health Organization, “the manufacturing of tobacco products also produces an immense amount of waste. In 1995, the global tobacco industry produced an estimated 2.3 billion kilograms of manufacturing waste and 209 million kilograms of chemical waste.”  I have always been taught that smoking is bad, but never for the environmental reasons.  When I have been told before not to smoke, the reason behind it is because it is bad for my health, not bad for the environment.  After reading about tobacco waste and how bad it is for our environmental environment, it made me really think about other things we do that are hazardous to our environment without even thinking about it.