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How High Tech Luxury Minimalism Can Counter Global-Warming

Tessa Schlesinger is an ardent minimalist, convinced it is the only way to combat climate change in a world gone mad with consumerism.

"One can furnish a room very luxuriously by taking out furniture rather than putting it in." Francis Jourdain.

"One can furnish a room very luxuriously by taking out furniture rather than putting it in." Francis Jourdain.

How High Tech Luxury Minimalism Can Counter Global-Warming

The possibilities of a fabulous, luxurious, stress-free lifestyle become easier and more attainable once we let go of old paradigms and look at what is possible with a high-tech, luxury, minimalist lifestyle. If we’re making a major contribution to saving the planet, our species, and other species by switching to a minimalist lifestyle, then it’s a winning solution all round.

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and or believe to be beautiful. William Morris

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and or believe to be beautiful. William Morris

Minimalism, Consumerism, and Global Warming

Business drives both production and consumerism. Quite often the manufacturing process produces enormous toxic waste and pollutes the environment. Think Flint water toxicity, the destruction of a city in China through denim production, and of the continuing efforts by profit-driven businesses to ignore the dangers of pollution – some of it incredibly dangerous.

Consumerism is driven by advertising and marketing. By playing on the way the brain believes information, advertisers are able to subtly influence buyers to purchase brands plus goods they wouldn’t have considered if it wasn’t ‘brought to their attention.’ Many people have so much stuff that they have barns built to store them. Alternatively they pay monthly fees for storage, or the garage for their cars is packed with everything except the car.

Even the food we eat has an impact on global warming. Not only will we need to reconsider all the goods we buy, but we will have to look at things like the transport options we use and the food we eat.

The food we eat contributes to 25% of global warming.

The Emotional Connection Between Stuff and Us

Most of us hate throwing away things we paid good money for. The particular item reminds us of a particular time in our lives, or we feel guilt at chucking something that cost us so much money, or, perhaps, the item was a gift or an inherited piece. The point is that there is an emotional connection, and we are caught between needing space to put all this stuff, chucking it (more waste for our growing landfills), and or living with a feeling of loss or guilt.

During recent times, I've made a point of talking to friends about downsizing. I have specifically pointed out that when we have less stuff, our heads are clearer. We feel so much better emotionally when we live in spaces with less clutter.

"Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window. Why, why says the junk in the yard." Paul McCartney - Musician

"Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window. Why, why says the junk in the yard." Paul McCartney - Musician

Minimalism: Our Real Needs

The reality is that we are caught in a situation – not of our own making when you consider the influences – that adds stress to our lives and is contributing (massively) to the ongoing destruction of our planet.

That destruction includes not only the warming of our planet, but the 6th great mass extinction which is currently taking place.

The only way in which we can save our planet is all of us – every single one of us – taking on a minimalist life style. This means living in a way that uses very few products, takes up little space, and produces little or zero waste.

Of course, none of us wish to become Luddites. We want to continue to have our high-tech lives and to enjoy ourselves.

High-Tech Luxury Minimalism

It is fortunate, indeed, that with the miniaturisation of the silicon chip, large music systems that used to take up a good few square feet can now be fitted into a dot-sized spot! Instead of a switchboard that used to take up entire rooms and employ dozens of switchboard operators, now we have electronic phone systems that take up about a few square inches of space. Giant mainframes have shrunk to the size of our smart phones. And so it goes.

The point is that we don’t need the amount of space that we previously needed for these items, and we can also use one item for many different tasks. For instance, previously, we would have had a camera, a phone, a calculator, an address book, a typewriter or word processor, a set of encyclopaedias, and more. Now we just have a smartphone.

High-tech minimalism can enable us to live as well, if not better, than we are accustomed to when we consciously begin to look at the choices we can make which will contribute towards lowering energy use and production materials.

Fixing climate change isn't about saving the planet - it's about saving us from extinction.

Over the years, I made many decisions. I sold my car in 2010 and have now lived on three continents without a car. Public transport works just fine.

I have five suitcases which contain everything I need to set up home anywhere.

Life can be incredibly simple when we let go of our conditioning.

For curtains, I bought white black-out fabric. And, of course, black out fabric is high-tech! It didn’t need hemming. I simply attach Ikea rings with hooks and hang them. When I am ready to move on, I remove Ikea rings, fold the fabric, and pack.

My small travel iron switches easily from one country to another. My small convection oven has two plats above and provides all I need for my kitchen.

I used a water resistant, windproof fabric to make sheets. This is fantastic for me because on hot summer nights, it’s all I need, and on cold winter nights, it adds an extra layer of warmth when added to a Polar fleece blanket. These are all high-tech products.

Of course, we have different lifestyles. I am, by nature, a nomad. I hop from one country to the next and from one city to another. I am, also, however, extremely conscious of the eco-footprint I leave.

That means every product I buy has to be earth friendly and last long. I try to produce as little waste as possible.

High-Tech Minimalist Products

My most recent purchase has also made an enormous difference in my life. Instead of being on contract to an ISP and having a conventional router, I have invested in a Huawei unlocked wifi router.

By making this purchase, I am now able to carry my router in my purse. This means I don’t have to buy time on my phone. I am online all the time wherever I am. Also, because I don’t really like working at home, I am always looking for coffee shops and places to work. Some of these aren’t hooked up to wifi, or they only give a limited amount of time. With this purse sized router, I set up my laptop anywhere, anytime, and I’m online and ready to go!

I can also change the sim at will and go for cheaper and better prices without being signed up to any particular provider.

There are many other products on the market which will enable you to simply for your life and need very little storage room.

Anker Core makes several small chargers that you can carry in your pocket and recharge either phone or laptop. My personal favourite, though, is the BT Wireless Foldable Mini Keyboard which you can hook to your smartphone and start typing. I haven’t got that one yet, but it’s next on the list!

It's essential to look at the way our homes impact on the environment

Minimalist Tiny Homes and Luxury

It stands to reason that if so many of our needs (and greeds) are pint-sized, we can live comfortably in a small home.

That’s important.

When we have small homes, we use less of the earth’s space, and this will impact on saving the lives of other species. Our homes will also need less materials to build, and this will stop the dwindling resources of our earth. We are currently using up a year’s worth of earth’s resources in seven months!

I understand that it could be quite a wrench moving from an 8000 square foot mansion to a 300 square foot ‘tiny house,’ so there are other options. Sub-divide your home to provide space for others. That way you get to live off the rent, plus ensure that our species will not become extinct because the change in climate has wiped out our food sources.

There is also the point that when our money is spread over furnishing a larger home, unless we have buckets of dollars, we tend to use lower quality products. Once we are in a smaller home, we can upgrade our finishes. Instead of 8000 square feet of acrylic carpeting, we can switch to a solid wood floor with a pure wool rug. Instead of a plastic work surface in the kitchen, we can consider granite.

Deciding which High-Tech Minimalist Products to Buy

Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Will I use this product often?
  2. Is this product a high quality product that will last a long time and not expire quickly
  3. Is it beautiful? If it's not, you'll soon want to replace it. The human soul craves beauty.
  4. Can I afford it?
  5. Will it do more than one task at a time?
  6. Does it take up a lot of space?
  7. Is it easy to carry? Portable?

If you can give a yes answer to 5 out of 7 questions, then it’s a go!

It goes without saying that the product must be environmentally friendly. If it isn’t, even if you scored 7 out of 7, it defeats the purpose of being climate-change friendly

High-Tech Luxury Minimalism is Vital If We are to Save Our Species from Extinction

While there are many attempts to stop the temperature from rising, there is only one solution, and that is the one nobody wants to talk about.

We need to stop producing so much stuff, and we need to change our habits to be more earth friendly. This includes using state-of-the-art public transport systems, switching to tiny homes, using and producing less stuff, having fewer children, and beginning to focus on zero waste.

We don't have to lower our standard of living in order to be more earth-friendly. We can even upgrade to a more luxury status as rather than spending our money on many low-budget items, we can spend our money on a few high-budget items.

We just need to chose products and lifestyles that suit our needs and greeds.

There will be those who ask why luxury and greeds are important. That's because I don't think we can convince everybody that they must make do with the bare minimum. The human soul cries out for beauty. I think we can manage to have our cake and eat it. However, it will only work if we all do it (or 99% of us do it).

In this case, less is definitely more. We can save our species from extinction, and at the same time, live in the lap of luxury. It is only necessasry to make do with substantially less so that over-production is halted and that we use less energy to enable fuel friendly solutions.

How I Downsized

My process of downsizing started a decade ago. It was not easy. I was accustomed to the stove, the kitchen table, the desk, the bed, the chairs, the music centre, the cupboard of clothing, the carpets, the car, and more.

Initially I had a good clean out, focusing on the things I seldom used. Then I began the slow process of replacing products which had only one use with a product that had multiple uses.

For instance, in the kitchen, as a single person, I only wanted one pot that could do everything. I found the Woll Nowo Titanium Frying Pan. The handle of this high-tech frying pan could be removed and you could bake bread on roast a chicken in the oven with it. You could also fry an egg without Teflon or fat, and the egg wouldn’t stick. You could boil some spaghetti or any other veggie in it. One single pot!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Tessa Schlesinger

Comments

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on January 12, 2019:

agreed

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on January 11, 2019:

Jay, just to continue with my last comment. The USA birthrate is 1.8 per woman.In India, it's 2.33. In Africa, it's 2.4. In the EU, it's 1.6. In China it's 1.6 per woman as well. Basically, India and Africa are problems because they are growing as a population. The countries with women producing under 2 are losing population.

I tend to look at issues from a global perspective - not from the perspective of one country. The soluton has to be global.

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on January 11, 2019:

There are only 320 million people in the USA. It's a very small country. There are 7,5 billion people in the world.That's not going to work in other countries.

Most of the births are coming from Africa and India - in the third world. People are very poor, and they are uneducated. There are no TVs, etc. There are very few schools. Family planning and vasectomies would be the last thing on their minds.

These people aren't on fb.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on January 11, 2019:

How about teaching Family Planning in schools and encouraging Vasectomies (after a donation at a sperm bank)? My target is one billion or less with high technology. Let us use facebook, etc. to promote this.

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on January 11, 2019:

About half of what we have now. Obviously we can't go around exterminating people, so I think it's a matter of birth control, and that's not going to be easy.

That said I think there are going to be enormous natural disasters over the next 20 years, and a lot of us will be wiped out.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on January 11, 2019:

Yes, we live in an economic model to expand consumption and profits. I am suggesting changing the model. What target population do you think is appropriate?

Tessa Schlesinger (author) on January 10, 2019:

Jay,not necessarily. We are living in an economic model in which all businesses do everything possible to expand so that they can make more and more profits each year. All that would happen is that advertising and marketing would become more intense, and people would build bigger and bigger storage facilites (sheds, barns, etc.) to store what they have bought and not needed.

Yes, we do need to stop producting people. But that's only part of the problem.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on January 10, 2019:

I have been a minimalist all my life, but not so high-tech. The total goods consumed is related to the number of people. If we reduce the number of people, total consumption declines. I therefore suggest Family Planning. Vasectomies anyone? How about a better lifestyle for everyone, good parenting, for fewer people? How many is a good goal?