What can we do?
As I grow old my thoughts turn to the turbulent world around us. My head bends in shame when I remember that my generation is largely responsible. I know that I neither listened to my inner voice nor followed the advice of many wise men and women of the time. It is true that we inherited a culture already set on a destructive path but I feel sad that we failed to change its course. My head again bends when I think of the world my grandchildren are going to inherit. But I know better than ever that The Great Wisdom runs this universe. We don’t. Each one of us needs only to do his or her best. This thought brings peace to my old head. So, as you will presently see, I move right along and jabber!
The hottest topic of discussion these days is environment. But experience teaches me that it is also very complex. Most people agree that we have a problem, but some are sure we have crossed the point of no return and others think there is nothing to worry for we can repair the damage. I have also learned that almost everyone wants to know what they can personally do.
Knowing my nature, and many weaknesses, I avoid getting embroiled in sticky, meaningless arguments. I say I respect all viewpoints because to the viewers they are true. My viewpoint is one of many. It grows out of what I have gleaned from my life's unique circumstances and I am open to learning more and changing. I talk to share my view for it might have something of value to others. I have no desire to convert anyone. You should take what rings as true and leave what doesn't.
I begin by saying that I do not claim to know more than you about the experts' opinion, for I am sure you have read them more than I. Talk of global warming, holes in the ozone layer, water crisis, changing weather patterns alarm and excite us. In my younger days I used to get very agitated and vigorously preached what I thought people aught to know and do. I still catch myself doing that, but as I grow older this tendency is mellowing. I now take the word of "scientists" with a big grain of salt. Also, I test their theories against local developments that I can actually see. For instance it is easy to see water level in the village wells falling, stable rainfall patterns turning erratic, soil fertility deteriorating, summer heat rising and so forth. The changes everyone and I can directly see do indeed indicate deterioration of our environment. This way of knowing prompts us to find causes of these changes. It is easy to see that falling water level in the wells is linked with deep tube wells fitted with power driven pumps. With great speed they suck enormous amount of water from the ground. Other such links begin also to reveal themselves. So, the urgent need to change our own lifestyle becomes apparent.
Changing the world is difficult and beyond the power of the individual. But with relatively little effort individuals can change their own lifestyle. Once the process starts, living examples multiply and they speak louder than learned speeches. The list of 'what to do' is long and individuals must choose according to their particular situation. I offer just a few simple hints from personal experience.
1. If we buy less, we grow richer instantly. Pay off your debts and avoid gathering useful assets, including a bank balance
2. Eat healthy. Avoid junk foods, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, coke and you know what else.
3. Use or exercise all parts of the body daily. Choose gadgets free exercises such as walking and yoga.
4. You know your body better than your doctor, for you live in it all the time. Learn to hear the body and heed its calls. Take care of minor ailments by home remedies. Resting when tired, adjusting food intake, and periodic fasting can do much. Avoid doctors for minor aches and fevers. If you break a bone or have a serious illness, consult a wise and principled physician.
5.Cut down on watching TV.
6. Read less and very selectively. Contemplate more.
7. If possible live in a house with a yard where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables.
8. Walk and bike more and cut down on car use.
9. Take a job in a small town even with a lower salary.
10. Reduce the use of detergents, soaps, cosmetics, and body conditioners.
11. Grow a beard if you are a male and save time and money!
July 22, 2006