Monday, June 7, 2010

stuffin' stuff.

"If everybody had the standard of living of the average European or American, we would probably need five new planets. But we've only got this one." These are the wise words of Jane Goodall, an English scientist who spent years observing the chimpanzees in the forest of Tanzania.

Five new planets. Imagine that! But she's absolutely right. Western people are fond of acquiring new stuff and collecting the old ones. One doesn´t have to look far.... my own garage is a classic example. It is stuffed with practically everything --- 95% of them are hand-me-downs from relatives and friends.

You see, I´m like my Ma. I collect garbage (things that no longer have value for others). Somehow, I find it difficult to throw anything that is still in good, working condition. I don't care if it doesn't look nice for as long as I can use it, I'd like to keep it. So old dressoirs, tables, fauteuils, bookcase, pans, even old electric heaters..... they all have a place in my garage!

I know that it's not about being attached to material wealth, because I'm not ... attached, that is. But when I look at an old dressoir for example, I don't see a furniture with an intricate design. I only see a beautiful piece of rose wood. And for me, it's a sin to throw such a beauty. My husband said that it will be recycled. But still, I don't have the heart to do it. I am hoping that someday, somehow... someone will have a place in her home for the old dressoir. But who am I kidding? This is Europe.

A very wise Ifugao once told me, `as long as man doesn´t realize that he can´t eat money, he will continue chopping down trees to have more money.´

It´s scary, I know. But how do we stop people from buying, acquiring, and collecting? Let's face it. We all work hard to have more money. Because if we have more money, we have more stuff. And if we have more stuff, we think we´ll be happier. We want to live like the average European or American.... surrounded by stuff. Contented and happy. Whatever that means.

So Dr. Goodall is an inspiration to me because her work helps us understand how to take better care of our Earth. Her passion and empathy is a proof that it is possible to make a positive difference for others. For indeed, "you can't live through a day without making an impact on the world. And we all have a choice about what sort of impact we will make."

Like her, I also want to make an impact.... a difference. Perhaps my approach is not really helping because right now, I am merely stuffing stuff! But....we´ll see.

I'm re-posting this... if only to remind myself not to buy more stuff!


buday said...

When I visited a sistah in the US, I asked her, why do you have 6 "galonan" bottles of shampoo plus lots of other unopened toiletries? They're cheaper bought in bulk, she said. Then later in the week, she bought MORE of the same (even though I kept giving her "the eye", hahaha). Very strange.

Aledys Ver said...

Oh dear! Your garage then must be like Dr. Who's Tardis? From the outside is just a phonebooth but inside it's an entire space shuttle? :o)
Have you heard of Marktplaats? Or the Kringloop? THere might indeed be someone in need of that dressoir. You can get money for it and then again, use the money to buy more stuff :o)

~ Lopa said...


Have a look at our store room. Initially we didn't know where to discard what and later we stored them as people advised us why are you throwing it, you can use it or sell it... we neither used anything nor sold anything... so back to what it was... garbage filled store room !

I think my store room will be never Dutch ! And it's true, even we are not ! I envy them for that. :) said...

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