How do we ensure a clean and sustainable water supply?

Water makes up the majority of our own bodies and the majority of the planet itself. It quenches our thirst on a hot day or when we have had one too many drinks the night before. But I find that in both the western and the eastern world (the limited parts that I have been lucky enough to visit) we waste it as if it were infinite and indestructible.

I think it’s strange how we pour the wastes of our world into the most pure, delicate and important substance we have. So important that without it we would die in a matter of days. So amazing that it quenches thirst and nourishes without any additives. Yet we pollute it with our own excrement, use it carelessly and mix it with chemicals so harmful we wouldn’t touch them. Only later to find clean, drinkable sources depleted. We may be drying up our planet and ourselves with our disingenuous means of waste disposal and our dangerous affinity for harmful chemicals.

Of course there may be ways to clean up our water supply and hey, the world’s seas and oceans are an abundant source, but I believe that nature will not be forgiving if we squander and abuse what we have now. Surely there is a better way to use this life giving substance. Surely we could have a little more consideration for the importance and delicacy of this vital substance.

Water-less toilets? Organic dish washing liquid and other cleaning materials? Using grey water instead of pure and precious clean water? Paying attention to the amount of water one uses when washing dishes or showering and taking care not to be wasteful.

This is something that really affects the sustainability of our ever growing global society and simple changes we could easily make would transform our world.

Vote on the poll and let me know what you think the most effective solution to sustaining a clean water supply may be.

The Search For Quality

Are you in a good industry?

Well, do you mean do I work with people who do good things for their community or for the environment? Or are you pondering whether are they smart and fun to work with? Perhaps you’are asking how profitable the industry is? You may even be wondering whether I work in a business which is in some way geared to improving society in some way.

Whatever you may be asking, I am confused. Your question was too vague. We as human beings have created language as a highly sophisticated means of communication. Words carry meaning and using words in whichever way we please gives us the ability to express ourselves in such a refined and specific way. This truly is a gift and is one of the reasons I started writing this blog. In an attempt to express myself as honestly as I can and to encourage others to express themselves honestly as well, leading to a more meaningful conversation about the world around us.

When we are lazy in the way in which we use language, we waste that gift. This reminds me of pop music. Pop music is all around us. We hear it in stores, on the radio, at parties, at events and on the television. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Psy and many more. The melodies of these songs are all so similar and the lyrics are shallow, meaningless and repetitive. We are constantly subjected to this stream of low quality expression and as a result I think we accept that this is how we should be communicating and expressing ourselves.

I believe that with just a bit of effort, by really focusing on what we mean when we speak, being clear of our intention, we can articulate ourselves in such a way that we feel connected and we feel alive when we speak. The listener is also treated by the coherence of your words and that sound travels into them and activates that part of them that wants to understand deeper and will attempt to respond in an equally thoughtful and harmonious way. This is what we are capable of, not merely junk expression with a few severely overused words, phrases and even ideas. The times when we simply repeat stories of what we did on that vacation or what someone said to you earlier are disappointing and a waste of energy. Think about the cliches that run through endless streams of mainstream films, songs and music videos. All of these interactions train your brain to go sleep. There is nothing to figure out, nothing to wonder about, only new faces carrying out the same old plots.

Surely we can push ourselves to explore and to be on the lookout for quality and new ways of thinking, speaking and acting. This can apply to how you interact with people, how you express yourself and even how you live your own life, day to day. Do you say the same things to the same people in the same way every day? Or do you stay open as to what may happen if you do things a different way, choosing to see the potential of your words and actions to be more effective and more meaningful.

Don’t settle for the same old. Turn your back on low quality and embrace your ability to articulate yourself clearly.

Clarity in nature
Clarity In Nature

Sensory Assault

I’ve started to notice that I when I watch movies these days, I’m more aware of the quality of the production and how it makes me feel. For example, when watching The Conjuring with my good friend Josh the other day, I realised how certain scenes were seriously creepy and how it actually made me a bit uneasy for a few days. Yes its only a movie, but just how well can the mind and the body distinguish between virtual reality and actual reality? How much of what we see on the screen and how we feel afterward do we carry into our lives?

In his book Four arguments for the elimination of television Jerry Mander argues that “The viewer must deliberately inhibit the neural pathways between visual data and the autonomic nervous system, which stimulates movement and mental attention. To do otherwise than inhibit the process would be ridiculous. The viewer is left in a passive, but also frustrated state.” If we were to run and hide behind the couch or grab a sharp object to protect ourselves we’d be considered crazy, so we subconsciously or in some cases consciously stop ourselves from acting on our instincts or even expressing our feelings when watching TV or a movie. This is confusing for your body/mind and I think that violence in movies can be far more intense than other modes of behavior on the screen, increasing this sense of confusion.

When I was younger I had no issues with playing playstation games in which you blow people up with rocket launchers or are thrown into a Colosseum and have to kill multiple adversaries with a sword. I don’t recall ever taking that violence with me into the real world, but who’s to say it didn’t contribute to having nightmares or feelings of fear or anxiety? The intensity with which some scenes of violence are produced in film, TV or games can be quite amazing. There have been major advancements in special effects and graphics which are incredibly stimulating, but I often find that if I watch a movie at the cinema I sometimes find that the screen is too bright or the sound effects are too intense.

Trick art action, no violence required!
Trick art action, no violence required!

Violence in certain kinds of films, games and TV shows can be quite overwhelming. But more than the mere presence of violence or the visual effects, it is the praise that is paid to the characters committing the acts that I find disturbing. For example, when the violent scenes are a representation of some real world act, such as a gun fight between criminals and some authority, characters playing people of authority are seen as heroes and are mourned when injured. But when ‘the bad guys’ are harmed or killed it is praised and seen as a victory. I get the idea of good versus evil, but what kind of values are being projected when murder is justified depending on who does the killing?

Let’s look at Liam Neeson. He is quite a force to be reckoned with in Taken. He kicks ass fighting the heinous cause of human trafficking. Fair enough. The bad guys are sleazy, Liams martial art skills are impressive and I’m sure everyone feels a sense of redemption when he hurts the bad guys. But, it’s to the point of gross and ridiculous the amount of people he kills and cars he wrecks. This is what action movies are all about but again, it’s the attitude toward the violence that doesn’t make sense to me. He walks away with his happy family leaving behind a trail of hardcore murder! Hmm.. What I find even more disturbing is when a nonchalant attitude and even a status is attached to the violence, a ‘cool’ element.

“You make a move and I’ll break your face…Tony, I swear to God. I’m gonna blow his face off.” The Godfather Ironman 3

An example of this is Ironman. This film is extremely popular among young kids. I know when I was in Korea, my students loved this dude. He’s wealthy, a tech wiz and he’s a hero. But I don’t like the idea that by killing so many people, by destroying the enemy with rockets and bullets, you win. It is a fiction but when a film is so hugely popular with kids, surely there are better ways to portray the hero.

I believe that as long as certain perpetrators of violence are praised whilst others are demonized we’ll always have conflict, and it would be awesome to see less of this model being used in films. In a world where we struggle to see past one anothers’ differences,  where there exists real conflict and violence, a medium as prolific and influential as film could do better than to glamourise explosions and decapitation. Its a desensitising to, and in some cases flat out promotion of certain forceful and unethical organisations and the violent acts they take. There is also much promotion of false stereotypes. I won’t go into the demographics of who the bad guys and who the good guys usually are but I would love to see a decrease in movies that promote conflict and violence. There is something these films that appeals to us, but maybe we should become conscious of how absurd some of these scenes are and what the message being conveyed is.

“TV is not a mirror, it is a billboard and anyone who pays their money can put their message into the trip. This is an extraordinarily insidious situation.” Terence Mckenna.

For me, I now steer clear of most action movies, unless they promise to have some meaning behind the madness, a sense of quality or something unique. Otherwise its just more blood and more explosions.

Whatever movies we watch, stories we hear, books we read, nothing is more true than your own experience. Nothing should distort your perception of reality and bring you down. If something you are experiencing is too violent, too boring, too weird for you, I say walk away. If it is true that movies imprint on our minds, it might be better to choose movies that exhibit qualities that are in line with how we want to feel and what we want to experience. 

If you enjoyed reading this post, check out this ted talk which relates to what I’ve written:

Avaaz.org

Why is it that every time the fate of our world is discussed it is done so by predominantly white, suited up, rather unhealthy looking, old men? How is that when global equality and peace are discussed it is done so in such a homogeneous and dull environment? Why do we have to witness seemingly endless and mind numbing debates while often nothing substantial seems to result?

I felt frustrated that although there are many problems in the world, there always seems to be so much red tape surrounding the solution. To my relief, I discovered a unique, benevolent and arguably revolutionary organisation called Avaaz.

Avaaz is an online activism platform whereby important issues such as climate change, education and corruption are brought to public attention. Issues that may not get mainstream media coverage but nonetheless significantly affect you or the world you live in, in some way. Then, by simply clicking ‘Sign Petition’, any computer literate person in the world can actively make a decision to support a cause or not. Avaaz usually generates tens or hundreds of thousands of votes supporting a particular cause. This is then taken to governments or other decision makers as proof of a huge backing of the issue. In my opinion it is one of the only true forms of democracy being practiced today. I believe that the use of technology for this purpose means hope and a chance for true transformation in our world. How often do you read or hear about something and wish you could do something about it? Here is a simple, easy and free way of getting involved. I can’t remember the exact numbers but Avaaz has grown from having about 14 million members to over 32 million members in the space of two to three years. Epic.

This is a chance to bypass corruption, bypass covert deals and discussions affecting our world and a chance to empower yourself by making your voice heard on issues you care about. I donate to Avaaz monthly because I know that these people care, they’re transparent, they don’t accept donations from government or corporations and unlike tax, this money does not fall into the dark void of ‘who knows where’.

Check it out, you might dig it. If not, cool, thanks for reading!

Timo.

PS. You can also create your own petitions using their online tools, pretty cool.