I pay therefore I am

I pay therefore I am

Once upon a time, a human being used to be judged according to their good deeds; nowadays it seems that the only thing that matters is how much money you’ve got. Unfortunately, such grave misconception of the purpose of human existence have created  serious consequences not just for the human species but for our entire world.

In ancient times, the most respected people were the philosophers or those who could help others understand the meaning of life. Today, people whose goal in life is not making a lot of money are treated as losers.

My experience as a nomad around the world has taught me one thing which has become universal: if you have money you are licensed to behave like an asshole!

Let me give you a few examples just to clarify the concept. In general, we think that if we give money to a charity or if we spend some of our time volunteering then we are squared with the rest of society and we can keep having the same lifestyle that we have today.

Water is the most precious resource that we have available. Without water we are dead! Thus, every time we open our tap to do whatever it is that we need to do, we should be aware that if we put chemicals in our laundry or just to wash ourselves, we are contributing to pollution and behaving irresponsibly.

I am living in Cambodia at the moment and the waste of water is more obvious in the “rich” quarters namely those expensive hotels that have more stars than I can count. However, we all do it. It doesn’t matter where we come from, when in front of a tap, we thoughtlessly tend to waste water and pollute it.

I have been trying to wash myself and my clothes with just a little bit of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), however, I’m sharing the kitchen with many other people and I cannot force them to avoid using bubbly and highly polluting chemicals, though I’m tempted to.

Now, here in Cambodia the consequences of our actions are immediately visible as most waste goes straight into the river and back to the land. Many local people rely on the river fish to make a living and there are also several other species which are connected to the river.

I felt the same in Europe, Italy in particular,  while observing people queueing up to wash their cars in cities when in summer it is prohibited to water your vegetable garden because of water shortages (!!!)  However, it was Africa who taught me the most important lesson about the sacrality of water. In Kenya, I had to learn to bathe and brush my teeth with just one cup of water a day.

The first question that comes into my mind is :

Why do we still produce materials that are completely deleterious for our environment ?

Yet, there are plenty of alternatives available. Sometimes I feel that the only way out of pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals in our food, fake drinks (e.g.:sodas), shampoos, soaps, creams, detergents and so on is to totally boycott such products and rely on your own home made and environmentally friendly products.

Unfortunately, even those products which claim to be environmentally friendly are not so. Read the ingredients in the label before you buy anything and most often than not, you will discover that their impact with the environment may be lower but the product is not 100% biodegradable.  When it’s completely safe, it’s normally overpriced.

I’m writing this from a cheap hostel in Siem Reap in Cambodia where we have no water today. I think we, the guests, have managed to use up most of the water in the containers so now they will have to pump up some more. Our consumption of water is becoming greater and greater thanks to washing machines, swimming pools and all those funny “needs” that a Western lifestyle requires. While in the kitchen, I saw people talking while the tap was on, some other people stay in the shower for centuries. I don’t think they are “bad” people, I just think that they have no idea of the consequences of their actions.

My conclusion today is that perhaps we should have a society  based on mutual respect for all lifeforms including our own. Money was created as a tool to facilitate exchanges between different peoples; it was never meant to be a goal in itself. So if you are reading this and you are complaining because there is no water and you have paid a lot of money for your room, remember that your social irresponsibility has the highest price possible and its consequences are not just dramatic but apocalytptical

Remember this next time you use water!