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Peace on Earth - Common Sense

December 31, 2010

Tags: order, food, movement, alternative energy, banks, buying, car, charity, China, Club of Rome, common sense, consumption, cosmetics – harmful, disparity – income, education, food – processed, economic growth, economy, energy – alternative, energy – solar, energy – wind, energy – alternative fuels, Great Depression, Great Recession, health care, insanity, make-do, ministering to the needy, New Year’s resolution, nutritional bar, paradigm shift, peace, Peace on Earth, Peace on Earth - Common Sense, recycle, repair, shop less, sickness, West

This blog is written out of a desire to bring common sense to the health care debate. To have a system that can fix difficult diseases – brilliant! But to live a life that doesn’t make you sick in the first place – common sense.

We can agree on that. But can we also agree in some other areas? (I am not an expert on things beyond medicine - so be forewarned - this might be an intolerably bad blog entry). We can’t live sanely, if the world is out of whack. And it is.

The disparity between rich and poor is getting wider, the climate is changing (not for the better), the world’s banks are near-collapse, peace between nations appears to be elusive, terrorism is replacing meaningful discourse.

In this situation I would like a word from our leaders that it is time for a shift in paradigms: Individual consumption can’t save the world. We who are better off (and if you are sitting at a computer, you belong to the better-off group – as sorry as you might feel for your tight budget, debts, or unsure financial future) need to make do with what we have and have to find ways to be happier on less. Studies show that all that stuff we bought and consumed didn’t make us happier in the first place. Exactly the same thing is now happening in China – we, in the West, have not been a good role model, it seems.

Instead, we are hearing the same as before from our political leaders: Buy more, consume more – because that way you help the economy. The Club of Rome, a loose coming-together of prominent economists, predicted in 1972 that economic growth could not go on forever. Meanwhile we have been going through a near second Great Depression (called now the Great Recession) – and still it is business as usual.

I don’t want to help the economy by buying a bigger car, harmful cosmetics or processed food. This is my resolution for the New Year (much as I am against New Year’s resolution since I think every day is the beginning of a new year in our life, and every day should be lived to its best and most worthwhile): I want to become even more mindful in what I throw my money at.

• Charity is always a good think – but do your homework: Choose a charity where the money is really landing at the intended poor – not at the charity's CEOs.
• Fresh food. No “nutritional” bars but a chicken from an organic farmer. No “slimming down miracle” but fresh vegetables. No “enhanced” this or “fortified” that but real food. Not food substitutes.
• Alternative energies: Solar and wind are probably the best bet at this time. Fuel from corn or fuel from cow dung – those projects have not yet grown up.
• Education of the poor – here and abroad. The more education people have, the less likely they are to have too many children they can’t feed. The less people there are in the world, the better the chance for a good life for each of them – without religions that promise them a better life in the beyond and make them throw bombs here.
• Health care for all. For this I would be ready to pay higher taxes.
• Ministering to the needy: the disabled, the mentally ill, the homeless – without stifling the entrepreneurial spirit of this country.
• Shop less – shopping should not be a pastime. Reading is. Gardening is. Cross-stitching is. Find something worthwhile to do.
• Make it a hobby to do with less, to recycle, to repair.

Spending indiscriminately will not avert the financial crisis. Spending while improving the world might save our good old Earth.

Peace to all! Peace everywhere!

Yeah, and before I forget: Let's move more!
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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