How to start a minimalist-zero-waste-need-oriented-unschooling-catholic lifestyle as a family

First of all: What do you think about the headline? It’s quite impressive, isn’t it? And what on earth is a minimalist-zero-waste-need-oriented-unschooling-catholic lifestyle?

Well, let me explain.

Actually this kind of lifestyle is exactly what we chose for us as a family. Sometimes I feel it’s kind of unique and I think it shouldn’t be so that’s why I’m sharing our thoughts and our philosophy here. And I also share what you can do to start something similar.

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Anyhow, why would someone choose something like that after all?

Since we’re a Catholic family our faith means a lot to us and we’re eager to live a faith-based life. And that’s where you can start because actually that’s where everything started for us.

What does it mean to live a Catholic life? Obviously there is a lot of personal and family prayer, Church time, Bible reading, pondering, celebrating and getting together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Being a Catholic requires you to ask for God’s will and his plan for your life. And that’s what we do – and God answers. He always does. Not always the way we want him to, though. He answers our everyday questions and he also answers the big questions. And you know what he told us?

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

~ Matthew 25:40

So where does that lead us?

It made us ponder the consumerist lifestyle that we mostly have in our Western culture. It made us think about the side effects that are created by it: Substandard labor conditions, pollution, species extinction, mountains of trash, misery.

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

~ Matthew 6:24

God always called us to humility – not just for the sake of ourselves, also for the sake of others. Think of those who are sewing our clothes, think of child labor, think of God’s beautiful creation that is destroyed – by our greed basically. God doesn’t want that, that’s why he called us to humility.

Knowing that we started to refuse consumerism, we started to try to live a “zero-waste-lifestyle” – and we started to raise our kids in a need-oriented unschooling way (remember MT 25:40?).

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So what can you do to start?

Well, you want to take it one step at a time. Noah didn’t build the arch in just one day, right? You have plenty of time ahead of you so you can change the way you live. So here’s my top ten:

  1. A good starting point is to ask yourself “Do I really need this?” – because often you will honestly say “No!” Then don’t get it! You don’t need what you don’t need. Simple as that.
  2. If you do need something than there’s another helpful question to ask: “Do I need this to be new?” You can buy so  many things used and they are still good! Search for thrift stores or try to find the things you need online.
  3. Many of us own just so many things. You can go through your things and ask yourself: “Do I really use this?” If not: give it away, donate it, bring it to a thrift store, sell it on the internet.
  4. If you do need something new double-check the way it is produced. Where is it produced? Does the company it is produced for apply certain standards? You may want to support the Fair Wear Foundation.
  5. There is also a lot you can do in terms of food: Opt for organic fresh food. That means vegetables and fruits in the first place. Make sure they are not wrapped in plastic. That IS difficult, I know. Maybe you can get vegetables and fruits from a local farm? Or a food coop? Or something like that? If that’s not possible you will most definitely find some fresh food in the supermarket that is not wrapped – but maybe you’ll have to really make an effort. I think it’s worth it, though.
  6. Try to buy vegetables and fruits that is produced in the area where you live – opt for apples from your neighborhood instead of papaya from kenya e.g. Avoid long hauls!
  7. Eat less meat and other animal products!
  8. Start DIY. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot cheaper than buying everything new and you avoid products that are produced in a bad way (plus things you made yourself aren’t wrapped in plastic!)
  9. In terms of unschooling: Well, there actually is not real start – it just happens naturally. Unschooling is natural learning. Unschooling happens by the way – intrisically. You don’t really have to do much. What you should do is talk with your kids, be a part of their lives, ask them what they are busy with, ask them how you can support them – show interest in them. Try to really meet their needs.
  10. Speaking of needs: Need-oriented parenting isn’t hard, either. Observe your kids, communicate with them, take them seriously, value them – and set your limits.

What do you think? Tell me how you feel!

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Avoiding Plastics in your family life -Microplastics in your closet!

Just last week we have discussed why it might be a good thing to avoid plastics in your family life due to health threatening additives contained in plastics and environmental pollution problems caused by plastics.

Now we’d like to go one step further and show you what you can do in your family to avoid plastics.

One major problem about plastics is that you actually don’t always see it! Ever heard of Microplastics? Microplastics are little plastic particles that you can hardly see. They are often found in waters – especially parts of the oceans are widely polluted by microplastics. Since plastics doesn’t decompose over time many organisms ingest, accumulate and incorporate it which actually bears some major environmental problems.

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So what can you do to prevent this kind of pollution?

The first and most important thing is to pay attention to what kind of clothes and cosmetics you purchase. Microplastics often come from synthetics such as polyester, polyamide and acrylic fabrics contained in clothes and from plastic particles used in cosmetics, e.g. exfoliation products or toothpaste. Every time you wash your laundry or you use you exfoliation cosmetics little plastic particles – microplastics – arrive through your domestic sewage at the ocean.

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So what is the solution?

Stop buying synthetics and cosmetics that contain plastics! Get clothes made from cotton, linnen, wool, silk, rayon, viscose or lyocell instead. Simple as that.

If you want to read more go to

One Percent for the Planet

Shop ethicalShop ethical

Marine Conservation Society

Marine Debris Program

International Pellet Watch

Algalita

Why it is so important to avoid plastics

In 2009 Werner Boote, an Austrian Filmmaker, released his movie “Plastic Planet” – so far there seems to be no English translation, but “Addicted to Plastic” by Ian Connacher is a similar movie released in English. Both Filmmakers investigate plastics as a global environmental burden and strongly appeal to the public to start to avoid plastics.

Why is that?

 

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Actually there are several reasons why you should avoid plastics – mainly health and environmental reasons.

Plastics contain lots of different components, that can threaten your health. The most known health threatening component in plastics is Bisphenol A (BPA), widely used e.g. in baby bottles. Now certain manufacturers start to produce baby bottles and other products without BPA. That’s a good thing. But unfortunately there are still lots of other components in plastics that can be health threatening, e.g. phthalates and toxic additives.

Scientists assume that lots of additives contained in plastics can have different harmful effects especially on your child’s health, such as allergies, hormonal and metabolic disorders. Some scientists even suspect not only BPA but also phthalates and other components to even cause cancer.

But health issues is not all there is to it.

 

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A lot of environmental problems are also caused by plastics. Unlike other materials such as paper, glass, wood or steel plastics can’t easily be reused or recycled. Plastics are not made-to-last, so they cause a lot of garbage which pollutes not only our cities, but also rivers and especially the oceans.

This is frightening but it is not unchangeable. You can make a difference! You can help to protect God’s wonderful creation.

So stay tuned!

In course of the following weeks and months we want to share lots of tips and tricks about how you can avoid plastics and how you can establish a sustainable family life.

You want to read more? Here are a few more interesting links:

One World one Ocean

Ecowatch

My plastic-free life

Smallfootprintfamily

Treehugger

Plastic Planet (German)