You know that feeling of having a closet full of clothing, yet nothing to wear? Well, desires and wants have no end. Once you have one thing you don’t want the next one any less. First you just want a car and next you want a nicer car and then a bigger one. More is more and even more. If we don’t want to work at jobs we don’t like, doing things we don’t enjoy, we must learn to deal with our attachments. If we want to preserve our planet, we will have to give up on some conveniences.
Ask yourself, do I need this or do I want this? “I really need a pair of new shoes.” Really? Or am I tired of wearing the same ones for the last 2 winters now? Do I need a new coat or is mine just a bit out of fashion? It’s all tempting and nothing but natural that we want to be in style, look nice, live up to expectations, but decisions we make have multiple effects. On a philosophical level attachment contributes to concepts as jealousy, greed, violence and even wars. On a more practical level it contributes to financial responsibilities and the destruction of our planet. The production of just 1 cotton t-shirt demands 2700 liters of water. Imagine, just one t-shirt! So if you decide to buy a new t-shirt, choose well, make it a good purchase, one that you will take care of and love wearing. One that is made with love and is well crafted. Not one that is produced by modern day slaves, one you would throw away after wearing a couple of times.
140 liters of water is used to produce just 1 cup of coffee. Imagine how much water that is for communities that have no access to clean drinking water. So live simply, have your coffee if you enjoy it, but also be aware of the facts. Maybe choose for a glass of tap water the next time.
Conveniences made our lives so much easier, but also so much more polluted, both literally and figuratively speaking. Can we imagine living a week without producing any waste at all? No probably not. I sometimes think that we are so used to all the waste, that we don’t even realize the amount of it. Why do supermarkets pre-package my vegetables? The first thing I do when I get home is throw away the plastic package anyway. Yes, wet towels come in handy, but imagine all the waste it creates and all the energy that is needed to produce them in the first place. The only ones who really profit are the multinationals that are selling us the convenience.
Do our laundries really have to smell like a fabricated rainforest, or does it only need to be clean? Should our armpits smell like cucumber melon (I swear to God, that stuff exists) or is a neutral body odor perfectly fine? Did you know that bacteria wash away after 20 seconds of rinsing with plain water, no antibacterial, skin drying, earth polluting, expensive, chemical soaps needed. What on Earth’s name do manufacturers put in toothpaste and do we need it to maintain healthy teeth? Why do we cover our babies in creams and lotions that are made in factories with chemicals we can’t pronounce? Are we really driving everywhere we need to go and then pay membership to the gym to be on a thing called a treadmill? Do beauty products make us more beautiful? Do specific superfoods make us healthier? Did you know that raising animals for food contributes to more greenhouse gasses than the entire transportation industry? That means all the cars, trucks, planes and ships combined! (See TIME article by Dean Ornish)
Think about how many industries would go out of business if we would be happy with ourselves as we are, as we are designed and meant to be. It’s not realistic to give up on everything, in the end we do live in the 21st century. For the one person nice smelling laundry is important, the other couldn’t imagine cutting all the meat out, and the other wouldn’t want to give up on fashion or cosmetics because it makes them feel pampered, but we can choose to reconsider, maybe eliminate things out of our lives that once seemed so important, but in the bigger picture they’re actually not. We can choose to reduce, reuse, recycle and renounce. It will help preserve the earth and will make a huge difference in your budget. Money we can spend on quality. I met people who had a €4,- Starbucks coffee in one hand, wearing a €100 euro Chanel perfume, but claiming €1,50 for an organic cucumber is too expensive… Both the Earth and our bodies are the only places we have to live in, let’s take good care of them.
With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen