In the United States, we only have 4% of our original forests left. Most of them were cut down to make room for land to build houses, stores, highways, and farms. We keep taking away from the land without putting anything back. Many of the goods we are consuming are coming from other countries. Think about how many goods you buy that are made in China, or the food that has been imported from South America. This lifestyle is not sustainable in the long-term.
According to a study called “Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth,” If the entire world consumed at the rate that the United States did, we would need five planets to make enough food and tangible goods. As time goes on, and countries continue to become more like the United States, our planet will continue to be in crisis.
In the previous entry, we talked about how bleak the future is if Americans continue to consume at such a rapid rate. One of the only ways to combat this is to buy second-hand items from thrift stores. This will reduce the demand for new things, and it also keeps the objects out of the dumps. Every single day, thrift store chains like Goodwill will cycle through their inventory, and a lot of it ends up in the dump. Goodwill generates $5.37 billion in retail sales every year, which is a tremendous amount of money from reselling objects that people once owned.
According to the US Census Bureau, only 17 to 18% of Americans will go thrift shopping any given year. So the vast majority of people only want to buy brand-new items. If you want to consider buying second-hand items, but you don’t like the experience of thrift shopping, try eBay instead.
Many minimalists will try to spend their money on experiences like traveling instead of buying too many things. However, when most Americans travel, they tend to purchase souvenirs for their friends and family. Many of these items can be silly novelty gifts that don’t actually serve any real purpose. According to Statistica, US souvenir shopping totaled 16.75 billion dollars in 2017.
The issue with souvenirs is that many of them end up in the trash or get donated to thrift stores. So if you want to cut back on waste, don’t get pointless things when you go to another country. Sometimes, taking photos and creating lasting memories are enough.