Sustainability and Wellbeing
"Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Currently, the world is facing a global health crisis unlike any other."
Emma Volkert writes on sustainability from the University of Michigan that wellbeing and sustainability are even more closely linked than we realise. From looking after our immediate space as a means of realising our impact on the planet. In the current global pandemic, students are having to study, work and live from their usually limited and isolated space. Amazon has surged with decoration products, often without the long term implication in mind when making these purchases.
"As people who are passionate about living sustainably, we often consider how our actions impact the environment surrounding us. What we can forget, however, is how engaging in sustainable behaviors have a positive effect on us as individuals, too. The health and wellbeing of humans is inseparable from the health of our surrounding environments, and the interactions between the two are complex. Using the U-M Model of Well-being as a guide, we can develop a broader understanding of how the choices we make to care for our planet are also steps to care for ourselves. Like sustainability, wellbeing is an ongoing pursuit that involves personal reflection, support from family and friends, and care from your community.
At its core, environmental well-being means being mindful of the space surrounding you (your bedroom, school, workplace, planet, etc.), how you are impacting that space, and how that space is impacting you. In the context of sustainability, focusing on your environmental wellbeing might encourage you to invest less in accumulating material goods, and invest more in having a space that brings you joy, comfort, and productivity. From Marie Kondo’s “KonMari method” to the Danish art of Hygge, popular messaging surrounding environmental well-being has shifted towards promoting a more minimalist lifestyle. While you may not be able to rid your space of everything that doesn’t spark joy, taking the time to donate excess clothes, take down unnecessary decorative lights, or cut back on the amount of “things” you collect are all sustainable choices that can allow you to create a decluttered and stress-free environment."
As students, especially during COVID, where we must work, live and exist in a small space - it can be easy for the spiral of invading materials to take up the limited space in a bid to help 'freshen' up the space. But just as the planet is quickly becoming suffocated by single use and uneccesary plastic, so can a bedroom and study space.
How easy will it be to store and shift those extra belongings we pick up during our studies?
Are they destined for early landfill on the final day of your accommodation contract?