We have a lot of really incredible people around us. I am amazed at the number of caring, creative, and thoughtful people that we know.
(Yes, I am talking about you.)
At this point, my mom is thinking, “What does she want?”
She is right – this is one of the those times I am going to ask for your help.
In addition to regular culture shock, I think our North American culture has undergone a huge shift recently. I’ve been watching it unfold from a distance in great distress (and possibly the worst parts of it are what I see on social media anyway). There are many complex issues involved – race, gender, drugs, economic inequality, religion, and history, to name a few. It appears to me that our response to this complexity has largely been to oversimplify and demonize “the other,” whether the other is Republicans, Liberals, anti-vaxxers, people who warn about climate-change, blacks, whites, refugees, gays,…
It’s fear-mongering and it’s hatred and I REFUSE to participate.
(All of that, partly because I have just been needing to say it, and partly so when I ask you for information shortly, you know what kind of “information” I am not looking for.)
We suddenly find ourselves in a position where we will be buying a lot of “stuff.” And it is so easy to find what I want, whenever I want it. Except I find myself overwhelmed just trying to buy toothpaste. (Whitening? cavity-protection? tartar removing? breath-freshening? striped? sparkly? spearmint? wintermint? baking soda? natural? Expensive or cheap? They are all good things, but I don’t know how to decide between one or the other.)
The decisions get more complex when one factors in justice issues. Who made it? Did they get paid well for it, or were those cocoa beans picked by child slaves? Where was it made? Do I want to support industry in that country?
And more complex again when one factors in environmental issues: Were forests cut down and ecosystems eradicated to grow my coffee? Is all of this packaging really necessary for me to have a phone? What kind of processes and chemicals were used to make this thing, and what happened to the waste?
(These are just some of the simpler, more neutral questions one could ask, and many of the issues are overlapping.)
I’m becoming more and more committed to asking these kinds of questions, though. I’ve been putting it off, placing my focus on other things, and just buying what I need. But I can’t ignore it any longer – we are being reckless with our resources, and we are ignoring the fact that we are benefiting from other people’s suffering. I don’t want to participate in systemic injustice so that I can buy what I want, when I want it. But I also don’t want to be paralyzed, either.
At the moment, I’m looking for information mainly regarding 3 things:
- Clothing: Winter is coming. I pretty much just own sandals & summer clothes.
- Food. We need to eat. I’m a little further ahead in this area than others, but I’m still looking for more information.
- Cars: Depending on where we end up, we may or may not need a car. This is a huge issue, because I’ve never bought one before – so I don’t even really know where to begin. One basic question I have is “Are electric cars actually better for the environment?” From there – I don’t even know what I don’t know.
So please, send me information, and let me know if there are specific questions you think I should be asking. I was surprised at the response we got recently when I asked for expertise in soap-making, but as one friend said, “You do know a lot of hippies.” Hippy or not, I’d like to hear from you.
You can email me, send me a message on facebook, or use the comments section. I’m happy with articles, books, and Mike can listen to the podcasts.
Thanks in advance for your help.