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Growing in peace!

“Rush will bring about remorse; patience will bring about safety”
Arabic proverb
Change doesn’t happen as quickly as we usually wish. I don’t think we have a chance of introducing any remarkable improvements before we make peace with this fact. In nature, our best teacher, change happens gradually and surely. Every particular plant grows at its prescribed pace. The only immediate forces that introduce massive, major and quick changes are phenomenons like hurricanes and tornados; destructive forces! Growth happens softly, gradually, slowly, and takes its time. Destruction can transform, in one hour, what needed decades to be built!
We feel this peace when we are surrounded by plants and nature. These beings are in no rush for anything! But humans were not even happy with the pace of plants and animals in growing, they invented growth hormones! The cost of this rush and impatience is becoming increasingly obvious, and even scary at times!
In our individual as well as collective endeavors for improvement, we have no chance of survival without fully accepting that change takes time, and growth happens slowly. Otherwise we will either not make any positive and real changes, or end up with monstres coming back against us!

What’s in Chicago’s Trash!?

The problem is not only Chicago, so I hope my new city will take no offense at the title. Yes Chicago is now my new, or current city. I do like you, you’re big and lively. Yes you don’t have as much nature and greenery as my previous town of Ithaca, NY, but you can’t ask everything from everyone. However, in my heart I do know and feel that we humans can do things much better than how we’re doing them now, but that’s life. We make mistakes, then struggle to learn from, and correct them. It is all possible to have a big, lively and green city. And it is indeed possible to have a big, lively city that is also good friends with our biggest home, Planet Earth. But we are a little too far from this one.

I do like you Chicago, but you know what, my previous little, limited town of Ithaca had something superior. Something you’ll have to work a little harder to achieve. I don’t know if you’re even thinking about it, and that’s the scary part. We all know it, the ill who falls into the illusion of being healthy is blindly walking toward the edge… You know the rest!

Ok you need to know how little Ithaca is superior. Let’s forget about the lakes, waterfalls, and green hills. It’s none of your fault if you don’t have all that, really. I would be silly to blame you for it. I can only bring to your attention the things that you can control, because this is where your, and everyone’s responsibility begins and ends.

Ok, I am going to tell you now. Ithaca made it easier for its residents to, well, recycle! You will say but everyone can recycle in Chicago, just do your research. I won’t argue with that. Conscious citizens will take the effort to recycle. But here is the sad part, the world can’t afford to rely on aware and conscious citizens alone any more. Unless they lead and make THE decisions. But we all know it, decisions are not always in the hands of the selfless. Well, not even half of the time. May be less. Definitely less!

And most people are too busy with their daily lives. Many of them struggle to make money, then struggle to spend it! Where will they find the time to think about the air they breath! How can they have any time to worry about the far future of Planet Earth. You know, for us humans, even 10 years from now is “far future”! We work five days a week, after work we need to have dinner, go grocery shopping, may be watch some TV and hey, we need to sleep and have some rest. Then comes the weekend, we need some relief, may be the movies, dinner out or something. Remember also that our mental energy is used up already by our mortgage, new car loan, and credit card bills. How in the world can any one expect us to worry about luxuries like the environment!

See, Chicago, I won’t be any longer, but we just need recycling to be more easily accessible. You are like our mother, you have to force us to do what’s good for us. That’s what good parents do. If they suspect their kid is doing drug, destroying their mind and body, they wouldn’t just tell them drugs are bad for you, if you want I will take you to rehab. I am always ready to help you once you decide to! Oh what an open minded parent would that be! Truth is a good parent in such situation will take their kid to rehab BY FORCE. Then the kid will be grateful later on. Yes the kid will hate them at first, think they are arrogant and controlling.

We need big cities like you Chicago to be arrogant and controlling. Force us to do the right thing, because if you don’t, we will hurt our mind and body, our future, and the future of our kids. And even you, at the end, will not be far from great harm. Believe me, your very existence is at risk!

Healthy discounts

In my last post I mentioned a brief personal experience with how businesses can be irresponsible as far as the health of our world (called environment). Just a few days after this experience I had another one, this time positive. I’d like to talk about it here as an example of how businesses can encourage their customers to make better, or cleaner shopping-style choices.

I was shopping at Vitamin World, now my favorite supplements store. They offer a member’s discount for 2 days every month, it’s free to become a member, and you get 50% off, which is a great deal (well, I wish I was paid for this advertisement now, but in case you are wondering, I am not!). I became a fan of natural healing, supplements and especially herbs. I might have inherited this passion from my mother, who is the family herb specialist, however I only realized my passion for this field in recent years. Anyway, while doing my shopping for herbs that I know, and some others that I wanted to experiment with, I found this nice offer, and I immediately grabbed it. It’s the store cloth shopping bag, which you can now find in many stores as an alternative for the monstrous plastic bags. However in Vitamin World they did something different to promote the usage of this bag, a $1 off your purchase every time you use the bag. That’s what I am talking about!

One dollar off is no big deal. But it can be an incentive for people to get it, since they will be saving on the long term. People already look for $1 off, or less, coupons, so purchasing a bag for $3 and saving $1 for the life of the bag is a good deal. I particularly wish that grocery stores would go for the same promotion. People go grocery shopping at least twice a month, if not more, and you can imagine how much of the plastic bags usage grocery shopping account for. Again, if I was a ruler, I’d probably start by forcing grocery stores to do just that. Well, I guess I might be lying here. I think I will force them to eliminate plastic bags altogether. People adapt, and they always use and live with what they have available. It’s doing them, and their children, a great good by forcing them not to hurt… the air they are breathing, and much more!

I loved it, but hated it!

Yesterday I had lunch at Taco Bell with my dear niece, who is visiting from Egypt and staying with me for a few months. I decided to go for a new meal that looks beautiful in the big and colorful picture. My niece didn’t really know what to chose, so she ordered the same. I waited for a few minutes, then saw a tray with two huge platters on the counter, with my order number on it.

The first thing that caught my attention, and actually shocked me, was how the meals were served. We took them “for here”, so we didn’t need to have them wrapped up. However, the meal was served in a big plastic platter, and, even worse and even more frightening, it had this HUGE, still plastic, cover. The cover looked nice, but I was just unable to understand why use it when it will be discarded right away. I thought that all it serves is to look nice for a few seconds, and it lasts only until we go to our table, take it off and eat the meal. Then, you know: throw it in the trash :( What an incredible and meaningless waste! Imagine how many of those are served every day all over the country, they will add up and make a nice hill of plastic covers, made only to last for a few seconds, then be discarded!

To say the least, that’s irresponsible. But it’s not only Taco Bell, fast food places insanely add tons of plastic, one-use containers to our trash. You know, when trash goes out of our sight, and we have a clean apartment or restaurant with a new and empty trash bag, it doesn’t mean that all we have just discarded is eternally out of sight. No dear, it’s going somewhere else, and it’s going to accumulate there. It’s adding to millions and millions of tons of disposable material that we use for one time then kill the earth with it. Sometimes I imagine when our grand-children, or, hopefully, our children read about these past (for them) practices, they will look at us and say that they are really unable to understand how stupid and irresponsible our civilization had been!

Now, if I was a ruler, I’d start by regulating all those fast food places. It might be difficult to start by individuals and change their lives and practices. But businesses make money, and we can ask them to implement some new procedures. They also contribute a great deal to the problem. I’d simply force them to eliminate unnecessary packaging, add recycling to their facilities and actually recycle all that can be recycled. When talking of packaging, all manufacturers must also be forced to stop using stupidly big and useless packaging. If they are not forced, by law, to do it, most businesses will never do it. It’s as simple as that. However, the consequences are not simple or small. I am looking forward for a time when hurting our environment will be seen and treated for what it is, as a crime.

Gimme a better earth!

I live in Ithaca, and my favorite coffee is not found at the nationwide Starbucks, but I go get it from the local and nice Gimme! coffee. Gimme is really an example of success for me, it has the spirit of localism, yet the brand has the image and quality of the big chains. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about coffee, but I want to mention another thing that I like about this place.

You know when you go into one of those fast food places, and you want to get some ketchup, or even some black pepper, how about some salt?! What do you do? You find those little packs, you open it and it will give you very little of any of the spice that you want. What is that? It is the CIVILIZATION OF DISPOSABLE. We live in the world of disposable today. Plastic plates, plastic utensils, plastic cups…. Can we really count how many plastic/disposables we use every day. We just don’t see the rest of the picture. We use them, then throw ‘em. Looks easy. Well, but it is not easy on our earth. It’s suffering, it’s been suffering for years, and we just add tons and tons of suffering to her lungs every day, 360 days a year.

With that in mind, we can now appreciate Gimme coffee stores when we go there, and find a little jar (or whatever it is called!!) with “clean spoons”, and another for “dirty spoons”. This is what they make available for customers to stir their drinks instead of a disposable piece of wood or piece of plastic! Does that sound primitive to anyone? Well, I see this little practice as highly civilised. The Civilization of Disposable is meant to fall, sooner or later, because it is working against Nature itself. When Man and Nature combat, the latter wins. And usually it is not a pretty war. Too many victims will fall, from both sides. What all conscious people should do is work for a new civilization, The Civilization of No-Waste. Or we might find a better name for it. What matters is that this new civilization will be “truly” smart and truly scientific, both in theory and in action. A civilization that knows a lot of scientific facts but acts in the best way to misuse or not use those facts at all is just tooooo stupid to survive!

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