Monday, March 31, 2008

Recycling at its best

This article is amazing:

Continuing with the theme of hanging on to things of value - isn't everything of value? Maybe we should reconsider our habits of just giving away everything haphazardly to Goodwill or Salvation Army (where anything imperfect may get shredded or tossed!)?

Maybe we should try to use every scrap of everything until it can be used no more?

Maybe we should keep all the junk, the stuff, the everything out of our houses until we have used everything we already own to its "logical end."

Maybe we should just learn to be a little more conscious of the precious clutter in our lives and in our minds.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rain and giving and a million things

It has, once again, been months since I wrote. But I could stay silent no longer when I saw this.

The punchline: Rain and snow may be most dependent on a certain type of bacteria! What happens is that these Pseudomonas syringae bacteria are the little "dust particle" around which rain droplets and snowflakes and clouds form in warmer conditions (still cold, though). Without the bacteria, they can't form with any sort of regularity or predictability.

What's amazing about this is that it once again highlights the interdependence of life and environment. It suggests that maybe rain didn't even happen with regularity UNTIL bacteria evolved, and maybe that is what allowed higher organisms to come about (after all, plants need rain!).

And even scarier: in places where we destroy the environment and graze or kill off plants that may help the survival of this bacteria, we may be inadvertently causing drought!

Amazing how every little act begets another. Which brings me to the concept of giving. Another study shows that buying for others makes us happier than buying for ourselves. And this is true even though most people think buying for themselves will make them happier! Apparently, we have no idea what will make us happy.

Giving is more satisfying than taking. But what about hanging on to things? I have news to share with you all: I'm expecting a child. Well there you are. As a result, I've developed a great desire to go through childhood things my mother has saved and find stuff my child will use in the future, someday, maybe. I have to be picky - no junky toys, nothing in really poor condition, and mostly only things that are sentimental anyway. Like an old baby blanket. A kid-size kimono. My favorite books.

Giving, even when for our own family members, is so satisfying. And it can be satisfying even if we are giving what we already have, or only our time. What do you think will make you happier - buying a braille book for a blind girl or reading to her? I'd be willing to bet on the latter. But what do we do? Instead, we send money to foundations that are in the charitable work business, and we buy toys to put in the boxes at the holidays.

Why, when we spend so much time and energy looking for happiness in Hawai'i or a spa or a skiing vacation or more hours at work or the gym, can we not spend the time helping others, knowing it will bring us the happiness we so desperately seek elsewhere?