Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's NEVER the time for splurging


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, November 8, 2008



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

It's never that time for splurging


Christmas, birthdays, fiestas or any such occasions somehow gives us the permission to splurge, even to finish what we have been saving for the past many months for the "excuse" of celebrating. This is not only true for the moneyed but more so for the less fortunate who even incur debt just to celebrate.


 On the front pages of The Manila Times we read that next year will usher in harsh times for us as a result of the current world financial fallout. Even now, all around us there is hunger (we are the fifth hungriest country in the whole world).


 There is nothing wrong with celebrating of Christmas. In fact, I urge you to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas, which is unconditional giving, every day and not just in December. The important thing to remember is not to overdo, overindulge, gorge ourselves with anything and everything. Here are some suggestions from Johan Tell from his book, In his book, 100 Ways to Save the World (Gold Street Press, 2008). Local examples are mine.


• Use less. Using more make-up for example doesn't make you more beautiful; you might even look old and tired. Using more perfume will make you smell awful. Using more detergent and water will not make your laundry whiter and cleaner. When you cook for the holidays, don't prepare too much you have to throw food away or let it grow mold in the back of your ref or eat reheated food again and again. Instead, serve a smaller meal, eat more fruits and veggies and be healthier. Christ was born in a manger, remember?


• Buy quality. Shop for fewer, better quality products that will last longer. A good pair of shoes should last 10 years, a car twenty, a piece of furniture two—generations that is.


• Take the train. Rail travel is faster, cheaper and is an environmental winner over cars.


• I wish I could easily say, "Switch electric companies." Meralco thinks our community needs Christmas lights. Our electric supply goes on and off, on and off, on and off in a matter of seconds every now and then. My trusty ref and dryer have succumbed.


• Eat from the sea. You don't know where the feeds for the chicken, pigs and cows are coming from. If they are from China , they might have melamine. But remember that salmon, blue marlin and those big fish are not from our seas, they might have been caught far from the shore, frozen at sea, shipped to the USA, Canada or China, thawed, processed, re-frozen, then shipped here.


• Recycle. Use used. Do you really need to buy new shoes, dress, whatever just because it is Christmas? Will the church not allow you to enter because you are wearing old togs? Ask for refillable containers whenever you shop. Bring your own reusable bags.

• Protect your children. Remember that cloth diapers are still best for your baby, for the environment and for your budget. A recent study of personal care found that children are exposed to an average of 61 different chemical ingredients every day.


• Be anti-antibacterial. Not all bacteria are bad. We've always lived with bacterial all around us, and our immune system needs to be stimulated by some exposure to bacteria in order to be healthy enough to defend against those really aggressive ones that might make us sick. If you're not performing surgery, good old fashioned hygiene and simple soaps do just fine. When the label brags that a product kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, think about that .1 percent. They survive and reproduce, and they're turning into resistant strains that are causing new environmental hazards.


• Plan your shopping. O, di ba?


• Support responsible companies. Buy from companies who are good corporate citizens, they go beyond a compliance orientation—they pay taxes, they observe safety, environmental and other regulatory processes, they use "green" technology, they treat and pay their employees well, they help their communities and others.


• Change your hairstyle. A test of 38 different gels, sprays, dyes and mousse uncovered a lot of bad news for health and the environment.


• Change your grooming products. If you find a cream with 27 different chemicals that you can't pronounce, chances are some of them will be things that you and the environment can do without.


• Fix it. Try to see the virtue in making old things work instead of constantly buying new ones.,

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