The future is - humane
For most of us, an end of a cycle naturally calls upon reflection on what was, what is, and what we wish will be. Every ending brings a moment of pause, a moment when we look behind in contemplation of a road behind us. At the end of a year we reflect upon everything that happened; the joyous moments we’ve had, places we saw, people we met, tears we shed, things we accomplished, what we lost, challenges we faced and how we met them, but also upon the people we were; what moved us, what hurt us, what made us happy, what made us sad? Were we loving and compassionate to others and did we create positive resonance with our thoughts, words and actions? How gently did we walk upon this Earth? Were we kind enough? Were we gentle enough?
Even though we shouldn’t dwell in the past but always face forward, I believe reflecting on what was is important. History is a great teacher, it provides information and insight so we can easier put the pieces of puzzle together, and, even though the future is still unknown, we can use the lessons learned yesterday to create a brighter tomorrow.
When we look at the road ahead, the unseen and unknown, we're full of hope. We envision new, bright beginnings, we hope for new possibilities, visualise a happy future for all. We set intentions, hopes and dreams. But, in order to make our dreams become reality, we need to make space for the change and open to the new, we need to let go, release and detach from the old. Old ways of thinking and doing, believes which don’t resonate with our heart and soul, ideas which don’t ring truth to our higher mind’s ear.
Creating a brighter future for all depends on each one of us. We are all equally important and equally responsible to create a positive change and a brighter tomorrow. To become more humane humans. To survive and thrive as species in equality and abundance for all, stop the destruction of the planet we share with other beings (yet, we are the only ones who destroy it), and save the only home we have. And to do this we need to change our ways of doing and thinking. This may be hard, inconvenient, uncomfortable etc, but it is also the only way to move forward.
It takes opening your eyes, thinking with your head, rethinking your choices, doing some research, abandoning convenience and conformity. But, the beautiful thing is, it really pays out. Not only on a big scale of things, but in our microcosm as well. Kindness and compassion resonates with our hearts and souls, and every small step we take in the right direction brings us closer to our free, loving essence. Below are five steps in the right direction to help the world move forward.
1. Try a vegan (or vegetarian) diet
Meat and dairy industry is one of the biggest problems our world faces today. From the environmental like climate change, pollution, water use, deforestation etc. to health issues attributed to consumption of meat and dairy which has been scientifically proven for decades now. Not to mention the sheer cruelty of the industry which for some, myself included, is the main reason for a plant based diet. Somebody once said that 'The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world'. I share this sentiment and believe that the first step towards a brighter future for all is, in Einstein's wise words 'widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty', - extending the love and compassion beyond self, family and friends we love.
I also believe this is the way of the future. New generations are already adopting a plant based diet, many professional athletes are turning vegan and debunking the 'what about protein' myth. And judging by these promising statistics, the world is changing indeed.
Every time I write or speak about the importance of adapting a more sustainable diet for the benefit of all, I fear my words will cause resistance and an opposite effect. It is in our human nature to defend our ideas, beliefs, our way of life. If change was easy, our world would be a different place. The only thing I can say is please don’t take my word for any of this. Do the research yourself. Watch documentaries (there is actually a playlist of some on my youtube channel), read studies, find answers to all the questions you may have. There is so much empowerment in that. And maybe just give it a try, see how it feels.
I love Veganuary project where you can pledge to go vegan for a month. The website is full of info and answers to some common questions as well as a starter kit and recipes.
2. Become a more conscious consumer
Every coin you spend of your hard earned money goes to support an industry you may not want to support. Some of the biggest companies and industries today, whose products fill the shelves of most supermarket giants, became so big and made such profit on the backs of low paid labourers (often children) in some distant lands with poor labour policies, cheap, toxic and bad quality materials or ingredients, huge environmental impact, false advertising and elimination of small producers and more ethical alternatives (Monsanto is a great example of this). They have grown to be giants who now run the world economy because of us. With every coin spent buying their product, we made them billions they can now spend to pay off politicians who pass bills and legislations for them, and pay of studies to back up their case and become even bigger, more unethical with only one thing in mind - profit. Consider this next time you're out to buy anything. And again, don’t take my word for it, do the research. It will empower you to make more conscious choices. Start small, with something you buy daily like food. Buy local, organic, go to farmer’s market instead of supermarkets, find ethical stores in your area.
(I have been following ethical consumer for a while now, plenty of latest info can be found there of both unethical and most ethical companies.)
3. Explore ethical fashion
Fast fashion is becoming a big problem, from the cruel materials used (leather, fur, feather, wool etc.) to bad labour politics and an environmental impact. Also, dyes, bleaches etc most commonly used are not very healthy to put on your skin. This is a new one for me and I have started to go down this road recently, this was one of New Year resolutions last year.
It's not as easy or convenient (unless you live in London or Berlin) as these are not your high street brands, but much is available online.
I took some time to do a bit of research, ordered some things online, tried some brands and am happy I made this switch. At the end of this text you can find links to (so far) some of my favourites. I also have an ethical shopping app called ‘good on you’ I love and use to check ratings of fashion brands.
4. Use cruelty free cosmetics
The beautiful truth about being a more aware and conscious consumer / human is that all the good choices you make are not just good for the environment and compassionate to other beings, but also better for your health. It’s a win-win-win kind of a situation. The rule of thumb when it comes to cosmetics is that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you couldn't also eat. The skin is our biggest organ and everything we put on it is absorbed into our body, the same as everything you consume.
As far as the animal testing goes, it's cruel and unnecessary. Cruelty free cosmetics is widely accessible everywhere and have been for as long as I can remember. There are so many brands depending on where you live, and since I mostly reside in Europe at the end of the text I have listed some of my favourite EU brands.
5. Consider your waste
I don’t think I need to tell you how bad plastic and other harmful waste is for us, the planet and other living beings inhabiting this same planet. The impact of plastic waste and the fact that in few years there will be more plastic than fish in the Ocean is common knowledge. And if you’ve gone this far in reading this text, meaning didn’t get annoyed, defensive and stopped reading, I am pretty sure you are already doing your bit when it comes to waste. I can bet you recycle, am pretty sure you didn’t take a plastic bag on a market or in a shop for years and you can’t remember when was the last time you bought water etc. in a plastic bottle. But, we can always do more.
Greatly reducing waste is my pledge for this year. I know it will be anything but easy as this year I will be spending at least six months travelling, but it’s a challenge I am willing to take on and I’m sure I’ll write about it soon. Thankfully there are so many inspiring bloggers out there living the zero waste lives I can find information and inspiration in.
Change is a process, and like any other, it takes time to unfold. If you are new to all this, take baby steps, but take them in the right direction. If you are already doing a lot, see how you can do just a bit more. Together we can create positive changes towards a brighter tomorrow. Happy New Year!
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
Clothes*: Mud Jeans for jeans, Kings of Indigo for all things denim. Patagonia is an ethical leader in outdoor wear & surf, All sisters for swimwear and I love Vitamin A for swim and beachwear. For yoga and workout Reebok and Prana are two brands available world wide which are on the good side of things. Adidas (especially Stella McCartney) as well. There's many interesting ethical clothing brands out there like YSTR, Know the origin, Wunderwerk I can't wait to order something from (when I need something) and Mara Hoffman for high fashion brands as well as Stella McCartney, long time vegan and animal rights activist. Love Lanius virgin wool coats. More brands: P.i.C Style, People Tree, finisterre, Beaumont organic, Armedangels, HTHT, thought, Nomads.
All of the above are either European brands or can be ordered from EU shops. There are many more in the US, Canada, Australia etc. but with shipping costs (both $ and environmental) it seems to defeat the purpose of the sustainable idea so I haven't mentioned them. Vitamin A can be ordered from neiman marcus.
Shoes and bags*: For vegan shoes and bags check out Avesu online shop with different brands (I have and love Beyond skin motorcycle boots which are a must have for me, and dressy trainers from Good guys and Nae. Matt & Nat for beautiful bags, wallets etc.
* most of these brands are more expensive then your regular high street brands as their production costs are much higher. But, in wise words of Viviane Westwood 'Buy less, choose well, make it last'.
Zara and H&M are making an effort towards more sustainable fashion and often stock organic cotton clothes.
Cosmetics: Urtekram, Lavera, Sante, Dr.Hauschka - I love Lavera make up, Urtekram shampoos and shower gels, Lavera toothpaste and deodorants, Sante body lotions when I use them (I usually make my own), their small travel size shampoos and shower gels as well as hand creams and deodorants (usually I make my own). I use Bam & Boo bamboo toothbrush.
Home cosmetics: (washing, cleaning): Ecover + DIY ;)