Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Fine Balance

Our society is based on an intricate balancing act.

Part of this balancing act is for survival.

Part of it is for the greater good.

Part of it is for greed and personal greed.

We are bombarded with some many images every day of what we should want in our lives and what would make our lives fulfilling. Fancy clothes, fancy house and cars, fancy toys. An education, a good salary and vacations.

But even when we take away the extra's, we are still left with a lot of dependence on society. Our basic needs: shelter, clothing and food cannot be met without the structure of our society. We go the grocery for our food, we buy a house and clothes. And we don't even really know where these things come from.

Where does our food come from? Where does our clothes come from? Where does the materials for our homes come from?

A lot of our food comes pre-packaged and pre-made. There are so many "instant" meals - just add water or microwave. Where do the ingredients come from? What is the quality of the ingredients? What about additives and preservatives? How do they make it?

Basically it comes down to what we are putting in our body. And with the rising obesity rates, this should be a main concern for everyone.

In the past few years, I have been cooking for myself and one of the important things that I have learned is that we are capable of more than we think. And the conveniences of modern day supermarkets has spawned many businesses and products that we have come to depend on only recently. For instance - baking bread, cookies, cakes, soups, pasta, rice, juices, cut vegetables and fruits.

LeBlanc and I love to cook together, and we love to make things that we would otherwise buy. For instance, cottage cheese and dumpling wrappers. And I have to admit, even though we were completely newbies at it, I felt that the food definitely had fresh taste.

Most of my clothes have a label thats came from China or a third world country.

I am aware of factories that do not treat their workers right who make clothes for major labels. But it's hard to make the connection between my clothes and people who I don't know. There are people who are suffering due to big labels taking advantage of desperate people in poor countries, but that's not the messages that we are made aware of in our society.

We are so separated from where our clothes came from, that we only see it placed nicely on a shelf with a big "sale" sign next to it. We don't know the rest of the story, and we may never.

But is it the fine balance that separates the raw materials from our final products that keeps our society running? Keeps the people of our society employed? Is our consumption what keeps the balance in our society?

I think back to my parents and how they sacrificed so much to give me and my sister a good life. In a way, I feel like they almost outsmarted our high consumption society.

How else would my father - working at a factory, be able to support my family (my mom, myself and my 2 sisters)? My mom stayed at home to take care of us, and together my mom and dad paid off their mortgage, and raised us. My sisters and I always had clothes on our backs (though un-stylish), we were always well fed, and most of all - happy.

To develop my consumer awareness and do my part to get back to the basics. Whether it be through my food, my clothing, or my household items.

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