Tao Te Ching – Verse 29 – We Are the World

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I recently picked up a translation with commentary of the Tao Te Ching at my local libraries’ book sale.  While the book itself was slightly battered, what I found inside is a treasure-trove of wisdom passed down over the last 2,500 years.  Verse 29, We Are the World, relates to today with its emphasis on how the most powerful and wealthy seek to destroy the planet.  Below is Verse 29 as it was translated by Ralph Allan Dale.  Read it, reflect on these powerful words and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Verse 29 – We Are the World

 Those who have most power and wealth

treat the planet as a thing to be possessed,

to be used and abused according to their own dictates.

but the planet is a living organism,

a Great Spiritual Integrity.

 

To violate this Integrity

is certain to cull forth disaster

since each and every one of us

is an inherent part of this very organism.

 

All attempts to control the world

can only lead to its decimation

and to our own demise

since we are an inseparable part

of what we are senselessly trying to coerce.

 

Any attempt to possess the world

can only lead to its loss

and to our own dissolution

since we are an intrinsic part

of what we are foolishly trying to possess.

 

The world’s pulse is our pulse.

The world’s rhythms are our rhythms.

To treat our planet with care, moderation and love

is to be in synchrony with ourselves

and to live in the Great Integrity.

Taken from Tao Te Ching  A New Translation & Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale Copyright 2002 by Ralph Alan Dale

 

 

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Zero Waste Lifestyle

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My daughter recently asked me if I knew anything about “zero waste living”.  I had to admit that I’d heard of it, but really didn’t know what it entailed.  So, I decided to look into it and relay my findings to all of you.

Zero waste is living without any waste at all.  So, this means that you don’t buy your toothpaste, you make it.  When you get coffee out you bring a mug with you and have that filled instead of a coffee cup.  You need to think about bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, buying loose vegetables instead of ones in plastic bags.  Another great thing that is easy to do is to by your own steel straw and keep it with you just in case you end up going out for a drink, that way you can limit the amount of plastic straws you use.  By the way, you can also do this by bringing your own silverware with you if you end up in a fast-food restaurant.

The list of things that you have to think about is fairly long, and from what information I’ve found, it can take a while to get to zero waste.  There is a steep hill of learning to climb, to say the least.  A lot of it seems to be pretty time-consuming, and as an aside, the loophole of using “recyclable” plastic, can be more than confusing, since as I’ve come to know, much of what we “recycle”, doesn’t actually get recycled.  (The cost of recycling is going up all the time, and many of the countries that took recycling are not taking it anymore.)

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So, in my case, I could not go to zero waste, since many of the products at my local grocery store are packaged in non-recyclable plastic, from bread to vegetables, and many products in between. I don’t have the option of buying those items loose, since I’ve never even seen loose mushrooms, they are always packaged in the stores that I’ve been in.

That being said, there are a lot of other things that we can do to bring our waste down.  I almost always bring a bag with me when I shop, so I don’t have plastic bags.  If I do end up with them, I reuse them for as long as I can.  If I’ve forgotten a bag, I will often just put whatever is was that I’ve bought into my purse if it fits.  I also have quite a few net bags that I put my loose produce in – fruit and the vegetables that are sold loose.

While trying to live by creating zero waste is an admirable goal, I’ve found that the way we package food products, along with most of the other things that we buy, it seems to be a difficult task.  However, I absolutely advocate doing what you can in your daily life to create as little waste as you can.  After all, we have turned much of this world into a garbage dump, and What do you think about going zero waste?  I’ve left a few links below for you to check out if you’re interested.

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https://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/zero-waste-living-zmfz15jfhou

http://time.com/5218046/how-to-live-zero-waste/

 

Pesticides and Children

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While we all know that pesticides are harmful for any creature, the evidence that they are also extremely harmful for humans continues to mount.  As you know, Monsanto cannot be sold in many countries due to the harm it causes.  Monsanto was taken to the international court, The Hauge, and this courts decision was to allow the bans against it to stand.  So, here we have not only scientific evidence that pesticides are harmful, but legal rulings against it, also.

The study linked to below, deals with an insecticide class known as Organophosphates which were developed in Germany in the 1940’s and are “like” nerve agents, which means that they target an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase ) that controls nerves signals, of course this destroys the enzyme, and then the insect also dies.  These insecticides are known as chlorpyrifos and are widely used in the U.S. and Europe.  Not only that, but chlorpyrifos are not only used in fields, but they have also been used in parks and playgrounds.  Since they have been used so widely, it is nearly impossible not to come into contact with them.

Until this meta study was conducted,(for those who don’t know, a meta study is the extensive study of many different peer-reviewed scientific studies) many people were under the impression that these were not “all that” harmful to humans, however by using the meta study (the study of many peer-reviewed studies from over 71 countries), the scientists discovered that the level of human harm is much higher than was previously thought.  Indeed, they discovered that there is no “acceptable” level, in fact, chronic low-level exposure is extremely harmful and can lead to problems in babies and children that include lower I.Q., problems with the mechanics of the brain, learning disabilities and memory problems.  Should many children have these problems it will become a societal problem.

I’m leaving the link to this information below.  Scary stuff indeed.

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 https://www.care2.com/causes/theres-no-safe-limit-of-pesticide-exposure-for-children-says-a-new-study.html

 

Go and Vote

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Vote for what you believe.  Don’t stay home..get out and let your voice be heard!

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Repairing the World

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Last weekend I watched the wonderful documentary on Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (which I suggest that you watch also, since Fred Rogers was an extraordinary man).  While I was watching it, some of the words mentioned in regard to the mess that’s the U.S. right now were “Tikkun Olam” which I’d never heard of before.  The words were referenced with regard to the question ‘what can we do to help ourselves and the world right now’?  The response was “repair the world”.  I’m leaving a link below that better explains the background and original meaning of these words, but also emphasizes that the meaning that is usually associated with these words has to do with repairing the world by means of social justice and human responsibility toward fixing what is wrong with the world.

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While changing the entire world is a huge task, and one that most of us are unable to achieve, after watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I was struck by how much each one of us can change the world.  How, you might ask?  By changing the world we live in.  Of course, we can sign petitions, march in protest, vote and give money to causes that resonate with us.  We should do all that.  But there are also direct actions that we can take.  We can declutter and make our homes as peaceful as we can.  We can also work at a soup kitchen.  These actions aren’t either/or, remember.  We can treat everyone we see with kindness.  And, for those of us who have limited money, it can be the most direct way of repairing the world.  I hope that I can manage to create a better world right where I am.  Hope you are inspired to do the same.

 https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

 

Don’t Be Silent

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It’s important to speak out when there are injustices being committed.  Right now, in the U.S. there are forces gathered against many of our rights as citizens.  Not only are we treating asylum seekers as criminals, but we are allowing the murder of unarmed civilians be overly aggressive police.  Racism and bigotry are running rampant, and an entire gender is being told to “sit down and shut up”.

Who are the perpetrators of this?   For the most part it is angry white men.  Whether they identify as “incel”, white supremacist, or simply Republican, the message is always the same.  Whatever it is that they want, it’s so much more important than what you want/need.  The rest of us, and yes, there are more of us than them, are being divided by race, gender and sexual orientation.  It’s time to join hands and stand together.

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If you believe in “liberty and justice for all”, do whatever you can with what you have.  Sign petitions; write your congressperson; register to vote (if you haven’t done so); join a protest/march; give a donation to an organization that follows your own morals.  Do what you can.  But most importantly, do not be silent!

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Does Peace Begin on Your Plate?

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There are many choices that we can make.  What you choose to put on your plate is definitely one of them.  While almost everyone who has chosen to forgo animal products grew up eating those same products, however, at some point these people made a choice to not add to the violence and destruction that is so pervasive in the world.  After all, if you can choose to not cause harm to anyone else – including other species, why wouldn’t you?  When I finally confronted that question myself, I knew that I had to get off the Vegetarian diet and become Vegan.

This was a hard decision, not because of myself, but because of the other people in my life, and others in general.  The meat and dairy industries generate a lot of money, approximately $864.2 billion annually in the U.S. alone.  Think of the incentive there is to vilify vegans, along with doctors who speak out against these industries, and you will see where the pervasive negative attitudes come from.  Not only are vegans portrayed in various media outlets as being slightly insane and/or obnoxious, but there are numerous examples of how extreme veganism is.  Why being vegan is considered extreme is beyond my understanding.  Isn’t raising an animal for the sole purpose of killing and eating that animal extreme?

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Not only are there the ethical questions regarding killing an animal that doesn’t want to die, but if you add to that the environmental damage done by the massive world-wide meat and dairy industry, you can see how the destruction becomes unsustainable.

Now, back to my question, does peace begin on your plate?  My answer is yes, of course it does.  There is only so much in the way of sustainable food, and when one country has a problem with consumption that causes others to suffer peace also suffers.  I’ve left links below for you to read.  Look up other information and decide for yourselves whether or not you believe that peace begins on your plate.

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https://www.google.com/search?q=How+much+money+does+the+meat+industry+make+a+year%3F&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjknMjQ4djbAhWs6IMKHZpCBUIQzmcIQQ&biw=1366&bih=654

http://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2016/03/the-representation-of-food-on-television

http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/

https://content.sierraclub.org/grassrootsnetwork/team-news/2016/10/10-reasons-why-meat-and-dairy-industry-unsustainable-0

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cutting-back-on-meat-consumption-could-help-end-hunger-by-2030-experts_us_55f3424ee4b077ca094f27a5

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/world-hunger-population-growth-ditching-meat/