All posts tagged: healthy you

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 …

March Against Monsanto: Hawaii (NO GMO)

The global March Against Monsanto, a rally against genetically modified food, took place on May 25 in 52 countries and 436 cities across the world. I was in Waikiki, Hawaii. The energy was just incredible from the moment you joined the crowd. Among luxury retailers and immaculate sidewalks over 1000 protesters took over the busy street around noon on Saturday. It was hard to estimate the number of people until the rally started marching but I do think it was well over one thousand, ranging from adults, youths, kids and some people didn’t even let injuries stop them and came in wheelchairs. It was truly a Hawaiian celebration. Signs like ‘GMOs in Hawaii – we ain’t bout dat life!’, ‘Monsanto is not pono (right)’, and ‘protect our aina (land)’. Jerome James and Joel Spiral provided drums, music and slogans which turned the 90 minutes walk into a real party. If this is what the world looks like without GMOs, sign me up! Doing some in-the-streets activism with like-minded people was the perfect energy boost this …

Books, websites and media for understanding human trafficking

I got a nice comment asking if I could share some literature on human trafficking, which I’m very happy to do! I think one of the first thing I had to wrap my head around going into this research is that slavery is an economic crime rather than crimes of cruelty and malice. It is difficult to understand because one of the first questions you want to ask is ‘what kind of person could do this to another human being?’ Sure, there are sadists out there but for the most part taking advantage of people in desperate situations is an act by equally desperate people with their own sets of problems and priorities. It is a systemic problem created by inequality among people. This TED video is a good introduction about what we know about slavery today. In this moving yet pragmatic talk, Kevin Bales explains the business of modern slavery, a multibillion-dollar economy that underpins some of the worst industries on earth. He shares stats and personal stories from his on-the-ground research – and …

10 steps to a sustainable life: Step 3 (Origins of Stuff and modern day slavery)

Did you know an estimate 20 million people are living in slavery today? Step 3 is educate yourself about where the things you buy come from. This becomes more and more important because the global economy is also an invisible one. When you pick up an item in a brightly lit store with familiar tunes playing in the background there is absolutely no way of knowing how many hands had part in bring that particular item to you. You don’t know how much they were paid, but judging by our insatiable thirst for bargains, the answer is most likely ‘not enough’. I grew up in Norway, that frozen little country in Northern Europe, and I spent the first 25 years of my life in blissful ignorance about how it is that we can buy 2 pounds of oranges in December for about 2 dollars. I guess it has something to do with volume – when buying tons and tons of oranges the stores are able to get them for cheap – or any other excuse …

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 2 (Choose your culture)

Don’t just accept what is presented – choose your culture carefully. A lot of our Western civilization has become toxic. It is mainly constructed around consumption in the past 100 years, with devastating effects on our environment, natural world, and even our health. You can decide for yourself if this was all pre-planned evil conspiracy, but personally I think it was just average human short-sightedness and our common desire for comfort, combined with human ingenuity. The second industrial revolution fueled by oil has spanned into the first truly global empire – powered by cheap labor and ruthless exploration of resources. As we find ourselves in the age of information it is very easy to get overwhelmed. In fact, keeping the population overwhelmed serves as a goal in itself because then you don’t have time to contemplate the fundamental things – such as why am I being bombarded with all this junk? (See Step 1) Shouldn’t our goal be to leave this planet in better shape than we found it; more beautiful, in better health, a …

What does freedom mean to you?

Perfect timing for this TED talk! I think one of my favorite things about living in Hawaii for three years is the acute sense of transience and how it’s changed my views on possessions. There is only one way off this island – by plane – and each suitcase cost anything between $25-50 to transport. I have made a conscious choice to limit my possessions to two suitcases. Like most girls, I love fashion and clothes but the big change that I made is that I started selling off clothes and other items that I *didn’t* love. In two years I have made almost $4,000 on eBay selling over 100 pieces from my closet, and the scariest part is that I don’t remember a single one of them. For the money I renewed my wardrobe and I actually love every piece in it now. I like clothes because it’s wearable art to reflect or enhance your personality (you have to wear it anyway, so why not wear something that makes you happy.) When you make …