This blogpost serves as a reminder that we don’t always need the media, political figures and “science” to tell us what to think.
I mean, we live in the age of misinformation and fake news anyway.
Everything is blown out of proportion, all the time, so I understand those who are skeptical about everything cause sometimes that’s the only way one can keep their sanity and free thinking.
We demonize people for the smallest mishaps, we cancel them, we go at each other’s throats online for no real reason..
Incivility is rampant, but that’s beside the point of this post.
What we need right now
Perhaps what we need right now is to be more understanding, to use sensible reasoning and think for ourselves.
What we need is to collectively take a step back from the ongoing noise and assess what we see and feel, not what we’re bombarded with by the media 24/7, 365.
So climate change, is it real ?
Well, first let’s drop in some facts:
👉 We’re in the midst of the worst drought in the Horn of Africa since records began 👉 We’re in the midst of the worst drought in China since records began 👉 We’re currently in the midst of the worst drought the USA has known in the past 1.200 years 👉 Europe is going through its worst drought in 500 years
Those are facts, not opinions.
Unfortunately, blistering heatwaves ran rampant in the continent where I’m currently based, Europe, in the past few months.
The same can be said about many other places on earth.
Given how things stand right now, everything leads me to believe that a catastrophe is around the corner.
If you look at the the Jialing River in Chongquing, a major tributary of the Yangtze (China), you realize that it’s partially dried up, following weeks of extreme heat.
The same can be said about rivers and lakes in France, rivers that I used to hang out at just last summer.
Besides, we’ve seen so many untamable wildfires this summer, too many to count: Spain, Portugal, France, Italy..
The same thing is happening in North Africa.
Pretty safe to say, biodiversity is crumbling all around the world.
So, what to do about it ?
Well, it all depends on the type of people we are.
We can either wait till we all die, or we could start making some serious changes to our respective lifestyles AND impose restrictions and sanction the biggest polluters.
Private Jets, Yachts, Golf courses, Olympic-size swimming pools, these privileges need to stop, at least for a little while, if we want our planet to survive.
You don’t have to be “republican” or “democrat” to see things for what they are, this has NOTHING to do with politics, it has everything to do with survival.
If you don’t want to believe reports from the media, it’s fine, I don’t either, so talk to people, talk to the elderly, talk to your friends.
I’m lucky enough to have friends all over the world, and not a single one of them tells me things are just like they used to be.
There are so many environmental disruptions all across the globe, so many droughts, from Iraq to Italy, to China, to Kenya.
Our planet is running out of clean water. People are literally DYING of hunger and thirst.
Industrialization and hyperconsumerism are a direct cause for that.
What to do ?
The collective will always prevail over individual changes
So what we need is to collectively give up on our old ways and start learning about sustainability, pollution
We have to start looking at the way we consume, what we buy and who we’re buying it from.
We don’t have to give up on living for things to work out, we just have to adapt, to change.
The solutions to our problems have more to do with mindfulness than they do with technology.
Of course technology has to step in to improve many things, but first, let’s cut out on all the unnecessary impulse buys, watch our consumption, learn how to live in harmony with each other and NATURE, push for a global change and promote sustainable habits.
Let’s be mindful of what we do and how we live, individually and collectively.
It really doesn’t take much more than that for things to go back to how they used to be.
Subsequently, Jarod Cory Kelly, principal energy systems analyst at Argonne National Lab, said making EVs generates more carbon than combustion engine cars, mainly due to the extraction and processing of minerals in EV batteries and the production of power cells.
Electric VS Internal Combustion Engine cars: emissions
A dozen studies show that conventional vehicle production emissions range between 2 to 17 metric tons of GHG (10 metric tons being the most common average I found)
They also show that a typical, medium-sized, conventional family car will create around 24 tons of CO2 during its life cycle.
The same studies indicate that average EC production emissions sit at around 10 metric tons per car as well, without the battery.
They also show that a typical EV will create around 18 tons of CO2 during its life cycle.
For EVs, 46% of their total carbon footprint is generated at the factory, before they’ve traveled a single mile.
For instance, and because of battery production, this whitepaper claims that we emit 15 to 70% more GHG to produce electric cars.
Battery size matters
Now, there’s also a huge difference when it comes to battery size: a Nissan leaf battery (and car) will only cause 15%more emissions to produce than a classic combustion engine (conventional car), whereas a Tesla battery could cost up to 70% more, according to Net Zero Watch.
ICE cars produce 10 tons of CO2 to make, and emit 5.2 metric tons of CO2 per year (on the road).
ECs without the battery also produce 10 tons to make, but only emit 2.2 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Now, to make a 30 kWh lithium battery (Nissan Leaf), companies emit from 1 to 5 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To produce a 100 kWh (Tesla) battery, that number ranges between 6 and 17 tons of GHG.
If we base our reasoning on these numbers only, it takes roughly 2 years on the road before a small electric car starts producing less carbon than an ICE car.
If you change the battery in the meantime, you’re looking at around 3.2 years to offset your carbon emissions.
That only applies when talking about small ECs.
For a Tesla, however, you’re looking at roughly 5.53 years of driving before you break-even.
Note: estimates as to how big that carbon gap is when a car is first sold and where the “break-even” point comes can vary widely, depending on the assumptions, driving style, distances covered and the country in question.
For instance, if said electric car is being driven in a country like Norway, which generates almost all its electricity from renewable hydropower, the break-even point would come much MUCH sooner.
University of Liege researcher Damien Ernst said in 2019 that the typical EV would have to travel nearly 700,000 km before it emitted less CO2 than a comparable gasoline vehicle. He later revised his figures down.
Now, he estimates the break-even point could be between 67,000 km and 151,000 km.
Lithium, cobalt, nickeland aluminum
Lithium makes up for 5 to 7% of an EC battery, which isn’t as much as most people think.
Cobalt and nickel make up a bigger chunk, up to 20% for cobalt and up to 10% for nickel.
One of the main problems with Lithium mining is that it’s a very water intensive process, which makes it environmentally consequential.
Lithium extraction uses a lot of water and is the cause for droughts in regions where it’s extracted.
“Lithium mining requires large volumes of groundwater to pump out brines from drilled wells. Mining activities in the Atacama are estimated to consume 65 percent of the area’s water, and they have in some cases contaminated streams and caused significant fall in groundwater”
The main difference between pollution caused by Lithium mining and CO2 pollution is that we, and our planet, can capture CO2 through forests, soils and oceans. The same can’t be said about the loss of water, a scarce element on earth.
Cobalt-producing nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Cuba are discovering that cobalt mining is trickier than they first thought.
Lung disease and heart failure have been linked to high levels of this element, while the mines that produce it are blamed for devastated landscapes, water pollution, contaminated crops and a loss of soil fertility.
The environmental impact extends through the life-cycle of the product from refineries, battery plants, consumers goods manufacturers, electronic recycling facilities and waste dumps.
Among the most affected are workers at poorly-regulated mines, as always.
Concerns in the Congo, which produces more than 60% of the world’s cobalt and where the mineral is often mined in tandem with nickel, copper or silver, are rising when it comes to child mining and child labor.
Obviously, ECs and EVs aren’t the only ones to blame, as most electronic devices use cobalt as well.
Did you know that Nickel (Ni) is the most expensive material in EVs after Cobalt ?
Did you also know that Indonesia accounts for the largest supply of Nickel in the world ? As if Palm Oil wasn’t destructive enough for the island country.. (Indonesia counts for more than half of global palm oil supply btw)
Back to the Nickel (no Nickelback jokes, please ^^)
Reports by IDTechEx state that the demand for nickel from EV batteries is expected to increase ten-fold by 2030 compared to 2019.
One of the main problems surrounding nickel mining is that ores normally contain only a very small percentage of useful Ni, resulting in a large amount of waste material.
“Recently it has been announced that two nickel mining companies in Indonesia are planning to use deep-sea disposal for the raw material waste into the Coral Triangle as they ramp up operations,” the report states.
On the other side of the spectrum, back in 2017, the Philippines government suspended nearly half of its nickel mines citing environmental concerns.
So Nickel, like Cobalt and Lithium, is also highly destructive to the environment in ways that we can’t easily bypass, unlike CO2 emissions..
Recycling of batteries
The recycling of batteries is another issue, an important one, especially in the water scarcity debate.
In the EU, as few as 5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled. This has an environmental cost.
Not only do the batteries carry a risk of giving off toxic gases if damaged, but core ingredients such as lithium and cobalt are finite and extraction can lead to water pollution and depletion, among other environmental consequences.
Francisco Carranza, former managing director at Nissan and current VP of sales and marketing at Automotive Cells Company, says the fundamental problem is that while the cost of fully recycling a battery is falling toward €1 per kilo, the value of the raw materials that can be reclaimed is only a third of that.
And what doesn’t make money often doesn’t make sense, business-wise.
That said, Nissan, like many other car manufacturers, has partnered with power management firm Eaton for its car batteries to be re-used for home energy storage, rather than be recycled.
Perhaps there’s reason to be optimistic, after all.
For instance, the Johan Cruyff Arena, Ajax Amsterdam’s home field, is home to the equivalent of 148 used Nissan Leaf batteries, which found a second life in this stadium.
The JCA is one of the most sustainable spots in Europe. Solar panels, super-green energy storage and onsite vehicle-to-grid charging can all be found in this beautiful piece of engineering.
The arena is a prime example of sustainability at scale. It’s currently the largest energy storage bank in a commercial building in Europe.
Where do electric vehicles get their electricity ?
Let’s put all of this to the side and discuss something that’s equally as important as battery components: energy.
Where do EVs get their energy from ?
It turns out that many regions in the world are still getting their electricity from COAL-powered plants.
In fact, 23% of electricity comes from coal-fired plants in the United States alone. Studies estimate that number to be around 22.9 percent in Europe.
How much of Europe’s energy comes from fossil fuels?
For the structure of gross available energy in 2020, 68.4 % of all energy in the EU was produced from coal, crude oil and natural gas.
Not so green huh ?
The verdict ?
I don’t have one.
But one thing is for sure, I’ll definitely stick to my beautiful 2005 Corolla for now.
Besides, I will always prefer higher CO2 emissions to water pollution, leading to water shortages and scarcity. Child labor and the massive environmental impacts mentioned above are also reasons why EVs ain’t my thing, now more than ever.
That said, by no means am I saying conventional cars don’t pollute. All I’m saying is, there’s no need to push for newer technologies just for the sake of newness. That’s the whole premise around consumerism, which is the core ideology of capitalism.
Also, and this is extremely important, our oceans, with around 38,000 gigatons of carbon, contain 16 times as much carbon as the terrestrial biosphere.
On the other hand, our CO2 emissions today sit at around 36.4 gigatons of CO2.
Our oceans are one of the most promising places to sequester carbon. They currently take up a third of the carbon emitted by human activity, roughly 2.9 billion metric tons each year, according to new estimates.
Now, let me ask you this: can you imagine how much CO2 we would intrap if our oceans were healthy ?
Imagine a world where industrial fishing is banned for good?
People often say that we need to “Save The Earth”. I personally don’t think the Earth needs saving, I think the Earth will be just fine without us. Instead, we need to save ourselves by abolishing all unnecessary exploitations.
The earth is a magical place, a gift that’ll keep on giving, but we need to start looking at things differently.
The solution to the current environmental crisis doesn’t necessarily lie in changing the way we travel.
We have to start looking at all industries, and go through them one by one.
The impacts of certain industries are often dismissed, it’s dangerous.
To save ourselves, we need to abolish unnecessary exploitations and consumerism. Simultaneously, we need to keep pushing research towards truly cleaner options.
Our beautiful planet can easily deal with GHG emissions, but it can hardly “regenerate” polluted water, water being the scarcest element on earth.
Last but not least, if you thought Russia controlling 5% of oil exports was a threat to global stability, wait until you find out who controls 90% of the critical rare earth elements needed for EVs and solar panels.
ICE Cars are here to stay and that’s okay, for now.
Perhaps newer technologies will come into place and replace the old ones, but let’s give credit where credit is due.
Cars are a blessing.
The demonization of ICE cars has risen sharply, it’s baffling and quite unwarranted. People who can’t afford EVs (or don’t want to switch) have been heavily criticized by mainstream media, so this piece is essentially here to establish some sort of balance.
It’s important to remember that cars, just like railroads, boats and airplanes have played a huge part in how humanity has developed in the past century.
Cars make our lives safer and more comfortable. They allow us to access places and resources that are viable and necessary to evolve as a species.
The debate around EVs vs ICE cars is a matter of choosing the lesser of two necessary evils, it’s sterile and borderline absurd.
As things stand economically, socially and historically, there is no clear winner. Besides, as I mentioned before, I reckon we’re barking at the wrong tree in the sustainability debate.
How about we tackle unnecessary industries like fast fashion, industrial fishing, factory farming, food retail first ?
Let me know what you think in the comments below and tune in to the pod for similar conversations.
Watch this if you want to know more about the innovation of the engine.
Below is a list of survival tips every hiker should know, inspired by (but not only) the movie Backcountry (great flick btw, thanks Bash)
First things first let me tell you this: when you’re out in the wild, worry about survival before you worry about comfort. Always.
Another basic tip and as a rule of thumb, never hike with a backpack that’s more than a third of your body weight.
Anyway, let’s get going:
Dos and don’ts in the wild
Never leave your food uncovered in the wilderness
Always have extra energy bars and food in your backpack. Also, eat in rations, you never know what might happen next
When you decide to take a break or to call it a day, NEVER leave food in your tent
Always keep a survival whistle on hand. Survival whistles help scare off wild animals and serve as a signal in emergencies. Mine came in handy when I hiked in Patagonia (Andean forest in Argentina)
Always keep a survival knife on hand
Always keep a candle in your backpack, it’ll help keep you warm in extreme weathers, especially if you ever get lost in the wild (check out this video if you don’t know what I’m hinting at). For this technique to work, you will need something like a poncho or a blanket
Learn more about edible plants and roots just in case you run out of food
Learn basic first aid skills to fix yourself or other hikers in case of an emergency
Always make a mental map of where you are and where you’re headed. A great hiker always knows where the nearest plain is. Plains are safer than the woods. Also, if there’s a rescue heli looking for you, you’d want them to actually see you
Always check the weather before you head out
Make sure your clothing ALWAYS remains dry. I made this mistake twice, once in Sweden and once in France, and both times I thought I was never going to make it. Never again !
When packing your gear, try to pack the heavier gear against your spine with the lightest items on top and equal weight on either side. Remember to pack your rain jacket last so that it is accessible if needed suddenly, and make sure all loose straps are secured and neat so they don’t catch on anything as you walk.
Learn more about the wild animals in your area and how to deal in the event of an unexpected encounter (bears, wolves, boars, snakes, elk, moose, cows, goats)
Hiking and survival must-haves
Backpack tips: Choose a backpack with a tubular design. A tubular design is easier to balance, and an unbalanced backpack will tire you out much sooner than you expect. Unbalanced packs also increase the risk of a twisted ankle or a fall. Always strap on because loose straps can be dangerous if they catch on rocks or branches. Make sure the weight doesn’t only sit on your back but rather on the side straps. Distribute as much weight to the straps as possible. With the weight on your straps, your shoulders should feel lighter and unburdened. A sternum strap is also a must when mountain hiking. It keeps the straps from falling off and tiring you out.
One sharp, full-tang, carbon-steel knife. This is your most important tool in a survival situation. Pick one that fits your hand comfortably, has a single piece of steel from tip to butt, with a blade about 12cm long. Carbon-steel blades are easiest to sharpen and the back of the blade will produce a spark when struck with a hard stone
Consider stainless steel bottle for drinking and heating up water
Make sure your headlamp is easily accessible
A survivalwhistle is often forgotten but it could come in handy in several situations: to call for help, to scare off snakes and other animals, to signal your presence to other hikers
Touch as little things as you possibly can while hiking. Smell is how animals track their prey
Learn how to start a fire with an ember rock or a flint fire starter in case your matches get wet
Learn how to navigate a map with a compass
Get a LifeStraw and/or purification drops
Always have a first aid kit on. Stuff it with bandage wraps, medication for pain, allergies, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and hypoglycemia
If it’s allowed in your whereabouts, get a smoke or fire signal, very useful in case of an unexpected encounter with a deadly animal
Invest in GREAT hiking shoes. I didn’t say good, I said great. You’re going to spend at least 60% of your time in them so invest well
Rain and wind are your worst enemy. Invest in a windbreaker/raincoat
Invest in good, warm socks and thermal underwear 🧦
A cooking set and/or gas stove is a must in the winter when everything is wet and cold
Keep a phone and potentially a talkie walkie on you. A talkie is much more efficient than a celly, and not everyone can afford a satellite phone. Talkies allow you to connect with other radios in the area
Wear flashy hiking clothes in case a rescue team has to look for you in leafy forests
Learn the basics of hunting. There are always chipmunks and rabbits in the woods that you can hunt if it’s a matter of life or death (I’m vegan but extreme situations require extreme measures)
On the same note, keep fishing gear on you, just in case you have no other options but to fish to feed on
Make sure your clothing always remains dry. The most effective way to waterproof your pack is to line the inside with a dry bag. Buy one that is slightly larger than your backpack so that it completely fills the main compartment and has enough extra space at the top for a tight seal. Once sealed, the dry bag will also serve as a floatation device, so if you do fall into water, your bag won’t drag you under.
Grab a pair of tough gloves to avoid hand wounds and a better grip in extreme situations
An axe could come in handy in many situations. Chopping wood, entertainment, an axe could also save your life in the event of an unexpected encounter with a deadly animal 🪓
Get at least 3m of 550 paracord, super useful in certain situations
There you have it folks. I must’ve missed some other tips but if you follow all of the ones above, you’re very likely to survive any situation in the wild.
I didn’t add all the necessary gear one might need for a hike. That’s a not the primary purpose of this post.
That said, I may post a piece of my favorite hiking gear soon.
Goes without saying but be careful when you’re out there, fam. We humans are much weaker than we think we are, and sh!t happens, all the time.
On one hand, taming fire, inventing the wheel, electric currents and lightbulbs, internal combustion engines, the compass, vaccines and telephones took our existence and comfort to a whole new level.
On the other hand, the internet (and computers to a great degree) instigated a silent revolution and marked the beginning of a new chapter in human history.
The internet instigated cultural shifts, political revolutions and more wealth than ever seen before (Mansa Musa was an exception). It revolutionized the way we go about our lives, the way we eat, shop, interact with each other, date, learn and evolve as a species.
Internet disruption went a step further with the creation of Blogs and Social Media platforms.
It unsettled the way we used to consume and almost killed brick and mortar, in less than 30 years of existence, mind you.
And therein lies the importance of Online Shops and Digital Media/Marketing.
Let’s talk marketing:
The internet (and Social Media) increased our reach more than anything before it.
It didn’t just connect people to people like telephones did, it connected actual THINGS to people through what we now know as e-commerce.
That’s what we call B2C (marketing) in business jargon.
Social Media made it so that you now can literally reach millions of people with just a click.
It’s wild !
That being said, nothing good comes easy, and so extensive reach and good conversion rates usually come at a price, and a hefty one at that.
Say you want to launch a small business in your town.
Back in the day, go-to techniques to spread the word were handing out flyers, talking to your friends (word-of-mouth), asking for personal recommendations and leaving business cards everywhere you go.
These techniques could still work (potentially) if done properly, but are hardly going to keep you afloat and financially stable.
The internet, and Internet Marketing (AKA Digital Marketing/Online Marketing) to be exact, allows you to bypass all that and reach more people than you ever could with traditional marketing techniques.
Social Media (marketing), websites (and landing pages) and blogs, of course.
These 3 channels are where it’s been at for the past..20 years maybe ?
That’s where most people under 65 look for things, so that’s where attention and eyeballs are.
Where to start:
PSA: The inevitables depend on your business and your niche, ALWAYS.
The inevitables for most businesses would be Google My Business, Facebook (controversial, I know), Instagram and a personal website/online shop.
In additional to those four, and depending on your business, you might want to consider a blog for the brand and educational purposes (expertise), a LinkedIn page, a YouTube and/or Tiktok channel (tutorials, how-to’s) and a Pinterest page.
On a lesser level, and once again depending on your biz, consider starting a podcast, a space on telegram, a discord as well as setting up a WhatsApp number for the brand.
The creation and management of ALL THIS requires lots of skills. It requires a lot of time and dedication, too.
After all, there’s no point in being all over the place if you aren’t constantly building and engaging with your audience.
That’s where Online Marketers / Digital Wizards come in:
The consistent management of pages and channels is hectic, tiring and even gruesome to some.
Managing AND building a community from scratch ? Different ball game altogether.
Social Media management, Advertising, Digital Communication and Branding take a LOT of skills. They take a lot of time as well.
But before we talk about all that, let’s briefly discuss branding or brand-building.
Brand-building is difficult. It takes so much work and specific skills. It can’t be half-assed.
Brand-building also takes time, lots of it. It took some of the biggest brands in the world YEARS to get to where they are now, and that’s without factoring in the millions of dollars they each put into their marketing machine.
Brand-building entails good design, strategy, digital communication, social ads and much more.
So clearly, it’s as complex as they come. But it’s also the safest way to a prosperous business.
People often buy the brand, not the product itself.
FYI, I chose this career path, as a Brand Builder, Social Media marketer and Growth Hacker (so-to-speak), because of its complexity and challenges around it.
I grew up with Social Media and was very quickly drawn to it. I’ve been on it from day one, I was involved in it very early, I saw it grow and evolve, and so did I.
I became a freelance Social Media expert 3 years ago because I felt caged in. Most companies I’ve worked for were so rudimental when it came to marketing. That despite being multimillion dollar ones.
I’ve always wanted to instigate change. Working for the sake of working wasn’t “it” for me. I wanted more, so I went for more.
Obviously more didn’t mean more work, but rather more meaning. I wanted to become a driver of change with my clients, rather than just a pawn.
I worked my butt off and I loved it.
With more than 7 years in, my work became more about setting new standards than following the “old way“.
Once you sort out your branding, it’s time to communicate.
Good digital communication entails creativity, innovation, focus and efficiency. It also requires you to be open to new ideas and have an appetite for risk.
The challenge in what I do lies in the fickleness of human behavior. Marketing is all about human behavior.
Skills are important but understanding your audience, your leads and customers is what gets you over the line, never forget that.
Going full circle:
I wrote this post to explain the importance of online presence and branding. I also want to encourage (small) business owners to outsource complex tasks as much as they can. It’s vital.
Many (most) beginners and business owners prefer saving a few bucks and doing it all by themselves. That strategy always backfires, unless you’re a marketing expert.
By refusing to outsource these functions, you will likely waste weeks, months or even years of your business. You’re also likely to waste lots of money and “brand currency“.
Brand currency is what people know you for. Once people know you for something, it’ll take triple the amount of efforts, time and money to rebrand yourself and your business.
You can avoid all that hassle by simply outsourcing the vital functions of your business.
What you gain from outsourcing:
Time and energy: If you don’t particularly enjoy spending time on all the above-mentioned tasks, you’re likely to hit a brick wall doing it yourself. It can be overwhelming and extremely time-consuming, obviously.
Focus: Because there’s nothing more frustrating when starting a business than distraction, outsourcing gives you a breath of fresh air and more freedom to focus on the business itself.
A QUALITY Social Media post, an update on Google My Business or a blogpost could take hours to create. Don’t waste your time communicating when you already have millions of things to handle elsewhere.
Burnout: Doing it all by yourself could potentially cause you to give up. Real business starts when all the excitement wears out. Outsourcing helps avoid that.
Social Ads are complex: it may not seem like it (or does it?) but social ads are as complex as they come. There are so many factors to factor in, and so much tinkering to do as you go. It actually took me years to learn the ins and outs of Social Ads, and I’m still learning, esp. since the introduction of iOS14. I have a masters in that stuff mind you, and more than 7 years working with different clients. That’s how much work went into it. Never underestimate the work of others just because they make it look so simple, so smooth, it usually never is.
Creatives and designs deserve special attention and care: Anyone can create content, but to create engaging, fun and converting content is a different ball-game. Obviously, like everything, it’s a learning curve, but would you rather spend 6 hours/day managing your socials or actually building your project, prospecting and growing your business ?
Most of the stuff we buy throughout the years will either end up sold, donated or trashed.
It’s sad, but it’s also inevitable.
That’s one of the main reasons why I became a minimalist in for first place.
When I look at the number of things I owned throughout my life, I can’t help but feel guilty..
Guilty because most of it went out the window at one point or another, guilty because there definitely are people who can’t afford half the stuff we buy carelessly
Guilty because consumerism is so ingrained in our modern societies that we hardly question our spending habits.
Minimalism allowed me to shift my mindset completely, so the least I can do is simplify the process by sharing some of my tips with those looking to live mindfully and sustainably.
“But what do I do with all the stuff I own ? It’s already been made, bought and used (for most part)?”
That’s the type of question I usually get.
The answer is quite simple:
Sell: if you need the money and want your most valuable things to have a second life
Donate: if you don’t need the money and want your things to be repurposed and help people in need (Charity, NGOs, Homeless Shelters..)
Trash: everything that can’t be repurposed, sold or recycled. It’s unfortunate but don’t beat yourself up too much, it happens to the best of us.
Where to go from here?
Here’s a short list of things you can turn to if you want to minimize further. Some of these tips hint at frugalism as well.
Avoid eating out and getting take outs. Take out foods are usually less healthy and way more expensive than home cooked meals. Learning how and what to cook is a useful skill for a better life, health wise and financially as well
Stop “treating yourself” when you can’t even pay off your debt and loans. Focus on the things that truly matter to you, and things that could have a lasting effect. Perhaps you could treat yourself to some cooking or baking classes, that way you won’t have to overspend every time you crave something. Same goes with most skills (yoga, fitness, cooking, handywork..)
Stop seeking instant gratification. Instant gratification is one of our era’s worst nightmares. It’s responsible for depression, anxiety, people feeling lost, so on and so forth. Refraining from social media use is one of the best things you could do to heal from this disease, news fasts* are also very effective in that regard
Avoid fast fashion AT ALL COSTS. I know it’s convenient and cheap, but what comes easy never lasts. Also, it’s highly destructive to both nature and the humans behind it (btw click on the link if you’re not familiar with this industry, the video’s super dope and it’s only 8 mins long)
One grocery trip twice a month should be enough. Meal planning (and prepping) helps a lot as it decreases overspending, and waste, of course
Shopping online is better as it allows you to browse similar products to the ones you’re looking for, and find the ones that best fit your needs
Go organic as much as you can. Health is important and bad health is extremely costly !
Go for one time purchases. For example, start using linen napkins instead of paper towels
This one’s quite personal and something I’m working towards but I always try to favor cash instead of credit/debit cards
Minimize unnecessary subscriptions – cloud storage, streaming services, music services, apps, gym, website memberships, meal delivery, monthly installments.. I’m sure we all have subscriptions we hardly ever use
Beside all this, digital minimalism is also something you could look further into:
Unsubscribe from all the lists that keep sending you updates, offers and newsletters that you hardly ever read. It may not seem like it but most of that stuff is costly in mental energy (c.f. decision fatigue), carbon emissions and anxiety
Organize your photos in folders and delete all copies and similar photos
Disable unnecessary notifications, especially the ones on social media. I personally only kept incoming calls and text message, as those are the ones I use the most with my family and friends
Reach out to me or leave me a comment if you have any specific questions, I’m always happy to help 🙂
*A news fast implies opting out of watching the news on TV, listening the radio, reading newspapers, or following the news on social media and other internet outlets.
Here’s a short list of some healthy behaviors, traits and habits I’ve noticed in some of my favorite people in the world.
Those are traits I personally try to gravitate towards in order to build healthy relationships.
They avoid criticism at all costs
Criticism shows a lack of understanding and empathy towards others. The less critical you are towards others, the better.
Slander is also a major sin in my religion.
Slander and backbiting are considered “destructive” major sins.
These two sins are forbidden by God because they sow enmity, evil and discord among people and lead to destruction.
Slander, like overt criticism, are a sign that you want to show superiority, which in turn shows a lack of confidence and is ultimately a sign of weakness.
People ain’t all that different, we just choose our differences, so please refrain from being cheaply critical and just accept others as they are.
OCEAN is the acronym
OCEAN are the “Big Five” personality traits developed in psychological trait theory. They’re a great way to assess oneself.
O for Openness. Being open to new things, new ideas, change and being curious are all great signs of a great personality.
For instance, if someone tells you about a positive thing in their life, try to dig deeper, be happy for them.
Showing real, genuine interest in what others tell you is a sign of goodness, and happiness.
C for Conscientiousness: be conscientious is one of the noblest traits.
Knowing how to act and react accordingly in difficult situations, being aware of your surroundings, treating others with respect are all signs of a conscientious person.
Don’t be so quick to judge and just let others the benefit of the doubt, learn how to trust.
E for Extroversion: try being extroverted, not in a “party-going” way, but rather in a “be curious about others, ask how they are” way.
Don’t interrupt when others talk to you, show genuine interest in their feelings and wellbeing and treat them with love.
A for Agreeableness: being agreeable should be the easiest thing when you’re surrounded by the right people. Your friends need to challenge you on certain things, but not on everything.
“A person with a high level of agreeableness in a personality test is usually warm, friendly, and tactful.” So be warm, make people feel at ease, heard.
N for Neuroticism (it’s not what you think): this trait is about people who are emotionally stable, who deal well with stress pretty well, who don’t worry much (know how to let go of grudges) and are generally very chill and laid-back.
The kind of person who avoids conflict and troubles at all costs, my type of people.
Let’s move on to some other traits healthy people have in common:
They don’t think about their needs only (considerate?)
One of my favorite thing about some people is their ability to put others before themselves.
I’ve had friends who were exactly that. They always serve others before they serve themselves, they’re the carers of the group, which usually brings the group together.
Carers are my personal favorite people !
Showing that you care about people other than yourself is such an attractive trait. It shows empathy and an acute sense of humanity.
They avoid hijacking conversations
Everything isn’t always about you, let others be, express themselves.
Make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you. Avoid hijacking conversations with sentences like “this reminds me of something I went through”. NO. It’s not about u, it’s about them !
They own up to your failures and mistakes
It takes courage to take responsibility, to show that you understand your mistakes and that you’re willing to do better
Say that you blew it when you feel like you did. I know it shows vulnerability but that’s what healthy people say and do
They allow nuance in life
Things shouldn’t always be how YOU want them to be, focus on yourself and hope others do their best as well
They never shame, never blame, and don’t have an agenda
If you disagree with someone, do it in a civil and respectful manner. Things can’t always go your way and that’s ok, let it go, just make sure you do your best in every situation, and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t
They have an acute sense of teamwork
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Always try to work things out with the person in front of you, personally and professionally.
They don’t mind sharing the negatives of their personal and professional endeavors
Talking about the negatives of your life allows a sense of intimacy to others, which is the opposite of control.
This intimacy exposes you and will eventually make you feel vulnerable, which is bound to get you out of your comfort zone and help you grow. Let yourself get into that new, unexplored zone
Impatience is a big red flag when it comes to narcissism.
Impatience show that you can’t slow down to care about someone other than yourself, and that you’re too spoiled to realize you can’t always have it your way.
Impatience manifests itself in different forms, some people throw tantrums while others will just shut themselves out. Learn how to deal with your emotions and be an open book.
Learning how to be patient is an important aspect of a good life
Take time to reflect and learn how listen. It’s no wonder God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth.
We learn more by listening and observing others, so try to be more present and listen. Active and intentional listening is the cornerstone of good communicators and healthy relationships.
Careful listeners are usually more open and compassionate.
They know other people aren’t just as good as their last good deed
Avoid being harsh and too quick to judge.
Avoid holding grudges and let others prove you wrong.
Lyon is one of the biggest and most diverse cities in France.
Size and culture-wise:
It offers a wide range of cultural activities, sporting events and festivals.
It’s not too small so you get bored easily, nor too large that is gets overwhelming.
I ain’t fond of metropolises like NYC, Paris or London. Medium-sized cities like Lyon offer access to pretty much everything you could find in bigger cities, minus the stress, dangers and exorbitant real estate prices.
Combine that with Lyon’s amazing public transport network and you have a winner.
The proximity to Switzerland and Italy was a huge plus for me, with Brussels (Belgium) also being 4 hours away by train.
Besides, if you’re into hiking and/or winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing then look no further, Lyon is the place to be for you, with the Alpsaka the highest and most extensive mountain range system in Europe right next to you.
The dream !
Proximity to the mountains and surrounding countries was one of my favorite things about this city. Despite the locals being somewhat unfriendly, being in the outdoors and traveling around made the whole experience well worth it.
You can find some pretty gnarly trails in Valence, Roman and Grenoble and its incredible views of the Alps.
Btw the trails were surprisingly empty in the winter, perhaps out of caution.
In immediate proximity you’ll also find the amazing cities of Annecy and Aix-Les-Bains with its thermal baths.
I honestly couldn’t tell you much about student life in Lyon. I mean, my friends seemed to have a lotta fun going out, clubbing, going to festivals and whatnot. I wasn’t.
As an 18YO kid and fresh out the family nest, my focus was very different from that of my peers.
I had one idea in mind: make as much money as I could, pass my classes and learn how to invest.
I used to watch a LOT of football and geek on FIFA as well.
The thing about my passage in Lyon was that I knew I wasn’t gonna be around for too long.
As much as this post makes it sound as though was a city I loved, it wasn’t. I’ve always looked forward to leaving, for some reason.
Besides, it seemed as though all of my friends ended up leaving as well. Go figure !
All that said, Lyon offers several entertainment options, free passes and discounts for students. You’ll also find lots of Erasmus students and expats there, which is always nice.
Cost of living: it was alright, I managed to get by quite easily. If you budget your spendings, you’ll be fine, just keep in mind that this is France and life isn’t as cheap as it is in Spain, Germany or Portugal. It’s still very affordable compared to Paris, London or some other megalopolis.
Accomodation: it’s not easy to find the right place, but it’s doable. Finding accommodation is never easy in western countries, unless you’re financially very stable, in which case that won’t be an issue at all. But as a student, it wasn’t as hard as it is in Bordeaux, nor was it as easy as it was in Southeast Asia, Africa or South America.
You can always share a flat for a few months then move out on your own.
Cuisine: I’m not a big fan of French cuisine BUT Lyon is the birth place of “French tacos” (don’t ask me why they call them that, they’re nothing like tacos). French tacos are probably my favorite French dish of all. I know, I ain’t boogie enough, and I couldn’t care less 🙂
As a vegan, though, Idk if Lyon (like most French cities) is very vegan-friendly. The French love their meat and cheeses.
But if I had to go back, I’d probably start with Le Paradis du Fruit.
Parc de la Tête d’Or (huge natural park)
Vieux Lyon (Old town)
Island of Barbe
The Roman Amphitheaters
Rue (street) Prunelle and its beautiful staircase
Place Rouville (Croix Rousse)
Stade de Gerland and of course Groupama Stadium for football-heads like myself
Hôtel de Ville – Terreaux – Ópera
And of course the Quais (river banks), especially during the summer. Very lively and chill, the perfect place to go for a stroll, a bike ride or anything of that nature
The French “projects” or public housing in Vénissieux and Les Minguettes. I wouldn’t recommend going there alone unless you actually are from the streets. That said, I felt more at home there than I ever did where I used to live (Gambetta, which is quite central). People were just genuinely nice.
Place de Terreaux
Café Sevilla or Casa Latina if you enjoy reggaeton.
The festival of lights:
It usually takes place between the 8th and 11th of december each year, and summons about 3/4 million tourists.
The whole city gets lit up, which quite a sight to see.
Well, not exactly. Instead of going at this in a classic post, Imma try a different way: bullet points.
EVERYONE’s got time to read bullet points !
So, here’s a breakdown of my philosophy:
On a practical level,
Less stuff usually means
Less money spent, which also means
Less time spent shopping, which in turn means
Less need for MORE money.
Less stuff also means
Less time looking for stuff (phone, wallet, keys..), which leads to less decision fatigue. It also means
Less time spent on maintenance and cleaning (Floor, closet, doing laundry, washing piled up dishes and utensils)
Owning less stuff quickly translates into more fulfillment and appreciation:
You start enjoying what you have a lot more (less choice = more appreciation for what we have, ask your grandparents), it also means
More space, because your home now feels more spacious, cleaner, comfortable..notice how the best spas, hotels, yoga farms all have one thing in common: a minimalistic look and feel? It’s no coincidence, clutter wears us out.
Having less stuff also means
You now can be more lazy, since there’s nothing to clean up, declutter or “take care of”.
The stuff that surrounds us is often a distraction to our peace. Achieving inner peace starts with decluttering the spaces we spend most time in. Get rid of all the junk sitting around and you’ll literally feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
On a personal level, owning less translates into:
Seeking less validation from others. When you stop filling voids with stuff and addressing your problems and insecurities, outside validation stops making sense and becomes irrelevant.
The less you own, the less you’ll feel the need to compare yourself to others.
The less you compare yourself to others, the less you care what others think of you.
The less you care what others think of you, the less you need to boast.
The less you own, the more time you have to pay attention to your loved ones and their wellbeing. Caring for other is important as it helps us find balance and steer clear of narcissism and self-absorption.
Owning less also means you can focus on more. Now that you have more time off, you can start conquering new grounds, getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things.
On a practical level, owning less and shopping less will leave you with:
More free time to do whatever you want and
Your home is now almost always ready to receive guests !
On an ethical and moral levels,
The less stuff you consume, the less exploitation and waste, which is great for the environment
Extra points if you love thrifting and vintage clothing !
Last but not least, on a neurological level,
Less stuff, decluttered and organized spaces boost creativity and productivity
Owning less also increases mental clarity, hence my podcast btw (shameless plug)
All in all, marketing (and most importantly neuromarketing) and advertising are two extremely powerful tools, tools that can make ANYONE act irrationally.
Been there, done that !
The yearning for validation, acceptance and gratification is addictive and can easily degrade your mental health, your financial situation and your overall wellbeing.
Slow Living and minimalism, aka eco-essentialism, will save you from overt consumerism and all its rather evident pitfalls.
Gifts became customary as an expression of friendship, neighbourliness and peace betweennations. It used to be a meaningful exchange of somewhat usefulstuff.
Things’ve changed though.
Gift-giving quickly became something many of us dread. Even more so if you’re a mindful-eco-essentialist, aka a minimalist.
When I first became a minimalist, I became so much more aware of all the things I was buying.
I refrained from buying so many things that used to feel “essential” but weren’t at all.
As I eased into this lifestyle, I learned how to make minimalism my own.
As time went buy, being a mindful consumer became second nature. Buying stuff wasn’t part of who I was anymore, quite the opposite actually.
Just like veganism, most people think minimalists deprive themselves from the things they once loved.
We just refocused our attention and energy on the things that truly matter, things that bring us happiness and FULFILLMENT.
Consumerism is an addiction, a way we all use to fill the void in us.
As a minimalist (or mindful-eco-essentialist), I don’t need to fill that void with stuff anymore, cause it ain’t there.
Instead of packing my life up with shit, I now deal with my problems at face value.
Grown up shit.
Anyway, so as I eased into minimalism, I stopped feeling the need for excessive shopping, excessive eating, excess in everything.
My minimalism soon turned into mindful consumerism, and then into mindful-eco-essentialism.
I still call it minimalism, but like I said in this post, the current terminology doesn’t do this exceptional movement and lifestyle justice.
Anyway, back to the main topic. Here’s a list of gift ideas for your minimalist friends:
Minimalists (myself at least) love experiencing new things and adventures. Take your minimalist friends and/or loved ones somewhere they’ve always wanted to go. It could be a trampoline park, a museum, a hike, an amusement park, whatever. Minimalists collect memories so this would defo make their day(s)
Get them tickets to an expo, museum, spa. Entertaining a minimalist ain’t that hard, just do your research
Food. Everybody loves food, so find what the giftee’s food preferences are and surprise them with their favorite snacks/dish/cakes/fruits
Plane/train/boat tickets. We all love going places so if you’re about that life, a plane ticket could go a long way
Money. The safest choice of them all. We can all do with a bit of extra cash
A replacement for something they’ve been complaining about. It could be a pair of socks, an ergonomic beanbag, a set of AirPods, a leakproof travel tumbler (or lay-flat water bottle), it all depends on your means and what said person truly needs
Plants. I’d swap all my stuff with plants if I could. Plants add life to a room, they’re like cute, SILENT and barf-free little babies. Plants are awesome dawg !
Printed photos of your adventures together. In the age of digital, some minimalists love being analog. Classic prints are awesome
I love lectures and conferences, so if anyone were to get me free tickets to a lecture about a topic I care about, I’d be over the moon !
Gas gift cards: gas is so expensive nowadays so if your minimalist friend owns a car, you know what to do !
A handwritten note. The best gift I ever got from the wifey was a handwritten note expressing her love towards me. Works for friends too
And on that same note (pun unintended), postcards. Extra points in you live abroad 🤩
Last but not least, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES gift a minimalist clothes, utensils, shoes, trinkets, decorations or ANYTHING they haven’t asked for.
We hate stuff, really, we hate stuff more than anything.
Below is a list of 15 eye-opening documentaries exposing the harms (and war) of animal agriculture, meat, dairy and fishing industries on the animal kingdom, on our health, culture and planet as a whole.
Let’s dive right in.
Probably the best one of all, Dominion shows the many ways in which animals are regularly abused. It thoroughly exposes the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture through drones, hidden & handheld cameras. Available on Youtube.
My personal favorite, along with next two on this list. Available on Netflix.
Seaspiracy is the groundbreaking documentary which seeks to expose the fishing industries impact on the world’s oceans and overall environment. It tackles forced labor and animal rights in a never-before seen manner. A must watch ! Available on Netflix.
What The Health.
This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries. Another must watch especially if you’re a health geek like me. Available on Netflix.
Forks Over Knives.
Forks Over Knives empowers people to live healthier lives by changing the way the world understands nutrition. Another masterpiece for health-conscious geeks. Available on Prime.
The Game Changers.
A documentary about plant-based eating, protein, and strength. Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and many more. Available on Netflix.
Eating Our Way to Extinction.
A cinematic feature documentary, narrated by Kate Winslet (2021). A masterpiece.
A feature documentary that exposes the whitewash of New Zealand’s multi-billion-dollar dairy industry.
Kiss The Ground.
Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson (I love that guy!), Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis. Available on Youtube.
An animal rights documentary by activist and Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix.
A documentary that highlights the importance of a plant-based diet for a health life and longevity.
Eating You Alive.
A documentary about curing chronic disease with a whole food plant based diet. Features James Cameron.
The Milk System.
This documentary sheds light on one of the filthiest industries and the harms of dairy on our health.
Land of Hope and Glory.
A documentary that features never before seen undercover footage of what goes on behind closed doors, by Earthling Ed.
HOGWOOD: a modern horror story.
“Through careful marketing and misleading labels, we are led to believe that farmed animals are well cared for and that eating meat is natural, normal and necessary. It’s time to uncover the truth.”
Vegan 2022 – The film (full).
Meat The End (full).
Land of Hope and Glory.
Bonus: Rotten. (Netflix Series)
A series that exposes what goes on behind the scenes to cater to our selfish culinary needs. Absolutely worthwhile.
Are you vegan? Have you ever considered going vegan? Do you understand what veganism is all about?
Drop me a line below, I’d be more than happy to help you transition and answer all your questions as best I can.
This is a judgment-free zone, allow yourself to learn and grow.