Yes, this is a rant.
I get so annoyed with all the new products we do not need that I see advertised daily. I can only imagine how destructive they are to the environment. I love that people use their creativity to make our lives better, but unfortunately, I don’t think that is what many organizations are doing. I don’t need everything done quicker, I don’t need everything to have a scent to make me calm (I have essential oils I can use, and fresh air and sunshine). So let’s look at some of the products that piss me off.
A commercial comes on tv: The kids are playing and making noise, maybe even disagreeing about something – as children often do. The commercial offers a variety of scented fabric softeners. Do we really need to add something more to our laundry to make it smell nice? (Try fresh air). There are natural products such as baking soda or vinegar that can help with eliminating odors in your laundry. I know fresh air can be a bit of a problem when we are inundated with smoke from wildfires. I’ve seen scented ‘beads’ advertised to add to laundry to keep it smelling good longer. Questions for you to ask: 1) What are those beads, sprays, and products made of? 2) What possible effects might they have on our health (rashes, allergies, lung problems from inhaling). What does the product do to the environment let alone the effect of the production on the environment? Consider the use of natural products (again – baking soda, vinegar, salt) and maybe some essential oils. But remember, everything can be overdone, even natural products.
Soaps, Detergents, Anti-bacterials, Wipes…
We’ve just come through a world-wide pandemic that had has isolating, wearing face masks, and washing our hands and everything else with anti-bacterial agents. COVID was a virus, so what the heck is an anti-bacterial product going to do? There are a plethora of of anti-bacterial cleaners, soaps, and wipes available. Is there a place for these products? Of course, there are some situations where they are needed, but not in most homes. Consider instead an environmentally friendly soap made with natural products? Alcohol hand sanitizers are excellent for road trips or time in the wilderness, but we don’t need them for everthing, but they might be easier to use in many situations. Hand hygiene is important. As a general rule, we do not need specific anti-bacterial products unless we are immune compromised, or someone in the home is immune compromised. Soap and water used regularly on our hands will get rid of most pathogens.
The cleaning products we use in our homes are something else to learn about. Ever wonder why we are told to use only in a “well-ventilated” area? Think about what that really means, it is going to do something to your lungs and possibly your brain.
I am not against advancement. We want the world to be a better place. We want everyone to be healthy, happy, not smell offensive. But do we need to be able to do everything faster, more often, easier, and with enhanced colours and smells? Is the one who dies with the most toys really the winner?
Do we need more cosmetics and hair products? Are we still testing these on animals? Maybe, a natural look has a place. As I age I am aware of every wrinkle, scar, and sag that I have. Everyone of which is a sign of a life well-lived. Well, maybe not well-lived but lived and enjoyed. I use make up, I still have fun using colour in my hair and I am guessing some of it is not great for my health or for environmental health. I am cutting back and finding natural products where possible. I am doing what I can to educate myself and be friendly to my body and to the earth.
What is happening to our food? We know excess amounts of sugar and salt are not good for us (well, most things are not good for us in excess amounts). Why do we continue to buy products with excess sugar and salt – because they taste good – and then see our doctors because we are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammation? Do I blame you – not specifically? I indulge in what tastes good but has excess salt, sugar, or butter. One person is not at fault. Obviously, the demand is there or companies wouldn’t stay in business. We have all made mistakes over the years, buying what we want, eating tasty items we know are not healthy, buying something to give us pleasure, save us time, or just for the fun of it. Media and advertisements coerce, brainwash, and try to make us feel guilty if we do not go with the current trends. So, we work long hours, over-indulge, eat fast food, and get all the conveniences possible so we have time to go to the gym to get in shape, and take medications to counteract the adverse effects of our other medications. A bit of a vicious circle.
Do we need to have a lush green lawn? Consider other plants, maybe ones we can eat, or beautiful flowers and shrubs that add to the health of the environment? Think of the money you could save on pesticides – none of them are good for you or any living things. Consider finding plants that are native to your area. They tend to grow better and require less tending. What plants attract bees, butterflies, and birds? Your yard could be a paradise for other living creatures.
Getting Back to the Basics of Life
Whoa!! Is it time to take a step back? Do we need to slow down, be alright with less, and as Waylon Jennings told us in his song Luckenbach, Texas ‘get back to the basics of life’?
– We grew some of our own food.
– Walked to the corner store or rode a bike (last time I tried a bike I fell off before I could get it moving – I rode a bike as a kid – but it is not something I can do now – so walking is for me).
– We hung out some of the laundry to dry.
– Did not shower every day.
– Cut back on our use of air conditioning (though with the current heat waves we need to be careful of that one) – but how else can we decrease the temperature in our home (close the blinds, get heavy curtains, keep the doors and windows closed through the day). Of course, we can consider insulation for both keeping the heat out in summer and keeping the heat in during winter.
– Are there recipes you might want to try so you could save on the cost of food? And, if you cook you know what you are putting into your food – you control the salt and sugar.
There are pros and cons to everything. I encourage you to consider the big picture – how will products and actions affect you and your family and the environment in the future? I remember protesting the addition of phosphates to detergents back in the 60s (yes, I am old – but only chronologically). Do you remember when we were encouraged to use plastic bags to save our forests?
Everything will continue to evolve or devolve – change happens. How will you adapt? What will happen if you don’t adapt?
I live with numerous excesses. I am aware of some of them but am also quite sure I do not know all the destruction I am inflicting on our planet. I have more electronic devices than I need. I have more clothes than I need. I have always been aware of fuel and water consumption (I was poor as a child, and I am downright cheap at heart). I wash and reuse plastic bags. Is this good or bad? Do I waste more energy reusing than if I threw them out to eventually break down or hope they get recycled efficiently?
Summing it all Up
Keeping up with what harms or benefits our health, well-being, and environment is more than a full-time job. We cannot do it alone. Verifying information alone can take hours and then we still do not know if the information is right.
Do your best. Think before you buy and use. Ask questions. Slow down, smell the roses, and enjoy life. There is abundance all around you, be grateful for all you have.