#UNLITTER Minnesota

Launching #UNLITTER Minnesota

#UNLITTER launched in Gainesville one September day in 2017 and soon became an integral part of what it meant to be environmentally conscious and self-aware in our respective community back at the University of Florida.

Local Gainesville companies, artists, and bands came together in the name of #UNLITTER, and it soon went global. Nearly three years later, I’m in Minnesota, writing this post some couple thousand miles away from where the movement began.

At face value, #UNLITTER is a movement that encourages environmentally friendly behavior like using less plastic, investing in sustainable goods, participating in #UNLITTER Your Mind Yoga, or turning off your phone for a few hours to gain some headspace.

It’s about being thoughtful rather than wasteful in what we consume. It’s about picking up after ourselves. The sentiment extends beyond that of the physical world, in that, to #UNLITTER is to create space. It’s not just #UNLITTER Earth, it’s #UNLITTER your mind.

What I particularly appreciate about the movement is the emphasis on living a simpler life to find happiness. It’s a tricky concept – getting rid of things, and thoughts to create space – one that takes understanding and introspection to grasp. It’s taken me years, and I am still learning.

I’ve found that creating space for myself has helped me find aspects of myself. There are too many things; too many thoughts. We spend too much time and energy dealing with things that bring little value to our lives and distract us from ourselves and the earth we live on.

In quarantine, I’ve #UNLITTERed my apartment and my mind. It took a deep inventory of my literal space to feel at ease mentally, without anticipating a mess or searching for some item I misplaced. In tandem with my usual practice of meditation and mindfulness, I found serenity in how #UNLITTERing gives us space to breathe.

Outside space facilitates inner space and experiencing this on a personal level brought a new meaning to #UNLITTER for me. By creating space in the world, picking up after ourselves, and finding calm in the present moment, we #UNLITTER. We rid the world of what’s unneeded so that we have space to move freely and be ourselves, without unnecessary distractions that we often deem as important.

I reached out to my friend who started the movement and said that #UNLITTER needs to launch in Minnesota. Anyone here up north can attest to the pride that is found in Minnesota, where residents cherish the land, respect the seasons, and endure bitter cold with ease; a graceful embodiment of going with the flow.

In Minnesota, the extreme weather and distinct changing of the seasons allows for an intimate understanding of the earth, and I’ve found people’s lifestyles here largely mirror that of the #UNLITTER mentality, which is to “draw inspiration from one’s environment to positively impact one’s surroundings.”

Now that the long winter is over, and we find ourselves at a warm point, it’s a wonderful time to #UNLITTER the North, and spread the love by advocating for simplicity in pursuit of happiness.

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