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After living out on the Permaforest Trust farm for the last two months I find that somethings become really heightened for me. Like when I head into a large community / town / city and notice all the advertising, cars, people, and so much more. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t been out in the wilderness for long periods of time but you get accustomed to hearing birds, seeing trees, and nature being the noise.

Toilet Paper

Picture these two examples…

Recently, I was in a cafe restroom when I noticed that extra toilet rolls were individually wrapped in plastic inside a larger plastic toilet bag wrapping. It made me wonder why they had actually packaged the rolls in this manner…

Another example being the small cellphone that I recently bought, which was placed inside a massive box of which half the box was actually just cardboard framing so that when I opened it my cellphone it was displayed beautifully to me. I seriously wanted to barf!

It is that type of packaging that is helping to contribute to the massive amount of waste that our culture is creating.

“Of the 3 million tons of rubbish generated in Beijing each year, 30 percent, or 830,000 tons, are disposed packaging. 600,000 tons, or 20 percent of the total annual total, is considered to be ‘excessive.’, according to a Xinhua report.

By international standards, packaging that accounts for more than 15 percent of the cost of the product is considered excessive.” GlobalAdvocacy.com: Excessive Packaging Adds to Environmental Woes

Now people probably realize that the waste created by the high population of Beijing is more than other major cities because of their massive population, but that statistics are still really telling about what’s happening to us as consumers. The statistics presented above are relevant simply in a smaller scale, and bigger packaging like cellphones in large boxes makes a person subconciously feel like they are getting a really BIG thing. What makes us need to have that big box when purchasing a cellphone or the double wrap for toilet rolls when we purchase them?

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AdbustI’m staying in Sydney for the time being to save some cash-o-la. The other day I tragically had to visit a mall (not for work trust me) to run some errands that couldn’t be done anywhere else. After being on the road for a while and not being near a mall I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed in the Bondi Junction mall. Who designs a place to be a an unfriendly, cold, trap, and maze of a place for people to be in? And no it’s not that I’m a guy and hate shopping..I actually like shopping if the place is rad enough.

No the other day I just about started to cry while I was in the mall. You see there are some good reasons for this I suppose.

  • Malls make it harder for smaller business to survive because big businesses get in their and can lower their prices.Def. how I felt!
  • There is sooooo much new stuff available in malls which makes me really upset considering all the available furniture, clothing, and other articles / materials available at Opt shops (read: thrift stores) and outside of peoples homes on counsel pickup days (here in Sydney people leave stuff outside of their house they don’t want — big items — and anyone can take them before garbage dudes do).
  • Do we know where all that uneaten food that has been prepared at the shops for you to eat is going afterwards folks? Probably a lot of it in the garbage I figure. Ahh it made me so sad. Give me access to this food at least geez.
  • Why are you so unhappy? Take a look at the people in malls. No one is smiling and everyone looks like they are trapped in a dungeon. Malls are made to be nice places with light, sun, atmosphere, buskers, little shops, cafe’s, etc. Oh wait I lied. The people who are smiling are those going out the door.
  • Do you really need all those bags? I mean is this more of a status symbol then a use? What about that bag around your shoulders couldn’t the stuff go in there.

It just made me realize a few things.

  • I need to continue to support small shops as much as I can. It encourages community aspects, supports families trying to survive, and keeps the little guy going.
  • To continue to buy used clothing or at least stuff that is fair trade.
  • To refuse plastic bags
  • To ask more stores if I can have the food they waste and give it to someone who needs it. Can’t really do this while on the road but maybe when I settle somewhere. There is this rad little cafe at UTS in Sydney that puts all the food that it has left over from the day out on the counter for people to take home before they close! What a rad idea! And I’ve heard of bakeries that do that here as well.

It was refreshing to hear that my Aunt is also greatly in favour of small shops and isn’t that impressed with the Bondi mall instillation. This doesn’t surprise me I suppose because using small shops is a way of life for Australian and New Zealanders. The idea of malls is only a new one that most people are not that impressed with, and I hope for their sake they keep fighting it. And I hope for Canadians sake we just start supporting smaller shops again! PLEASE!To deal with the sadness I felt I rode the entire way home on my new (read: found on the side of the road, repaired, and rescued) trick bike home in the rain. Man that felt good to splash through the rain and get absolutely soaked.

– Shane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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