Health of the Ecosystem = Health of the Individual
Yet to my dismay many individuals, including myself, seek health at the detriment of the ecosystem.
Thankfully i have had inspiring presences in my life, beautiful beings, that have helped to guide me away from the culture of dispose-ability; within said culture health foods are for a select number and cruelty of animals in farms is not faced by many because of cognitive dissonance. Additionally, humans live far away from their food and thus have food packaged and preserved in materials that are damaging life on earth.
Several years ago my sisters partner told me about food deserts. He liked that he knew a truth about the so called food system in the states that i had not heard of before; you see i am the person in my family that is really interested in food justice and thus farming & gardening practices, as well as learning how to minimize pollution, and that believes that with open hearts we can end the suffering of animals in farms and stop habitat loss. Food deserts are urban areas that do not have much access to affordable or quality fruit and veg. My dream is for people to live in more simple dwellings among forest gardens!! Forest gardens or food forests are a way to provide nurturing sustenance for our bodies while being overall more supportive of a healthy environment. However, i realize that there is loads of work to be done for humans to live in food forests, and thus to again live where our food is, so that resilience and health can be abundant for all.
I love knowing that there are ways that i can live differently so that i am more in harmony with the health of the ecosystem and thus can truly be working towards health in whole. For the last 8 or so years i have enjoyed reading, in books and on blogs, about how to make yummy vegan meals. Each recipe presents me with ways to be creative about how to add ingredients that i feel are the most supportive for health on earth in place of those that may have more of a harmful ecological impact. (Ecological impact includes the well being of humans, non-human animals, pollinators, other winged or crawling beings, the soil, plant communities, and air and water purity too.)
I read in a vegan Thai cookbook, that my mother gave me, that a Thai proverb of sorts states that humans get sick when not in balance with their environment. In yet another cookbook, this time about Ayurveda, i read that food is our medicine. I feel affinity for both of these beliefs and i feel them to be the truest sense that is lacking in the prevailing culture in the states.
I know folks that help with a food reclamation project here in oregon, from which i get loads of free organic fruit and veg each week. Also, friends here in oregon salvage organic fruit, organic veg, oils, supplements, hummus, and more from dumpsters. There is so much produce to divert from landfills!! When i do purchase food, and i still do often, i see a lot of beauty in choosing to buy whole foods and i very seldom, if ever, buy any foods in packaging. As we all know there is no waste in the wilderness, as all is food and is cycled within the loop of fertility! A lesson i am still learning is to eat within the seasons. I read recently how important such is for personal health, which again makes the connection that our health is directly related to the health of our environment.
Also related to the well being of life on earth is making and mending with what we already have. Joy increases in me when i am able to acknowledge and value what is in my life. I no longer ascribe to the culture of disposable fashion, which is dependent on thousands of maltreated laborers in factories and that leads to pollution from dyes, as well as mountains of clothes, glasses, shoes, and more filling up landfills, instead i have found the beauty in living simply. I wish for others to as well. Making and mending has become a fulfilling and much looked forward to way to make use of time for me. As the pin below says ‘i am making my old clothes do’! So i darn, patch, and create with a feeling of accomplishment. A current project of mine is making cloth produce bags from reclaimed materials for family and friends; i discovered that pretty floral cloth napkins (from charity shops and from friends cupboards) are just the perfect size to sew two together to make a produce bag.
Additional ways to live simply that i have put into practice are: walking and bicycling instead of driving, eating more meals of uncooked fresh fruit and veg, collecting my urine as fertilizer for the earth, cleaning with vinegar or baking soda and overall using less soap because i rarely use oils in cooking and because a vegan diet is cleaner, hand washing clothes with a ponch and allowing clothes to air dry, foraging when i can, finding food that has been reclaimed, making use of time with healthful choices–such as to move my body more through dancing and yoga (the body can be a gym so that there can be less dependency on additional structures and energy use), and singing more–both by myself and with others–as sound can be very healing.
I highly recommend simplifying wants and living more simply overall on earth.