Sunday, December 11, 2011

Actively Nourish Ourselves and the Earth?

I gleaned most of these early 20th century history facts I received from an e-mail today. I do not know who wrote it, so I am sorry I can't give them partial credit, but I thank them for getting me thinking.

... I am feeling SAD that we, as CONSUMERS, have been fed a lifestyle over the last century which requires so many time-saving devices which, when added up together, are hurting us and the Earth so much.

If we had seen the far reaching damage of leaded gas on our air and eventual water and soil quality -- as well as our physical health -- would we have declined to sit in a "horse-less carriage" in the early 20th Century? Along with polluting our home environment, these labor saving "gadgets" have enabled us to CHOOSE our level of SPEED. ...and how ARE we doing with it?

It is very tempting to choose to be out of shape both physically and mentally today when we can get lost in our home entertainment systems. We can now get through life without memorizing our own address, not to mention an interesting vocabulary, a poem or a historical date. We can find out about pretty much anything without having to actually communicate with another soul. So, how can we use this new technology to actually nourish ourselves and the Earth?

Back in the earlier part of the 20th Century, we U.S. citizens returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they REALLY were recycled. Some farms still do this.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. Some neighborhoods are still walkable.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. We can still buy a clothes line and pass around used clothes.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. We can still designate one room to the Tv/computer, get an excellent knife for chopping, and recycle newspapers and junk mail.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by WORKING so we didn't need to go to a health club to lift heavy weights and run on treadmills that operate on electricity. Think of all the physical work you can help with around your neighborhood or think of farming your own food, making your own clothes, or building things by hand...or buying a push mower; they are still available.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. We can think carefully about waste BEFORE we buy.

Mechanical things such as watches, clocks, and moving toys or gadgets were windup, instead of battery operated, which need their batteries to be replaced -- or you find that it's cheaper to replace them. How ingenious were THOSE inventors?! Some of those inventions still exist; search them out.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. There are many time-saving gadgets out there. Choose which ones are actually helping you get stronger, wiser, and kinder to your neighbors.

It is the EXERCISING of knowledge which needs Time. Wisdom can not be digested in a pill, e-mailed, or in anyway RUSHED.

Think about the creative results you would like to have in your life and do what feels good to your soul as you MOVE towards them!

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