Raising Eco Minimalists with Laura Durenberger
This week I chat with Laura Durenberger of the Raising Eco Minimalists podcast
and the blog Reduce Reuse Renew. I begin by asking her about the "renew" aspect that she covers on her blog that deals with anxiety and how this ties into her environmental actions.
Laura talks about the relationship between reducing the physical and mental clutter and how this can also help play a role in reducing anxiety. As she says, it helps by "reducing things in your life to give space for other things", which strikes me as a very intentional and meaningful approach to minimalism.
We talk about what living a minimalist lifestyle means, as it goes beyond just the Insta-worthy home photos, but rather, how it is a philosophy and how it can be lived out when raising young children, or even for those of us who like to help impart these values on the children in our lives.
How to Reduce Reuse and Renew
It seems odd to Laura and to many of us that these should be separate. Indeed, the connection of the need for self-renewal and personal wellbeing, caring for our physical and mental health is primary to me as I walk this path and certainly led me to Laura's blog. Laura talks about how these topics can actually stack upon one another, and help to deal with the anxiety of life and raising kids.
Reduce to make space
Sure, minimalism is an aesthetic of reduced clutter, but we can extend that beyond the physical clutter, to the mental clutter as well and when we tackle that, then we get the space in our lives and in our minds for the other things. The things that matter most to us, and keep us well and balanced.
It was in fact for Laura, essential to get rid of this mental clutter as a means of dealing with her post-partum depression and anxiety. It meant that she could focus better on her values and find ways to live those values.
What it means in practice to raise eco minimalists
We acknowledge that marketing and the desire to give your child everything they need to lead a full and meaningful life is what every parent wants, and yet it is also what so many marketing messages focus on. Selling new parents physical items that really, they likely don't need all of this baby and toddler stuff, and yet, so many fall into this trap.
One way to avoid such traps, especially for new parents is to consider creating a family Mission and Value Statement. This can help you to get clear on how you want to raise your child and gives you a concrete statement to fall back on when choices regarding purchases arise.
"We put value on other things, getting outside, spending time in nature, time with friends and family."
Other practical advice for raising eco minimalists involves simply getting outside as much as possible. There are all sorts of great initiatives and apps to help with meaningful time outdoors, such as iNaturalist
, created by National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences.
Family and Friends can support too!
As an Auntie to many kids, both related to me and the children of my close friends, I am always interested in ways that other adults can support and foster a child's love of the outdoors, also counter the abundant marketing messages that children are receiving each and every day. So, of course, I asked Laura about this too. She had some great ideas for us including:
- respecting the values of the parents
- taking the child on a nature walk
- giving gifts that are experiences like a trip to the Children's museum
- speaking openly to children about environmental issues, and
- leading by example
Overall, we can be supports to the parents in their efforts to raise eco minimalists by being there for the parents and kids in their journey and being a part of a community of people who walk with them.
Number one tip for parents
Have a "why". Identify your motivation for why this is important to you. It will help you to be able to go back to your reasons on a daily basis in the decisions that you make and give a foundation for everything that you do.
As Laura says, "If we have a solid "why", that gives us something to go back to."
In the end, raising kids as eco minimalists can help you to feel better about your actions, and the future. This helps not only your kids, and the planet, but it makes you feel better. And you deserve to feel better about your actions and have more peace of mind.
Raising Eco Minimalists podcast
Reduce Reuse Renew blog
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