All posts tagged: beyond shopping

True currency is time and love

You know that old bullshit saying ‘time is money’? Uh, no. This is a rather short addition to the 10 Steps, but it might be one of the most important. Realize that the only true currency is time and love. Money is an illusion but it can get you in some deep trouble so live within your means. You have build thick skin in order to resist advertising and focus mostly on needs, and only the occasional wants. Human beings are the only species that have to pay in order to live on this planet. The powers to be figured this out long before the rest of us and found the perfect system of control – money. If we don’t play by their rules we go to prison, which robs of us the only two things of true value in this life – time and being close to those we love. Imagining a world without money is actually a really hard mental exercise, but very rewarding. You immediately run into the most obvious downsides – …

Will the 3D revolution be sustainable?

  Are you excited about 3D printing? I sure am. As I continue to peel back the layers of what is cultural integration and what is actually natural laws of being alive, I find so many absurdities among our current mindset. Why is it that a handful of people “own” the world’s oil supply that we all depend on to survive? They weren’t around 200 million years ago when all that stuff got made and, as far as I can tell, their maximum life span is 100 years, same as the rest of us. They are no more or less special than anyone else, except they have the arrogance to assume they can own a large chunk of a life sustaining planet on which they are only visitors. And now they are trying to buy the planet’s fresh water supply, too, with the absurd commodity called “money”, which may be the most useless object in the world, when you really think about it. Old, bacteria-ridden crumbled pieces of dirty cotton. Good luck trying to drink …

Everyone we know is brokenhearted

I think Joshua Ellis just made my blog obsolete with this amazing, somber, absolutely human post. Please, please read it. I also think, whenever I get down in the future, I will just go back and read this and spare everyone my take on contemporary sadness. Not that everyone’s pain isn’t valid, it is just so… the same. Without further ado, go read: Everyone I know is brokenhearted.

Economy of insanity and apples

Imagine for a moment a world where the currency of choice is apples. It is something that grows freely without a lot of effort from humans. Plant a tree, wait 10-20 years, then harvest. Depending on your level of ambition you can harvest just enough or a lot. But the thing about apples is that they rot. Maybe in a temperature controlled cellar they can last a few years, but hoarding apples eventually becomes an exercise in futility because who would want your old shriveled apples when they can just pick fresh ones from outside? So, in this economy, you are left with three choices: eat the apples, trade the apples, and give away your extras because soon they will become worthless to everyone, including yourself. Are you with me so far? What do you think would be the guiding principle in such a world? Sharing, of course. Since your apples are no good to you hidden away in a basement left to rot, the most efficient use of them would be to give them …

Why ‘voting with your dollar’ doesn’t work

The fall down the rabbit hole is a long one – and often very painful. Once you start to deconstruct reality around you, you tend to alienate a lot of people. They are perfectly adjusted and don’t need your philosophical musings, thank you very much. Vote with your dollars is something you will hear well-meaning sustainability-leaning people say a lot. I used to. I still do, to an extent, but it took a long time to realize just how difficult that is. The idea behind voting with your dollars is to put your money where your values lie. If you are against animal testing on cosmetics, you make sure to only buy cosmetics that are not tested on animals. Easy, right? Not so fast. Did you know that The Body Shop (the most famous worldwide company for natural and ethically produced beauty products) is owned by L’oreal? I didn’t, and that’s when I tumbled into this particular rabbit hole.

You are not useless, but the society that tells you so is

I think what makes me the most sad to read on my Facebook feed is not the stories about how corrupt and useless politicians and corporations are. I already know that, most people know that. But to see how cruel and heartless ordinary people can be in the comment fields underneath these stories is depressing. Our society, this system, is breaking down at record speed. Environmental destruction, economic collapse and massive overpopulation that leaves the value of human life near zero. You don’t need a fancy degree to understand that a system which leaves this many people in poverty and despair is a flawed one. It is so disheartening to see so many so-called successful people call everyone else that isn’t at their level lazy and entitled. I just read an article about an immigrant boy with three degrees at age 25 cleaning toilets in a foreign land because his own country is in economic ruin due to the game of criminal bankers. And he is only one in millions. Millions. And most of the …

The embarrassing path to good coffee (goodbye Starbucks)

After spending Monday sighing over that the internet won’t shut up about Breaking Bad because it’s not really that good, I decided to catch up on Season 5 (I’d seen up to season 4 a year ago), probably because I hate feeling left out when it comes to Hollywood. That was three days ago. 14 episodes later I have re-emerged and I have pounded my fists on the bed and yelled at my computer on three separate occasions. I have also barely spoken to anyone nor seen sunlight. I’m a little confused as to what my life is right now. But I love coffee so let’s talk about coffee! My journey to appreciate coffee started, embarrassingly, with Starbucks. Now I call it candy-coffee because let’s face it, most of the concoctions they sell are 3 parts syrup, 1 part coffee and 6 parts milk but at the time I was convinced that a white chocolate mocha (WCM) was this mysterious adult beverage called coffee. And it was delicious! It probably still is but at least …

10 Steps to a Sustainable Life: Step 4 (Value experiences over material things)

If I could sum up my master’s degree in sustainability in one word it would be “value”. The value of something is subjective and it means the importance we ascribe physical objects, experiences and even metaphysical undertakings such as learning and spirituality. For instance, I value my family more than anything, certainly more than to put a monetary value on it. I am sure you feel the same way about yours and the people in your life. But you don’t value my family as much as you do yours, and vice versa, so the concept of value is intangible and difficult to translate into a meaningful common reality. So we invented money to make it less confusing. The only problem is we took it too far and today anything can be ascribed a monetary value, including our ecosystem and life itself. When the monetary system was invented as we know it today we forgot to put a value on nature because at the time nature – air, water, soil, plants, forests and other natural resources …

Beyond shopping

Vote with your money! The first, and easiest, step toward sustainability is to become conscious of where our money go and what our money buy. Shopping for useful and not-so-useful items is the cornerstone of our consumer-based economy and while it’s near impossible to reject this comfortable and ingrained behavior, it is possible to shop almost anything and support socially responsible businesses and small, independent entrepreneurs at the same time! Things I like to consider before purchase: If the company is independent or part of a larger corporation. This one is tricky because companies rarely advertise this. The only way to find out is through your trusty best friend; Google. My rule of thumb is that most household brands that you find in your local grocery store now belong to the powerhouses, so avoid them. The global giants of commerce don’t need any more of your money because they now use it to plunder, pollute and enslave the planet while buying all the political power they can get to ensure their stronghold monopoly. That’s why …

10 steps to a sustainable life: Step 1 (Limit consumption and stop polluting your mind)

Don’t let advertising win. Make a rule to never impulse buy – if you remember it five days later, you can buy it. This rule alone should cut your consumer spending by 60% or more. When I go window shopping, in person or on the internet, and “pass up” cute things, I find myself barely remembering what it was by the time I leave the store, never mind three days later. It also gives you time to reflect how this new item would fit into your life – whether it is clothes or a new gadget. Do you really need it? I’m a girl and I like clothes (fashion is like wearable art to me) but I’ve realized I tend to buy the same things over and over, because that is what I like. How many navy blue, off-the-shoulder knitted sweaters do I really need? Recognize that the advertising industry is an industry designed to make you feel inferior and bad about yourself. It’s a billion dollar industry and they are very, very good at …