THE Green Karma EXPERIENCE
Words like “make a difference”, “go green” or “keep it clean” are so easily said. As a matter of fact, they are just the beginning of a chain of action, an impulse creating a momentum. A ripple that eventually reaches the shores of the world. Actions of individuals or a community are the first step towards awareness, education of a greater public is the next, and actions of the greater public is the result that will encourage a much greater public to hop on the eco train. Purchase your ticket now, it’s for free!
My thoughts were along these lines at the last beach cleaning of The Chillhouse in connection with the Canggu Surf Community. You see, in wet season, when the winds change to Westerly, heaps of plastic (not only) from the densely populated island of Java gets washed ashore on Bali’s West Coast. And what struck us most was that this was just a glimpse of what’s happening in the bigger picture. Beyond imagination.
As soon as we started collecting all kinds of plastics, mostly packaging, heaps of local people came to see what we were doing. The clueless looks on their faces weren’t too promising. These were looks of ignorance, emptiness, and showed no hint of understanding for what we were doing at all. How should they? Nobody ever told them. Let’s tell them.
Naturally, when the locals don’t understand what we are doing and, above all, why we are doing it, they see no reason to help and participate. There is no education whatsoever as far as pollution, waste management, or a way of conduct responsible towards mother nature is concerned. Sadly.
Schools need to turn green. It’s the new generation that will suffer from what we do wrong. At the same time it is also them who can make the difference. And it is them who already enjoy the effects of what we start to change. So making a difference starts with small actions which will turn on a greater public, and that’s the bigger picture of beach cleaning with the Canggu Surf Community. Does this thought turn you on?
We need to make the locals (that includes the highest officials!) living on an island with tourism being the major source of income and employment aware and understand that if the sea and beaches are dirty, no more tourists will come and every second person will lose his or her job. No more cell-phone, motorbike, house or food. Say bye-bye to the lifestyle that you are used to. Say bye-bye to surfing. And wave your hand.
Back to what you hate about the old generation: growing rice under the sun. This will be one of the few options, because the fish will have died from eating plastic. Difference is that the sun is even hotter than in the days of the old generation, because of a steadily diminishing ozone layer and a just as steadily growing ozone hole very close by. But that’s another story.
The oceans of the world may have different names – the Indian, Pacific, Atlantic, Southern, and Arctic – but a quick peek at the map reveals that they’re all connected. There’s just one massive body of water flowing around different landmasses that were once connected as well. If you dump something in the ocean, it affects the others. So when you hear that cruise ships, for example, are allowed to release treated sewage while at sea (for a large vessel, that could mean up to one hundred and twenty thousand liters of human waste a day) and then you stop to think about the tankers, and billions of people (mostly third world with no waste management at all) who live near the world’s oceans and pollute the water through public waste streams, you can see how we are literally turning our oceans into sewers. Do you prefer to picture that with the smell or the look?
Currently, the biggest carpet of plastic is swimming in the South Sea and has the size of Germany. Congratulations. WE ALL DID IT.
Bag it, box it, can it, cushion it, shrink-wrap it, bottle it, cap it, wrap it, wrap it with a tray, double-seal the cap, put six-pac rings around them, put the bottles into a box, shrink-wrap it all again on a pallet for the forklift! Oh, and would you double-bag that big jug of water with the handle already on it, please?
The big idea here is that food is a big idea. We are feeding at the top of a food pyramid never before imagined. That pyramid is built on oil, gas, coal, fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified plants, and enormous machinery, with little regard for natural systems. As generation green, we owe it to the natural world to understand how food is grown, shipped, processed, and packaged, and then support the best choices that we have at the time. Make your choice.
Sometimes that choice will mean buying the food grown closest to home, organic if possible. Sometimes that option just might be to carry a thermos, travel mug, so you don’t have to use throw-away packaging. And even if you do, don’t throw it away. Bin it. That’s the first step. That’s the baby step. To be practiced day by day. Do it and tell it to those who still litter. Day by day. Cigarette butts? Same story. Again and again. Change comes slowly, but steadily. Feel it coming?
What about going out for coffee or tea and a muffin? Let’s have fun throwing away the disposable cup, paper heat shield, cardboard tray, plastic lid, plastic stir stick, sugar packet, cream packet, and that wad of paper napkins! Sounds familiar?
Just as the term “karma” can be said to mean that you get out of life what you put in, we believe that if you consciously work to build a healthy regenerative world, you and everyone else will see a better world – a greener world – emerging. Don’t slip into the thinking that your actions (indifferences or negativity) don’t make a difference. Good things happen because good people believe they can make a positive difference. It’s all about stewardship, taking care of things that are entrusted to you. Be aware and take care!
The Dalai Lama said “Love, compassion, and tolerance are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Making greener choices about what you stick on the end of your fork has such a huge ripple effect – on the farmer struggling to make organic farming the rule instead of the exception, to the animals who deserve a human existence, to the workers who harvest and transport and pack everything we consume, to all of us affected by the true costs of bringing our food to our table. What are the true costs? Who pays them? Ultimately, mother nature does. Admit it.
So let’s be aware and make a change.
- Can I use less of what I already have instead?
- I s there any way to borrow or rent what I want?
- Can I buy a used or refurbished version of this product?
- Do I know someone who can trade me something I want for something I have they want?
- Can I purchase the product I need without or with less packaging?
- Do I really have to take it away or can I eat or drink it here?
- Is this a want or a need? How do I know?
- What’s influencing my planned purchase? TV? Friends?
- Am I really going to use or wear this next year?
- Can I list five good reasons why I have to have this product?
- How much more am I willing to pay for a “green” version of what I want?
- If I really have to get it now, could I walk or bike to the store?
- Can I go one week/month/year without this product?
- If I can go that long, how about I skip it altogether?
- Do I really want to say “yes” to media manipulation?
- Do I really want to be the product of someone else’s dictation?
- Do I really want to contribute to killing mother ocean?
- Do I really want to help creating a world not worth living in for my children and the children of my friends?
We want to create a world worth living for our children and the children of our friends.
Love and light,
Alex and Sabina
PS: Don’t throw it away! Keep it until you find a trashcan. If you can’t find one, buy one or build one. One that is not fire resistant.
PPS: I recently read “Generation Green” (2008: Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster, New World Library), a book that influenced my worldview and contributed to what you have just read.