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How I moved out of my apartment of 3 years with just two duffel bags



Gabriela Knutson and a minimalist bedroom
Waste: the average adult American has been estimated to throw away approximately 37kg of clothes every year

I was in my third and final year of graduate school and I only had a few weeks left. Before I started packing, I started to gather up all my belongings into piles and I realized one very important thing… I just had so much stuff. My drawers were filled with random junk that I had forgotten about, shirts and underwear I had not worn in months and, most importantly, little knick-knacks I thought I could not live without. All this stuff was making me feel overwhelmed, panicky, and stressed about where the heck I was going to put all of it when I moved away. I did not need any of it – I just felt an arbitrary sense of connection to them.

I was literally studying a MSc degree in Sustainability and Energy, and yet I had so many pointless belongings and so much waste! I felt like a hypocrite, so I decided to make a change. I read books and countless articles, and watched documentaries, on an up-and-coming movement called sustainable minimalism.

Then I got rid of the stuff – almost all of it. That random shirt I got from an event? Sold on Depop. The earrings I got as a gift, wore once and never again? Donated. The “going out” shoes I would never ever let see the light of day? Tossed in the bin.


Meet sustainable minimalism, also called ecominimalism – a movement that has taken the environmental community by storm. It is a lifestyle that embraces simplification and rejects consumerism to free up space for the more important things in life.

You know that urge you get when you see a new iPhone, a new pair of shoes, or a new car? It is that purchasing drive that makes you want it, need it, and be unsatisfied with what you have until you get it.

The average adult American has been estimated to throw away approximately 37kg of clothes every year and to spend over $1900 on garments over that same time period. The main driver of this is fast fashion. Ecominimalism is a way to remove yourself from this endless cycle of consumerism and marketing-induced desire, while also having the added bonus of minimizing your carbon footprint in the process.

Minimalism emerged in the late 1950s as an art movement but has since then grown to become much more than that. Now it is not purely aesthetic. There are numerous minimalist influencers on YouTube and social media that preach about the core values and ethics of minimalism. At its core, its values are:

  • Own fewer things to clear up space in your life for what truly matters.
  • Live with intentionality and purpose.
  • Free yourself from your need for new personal belongings.


Becoming a sustainable minimalist does not mean you need to create a capsule wardrobe or throw out all your possessions tomorrow. On the contrary, being a truly sustainable minimalist means wearing and using everything you own for as long as possible. Don’t throw out that iPhone just because you saw a new one came out. Don’t buy a new shampoo when you have a perfectly good one lying in your shower hamper. That shirt you don’t like? Transform it into a dish towel, or a blanket, or donate it to a friend or local charity shop. Zero-waste living is important, but we can take it a step further with minimalism to live with intentionality and love for our items.

If you want to simplify your life, reduce your stress, and help the planet, start slow. There are many methods to declutter your apartment, exercises to help you choose which items to keep and which ones to toss, and how-tos on what to purchase when you do need something, but the most important step is this: stop buying so much stuff you do not need and focus on you, your life, and your family and friends.

To learn more about sustainable minimalism or the minimalist movement itself, here are some helpful links:

Becoming Minimalist

The Minimalist Vegan

I am a half-American and half-Czech professional tennis player, currently living in the United Kingdom. I have a bachelor in broadcast and digital journalism and a Masters in Sustainability and Energy. I am a news junkie, environmentalist, sustainability nerd and avid reader.


Only half of young people able to identify definition of climate change



Only half of young people able to identify correct definition of climate change
Oumnia Anfer, Secretary of the YoU-CAN Network, speaks at the Wellcome event during the COP28 | Photo: Maged Hela

Most children and young people say they have heard of climate change but only half understand what it is, according to a new UNICEF-Gallup poll, as world leaders gather at this year’s COP28.

The global poll found that on average, 85 per cent of young people aged 15-24 surveyed in 55 countries said they have heard of climate change, yet just 50 per cent of those chose the correct definition as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when asked to select between “seasonal changes in weather that occur every year” and “more extreme weather events and a rise in average world temperatures resulting from human activity”.

“Young people have been some of the biggest heroes in driving action to address the impact of climate change. They have been calling for climate action on the streets or in meeting rooms, and we need to do even more to ensure that all children and young people understand the crisis that hangs over their future,” says UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “At COP28, leaders must commit to ensuring that children and young people are educated on the problem, considered in discussions, and engaged in decisions that will shape their lives for decades to come.”

Climate change knowledge among young people was found to be lowest in lower-middle- and low-income countries – those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – such as Pakistan (19 per cent), Sierra Leone (26 per cent) and Bangladesh (37 per cent).

According to The Children’s Climate Risk Index, published by UNICEF in 2021, children in all three countries are classified as at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, threatening their health, education, and protection, and exposing them to deadly diseases.

The global poll – a follow-up to the initial Changing Childhood Project in 2021 – analyzes results from UNICEF’s subset of 2023 Gallup World Poll questions. Alongside climate change, it explores two long-term challenges shaping the lives of children and young people – trust in information, and constraints on political change in a globalized world.

When it comes to trust in information, the results show that 60 per cent of young people surveyed use social media as their primary source of news and information, yet only 23 per cent have a lot of trust in information on those platforms. In fact, social media is the least trusted information source across all institutions in the poll.

In line with the initial Changing Childhood findings, the data reflects how globalization is impacting this generation, with 27 per cent of young respondents identifying as citizens of the world – higher than any other age group polled.

In August, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child affirmed the children’s right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, following the recognition of the UN General Assembly in July 2022 that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. The guidance explicitly addressed the climate emergency, the collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution, and outlined countermeasures to protect the lives and life perspectives of children.

Despite these rights, ratified by 196 states under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that children are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, children are largely disregarded in the decisions made to address the climate crisis, meaning their unique vulnerabilities, needs and contributions are often overlooked.

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Barcelona launches awards for sustainable digitalisation projects



The initiative was announced today during the presentation of the new 2023-2027 Strategic Plan at Barcelona City Hall.

Mobile World Capital Barcelona has announced the launch of international awards to recognise the best innovative projects in sustainable digital transformation. The Foundation will reward the public or private proposals that are best aligned with compliance with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.

With these awards, MWCapital aims to take a step towards highlighting the role of technology as a driver of change to generate a positive impact on society and the economy and, therefore, on the planet. This is also reflected in the development of the maxim that will govern MWCapital’s activity, which goes from Technology Matters to Humanising Technology.

This launch took place today at the presentation of MWCapital’s new Strategic Plan, which was attended by the Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, the Minister of Enterprise and Employment of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, and the new Minister of Digital Transformation of the Government of Spain, José Luis Escrivá, who has recently joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Also participating were the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd, the CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., John Hoffman, the President of Fira de Barcelona, Pau Relat, and the CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Francesc Fajula.

Since its inception, Mobile World Capital Barcelona has been a pioneer in showing how technology can improve people’s quality of life and contribute to the overall well-being of society. The Foundation will focus on Tech4Good, promoting technological projects and scalable digital services that have a mission to generate a positive impact on society and the economy; Digital  talent, promoting the generation and attraction of digital talent so as to position Barcelona as the benchmark in this field, and technology transfer, occupying a unique space in Europe in the ecosystem of initiatives to support the creation of scientific spin-offs.

During the presentation, Francesc Fajula, CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, and John Hoffman, CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., announced the first strategic alliance to confirm the city of Barcelona as a benchmark in the field of sustainable digital solutions.

Technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will be explored to develop scalable projects and to face the challenges linked to technological progress in society.

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10 European cities awarded by EU for plans to reach climate-neutrality by 2030



Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, in Sweden, is one of the cities awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities | Photo: Mike Kienle

10 European cities have been awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, one of the EU Missions in Horizon Europe. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises the cities’ plans to achieve climate-neutrality already by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding towards that objective.

The cities that have received the label are: Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain),Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden).

The EU Mission Label is an acknowledgement of the successful development of Climate City Contracts, which outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality, and contain an action plan as well as an investment strategy. Cities co-create their Climate City Contracts with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. A first group of cities presented their Contracts in April 2023, which were reviewed by the Commission with the support of experts, including from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Following a positive review, cities receive an EU Mission Label, which is intended to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, in particular private investment.

In total, 100 EU cities participate in the EU Cities Mission, with 12 additional cities from countries associated to Horizon Europe. 

The Commission, through the Mission Platform, will continue to support cities with hands-on advice and funding programmes, such as a €32 million pilot programme combined with a twinning programme. Another call for pilot cities with a budget of €20 million is currently open until 6 November. 

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