Thursday, 6 August 2015

Please can we all calm down?

So I got up this morning, had a bath, washed my hair (using the bath water and Urtekram shampoo) and cleaned my teeth (with Weleda salt tootpaste. I got dressed ~ cheap bra from an eBay shop, cheap underpants and cheap tee-shirt from Marks and Spencer, cheap linen sleeveless dress from an eBay shop. I had my breakfast: Kelloggs Fruit’n’Fibre (wholegrain wheatflakes which have a little sugar in the composition, but not much; dried coconut, banana and raisins, and apparently apples and hazelnuts too, though I've never noticed any) with organic whole milk. I had a cup of tea with it ~ Earl Grey, with semi-skimmed organic milk. All the food came from Asda, because it’s at the end of our road and the prices are very low.

Harmless, you would think, wouldn’t you? Harmless. Not if you spend much time on the internet and have met the thought police, the self-appointed conscience of our age. No, sir!

Let me tell you what’s wrong with my start to the day.

Thing 1. Me. I am a white Western Christian woman living in the south-east of England. This means, so many sources are eager to inform me, that I am inherently and inevitably racist and classist, an oppressor by default and regardless of my personal views. Darn! And never mind that prices are higher where I live ~ obviously that means I must be filthy rich, then, or wouldn’t I live somewhere else?

Still: moving on.

Thing 2. A bath. Oh, dear. Any ecologically responsible woman knows perfectly well that water is scarce and only showers are permissible. Even though, to compensate for this I have a bath only once in two/three days ~ well, I could make that a shower, couldn’t I? And salt toothpaste? Sodium Chloride . . . er . . . I never did learn the periodic table at school . . . but there’s something about where it stands in relation to other elements that means it’s going to strike down important components of your health so you get cancer. Only I’ve forgotten what.

And what about shampoo? Destroying the balance of the eco-systems and killing everything. And why am I not recycling bathwater for other purposes (can’t think what at the mo)?

Then of course, shampoo is extravagant and I should be cleaning my hair and body with bicarbonate of soda ~ except that (Aha – gotcha!) there’s the same problem with the sodium bicarbonate as with the sodium chloride. Even cucumbers are probably too high in sodium to be let near your body.

Thing 3. Oh, tut tut!

Marks and Spencer is a large corporation, therefore oppressive and damaging to our local economy. They make underwear from cotton, which is a terrible crop that is ruining Earth’s ecosystems and killing our planetary home.

But the increase in eBay shops and online shopping in general is destroying local communities by offering cheap goods with which the high street shops cannot compete. The right use of the pounds in my purse (even if there aren't many of them) is to buy from a middleman trader, not direct, so that retailers can flourish as part of the local economy and thus increase prosperity in the community.

Also, how come my clothes were so cheap? Were they made in sweat shops?

Thing 4. Let’s look at that breakfast.

Fruit’n’Fibre is a commercially produced and packaged cereal, so the packaging is ruining the planet – trees cut down for cardboard, toxic dyes in the colourful pictures. It’s made a by a big corporation, which is disadvantaging struggling small family firms by a) existing and b) doing well.

Then of course wheat will swell up my cells systemically and irritate and inflame my gut. It may also be GMO wheat without my knowing it, thus unbalancing Earth’s eco-systems irreversibly.

Coconut and banana are both tropical fruits and, as many health gurus will assure you, they should be eaten only in the climates in which they’re grown. If you live in England, you shouldn’t eat them – stick to apples.

Raisins are high in sugar (fructose, too ~ OMG!!) so will sabotage my liver and make me diabetic.

What about the milk on my cereal? From all sides I’m assured that methane from farm animals is probably worse than building nuclear plants on live volcanoes, single-handedly responsible for planetary death. Not only that, all dairy farming is by its nature cruel, savage and inhumane. No evolved being would interfere with a cow’s family life and rob her of her baby’s milk; this, even if the cow would never have existed without the dairy farmer.

Tea? Interferes with uptake of iron, loaded with caffeine, diuretic properties lead to fluid retention over time. Next?

Asda? A big corporation that pays low wages and thus keeps the enslaved masses tight in the thrall of poverty, especially when there aren’t many other jobs in Hastings. The money paid to it is barrowed away to rich shareholders who live Somewhere Else, and thus is Hastings kept forever poor.

Sometimes I think it would be simpler to stay in bed.

Living responsibly and compassionately is an obvious human duty, but for Heaven's sake! Please can we all calm down?


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

But...but...but if you stay in bed to avoid all these things, you will get hot and sweaty because it is August, thereby necessitating having to wash the sheets more often, which uses our scarce water and undoubtedly toxic washing products, which will enter our ecosystem and probably have toxic effects on your body too.....
Perhaps we should abandon clothes and use animal skins instead? But then we would have to be subhuman to callously breed and kill animals in order to use their pelts, and so it goes on and on ;-)

Pen Wilcock said...

Yep - you've obviously got the hang of it! xx

Paula said...

Hahaha! I've had days like this. Yargh. So I say to you, do your best and let the rest go. And over time, the rest of the world makes it a little easier to take another step in your efforts to walk lightly on the planet. :)

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Emily Stratmeyer said...


Pen Wilcock said...



Paula said...

Ha! I feel like that some days reading various Facebook posts. I've recently found the Science Babe, she's an ACTUAL scientists and likes debunking a lot of the crazy meme's and 'facts' out there.

Just an FYI, you can feel better about your cereal because there is NO GMO wheat :)

Pen Wilcock said...

Is that so? No GMO wheat? Well, say it quietly, in case Monsanto is reading our comments. Don't want to give it ideas.


MaryR said...

That gave me a good laugh, Pen. You can either listen to all and sundry and drive yourself mad, or you can listen to that 'still, small voice of calm,' and do your own thing. Blissful ignorance, I call it!!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello Emilio - thank you for your kind comment. Nice to hear from you. Hope you find a shady tree and a cold beer to drink underneath it in your hot summer!

Pen Wilcock said...

Ooh - hello, Mary R! I nearly deleted your comment without seeing it - it got lost in a stack. Yes, I think it is possible to attend to too many voices. I try to "listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story", like it says in Desiderata. But maybe there's a time to let what they say wash over one.

Paula said...

There really isn't a market for GMO wheat because wheat doesn't have the weed pressure that corn and soybeans do. So they aren't working on it. Just like there isn't GMO popcorn either.

Suze said...

This has made me smile. Around here at present it is food miles and how dare you use air-conditioning. It is hot and humid here. We prouce solar power to assist our consumption. Before anyone bleets on I would like them to read our very low power bill. Yes we use but we do our best to be mindful. Hugs,

Pen Wilcock said...

People are externalising their fear as blame and criticism. I have been thinking that my next task in life is to learn, not how to evade fear, but how to push through to the other side of it. And, as always, everything is made easier by simplifying.


BLD in MT said...

Oh, how I can relate! On a backpacking trip recently my friend and I agreed that life was simpler before we thought of all these things, thought to weigh so many pros and cons. It came up because I was torn between using my electric kettle (which uses much less energy, but contains plastic bits that are heated up) or an old-fashioned tea kettle on my electric range/stove (which uses way more energy).

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Humph is my comment! I just smile and go on at such comments!

Pen Wilcock said...


It seems to me that if we go on quietly, forming habits of frugality and simplicity and thinking things through, we can achieve good results but bypass the angst. The simplicity is crucial, because it's having multiple strands to think about that crashes one's thinker.


Joy Warner said...

Mother Teresa's comment comes to mind.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Peace from Joy

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Johannah Nancy said...

This article and the comments remind me of a good friend of mine who was a complete Luddite in terms of his refusal to take on board labour saving gadgets or modern technology. He now has an iPhone and is the most avid social media user I know. The difference? The most important thing to him is loving people and social media is the best way for him to keep in touch with all the people he loves, especially as he cannot physically get to see them all daily.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Anonymous said...

Love it!