dinsdag, november 16, 2021

Is Minimalism the lifestyle of the future? – IofC’s Sustainability Night with international students

On Tuesday November 2, 11 international students from different universities gathered to discuss sustainability, vegetarianism, and Minimalism with Initiatives of Change The Netherlands (IofC). During this sustainability-themed evening, the students participated in a fun vegetarian hamburger tasting, after which they assessed the burgers on taste and texture.*

Opinions differed, but not much. Some liked the Albert Hein vegetarian burger the best, but most students favored without a doubt the Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat. This burger is plant-based, but resembles ‘real’ meat in taste and texture. After this delicious taste test, we all watched a film about Minimalism. In this popular Netflix documentary, we are introduced to individuals who have consciously chosen to bring their consumption down to the essentials. As a result, they, in their own words, experience an increased sense of peace and order. According to these self-proclaimed minimalists, Minimalism constitutes an attractive alternative to a capitalist culture in which everything is disposable and exchangeable.

After seeing this film, the students shared with us their own views. An Indian student from Delft University of Technology, for example, told us that he has always reduced his consumption to the essentials. Now he knew that this lifestyle has a specific name: Minimalism. Another student from the ISS (International Institute of Social Studies) said that she used to have a lot of things and that she kept up with the latest fashion. However, she had to become more selective when she came to the Netherlands for her studies, as she was not able to bring all her possessions with her. Now she surrounds herself with fewer items, which feels good, she says.

Despite some initial skepticism, it turned out that the Minimalist lifestyle provided some food for thought for these students. We are forced to wonder ... is less truly more?

By Elly Stigter.
Transl. Shereen Siwpersad.

*This activity is part of the sustainability initiative Go Green! This initiative is co-funded by the Dutch representation of the EU.