Ecological Lifestyle

To reduce our CO2 emissions we can on one hand making our economy (more) ecological. By producing green energy and making our cars fossil fuel free and so on. These are all very important measures. But while trying to maintain our actual way of life by making that exat way of life greener, we should also start to question some aspects of it. What exactly is it that is making us happy?

For sure, we don't want to live like in the middle ages anymore. Our lives are much more comfortable now than they used to be hundreds of years ago.  But which luxuries are essential to us? And which are not?  

For decades our society thought: Production is key for a better life. The more our society produces, the better we live. The more stuff we can buy with our money the better. The more money we make the more stuff we can buy the happier everybody will be. The more people are working (the less unemployment there is) the more people are producing something the more human produced products there will be in the world. That's why we all think that a higher GNP means a better life. 

But as we know now, producing as much stuff as possible to be able to consume as much as possible comes at a very high price. Back then we thought in a perfect world we should all be able to buy a new car every year. Buy a new TV once a year. A new smartphone twice a year. New clothes on a weekly basis and so on just for fun. Because it is fun to buy new stuff. It makes us happy, right? For centuries we humans were struggling to produce enough things just to survive and live an easier life. Then later it was more about producing enough nice clothes, producing trains so we can travel for leisure, cars. From the  20th century on In the USA and Europe most people started to be able to enjoy a pretty luxurious life. Things considered as pure luxury 200 years ago all of a sudden started to be available for most. But the mantra still was: Produce as much as possibe. The more stuff we all own the better. And this mantra still persists until now.

This mentality - that comes from the past when we really did not have enough - has brought us to a point where the world can't support it anymore. We are slowly but gently realising that this constant and unhinged production of goods comes at a cost. That "the more the better" is not true anymore. That a so called well working economy where we are all constantly producing and consuming an enormous amount of material goods is not leading us to heaven on earth anymore but rather to hell.

That when everybody is getting super rich and being able to afford to fly 10 times a year around the world and buy a new car once a year just for fun can not be the goal anymore. I say "not anymore" because that clearly was the goal until today. That was the path we were going. You just have to listen what politicians have been talking forever. It was constantly always just about increasing the GNP. Creating more jobs so we can produce even more stuff and consume even more. But unfortunately now we know that our ressources on earth are limited. We must use our energy differently. Most of us work in companies whose sole reason of existence is to produce stuff. A car company produces cars. There's a company that produces TV's, smartphones, computers, vacuum cleaner and so on. And most of those companies are not into making this world a better place. But to SELL as much as possible. Many products are even built already with a defect so they will brake and consumers will have to buy them again. Because that's how our society works. But this has to change.

In Switzerland in 2022 we had our overshoot day on May 13th. Apparently making a tiny progress from last year (11th of May). Which means if everybody in the world would live like Swiss everybody would be allowed only to live 5 months and 13 days a year. The rest of the year is too much for the world to take. Every human must destroy and consume only as much a year as Swiss are consuming and destroying in 5 months and 13 days. That's when we would a sustainable enough life that world could handle. All western countries have their overshoot day much before the end of the year. In the USA it is even earlier than in Switzerland. On average all humans together from all countries of the world would need 1.7 earths to live a sustainable life. That's why we have the climate crisis. Because we produce and consume more than the world can regenerate itself. Mainly because of our CO2 emissions.

Each product. Each smartphone, each piece of clothes, a lamp, a fork, loudspeaker, computers, TV, furniture nearly every single product that is being produced generates CO2 for its production. And most of it also waste in form of plastic and microplastic that will end up somewhere in a dump or in the nature. Maybe one day we will be able to recycle everything and producing all of our electricity in a sustainable way. Wo production won't be an issue anymore. But we will need one or two decades at least to reach that. So for now doing something for the environment also means reducing our consumption of industrially produced goods (most of them).

Long story short what I wanted to say in this post is that there are things that are just as fun or even more fun than things where we need to consume something in order to have fun. Like gardening for example. Instead of going shopping just for leisure and growing your CO2 footprint  start gardening! You can use your terrass or maybe even your windowsill if you don't have a garden. Or saarch for gardening possibilities in ypur city (urban gardening). You won't believe how much fun it can be to plant something and watch it grow. Each day a little more. Maybe you even find friends who are into gardening too or you meat new people while gardening (like in the imoage behind). Gardening is one of thoes activities that are fun and actually very good for the environment as the things that we grow ourselves are always local and mostly organic. Which makes the food also healthier. You can start with easy things like spices and try things out. Depending on the ground and its nutrients some vegetables will grow better than others. You never know in advance how good and how moch there will grow but that's part of the game which makes it exciting. You can also check out blogs from pro's and find advices and swap ideas. Try to be part of the gardening community. 


Here are some helpful links to websites or blogs regarding gardening.

Flea Market

Another great alternative to environmentally harmful shopping is - shopping! But instead of buying your things at the store where you usually find a ton of things that have been produced in China - while generating a lot of CO2 - then shipped to the rest of the world (increasing its CO2 footprint again) buy second-hand! I tried it already and can confirm: The shopping experience on a flea market is just as good or better than at a conventional store. We should have and go more often to flea markets instead of conventional stores. Although some stores are selling secon-hand products which is just as good.

Where I'm from is is pretty hard to get a space at the flea market. So there seems to be a big demand for it already. Maybe governments and local authorities should recognize flea markets as an effective means to reduce CO2 emissions. While providing a meaningful passtime for its citizens. 

Google for your nearest flea market(s) and go for a stroll. Or try to sell stuff yourself.

In any case always try to reuse thing that you don't need anymore. Throw away things only if you can't repair them and you think there's nobody who could use it anymore.


Less Can Be More

Have you ever been workless?

Of course, there are different kinds of workless. We usually use the term workless for something negative. In terms of unemployment. Like unwanted unemployment. Naturally, that's usually something negative since it generally is connected with having no income or - depending on in which country you live - being reliant on the goodwill of other people or the state. In Switzerland for example we have to go to the unemployment office. You will get 80% of your previous salary for a maximum of 2 years. And you will likely feel a bit patronized (well, actually you will be patronized) because it is your clerk that will decide whether your job application letters are good enough in quality or not, whether you seem to be motivated enough or not and only if he or she is content enough with you, you will receive that 80% of your previous pay for a certain period of time. That's more or less how it works in most European countries. It is not always easy to cope with such a situation and some people won't find a new job at all and become poor.

But today I want to talk (write) about being workless or partly workless while not having money issues. For example when you are on sick leave because of a broken finger or you just lost or quit your job but still have enough money left on your bank account. What I experienced is that first, you will likely get bored. You are kind of missing work. Even if you don't like your job and maybe your biggest dream was not having to work anymore, you might start to miss your job after a couple of days. Because there is a gap now. An emptiness that you will have to fill with something else.

Some people might even get depressed if they can't overcome that period. But if you can overcome it here is what will happen: You will start to enjoy the small things much more than you used before!

Once your body and mind got used to not having to be productrive 24/7, your body and mind will learn to fill that gap with nice emotions. You will start to become more like a child again. Children don't have to work 24/7 to feel complete. That's just what we are teaching them along the years so they will be able to survive in a world that is built on hard work. You will rediscover your hobbies. Start drawing again. Rediscover your camera and start with photography again. You will have time doing sports. Enjoy cooking, try out a new recipe. All kinds of things you don't necessarily need money for or just a little bit. If we are fine on the inside we really don't need a lot material stuff to be happy.

I remember when I had a stressful office job with a nice pay. I had to spend much more money to feel pleasure. I had to compensate all that unpleasant time at the office. I had to buy stuff that I don't really need. My carbon footprint went up at the same pace as my stress levels. 

So my conclusion is that the more we work, the more we produce (stuff like cars, phones, clothes, and so on) the more we harm the environment (during the production process of those products) and the more we will have to buy exactly that stuff to feel good. So it really is a vicious circle we are living in. 

I am convinced there are ways for our society to work much less, harm the environment much less and be much happier at the same time.