Taking back the only thing that is truly ours

If poverty is having less than you need, many of us live in a new kind of poverty brought on by the demands of our hurried, frenzied world: time poverty.  I came across that phrase recently in The Better World Handbook (New Society Publishers).

From the book: “The quest to “have it all” has programmed us to have overscheduled, frazzled, harried lives where we run from place to place without much sense of where we are going.  Stretching ourselves too thinly sucks out the meaning of daily experiences.”  It’s not very good for the planet either.

The authors suggest, “We must learn to think, feel, communicate and experience the world beyond the confines of material possessions.  We must commit to leading lives fuelled by compassion and love rather than by consumption and personal gain.”

In other words, if life is a treadmill where the cost of accumulating all our stuff is time poverty, perhaps it’s worth reassessing our priorities: slowing down and consuming less; relaxing, living and laughing more.  Aspiring to less stuff and more time.  Better for us, better for the planet.

Something to think about this vacation season!

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Sunscreen is as much a part of summer as ice cream is. But have you ever paused to wonder just what’s in that stuff you put on your skin? (I’m definitely wondering, given what it does to my shirt collars and sleeves.)

Do a bit of research and you quickly realize that finding the very best sunscreen is a complicated affair. Perhaps the simplest, clearest advice comes from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green: choose a sunscreen that:

  • Is well rated by the Environmental Working Group
  • Offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Is free of toxic materials, particularly oxybenzone and retinyl palmate (a form of vitamin A)
  • Is a cream, not a spray or powder
  • Offers SPF 30 protection (lower is not enough, higher offers negligible extra protection)

(Of course, the best protection comes from covering up with a good hat and clothing, and avoiding the midday sun altogether.)

Enjoy this summer with safe, effective, eco-friendly sunscreen!