Thursday, December 9, 2010

Who are you to the world?

At some points we feel so small. Like we're too insignificant, weak, imperfect, incapable... whatever it is.

Why? Who's to tell us we're too anything?

We feel squashed, smothered and contained maybe. Without even realizing it.

While society tries to tell us to be FREE, what it really means is for us to fall into this everyday regime where although we think we're making our own choices, our fragile minds are being transformed everywhere we turn.

How is it counter culture to live a life of truth, justice, and obedience? Who is to say those who will for something different are followers? Today, aren't the rebels the followers?... or are we the rebels?

Everyday waking up being told we are not enough. Who's to say what you are meant to live for? What are you meant to live for? Every action we make is for some purpose. There cannot be more than one purpose, as eventually they will conflict and one will be greater. But if there is a single ultimate purpose, then every action should lead us there. Where?

We are all here for something more than the ordinary. We each believe in ourselves more than the world believes in us. How will we prove it?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Criticizing Criticism

More of an observation...

We criticize each other all the time. Whether its us being hypocrites or us thinking we have some sort of right to point fingers.  Don't get me wrong, there are times and places when cracking down on people's words and actions are necessary, but maybe not constantly.

We see absolutely amazing people doing amazing things everyday, and from this it seems that they are perfect, or at least we imagine they are. Well they aren't! Nobody is! For all the stupid things we do everyday, we turn around and criticize absolutely phenomenal leaders, in all sense of the word for a word slip, or something that was miscontrewed or taken out of context. How is that fair? In the same breath, how often have you had the media breathing down your neck waiting for the next hit story?

While there are more than a fair share of celebrities, leaders, and talking heads of sorts that put a bad taste in my mouth for multiple reasons, it comes down to not only a matter of credibility, but also a reflection on ourselves.

While I don't mean to make this a religious fiasco at all, the Bible isn't the most popular book of all time for nothing:

"Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle... 'Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?' They said this to test him... Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground... 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her'"...
John 8:3,5-7

Replace Jesus, the Pharisees and Moses with Bobby, the Bullies and Jack and you've got a pretty solid story.  This is not me saying people should not be charged with their crimes, but in most day to day circumstances I think we all wish people would just give us a break.  So lets take the time to give the world a break tomorrow for the sake of all the "this just isn't my day" people. And sticking to our own business would cut down on all the stress pointing all those fingers. I mean, really, whats the point?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I've said it before, and I'll say it again... We're consumers. And the fact that we, as Americans, are described as that as oppose to other things is terrifying to me. Do we really "need" everything, I guess so, because that's what we're told.

I just watched a movie called "The Story of Stuff" and in all honesty, some of the concepts we're pretty intense.  The idea is:
  1. we wake up and go to work
  2. we are so tired when we get home that we plop down, watch television, only to be told that we suck and we need stuff to make us awesome
  3. so we get up and go shopping in order to buy all the stuff that will make us happy
  1. then go back to work in order to pay for all the stuff we just bought
  2. so then we are so tired when we get home that we plop down, watch television, only to be told that we suck and we need stuff to make us awesome
  3.  so we get up and go shopping in order to buy all the stuff that will make us happy
  1. then go back to work in order to pay for all the stuff we just bought
  2. so then we are so tired when we get home that we plop down, watch television, only to be told that we suck and we need stuff to make us awesome
  3. so we get up and go shopping in order to buy all the stuff that will make us happy...


This also reminds me of a video I watched promoting a conference I'm attending about how the world is just telling us though the media how worthless we are. And in that way, the media trains those around is to look at us as worthless if we choose not to conform. Think about it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday

Black Friday
The Ridiculous:
- Stores opening as early as early as 3am
- Not to mention stores open 24hrs like Walmart
- Customers camping out for sales
- Stores only having a limited number of sought out, on sale products

The Sickening:
Two years ago a Walmart worker in New York was killed by a stampeding mob. As much as no one meant to murder that day, everyone participating full fledged in the Black Friday chaos should feel ashamed. How does the Christmas spirit turn into this madness?

Can't say it enough. Our need for "stuff" comes from human greed but also from this feeling of entitlement. The way most people grow up, their parents pamper them, and society tells us we need certain things to be accepted or well liked. We grow up needing to fit in, which in many cases requires us to be materialistic from day one to keep up with pop culture and current trends. Things that are common place in this culture, like commercializing every holiday, are somehow not necessary in other countries. So who is to blame for our materialistic society?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Environmental Concerns, Less Controversial Issues

Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water...


But not a drop to drink...?

So lets just talk about how much water is on the earth.  How much? Well just as we are about 70% water as humans, the earth is about the same. We keep hearing that the next war will be over water, which surprises some people, maybe not locally as many communities have droughts, but from a global perspective it appears we have plenty of water!

  • 97.5% of our water is SALT
  • for the math whizz's this means only 2.5% of  our water is FRESH
    • 68.7% of that is snow and ice (yes this means those massive glaciers!)
    • 30.8% groundwater + 0.4% lakes, rivers ect... = our source of fresh water
      • NOTE: this is less than 1% of all the water on EARTH

With that in perspective, lets think about everything we could possible use water for...

The Obvious:  showers, washing dishes, drinking, flushing toilets, washing car, watering lawns, washing laundry, watering plants... to name a few

The Not-So Obvious (Virtual Water): 
  • How much water on average does it take to produce...
    • a car = 40,000 gallons
    • 1 pound of plastic = 25 gallons
    • pair of jeans = 900 gallons
    • 1 pound of wool/cotton = 100 gallons
    • refine a barrel of crude oil = 1,900 gallons
    • 1 pound of cheese = 900 gallons (milk) + 600 gallons
    • pair of leather shoes = 2,000 gallons
    • 1 pound of roasted coffee = 2,500 gallons
    • one latte = 50 gallons
So perhaps cutting showers short by 2 minutes is not the most effective way to conserve water, not saying it doesn't help, but consuming less "stuff" seems to be the way to go! While everything we consume, in any sense of the word, uses water, there are some products that take more water, or that just aren't as vital. For example, although 1 pound of cheese uses more water than a pair of jeans, do we really need the 8th pair of jeans? Most likely not, along with the 50 gallon latte we get every morning on the way to work. Obviously water is VERY important for more than just quenching our thirst, which is why using it to its fullest potential in the most sustainable way is absolutely necessary.  There is, ultimately, plenty of water on the world for all to use, as the same with many other natural resources, however they are not unlimited. Taking care to only consume our share is essential for making the world go round.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When Sex Isn't Just Your Business

Sex. Apparently its something we can't live without. By we, I don't mean me, I might be generalizing a little. While taking a survey last week online I was asked why I don't have sex. It seems like abstinance these days isn't very well accepted. Why? I have no idea. If you think about it. It makes far too much sense.

Economic Issue:  An article written about in my college daily news paper a few years ago had to do with the availability of condoms on campus.  When the writer was sick with a cold, he called Health Services and asked if they had cough drops or tissues for distribution. No. So the question is, why is our tuition money paying to provide people with unlimited free condoms? But not just condoms, flavored condoms, textured condoms, difference sized condoms?

When we consider that the school does not have free products to help prevent sicknesses that people have no control over, like the flu or a cold, but provides students with condoms, something doesn't add up. People need to start being responsible and if they need condoms, buy them, don't make me buy your supply with my tuition money. Or better yet, take a chill pill and practice the easiest and cheapest form of birth control, abstinence.

Environmental Issue: Second, not only should people be buying their own "necessary" prevention, if I have to for my common cold, but most forms of birth control are terrible for the environment.  Obviously condoms are not exactly Mother-Earth friendly, but how about oral contraceptives? Not only do they affect the fertility of the human user, but as it turns out, many fish have issues reproducing due to the estrogen that leaks into the waterways from human waste. As it turns out, and I can see it being a legal issue in the future. Companies should be held responsible and PAY for these wastes being emmited from their products that are effecting our ecosystem. They also be required to place a warning on their labels explaining the risks to the environment because OUR body are not the only concern, as everything comes full circle.

If you're really not digging the fish example, how about the use of horses in the production of oral contraceptives? The estrogen is from the urine of pregnant horses. Now if that doesn't put a bad taste in your mouth, these baby horses are killed at birth because they are essentially useless. While I believe this is illegal in the U.S. these days, it is not in other countries. Just because it isn't being done here, doesn't mean it isn't being supported here through purchasing and use of these pills. Thankfully there are places that adopt the horses to people to save them as oppose to slaughtering them.

The point? You don't just effect you. Think about it...

Monday, November 22, 2010

NO Plastic Bags!?

Summary: Today I went to ALDI with my mother, and as I was placing our groceries on the conveyor belt when I noticed that the man in front of me was putting all his goods right into the carriage with NO bags. I was mystified. Then I realized ALDI has NO plastic bags. What a brilliant idea!

ALDI's thoughts on this comes from how other grocery stores (or all stores really) jack up their prices in order to provide "free" plastic bags. ALDI charges customers a lower cost and then makes them PAY for the bags. But who wants to pay "extra" once they realize they have an option? Most people bring their own reusable bags or just carry the goods out in hand.  It makes a lot of sense. Using this tactic, the Republic of Ireland has actually cut the number of plastic bags used by 90%. This means the stores don't have to buy as many of the bags and less plastic is put into the environment. For those who find it more convenient to pick up plastic bags at the store, they are given a little slap on the wrist with anywhere from a 50 cent to $1 charge per bag. Again, absolutely brilliant.