Friday, October 06, 2006


Or a riff on why I really need to make this commitment to my choice of lifestyle. Why, even if my DH gets a raise today (which I hope) we continue to live consciously and not spend more because we can, not consume more because we have the money.

The air quality in Singapore over the last week has sucked. The PSI index has been in the 60s daily and upto 73 one day. OF course they tell you it is not unhealthy until it reaches the 100 range, yuk. The air is smoggy, the air smells like smoke-like destruction, like the forest fires and slash burning in Indonesia that is causing the haze. Every year Singapore and Malaysia are plagued with the haze that is blown over from fires in Indonesia. Some of the fires are accidental, but most are slash fires. Fires caused when thousands of acres of forest land are converted into "fields". This bothers me to no end. Why? Because I am a farmer by love. An ag economics major. The granddaughter of a cattle rancher, a dry land wheat farmer, who made his living working land the way it was supposed to be worked. Taking into consideration the seasons, taking into consideration the fact that they did not have irrigation, so you laid half of your land fallow every year, allowed it to rest. You didn't make the land into something it is not intended to be. Of course I am sure he used fertilizer, but not even close to the levels used today. He worked with the land, not against it.

I could go on a whole long riff about the failure of modern agriculture, but not today. Today, it is about why I want to leave the world a better place for my kids. Why I want to live in a society that values the old as well as the new, that values the trees more where they stand, than on the ground as lumber. Why I won't buy teak furniture, even though it is beautiful and inexpensive and traditional to this region, but because it is now over processed and forests are being logged bare for the inexpensive furniture. As much as you may read about sustainable Teak harvest... I can tell you it doesn't exist. The trees are cut without replanting, it is all about the immediate sale, not the future. Not that the logger is entirely to blame. He has been sold a bag of dreams that can only be filled when he has a big screen TV, just like those rich people in the US.

So, for now, I am happy with my 19" TV, without cable. I am happy with my used furniture, I am happy with my microwave free kitchen. I am happy that my kids have some toys but not as many as others and I am happy that my biggest monthly "purchase" is almost always books and not crap. Every day is a step, somedays are better than others. Somedays I buy because it is there, but when the day is done, I KNOW that the purchase was not the best, I learn and I move on.

I still wish I had a food processor though ;-)

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