Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Holidays

"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ~ Isaac Asimov

In a few days you will start your Christmas shopping. We all exchange gifts for Christmas, don’t we? Yet the essence of Christmas has little to do with presents.
Bear in mind that many of those Christmas presents will end up in a landfill in just a few months or years, so let’s make conscious choices when we buy gifts.

   We are all in this together.  Mother Nature does not care about human borders. The consequences of our actions transcend the boundaries of our borders.
 There has been a human population explosion over the last 200 years. We are seven billion human beings populating the planet.
 We don’t need to be mathematicians to understand that in a planet with finite resources if the population continues to grow at this rate life on earth will not be sustainable in the future. Is it sustainable now?
 If all the countries of the world consumed at the level of those that consume the most we would need at least three planets to survive.
 I found some interesting statistics:
In the United Kingdom 1.5 million computers are discarded every year in still perfect work order.  The same fate applies to three million cell-phones every year in England.
As far as I know the United Kingdom is not even one of the countries with the highest level of consumption.
 This young lady found herself amid this trash when she went on vacation to this island. You can read her story.
Is this what we want for our grandchildren? 

 There is a lot that we can do. For example, avoid using disposable plastic forks, knives and spoons. If millions of us avoid them we will make an impact. It's easy to blame others but we can all do something, so let's be part of the solution. Reuse, reduce, recycle.
  And, by the way, if you love coffee take your own mug instead of buying one every time you want to drink coffee. The same applies to plastic bottles.

 One of the most serious threats to oceans is plastics pollution. Plastic constitutes 90% of all trash floating on the ocean. Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million sea birds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic. You can learn more about this here.
 Last year I wrote about the plight of  polar bears as the Arctic melts due to climate changes.
  Pollution from animal manure can be used creatively. Instead of polluting landfills it can be used to produce electricity, filter water and power your car. This is what we call "clean energy".

Advertising makes you believe that buying stuff will make you happy, but minimalists disagree. My family and I are minimalists. This does not mean that we are hippies. It means that we are responsible consumers. There is nothing strange or mysterious about being a minimalist. (I don't care about buying what is in fashion or the latest version of "x". We buy what we need). Free of debts, we have more time to focus on meaningful activities. I also find that empty spaces open up my imagination and provide a “room” for my creativity. 
  All things considered, I find it more sustainable, realistic and socially responsible. We only have one planet.

 I hope that when you do your Christmas shopping this year you will remember this post. Our future generations will be thankful for your wise decisions.
Happy holidays.