177 – Moving Forward
There once was an old proverb common to the New England area of the United States. New England is in the northeastern section of the country and was settled in the 1600’s by the Puritans who were escaping religious persecution in Great Britain. The Puritans were not the region’s first settlers. Those would have been the groups known as American Indians who came roughly twenty to thirty thousand years earlier, having crossed the Bering Straits from the Caucasus Mountains in Euro-Asia.
The Puritans were a non-nonsense type of folk. They were not known for their sense of humor nor wild behavior. Their religious principles included strict adherence to their interpretation of scripture. Their clothing was very modest and did not include bright colors. Men and women had narrow gender roles and one did one’s best in all things.
The proverb of which I am referring today goes like this: “Use it up, wear it out; make it do or do without.” Descendants from these early Puritans take pride today in having those same principles as their forefathers in being practical. Such practicality as is denoted in this proverb is a type of altruism that many have forgotten today.
It is hard to regroup and move forward if you feel defeated. The fact is that nothing can really defeat us unless we allow it to do so. So maybe we were not the winners in a particular endeavor. There is still much we can do to be a winner. Let’s talk about five “R’s” of earthly altruism that we can each do every day. Not only does it not have to be expensive, it can even result in saving us money!
The first “R” is respect. We need to respect the earth and our natural resourced. Water is a vital resource that all living things require. We have to imbibe and clean so how can we economize on our water usage. The easiest is to take shorter showers or baths.
The second “R” is reserve. For instance tonight, instead of leaving your computer on all night, turn it off. Yes you will have to reenter all your passwords but seriously…how long does that take? The amount of electricity saved might not seem like a great deal but if multiplied by all the computer users in your area, it does make a difference.
The third “R” is reuse. We all know about reusing glass bottles but before you get to that point, think. Purchase reusable water bottles and other containers. Make sure that the bottles you are reusing should be but if they are, then you are saving the planet from becoming an unnecessary landfill.
Our fourth “R” is recycle and, since we are talking technology, think about recycling your own tech gadgets. The easiest to recycle are batteries. Most metropolitan areas have recycling centers for such things and we should all utilize these. Batteries can be recharged but also reincarnated.
Our fifth “R” is not a common one when environmentalists discuss such things. It is repair. All of these other things are good and necessary but we really purchase far more things than we need. Alan Minter explains: “Recycling is better–I won’t write “good”–for the environment. But without economics–without supply and demand of raw materials–recycling is nothing more than a meaningless exercise in glorifying garbage. No doubt it’s better than throwing something into an incinerator, and worse than fixing something that can be refurbished. It’s what you do if you can’t bear to see something landfilled. Placing a box or a can or a bottle in a recycling bin doesn’t mean you’ve recycled anything, and it doesn’t make you a better, greener person: it just means you’ve outsourced your problem. Sometimes that outsourcing is near home; and sometimes it’s overseas. But wherever it goes, the global market and demand for raw materials is the ultimate arbiter. Fortunately, if that realization leaves you feeling bad, there’s always the alternative: stop buying so much crap in the first place.”
Maybe I should add a sixth “R” – realization. We need to realize that we all are living together on this big blue marble of a planet we call earth. We need to take care of it and practice altruism on a global basis. It is the best way we can be ready for tomorrow.