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Friday, March 16, 2012

Begin Being Aware

When we're small we don't think about where our food comes from- we just know that when we're hungry we tell a big person and if we're lucky we get fed.
When we're small we don't think about our clothes; how they're made or where the fabric comes from or any such details- we just know that our clothes can get too small or be too itchy, or tear when we play too hard.
When we're small we don't think about the state of the world, or our neighbors for that matter.
When we're small we think about ourselves and our world and how everything pertains to us.

When we grow up and go out into the world on our own, as young adults, then as people with families and small children to think of... most of us STILL don't put a lot of thought into those things. I only became "aware" in my 50's. Before that I was pretty clueless. I didn't get involved in politics, didn't think about where my food came from, who made my clothes, whether animals were tortured so that I might have shampoo and cosmetics.
I eased into it all gradually- this becoming aware. I decided to stop eating meat, then poultry, then fish. I gave away my leather coat and shoes. (not an easy task but if I won't eat it why would I wear it?)  then I realized I had antique leather books; oh my- time to give those away too. Next I started paying attention to the ingredients of things. There is a HUGE long list of ingredients with tricky names so you don't know it's made from animal (eg: rennet in cheese: calf stomach, allantoin: uric acid - that's right they put animal pee in your cosmetics)  http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/animal-ingredient-guide.aspx?search=ingredients
I started paying attention to factory farming, Monsanto and all the horror stories that company has to "offer", to Fair Trade- what it is and why it's important to support small farmers all around the world, and to box stores and their contribution to child labor, ousting the "mom and pop" stores etc.  There is SO much information to digest and at first I thought my decisions didn't really matter. They do. Every dollar I spend is a vote. A vote for things about which I care. And in order to be true to myself and my beliefs I need to continue to be aware, pay attention, make good decisions and choices. I slip up from time to time, everyone will. But I am trying and seeking to be a better citizen and to continually be aware.
So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for "listening."  (art is ASL sign for "connect- join"

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