Benign Deprivation

By Australian standards. There are so many things we don’t do and things we don’t have, that are considered ‘standard’ in this country. Today I read a list of 20 things that someone claims
(http://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/01/18/top-20-things-most-dangerous-to-children/) are most dangerous for your children:

1. Mercury fillings 銀歯・水銀
3.Hot dogsホットドッグ
4. Antibacteri soap抗菌ソープ
5.ADHD drugs ADHDの薬~アンフェタミンの類
6. Sports drinksスポーツドリンク
7. Cough syrup and over-the-counter medicinesせきどめシロップと処方箋なしで買える薬
8. Sunscreen日焼け止め
9. Fluoride in the water飲料水中フッ化物
10. Processed milk加工乳
11. Fast foodファスト フード
12. Antidepressant drugs抗鬱薬・抗鬱剤
13. Chemical laundry detergents化学的な洗濯洗剤
14. Flame retardant chemicals難燃剤系の化学物質
15. Soda炭酸
16. Air freshenersエアフレッシュナー
17. Synthetic vitamins総合ビタミン剤
18. Dryer sheets乾燥機用シート・柔軟剤
19. Baconベーコン
20. Shampoo and bath productsシャンプーと入浴用用品

I would say that even more dangerous than all these things is never even thinking of questioning them. (we could add ‘nuclear power’ to that list…)

I was relieved to see that the majority of the things on this list we never use. This came as a natural result of questioning whether or not something is really needed for good health or happiness or in looking after our beautiful planet. And our minimal income helps us resist these temptations!

It seems to start from a way of thinking; ‘what is most important for life to continue?’ and then goes on to the choices we make everyday about the way we live. But there is subtle pressure everyday from society in general about obediently following what the television says is important; things like smelling like a popular perfume brand, new, fashionable clothes, big new flat screens, cars and houses.

Many of us know how hard it is when our children are teased or excluded because they are not following these consumer trends. It is a constant struggle because we still live in mainstream society - but so far it seems we are going ok. Our lifestyle gives us the freedom, time and energy to get good at things like surfing, dancing, singing and horse-riding which are regarded by mainstream society as pretty ‘cool’. And we still have time to study for school – but perhaps we have more understanding of the reason and context for accumulating knowledge.

Probably, among the many things we don’t have, our lack of a flushing toilet is the most confronting to visitors. It seems to be some kind of measurement of human ‘development’ – to see how far away we can flush our own waste so we never have to face it. Two years after building it, our homemade composting toilet is working well (even without an exhaust fan – until I find another thrown away computer where I can extract the 12 volt cooling fan from inside). I’ve emptied the composted material a few times now and planted fruit trees on it.

We’re far from perfect, and we face challenges everyday about ‘fitting in’, but so far it seems that the things we have ‘deprived’ ourselves of have actually made us healthier, stronger and happier. Perhaps the greatest hope is that ‘one planet’ lifestyles like ours are attractive enough for others to willingly follow…

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