Aspire for Less

With the release of the fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it’s clear that climate change is very real, but it’s especially clear that we are the cause.

The Earth is warming up. Ocean temperatures are rising. Arctic sea ice is melting. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are growing. The oceans are becoming more acidic. The weather is already more extreme - as can be seen by the deadly heat waves, drought, and floods that have occurred over the past few years.

If we don’t act now -- taking vigorous action to reduce emissions -- the results will be catastrophic. We, as individuals, have a responsibility to our planet. This issue does not rest on the shoulders of our government alone.

So here is my advice to every young individual: aspire for less.

We live in a world where we measure happiness by success. Those who drive expensive
cars, travel the world, live in a large home, have three children, and own every apple product imaginable, must be happy, right? Sadly, no.

Live smaller and simpler.

I spent a summer sleeping on a mat on the floor. My material possessions included a few clothes, three books, and a journal. I survived with minimal necessities and my quality of life was much higher.

Aspire to travel lighter and minimize your trips. Instead of spending a vacation exploring the pyramids in Egypt or the vineyards in Tuscany, spend a vacation exploring your own backyard. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, vacations can be spent hiking the Olympic National Forest or wine tasting in the Columbia Valley.

Aspire to own fewer items. Life quickly becomes cluttered with excess belongings. It’s
easy to spend a day running errands centered on material objects. With fewer items to
micromanage, you’ll have more free time. Precious time can be replaced with hobbies and
meaningful conversations.

Aspire to live in a small space. Find a home with minimal square feet. One with south
facing windows allows the sun to heat the space during the winter and trees to shade it during the summer. Grow your own vegetables and fruits in your garden.

Aspire for less. Live a simpler life, reduce your carbon footprint, and the benefits will be
endless - both for the environment and yourself.

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