A simple, yet effective video about how our consumer society is impacting the world. (Thank you Rachel for bringing it to my attention!)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I understand why it's such a struggle to separate needs from wants. Several years ago, I read a book called Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill. It's a frightening read and makes one understand the irrisistable need to buy, buy, buy. You see, the marketeeers know us better than we know ourselves. They use psychological tricks to get into our heads, to make it impossible to venture into a store or mall and leave either without buying anything or with just what we set out to buy in the first place. It takes superhuman strength to overcome some of the tricks utilized to turn on the desire to acquire things.
For many years, I've strived to live a simple life and avoided acquiring a lot of stuff. But now, I'm finding simple, everyday purchases as suspect. When I think about the fact that a casual purchase at the mall could instead be turned into an opportunity for a child to go to school and eat for a monthy,well, it changes everything.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
~The Dalai Lama
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Most of the physiological needs must be met or life cannot exist. We need oxygen, food, water, shelter, etc. Next we need to be in secure surroundings. These two levels ensure our physical well-being. Love and then self-esteem keep our minds healthy.
Visiting Haiti last month has triggered my interest in this theory. Anyone reading my blog knows that for most Haitians, their basic needs are not met – some yes, but not most of them. Many don’t have daily meals; some resort to making a kind of mud cake to keep their stomach full when food is unavailable. Shelter is also an issue – not everyone has a place they can call home; sometimes they only have a place where they are allowed to sleep (but not always). Of course, under such conditions, safety is not guaranteed. With a poor, unstable government, the police force is almost nonexistent. Crime is rampant. There is love in Haiti but with most individuals trying to eek out a living, the philosophy is every man for himself. It is hard to love under those conditions.
And it’s hard for me to look at our society here in the United States. For the vast majority of us, all of our basic needs are met. So, according to Maslow’s theory, we should all be focused on being the best people we can be. But that doesn’t appear to be happening. The problem, as I see it, is that we keep raising the bar on what constitutes “basic” needs. The size of our homes continues to increase; we own more cars than any other country; we are weighted down with all the latest electronic gadgets; we are the most obese nation on the planet.
Talking to people, I hear that times are tough, money is tight. Many would like to help others, but they say there’s no money in their budget. But I notice the family eats out on a regular basis; mom has her hair colored and highlighted and gets regular manicures; dad spends Saturday on the golf course; and the kids have their own cell phones. I suppose they don’t realize that sometimes the lack of $20 a month keeps a child from attending school or that a dollar a day can make the difference between living and starvation.
This post isn’t just about Haiti; it’s about human beings around the world who don’t have their basic needs met. Millions of people are dying each year of starvation and preventable diseases. And yet we continue on, raising the bar on what we feel we’re entitled to, what we consider basics. My heart breaks when I think about the suffering that is going on right now as I type this entry. In this country, what we call suffering is usually just discomfort or inconvenience. Not so for the vast majority of other nations.
I’m hoping that this rambling post will make my readers realize that their needs really are met and that we all need to move on to self-actualization, to making the world a better place. Please, take a few minutes to do research on conditions in other parts of the world and then think about what you can do to help.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Today hubby and I spent some time managing our herd. Our latest babies were old enough to be separated from their mothers which meant the boys were taken to the market to be sold (I don't like to think about it) and the mothers moved into another pasture, away from the lone female. We have to do this because the babies will continue to nurse long after it's necessary for their survival. It's not easy to move the goats. We have to load them into a cage in the back of the pickup truck and drive them to the other pasture. In the meantime, the guard dog and the remaining goats want to run out as soon as we open the gate. We're trying to come up with a better system - maybe a ramp so we don't have to lift the goats and so we don't have to worry about accidents involving us and their powerful horns.
In the meantime, while hubby was at the market, a friend called about some female goats he was taking to market and asked if we were interested. After several calls back and forth, three beautiful young female goats were delivered to our farm. As is my custom, I had to have a *christening ceremony.* I spent some time deciding on names and then went out to the barn to determine which name was suitable for each goat. Thus, we now have: Angie, Jolene, and Wendy (From left to right: Jolene, Wendy, and Angie).
The new goats are a bit skittish right now (can't say I blame them) but I think they'll settle down and make a nice addition to White Flint Farm.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
To help keep me and my readers aware of the unbelievable number of plastic bags consumed on this planet, I've added a counter on the left side of my blog, courtesy of reusable bags.com.
If you have a second, I'd like to hear about your own bag-free experiences.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
September 19th is International Coastal Cleanup Day. Towns and cities across the United States and throughout the world have cleanup activities planned throughout September and October. You don't have to live on the coast to participate; the cleanup includes all kinds of beaches and waterways. My kids and I have participated in this effort in the past and found it very rewarding. Go to the Ocean Conservancy web site to sign up at a location near you.