Tag Archive - Environment

Organized Crime Beats Unorganized Good Intentions!

Ithaca Falls

The Mafia is very powerful, Hollywood gave us many proofs. Why they are powerful is because they operate as united families, each one helping the other, and every member of every family being strongly committed to the big goals of the “community”. Their goals were, or are (they’re still out there?!) evil and harmful. Selfish. Enriching to a small group of people, but destructive to the broader community.

Organized crime is successful because of its very same descriptive name: “organized”!

People of good intentions have at least one lesson to learn from criminals, about efficiency. We already see Organized Good Intentions at work (look at non-profits and charities), but the world needs much more to function properly. There are way more UGI (Unorganized Good Intentions) than OGI!

We have enough people believing in justice and sustainability to change the world, but most of them are operating individually. Their influence is therefore negligible. The same number of people networking and working together would sweep away many wrongs and problems, like a strong tsunami of goodness and wellness. We now have networking tools, a fertile Internet and its universal fruits, that never existed before in human history. It should make OGI much easier and more attainable.

We need to look around and spot the like-minded and like-hearted people. Find common goals. Form small “mafias”! Every small mafia will then connect to the other kind and unselfish mafias of the world. Together, those mafias working their Organized Good Intentions will restore the sanity of our Earth, dethrone the happy criminals roaming freely, and ensure a livable Planet for the generations to come!

The Reincarnation of a Piece of Paper!

My heart sings when I see something like this in public parks!

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How beautiful is that too!

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The availability of recycling pans is a sure way to encourage (lazy, convenience-driven) people (most of us) to throw their disposables where they belong!  A Plastic bottle shouldn’t have the same destiny as a piece of paper! Each has a different life cycle, and after it’s done serving us, we should take it “home”, where it can survive.

The plastic bottle will not survive in the trash, where it will end up buried in the landfill!

A piece of paper should have a never-ending life and reincarnate into a fertilizer or a new piece of paper!

That’s how Nature works, everything transforms into something else; that’s what sustainability means: Reincarnation. Never-ending life for everything.

But until our cities make the reincarnation of everything so convenient, everywhere, we should just make sure to put everything we can where they are to have a new life, in a new body!

Dirty Cleaning

We live a miserably interesting time as far as our environment is concerned!
  
Cleaning used to be just that: cleaning. Making things cleaner than they were, and therefore healthier. We know that dirtiness brings about illness, of both body and mind. If everyone would just wash their hands, many diseases would be eliminated. That’s how connected health and cleanliness are. But not any more! 
Chicago Botanic4

  

I was on a quick shopping trip in Target, when I passed by the cleaning supplies section. I saw hundreds of small and big plastic bottles aligned together, containing substances that supposedly make our life cleaner and healthier. A wave of horror crossed my mind as I looked at those bottles!  

 

People will buy them, thousands of them (people and bottles!). How much of this plastic will be recycled? You know. Not the majority. Some will indeed be recycled by Earth conscious people, but many thousand plastic bottles will end up in landfills, contributing to the ever increasing causes of pollution and disease. Aren’t we supposed to clean for health, not for pollution?!   

Now consider what those bottles really contain. Many of the cleaning substances actually contain toxic chemicals. Here’s another serving of pollution and disease, besides the plastic containers that will go to waste. Not only the toxic chemicals will pollute our homes and our bodies, but they will possibly leak into water and plants in their long journey once they leave our homes. How the heck did we end up in this miserable situation? A few evil ingredients: greed, shortsightedness, and laziness, and some well-meaning ignorance as well.   

What we can do? Simple. We buy eco-friendly products, toxic free. Then we recycle any containers and packaging, paper or plastic. Even better, we buy bulk products that are not contained in containers! We make use of the plenty of tips available on how to make some of the cleaning substances at home, using all natural ingredients. We have to start there, with ourselves and our homes. Then we have to move on to a bigger scale, learning how to push our governments to impose health and far-sighted policies on businesses and people. We can’t just rely on the Earth and Health conscious individuals if we want change to happen in the current century!   

If I Was Free, I Would…

What if I didn’t have to work? What if I had enough money right now to quit my job and do what I want? That’s fun to imagine :) So I though I should enjoy some fun written visualization!

I sometimes wonder how we made life so complicated! Our society is designed in a way to make sure many people will be stuck doing things they hate in order to survive!

Our needs are really simple. We need food, cloths and shelter. Once we have them, we’re good to go, and good to live!

“If you wake up free of illness, safe in your community, with enough food for the day ahead, then you can say good buy to any other needs from this World!” Prophet Muhammad

Why in the world did food become hard to find for millions of people?!

Why, when land is immensly vast, did it become expensive to get a piece of land and have your home in it? Why build those crazy skyscrapers, they’re complicated and maintaining them requires much more work and resources than a normal building! Did we already use every piece of land that we have to build up and high?!

Why would a house cost hundreds of thousands after all? It really doesn’t have to be this way.

People designed a labyrinth and they got lost in it. Then they designed tools and maps and jobs to try to make life easier inside the labyrinth! How about we just get out of the labyrinth?!!!

Well, most people are already stuck in it! We have governments designing our lives, we can’t just go out there and redesign our life. It’s not even about redesigning life, it’s about getting out of the sophisticated traps and get back to normal!

We even have countries, boundaries, visas, citizenships! Someone living in a poor country has to use tunnels to come into a richer one, they wouldn’t be granted a visa anyway!

Oh, politics! Politics is the proof that we gave up our life to the greedy, the heartless, the self-centered to take care of our needs and communities! Let’s get out of there or frustration will knock down my mind!

See where my though chain took me, I started by a fun idea and ended up into a depressing look at reality!

Back to my fun visualization :)

Now if I had enough money to pay off all my debt – car loan and some other debt :( – and be free from the need to work for money, what would I do?

I will not quit my job on the spot. I hope I can give a one month notice and make sure I hand my duties over smoothly, while working on the transition:

1. I would donate/give away all the stuff that I don’t need and don’t use. I’ll go through my cloths (which I’ve been already doing, slowly) and keep only the pieces that I really love. Dealing with my books will be harder! I won’t rush into giving them away (I’m already working on a plan to deal with my bigger-than-I-need library).

2. I will get a storage in Chicago where I will keep all the stuff that I didn’t give away, end my rent, get in the car and go on a road trip! The point is to visit the places that I think I want to move to.

3. Now I need to move somewhere warm and sunny. Lots of greenery and nature required! Ideally somewhere in or close to the mountains. I will look for an apartment with a balcony, looking to an open horizon!

Once I moved into my new place. How would I spend my all-free time?

- Lots of walking, hiking and biking!

- Now that I’m relaxed, no energy wasted in going to and back from work, no energy drained sitting in a dark room staring at the computer, I can engage in the kind of slow, focused writing that I really like. This type of writing is more of an introspection. No rush to finish anything. Just listening to my inner self and bringing it out in words. The kind of writing that is like taking a bath in the light of Spirit!

- I can also breath the fresh intellectual air of focused reading! I want to read about religions, history, get back to reading great fiction (haven’t done it in almost a decade!), philosophy, biographies, and the subjects relating to our present day problems and challenges, especially poverty and the environmental crisis. I’d like to gain a deeper understanding and make my own conclusions of what we can REALLY do to REALLY make a difference. It doesn’t matter how much we will change history. What matters is do what we have to, what we really can do to end the shameful injustice and humiliation that tens of millions of our brothers and sisters in humanity are enduring this very same moment! :(

- I will read and write out in nature.

- A great lifestyle change that I will now introduce is waking up early enough, every day, to witness the powerful everyday re-begining that is Sunrise!

 

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- Now I can also feed my body the things that I love most in nature: green and sunlight! You must already know how connected these two are, no mystery here! I have time to actually touch my vegetables, cut and prepare them slowly and mindfully, and smell them in the process! :)

Now, wouldn’t you love to do the same?!

Ok, and once you do it like I just did, what’s the point? Are we then to get depressed to the immense gap between hope and reality?

The point is to look at this vision, and start doing what can be done already. No waiting intended! Surely some, if not  many, of its components can already be started today.

I can, and already started to, exercise getting rid of unnecessary stuff and spending, in order to lose all the heavy weight that’s holding me down!

I can plan more walking and hiking during the week-end, during the summer. Indeed, the freezing northern winters have nothing to do with this vision. The trees take off their greenery. Being outdoors when it’s 15 F and colder is not too much fun! But while doing more of it in the summer, I can bring the vision to the center of my plans, instead of burying it under depression and hopelessness. With the vision energizing the hope, I can make a long-term plan for moving to the Sun!

I used to post in this blog once a month. Now I’m writing more even though I have more blogs in English and Arabic. I’m also trying to improve my reading. Both will not be as focused as the above vision would like to, but they can be gradually improved and increased.

Why don’t you write down your own vision? Why don’t you start today, little by little, to introduce pieces of it into your life NOW? I just wrote a draft of my own vision. I will build on it. That’s the way out of frustration into inspiration, from surviving into meaning.

Meaning is the food of the soul. We can’t be happy carrying around a soul in a coma in a polluted vehicle – the junk food bodies of modern times!

Why we should thank the bus!

Many American cities are not car-free-friendly. If you don’t have a car, you’re stuck. Buses are far between, if you rely on them to get to work or school, you can waste hours trying to get to the nearest stop, on time.

But buses are great! I moved to Chicago in 2008, got a job downtown, which makes it impossible to drive to work, unless I’m willing to pay half my salary or so to enrich the parking garages.

The other day I was on my way to the bus stop when I saw the bus, too far to catch it if I keep walking, but close enough to get to it if I ran! So that’s what I did. I said to myself, me who don’t really exercise, that at least the bus forced me into a brief run! That’s something to thank Buses for. So I thought of listing all the good things about using the bus in cities where they are available and reliable.

So here is some of the reasons why we should thank the Bus:
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1. An occasional run!

As I mentioned above, the bus will force us to run every once in a while. May be this occasional run will give us a taste for running and introduce us to this type of exercise!

2. Even if you don’t run, you will definitely walk.

Compare the amount of exercise that those who rely on their cars to get around actually get to someone who uses the bus daily, or 5 days a week. You will rarely live as close to the bus stop as to your garage-kept car. If you take the bus to work or school, you might be getting somewhere around 30 minutes of walking per day, if not more, which is the recommended minimum amount of exercise we should get. Well, it’s nice to be forced to do what’s good for us! We might just need that or we will not do it, if left to our will power and ever procrastinated new habits!

3. When we have enough looking at the same streets every day, we can read a book.

The Bus can add many more pages to our reading life. If we take a book on board, we can easily add 30 or 40 minutes to our reading every day. The Bus can give us 5 or 6 books per year that otherwise we wouldn’t make time to read. And guess what, this one book, one idea might change our life forever.

4. thirty people in one big vehicle produce less pollution that thirty people in thirty small cars!

You know this one already. I think we can safely say that most cars running daily on our roads carry one person each!

But no matter how good the Bus is, it will remain unpractical for many of us until many of our American cities and small towns are re-designed to make them bus friendly!

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