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Support

12 Jun

I am so used to being independent that I hadn’t really imagined what life could be life if I had more support. Bob and I are basically on our own here in Qld. We have a handful of friends, many of which live a long way away but our closest family is a 12 hour drive away.

When we were in Adelaide recently we had a taste of what it could be like if we lived closer to my parents and brother’s family. I was able to work – in the middle of the day. It was amazing. My Mum jumped at any opportunity to have Dottie all to herself so Bob and I were even able to have a night out. Wow.

Since having Dottie, I’ve probably been away from her for maybe about 8 or 9 hours. Seriously. I can remember every single time and can count them on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my time with my daughter but if I had the opportunity to work for more than 20 mins at a time or to just have a little break. Having a glance at what a life with more support could be like and then coming home to this lonely place has been difficult for me.

Thankfully, we’re often so busy that I don’t have much time to notice the isolation or to think about what I’m missing out on. Our situation also has an unfortunate impact on our thoughts around having more children knowing that we’re on our own… and that probably isn’t going to change.

It’s strange for me going from being defiantly independent to craving help and support. It’s been a tough journey to even get to a point where I can admit that help would be nice. I’ve been opening up more and more about this and people tend to react by uncomfortably trying to figure out how they could babysit for us as if it’s their duty to save us. It’s not. I’m just talking about what’s going on for me. You don’t need to fix it and you couldn’t fix it even if you wanted to.

Of course I accept what cannot be changed but on occasion, I entertain a thought that maybe it could be different.

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Thermomix

5 Jun

Well today I begin a new life as the proud owner of a Thermomix

 

There’s no need for me to harp on about how great they are. If you want to find out more, a quick google search will come up with endless reports on their power. Anyway, I’ll be including my thermomix creations/recipes/experiments as part of this blog from now on. You can use the new categories “thermomix” & “recipes” as a filter to search for tmx related posts.

Don’t worry, I may have bought a rather domesticated appliance and may be expecting a baby in 5 weeks but I’m still as bad-ass as ever. More real food – less processed shit! Experiments to follow…

Parrot friends

17 Sep

There’s ALOT of bird life around my place & I’ve managed to capture some vids of some particularly friendly king parrots!

Solo parrot

Parrot group

Zuck it up

27 May

So you may have heard that about Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent project.

Basically he eats vegetarian most of the time particularly when he eats out but when he does eat meat, it will only be from an animal that he has killed and cooked himself. It seems that most people are disgusted by this and think that it’s barbaric. I hope I’m not alone in supporting him. I think this is noble challenge to attempt, let alone share with the unforgiving public.

His reasons are grounded, spiritual and conscious. This is not about selfishly hunting for the sake of a kill, it’s about being more connected with what you consume – something that I am an advocate for! It might surprise the fellow vegos out there that I’m supporting the consumption of meat at all but to me, this is about rising above the industry that controls our food production and finding another way… and I honestly believe that there is no future without the localisation of food production.

If everybody lived like this then there would be no need for factory farming or slaughterhouses, there would be less diseases like e coli, swine flu and salmonella AND less people would eat meat… why?

Because they would be faced with the emotional discomfort that goes hand in hand with killing an animal and the truth is, most of us wouldn’t be able to hack it! Most meat eaters survive by blocking out any thoughts or images about the animal that their meat came from and are only able to feel ok about consuming meat by creating a disconnection between them and their food. This disconnection from food is to blame for so many problems! Here’s just a few of them:

– People don’t understand how much time/effort/energy/resources/patience goes into food production and as a result they expect food to be cheap, in season all year round and available everywhere instantly (even when that particular food does not grow anywhere near where they want to purchase it from)

– Because of this unrealistic demand, supermarkets (who are screwing over the food producers) can offer much lower prices than your local green grocer or market stall who offer real prices. Supermarket giants get bigger, independent business owners and farmers get stamped out.

– Thanks to supermarkets, farmers can’t afford to use/establish organic practices and are forced to take the ‘easy option’ of using pesticides and chemicals which are not only really bad for humans, they also deplete soil nutrients and pollute water.

– Because the soil is deficient, just about everyone on the planet has some sort of mineral deficiency which means that their immune system is compromised and guess what? They are sick. Or have cancer. Or are suffering with unexplained symptoms.

Want some more reasons why being disconnected from your food isn’t cool?

– People don’t know how to cook. I didn’t really learn how to cook until I made the transition to vego/no dairy. Before that I was hooked on pre-packed everything. I’d never made soup before – I didn’t have to. I always just bought cans/cartons of soup. I never realised that I could just combine a few simple ingredients and make it myself. Pre-packaged food perpetuates the problem. We buy ‘food’ that look nothing like its original state and therefore have no connection with the ingredients.

– We assume that everything is safe, particularly ingredients/additives that we’ve never heard of. It’s easy to believe that “If it was bad for you then it wouldn’t be allowed in my food”, but the truth is that most additives have been created to save/make money – not to be safe for consumption. It is left up to the individual to do their own research and most people don’t bother.

– Packaging is ruining the planet! If you made your own biscuits at home from flour, butter and sugar then you wouldn’t need to throw away all that plastic and cardboard that was produced using virgin wood, depleting oil, non-renewable energy and toxic emissions. That stuff doesn’t disappear… it gets buried in the ground where it either stays unchanged for thousands of years or slowly breaks down and releases yet more carbon. If we were more closely linked with our food then perhaps we might consider a different approach.

So good on Zuckybabe for staying true to his values and courageously sharing his story with the world. This will open him up for criticism – it’s already been trending on twitter all day and the vegans are just as upset as they were about Lady Gaga’s meat dress. I just say thankyou. Thankyou for modelling authenticity, values, honesty and getting people talking about something which is truly a global issue.

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Cast Your Vote

3 May

Money is powerful. Every time you spend your money on anything it serves as a vote for what you want. So are you actually voting for what you believe in?

By spending your money without awareness you may well be casting a vote that you wouldn’t necessarily agree with. For example: buying things at Target/Kmart/BigW/The Reject Shop etc. you are saying “Cheap shit made in third world countries is ok with me”. On top of that you may also be voting for slave labour, unhealthy working conditions, toxic pollution and thousands of shipping miles. But do you really agree with any of it? You certainly wouldn’t wish those things for yourself.

And when you buy an appliance from these sort of places (or from the supermarket, hardware store etc.) you are voting for designed obsolescence. There’s no question about that. In fact it’s difficult to find any electrical device that is actually built to last these days. But is it important to you that your appliances last? If so then why are you buying a toaster at Woolworths?

The system is meticulously planned to program you into being ok with the idea that things just wear out. They don’t. Or at least they shouldn’t but they do… and it’s only because they’re designed that way. They could be design to last (like they used to be) but they’re not. That’s the reason why my Mum still uses the same iron that she had 20 years ago and my iron stopped working after 18 months and I had to buy a new one. And I tried to buy an iron that wasn’t made in china and it was impossible.

Bob’s parents have the most amazing toaster. They’ve used it everyday for the past 35 years and it still goes strong (although needed fixing once). Not only is it a long lasting toaster, it’s the best toaster I’ve ever used! Why? Because it’s a fucking great design. The toaster knows when the toast is ready by feeling the change in the heat reflected off the toast NOT by using a timer like conventional toasters. Bob’s parent’s toaster never burns toast, ever… whereas my toaster always burns toast.

Let’s consider other things like food. If you eat fast food then you vote for fast food and everything that it stands for: underpaying staff, poor conditions for employees, deception, corruption, animal cruelty, genetically modified ingredients, extreme over processing of food, sugar added in everywhere, oil, high salt content, preservatives, artificial colouring, fat people. Is that what you really want for the world? Maybe it’s ok with you…

And what about the votes you cast at the servo…. vehicles running on fossil fuels, carbon emissions, plastic bottles, bullshit food, advertising, air conditioning, brand monopolies, deals telling you to buy more… more is good right? If I buy more I can save 30 cents!

Where’s the local produce, healthy food and recycling stations? That’s what I want to vote for. But how do you cast your vote when your options are so undesirable? This has plagued me for so long…

Basically there’s two options. 1) Accept that you are voting for and supporting the continuation of whatever you’re spending money on, or 2) Seek out the closest thing you can find to what you want to be supporting and spend your money consciously.

If you think that pesticides are bad for the environment and for people then support organic fruit and veg. If you don’t like the idea of eating fresh food that’s travelled long distances then shop at a store that tells you where the food originated so you can buy local. If you’re concerned at the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean then bring your own water bottle and shopping bag. If you don’t want to support cheap imported appliances then buy second hand or good quality new (if you can find it).

Think about it: who would you rather give your money to? Woolworths executives whose objective is to screw over farmers and producers or a green grocer who knows the farmer by name and offers everyone a fair price. The green grocer might cost you a bit more and might not be open at 9pm like Woolworths but  does that really matter considering the good that it will do in the world? It’s more than worth it if you ask me!

Animal Products

26 Mar

I’ve been avoiding writing about this topic for a while now but I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe to avoid being labelled as a preaching vegetarian or a vegan activist. Or maybe because the net is already SO full of blogs and websites about this stuff – and we’ve all had enough of it. Well fuck it. No more excuses. I’m not aiming to please on this blog so I’m just going to share my shit and you can take it or leave it. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

So here’s my thoughts on human’s use of animal products.

The term “animal products” is something I’m quite desensitised to but when you actually stop and think about it, it’s pretty fucking gross. Eating, drinking, wearing stuff that came from animals – it seems normal in our society. I find it hard to imagine my leather shoes once being a cow. That’s because we’re programmed not to think about it.

Occasionally you may associate a cut of meat with the animal’s body part: ribs, breast, rump etc but even then it’s easy to detach. In fact detachment is essential if you want to continue to eat meat. Human’s are compassionate beings by nature. I’ve seen meat eaters brought to tears, turn away in disgust and become instant vegetarians after watching footage of animal slaughter for food production. I’ve also seen cowardly meat eaters refuse to watch footage like this or even hear THE TRUTH about the treatment of animals raised for food. It seems strange to me that anyone would prefer not to know the truth about anything – even if that means feeling something that challenges you. I spoke to Bob’s Dad just after I had finished reading Eating Animals and told him about the book. He seemed quite interested so I offered to lend it to him. He declined and said that he liked eating meat and probably wouldn’t want to eat it anymore after finding out the truth so he’d prefer not to know.
There’s only one word for that in my opinion: Gutless.

If you’ve seen the sort of footage that I’m talking about you cannot deny that the whole process feels wrong on every level. I personally have given up watching footage of animal slaughter as it does nothing to enrich my life and I have never encouraged anyone to do so however, if you are curious however (as many are) here’s a few tame vids to give you an idea:
Cows
Chickens

I wasn’t able to find a pig vid that didn’t have the direct audio. The audio is usually the most disturbing part. Anyway I’m sure you can look further if you’re interested. Well let’s talk a little more about the killing process… most animals are “stunned” before being “knocked” by the bolt gun and having their throats slit (or decapitated in the case of birds). Stunned means that they cannot move but can still feel everything. In many cases, the animal is not killed instantly by the bolt and feels the full pain of bleeding to death. Pain that you could never imagine.

Now think for a moment about what pain, fear, anxiety, stress does to the bodies of any mammal… adrenalin and other chemicals run through the muscles/meat. I’ve read about fear and pain being stored in the cells of the meat and seen countless individuals become vegetarian as part of their spiritual journey and find that they can then easily surrender unhelpful fear in their own life. Coincidence?

It’s common for “conscious meat eaters” to only animals that are shot in the head outdoors rather than in an abattoir like kangaroos and deer (venison) or killed humanely. Personally I think that “killed humanely” is an oxymoron although I can understand the reasoning for these choices..

So, animals raised for meat live to die, we get it. So what about their life then?
Well it’s pretty shit.
Pigs and chickens are raised in indoor environments that are so far from their natural habitat it’s not funny. Pigs are kept on concrete floors in stalls that are only slightly bigger than their bodies. Their tails are removed without anaesthetic. They are not able to turn around, roll over, run, stretch lets alone walk on grass, cool off in mud, socialise or form a bond with their offspring. They’ve been selectively bred to be meat-heavy, grow unnaturally quickly and are given antibiotics to prevent disease. It’s a mystery why antibiotics are losing their effect on humans isn’t it?

Chickens beak’s are clipped with a burning hot blade. They do not see the sun. Their factory farms are unhygienic and pungent. Their 45 day life goes so quickly that often by the time they are due for slaughter they cannot walk under their own weight. Many chickens are so abnormally heavy that they go for days or weeks before slaughter with broken legs. It is common for chickens to go crazy in the light/fresh air deprived factory farms and attack other chickens (hence the beak clipping) and a high percentage of birds experience untreated infected wounds while on their way to becoming food.

So what about cows and sheep that get to run around free in paddocks? They have a great life, right? Well it’s arguable whether a life that exists purely to die and be eaten isn’t really much a of a life at all. Cows and sheep are forced to endure weather extremes often without adequate shelter and water. Why waste water on something that’s just going to die in a couple of weeks anyway? In fact all animals have to travel long distances, sometimes hundreds of kilometres to be slaughtered while exposed to the elements and denied food and water.

Certainly cattle that get to roam around in spacious paddocks and feed leisurely on grass have the most stress free life of all animals that are bred in captivity for food. This new wave of “grain fed” animals being a healthy alternative is a bit of a crock. For most non-organic meat, these animals are fed genetically modified, pesticide laden wheat and corn. And, err… why is this good?

If the food given to cows was instead given to people the 1 billion starving people in the world could have something to eat. I’m not making this up, it’s true.

So cows chilling in a paddock might have an arguably decent life, but there are other issues to consider… Like the planet!

40% of the worlds forests have been cleared for cattle grazing. Hello? Trees absorb carbon!
Cattle grazing destroys topsoil. Nutrient rich topsoil is essential to sustain plant life. Once it’s gone, it takes years to reform – and that’s only if erosion doesn’t continue which it normally does.
One third of the planet’s surface is dedicated to livestock. Imagine if that land was dedicated to growing crops of food for people.
Animal agriculture creates 40% more carbon emissions than all transportation in the world combined and is the number 1 contributor to climate change.

Do you need to read that again?

The highest contributor to global warming is meat/dairy production. Environmentalists who eat meat are a joke.

These are real stats – check em.

Getting back to animals having shitty lives, let’s think about animals that aren’t farmed for meat but for milk and eggs.
Let’s start with chickens. Battery hens surely have the most tortured existence of all. You’ve all seen photos of them, crammed into multi-level cages, no light, no space, no standing, flying or stretching. Just sit, eat and lay eggs. That’s it. And after 12 months as egg production slows, you guessed it… dead.
So you think you’re doing you’re bit by buying only free range eggs? Until last year the term “free range” was not regulated and could be used to describe just about any battery conditions, including hens that were kept inside but given access to a tiny outdoor area for an hour per day. This is now changing and the rspca give certification to legitimate free range eggs. But guess what? Even free range, organic “happy eggs” come from chickens which are kept purely for the purpose of making money and after 18 months the chickens reach their expiry date.
So even if you have your own chickens or choose free range eggs for home, whenever you eat out or go shopping and choose a product that contains eggs, you can almost guarantee that the eggs are not free range. A slice of cake, a bottle of mayonnaise… unless specified you can bet the eggs used were from an evil battery farm.

Now finally to the poor, old dairy cow. Their story is heart wrenching. Why? We’ve all seen the cute black and white dairy cows having a chilled out life in the paddocks next to the dairy. It doesn’t seem so bad…
The cows are continually artificially inseminated to keep them in a constant state of pregnancy/lactation. If you think human women have gruelling birth experiences, imagine giving birth to a cow! LOTS of cows! Then the minute after she gives birth her calf is removed instantly from her. Cows are programmed to care for their young and experience grief and depression in the same way that a human losing a newborn would. Male calves are slaughtered for veal (if you are a vegetarian who consumes dairy – you are still a supporter of the veal industry). Female calves are separated from their mothers “to avoid attachment” and are fed GM soy and corn as well as antibiotics and other medications to prevent illness.
How fucked up is that? The offspring never get to drink the milk that is produced by their mother for them.

Humans are the only species to drink the milk of another animal.

Here’s another situation where we’ve been brainwashed and desensitised to the idea. Think about it. Drinking the milk of a COW is fucking gross.
You would cringe at the thought of sipping on the milk of a cat or the milk of a monkey or even the breast milk of another human… but drinking the breast milk of a cow if perfectly fine?
It is common practice for milk producers to milk cows with sores/wounds on their teets meaning that blood and puss end up in the final product. And dairy products do not have to contain any information about additives, preservatives added to them during processing (in fact the same goes for meat and supermarket/non-organic vegies).
So milk is one thing but what about other dairy products? Cheese is SO far removed from it’s original state that it’s incredibly easy to forget that it comes from a cow (and rennet from stomachs of cows, sheep and pigs). The further away a product is from it’s source, the easier it is to forget about where it comes from. Cheese on toast may seem like a mouth watering, quick, easy snack but it actually at some point involved a significant amount of cruelty, not to mention a whole lot of processing and many kms of travel. Are you willing to accept that?

So why should we even care about these animals? Humans have been using them for so long that it just seems normal. Let me ask you this?
Why do you have a love of birds but have no trouble eating a duck?
Why do you protect your children and not respect the cow’s desire to protect her children?
Why do you love your dog and feel fine eating a pig? Did you know that pigs are more intelligent and more loyal than dogs? In fact they are more intelligent than 3 year old humans!
A question I often ask myself is: Why are there so many vets and animal lovers who are so fine with eating meat…

The answer is: selective information filtering and LOTS of conditioning.

It would just be WRONG to go to a cafe and not see bacon & eggs and cafe lattes on the menu. Would it?
I can’t imagine a Christmas without ham/turkey/chicken. Why not?

Excuses. I’ve heard them all on this topic. We get hung up on ‘tradition’ and can’t see past the ‘convenience’ of animal products. Considering the MASSIVE cost to the earth, meat production seems far from convenient.
In fact, while inflation has seen price rises in just about everything over the past 20 years, meat prices have stayed about the same. The meat industry uses low prices to keep us eating it. So who’s paying for the inflation? The animals living their short, tortured lives in factory farms and of course, the planet.

I haven’t even touched on seafood. This post is already long enough so I’l save that for another day. If this info has made you want to learn more or create change then here’s some books, websites and films that I recommend:

More info of milk
Eating Animals Book
Food Inc Documentary
Home Documentary
Food Matters Documentary

Pieces of paper

17 Feb

Fuck I hate receipts.
Gone are the days when receipts were optional. In fact it seemed to be optional one day and compulsory the next.
Here’s yet another perceived convenience that big business has decided would be good for us. But why do I need a receipt for EVERYTHING? So that I can fill up my pockets and wallet and car with useless bits of paper? Why else!

I don’t need a receipt for the drink I buy at the servo or the meal I order at a cafe. And I especially don’t need an extra receipt just because I pay with eftpos. Eftpos receipts are the most optional of all. The cashier actually has to press a button specifically for that receipt to print. I DON’T NEED IT! It’s not even remotely useful.

I’ve started telling cashiers that I don’t want the eftpos receipt before it’s due to be printed so that they have plenty of notice and out of every transaction that I’ve made over the last month I managed to avoid 2 receipts having to be printed. 2!
And everyone’s excuse is exactly the same – “Sorry, force of habit”. Why the hell is it a force of habit when the eftpos receipt is utterly pointless? Surely I’m not the only person that feels like this?

My receipt hatred has started to rub off on Bob and he’s jumped on the receipt refusal bandwagon. He refuses receipts at checkouts that automatically print receipts. It seems sort of futile considering that the operator has no control over whether the receipts print or not. Then when we say we don’t want it, some people get really offended and hold the receipt out with a look of horror on their face. Bob just grins and says, “No, thank you”.

Imagine what would happen if the whole world said “No, thank you”….

I must say that I’m glad to see that ATMs have caught on to this madness and now offer a choice NOT to print a receipt. I take great pleasure in choosing this option. Personally I don’t think there should even be an option. It would eliminate the need for those miniature bins at ATMs that are always overflowing with unwanted receipts thanks to mindless people’s so called “forces of habit”. It would just take one bank to make a statement (no pun intended) by removing the option of printing a receipt and people would realise how ridiculous they were to start with.

I imagine that at some point in the future (probably when it’s too late) that humans will be forced to take more responsibility for the waste that they create. Try and conjure up an image of a pile of all of the receipts that have ever been printed for you. It would probably be big enough to fill your bathroom and it’s only going to accelerate as the world becomes more ‘convenient’. Is that image enough to make you want to refuse a receipt?

No?
Well what about this then…

Thermal paper contains BPA.
You know, that component in plastic that is so nasty to humans, it’s illegal in many countries. You can read more about it here. It probably doesn’t pose a massive threat considering the minimal contact that we have with the receipts BUT if you get receipts wet or oily then you’re 10 times more likely to come into contact with the BPA when you do touch it.

Does any of this seem wrong to you?
We’re told that we need a receipt that’s made from virgin paper, toxic ink and endocrine disruptors (BPA), then we’re given a guilt trip if we don’t want it, even if it’s destined for the bin anyway.

I watched a great video recently that explains how the whole fucked up process of consumerism is ruining the world.
It’s 20 mins and totally worth it.
The Story Of Stuff

Make me dinner

2 Oct

After having an average of 1 guest staying in my house every month for the past year I started thinking… It would be really nice for someone to make me dinner at their house.
And you might be thinking, why don’t you just go out or get take away – but I don’t think it’s the same.
To me, creating food for someone is like giving them a piece of your heart. It’s a direct demonstration of your love and appreciation for them and also a challenge for yourself to create what you want to create.
It’s wonderful.

It’s taken over 12 months but I’ve started to really miss going to friend’s houses to share some food.
The problem I’m seeing here is this:

My dietary needs have changed alot since I last visited adelaide and I’ve realised that people who aren’t used to cooking for me can’t think of what to make me!

So I thought I’d give you a quick guide just incase you find yourself inviting me to dinner (yes I’d like that)

Here’s a breakdown of the things I don’t eat:

Meat – that’s obvious
Dairy products – yoghurt, cream, icecream, butter, some margarine, cheese
Animal products – gelatine, red food colouring, lactose, rennet, animal fat
Yeast – bread, stock, gravy, beer, pizza, some sauces, some potato chips

So what is left to eat I hear you ask? Everything in the world that’s not on that list! And there’s lots of food out there. It doesn’t even have to be weird.

And what about eggs? Yeah so you probably noticed that I still eat eggs and they are an animal product. It’s true. I am very fussy about eggs and tend to only eat them at home. They need to be certified free-range before I’ll touch them and preferably organic.

You can probably see now why Bob and I make alot of our own food from scratch: bread, pasta, pastry, sauces, burger patties etc. But of course we don’t expect you to do that!

Here are some Nomi-friendly products that are easy to find and will make feeding me easier:

Oreos, Nutellex (margarine), Borg’s puff pastry (from Woolworths), Orgran gravy mix, Red Rock plain chips,
Weis Sorbet, Tofu (next to cream cheese at the supermarket)

If you go to a health food store and look for dairy free products you will find heaps more great stuff!

Now onto what sort of meals to make that will be ok for me and not leave you feeling like your missing out:

PASTA:

Most pasta and tomato based sauces are fine but it pays to check the label just in case. Add a few vegies to the sauce & you’re done!

RICE:

It can be used in so many different ways. Vegie stir fry, tomato risotto, stuffed capsicums & curries!

NOODLES:

Dried rice noodles simply need hydrating in hot water and dried wheat noodles are just prepared like pasta. Add some vegies (maybe some tofu), ginger, garlic & soy sauce OR green curry paste & coconut milk. Yum.

PIZZA:

If you don’t want to make your own yeast-free base then just buy some Mission brand pizza bases.
Cover with tomato paste, capsicum, mushroom, onion, tomato, herbs & whatever else you like.
Just make mine without the cheese.

PASTRY:

Get yourself some Borg’s puff pastry from woolworths.
Fill with cooked vegies of your choice and bake – so easy.

It doesn’t seem so bad now does it? If you’re after something more adventurous let me know as I’ve got some great recipe books and can make some good suggestions.

Thanks in advance for making me dinner. Love Nomi

Degrade this

15 Sep

This one’s for those of you that are tired of vids and are missing what this blog used to be about – having an opinionated rant!

So I’ve been thinking alot about product packaging that I currently don’t have to deal with thanks to my
local food co-op and I’m concerned that after we move we’ll be back to buying everything in stupid plastic packets. Not looking forward to that. We will do our best to avoid it where we can but it will be tough!

We have been able to reduce our household waste by about 75 percent – We have a regular (large) size wheelie bin which is only emptied once a fortnight and is never full. We do this just by shopping consciously and saying no to excessive packaging and plastic bags. We don’t feel like we’re making any compromises at all, in fact I think we live we live a fairly decadent lifestyle.

This is one of the things I learnt from No Impact Man. So much waste in the world is created for perceived ‘convenience’. It might be convenient to use a plastic bag to take home your groceries – but how inconvenient is it to bring your own bag?

Not really at all.

It might take you a while to remember to take them with you. If retailers don’t offer you a free bag anymore that may provide you with more of an incentive. Or if avoiding plastic bags is important to you then you may already be motivated to remember to pack them on your shopping trips.

Living consciously doesn’t have to involve compromise.

Once people adjust to bringing their own bags it becomes normal and they are no longer concerned about whether or not it used to be convenient to be provided with a free bag. This is why I say ‘perceived convenience’ because that’s all it is.

And there’s no doubt about it, people get a kick out of thinking that they’re doing something ‘environmentally friendly’ – probably because most things we do are not so much. I’ve noticed an increase in bags and packaging labeled as ‘degradable’, in fact ‘degradable’ is now a sellable feature which feeds on that good feeling that people get when they make a ‘conscious’ choice.

Sounds evil to me.
Although I was skeptical I hoped that biodegradable bags were actually making a difference. It turns out that they’re not…

I’ll keep this brief but basically there are two types of biodegradable plastics.
One of them requires a special, controlled process in order to be broken down and as a result they need to be taken to a recycling facility in order to be effectively disposed of. These are the type of bags that you now get at Target etc. in SA. They promote the fact that they are biodegradable but are probably banking on the fact that it’s unlikely you will be bothered to seek out a recycling facility and will probably just reuse them once or twice and then throw them away.

Most people will probably still feel better about themselves considering that it has the word ‘degradable’ printed on the side. The truth is, it does about as much damage in landfill as a regular plastic bag.

The other type is the one that is used for the smaller white shopping bags and bin liners. This one will actually degrade in the right environment. Unfortunately , the right environment is closer to your compost bin than landfill. So yes, these bags will eventually break down if you put them in the compost but if you are using them to put rubbish in that’s then destined for landfill then it’s unlikely that you’re bag will be any different to the thousands of regular plastic bags that surround it.

And even if it did…

It would break down and leave behind all of the contents of the bag – plastic packaging that someone else decided was convenient for you.

Idiots

25 Aug

Some people are so clueless that it hurts. For example:

Upon informing people that I am a vegetarian, they proceed to say dumb things like…
– Wow. That must be so hard
– Really? Don’t you hate it?
– I could never live without meat

As well as the classic… – What do you eat?

Tofu and lettuce of course!

In fact almost every single time I inform a meat eater that I am vego they go on to talk about eating meat.
The other day I actually had a woman laugh at me and then give the third response above (I could never live without meat) and went on to tell me about the massive steak she was planning for dinner. ??

Some days I’m amazed that people can be so socially backwards.

Bob’s parents stayed with us recently and his Dad talked about meat during EVERY single one of our meals together. That was over 10 meals.

I can sort of understand the meat-talking. I think it comes from a nervous place where people are not sure what to say so they start talking about the closest thing they know about the subject – and often end up talking shit or offending the other person.

For example:

Someone starts talking to me about how much they hate Jim Carey and how they find him incessantly annoying, saying things like “I avoid all movies that he’s in” and “When I hear him talk it makes me so angry”.
Then I start talking about all the Jim Carey movies I can think of and start acting out stupid quotes and skits from them, “Smmmokin!”

Inconsiderate much? Careless yes? English good?

Ok. Maybe not a great example. But you get the point. Here’s the problem…

Unknowingly people change topics of conversation to be about THEM.
And sometimes they do it knowingly too.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taking it in turns to talk about yourself is not a conversation. It’s not. It’s just plain and simply that, taking it in turns. There’s no real engagement, no learning and no real sharing either.

You might think that when you take your turn to speak that the other person gives a shit but the truth is… they probably don’t. They’re too busy thinking about what they can say that tops what you’re saying. It might sound like this: (taken directly from a conversation I attempted to have with Bob’s Mother)

N: I’m going to finish painting this door
J: Oh yes, painting is great fun. When I painted our doors at home I really enjoyed it
N: Yeah, I don’t mind it. It does get a bit tedious after a while though. I’m up to number 8 now
J: Oh well I never did that many, only the ones downstairs
N: uh huh
J: *counts* 5 I think
N: Not sure
J: And because they were all the original doors they just looked fantastic
N: Yeah these are new doors which makes a big difference
J: And you’ve reminded me, I don’t think I ever painted our hinges
N; Yeah I think our look really good painted
J: I’ll have to look into that when I get home…

And on it went. This is what happens when both people attempt to tell their own story without engaging with the other person about theirs. In fact the closest I came to engaging was when I said that I was ‘Not sure’ about how many doors they had.

By then end of their stay I had stopped bothering trying to share any part of myself and communicated with them only by entertaining their mindless chatter.

This frustrates me beyond belief!
When I calmed down I recognised that the reason I was so upset was because of my own expectations. There’s two main ones:

1) I expect that people (parents in particular) should have an interest in what I/others have to say
2) I expect that people (especially parents) should have courtesy and respect for others in social encounters

And the plain old stinking truth is that people will never fulfil these expectations. In fact having expectations like these in place serves only to fuel my own suffering. e.g.

I’m in a cafe ordering nachos. I order the vegetarian one without the cheese. The woman looks confused so I reiterate… I would like the beans, the salsa, the guacamole and the sauce but just without the cheese. She finally gets it then the woman making coffee next to her turns around and says aggressively “Pff what’s the point?!”

I perceived this to be rude and disrespectful and ended up feeling agitated at the time. I now realise is that my agitation was caused because of my expectations. Because I wanted my experience to be different to the way that it actually was.

I was talking to a psychologist friend the other day who said that if you expect people to be stupid and inconsiderate then you’re far less likely to be disappointed by their actions or inaction. This made sense to me although it appeared to be a little pessimistic. Funnily enough though, he’s exactly right.

I’m a natural optimist. I like goodness and happiness and easyness and lovelyness and I’ve learnt to hope for it in all areas of my life. But life just isn’t like that. The truth is that people will be rude and inconsiderate, they will put themselves first and show others no respect and some parents are just selfish jerks.

It’s sad but true. Accept it and be free 🙂