Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We are the problem...

I wake up on most mornings to the sound of my toddler calling "Mommmyyy!". The day begins...

I take my shower. Since water is scarce in the desert, the water from the taps is desalinated from the sea.

I use my soap, shampoo and conditioner - made by Proctor & Gamble in France. I put on my organic deodarent. Made in Austin, Texas. Cool that I would have access to something like that here.

I get dressed. My clothes for work, which were dry cleaned, need to be re-ironed with my iron made in China or some other faraway place.

With the exception of those that I bought in Turkey when I lived there, my clothes were made in Sri Lanka, the Phillipines, India, Vietnam or some other far away place. I wish I could get good Turkish textiles here!

I eat my breakfast. Typically consisting of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and cheese. Most of that is all from somewhere else in the world. Very little produce is grown here - obviously the climate doesn't allow for that. Even though the bread is made here...the flour, from somewhere else. The tea I drink with my breakfast, elsewhere. My son often eats Cheerios...a very international cuisine as its all the way from the US. However, he will sometimes join me in bread, or if I make waffles or pancakes he is happy. We occasionally eat eggs. I usually go for for the organic fed or free range, but I'm not sure if those are from here or not. The tea and olives I do tend to bring from Turkey myself as they are much better than most things I can find here. Turkey made me a tea snob!

I get in my car to drive to work and half the time I'm dropping my son at nursery on the way. I'm blessed he has such a stimulating place with caring teachers to go to.

While he enjoys his morning, I work on my computer which was made in China. Preparing for my next proposal, I need to print some documents. Someone else has a very large document in the cue. Darn. I print it again on another printer as time is of the essence.

After a fast moving morning, I get in my car again and drive to pick my son up from nursery to take him back home. By then he is asleep and I carry him upstairs and put him in his bed. Still thankful I didn't have to buy one because my friend gave me her daughter's old one. I give him a kiss on the head and off I go.

There is a Starbuck's in my complex. I'll often stop there for my afternoon coffee to give me that little extra pick up for the rest of the day. The staff there is so incredibly nice and friendly. Love them.

There I get my coffee. The beans, originally from wherever SB's buys them, are sent to be processed somewhere. They likely come from a warehouse to Dubai somehow. I assume sent to probably the SB's main distributor in the Middle East who then sends it to Dubai. What a bunch of jet set beans! I get my coffee in an SB's paper cup.

I dart back to work and drive around sometimes for 30 minutes before I can find a parking space. Gotta be early, or its full! Even parking far away is not an option because there is nowhere left to park!

Somewhere in between there I had lunch from either the sandwich lady in our building or one of the fast fresh food places. They all package their stuff in paper or plastic. They all, like my breakfast, use ingredients that came from elsewhere. I'm drinking my water from a large plastic bottle. All water here is bottled..don't touch that tap stuff.

When work is done, I drive back home with the other few million people.

I'll sit with my son for dinner and hear about his day. He eats well; and healthy stuff too - fish and vegetables. His snacks throughout the day are also healthy. I am fortunate that we have an organic store in Dubai. I try to buy as much as I can for him from there. Its great and from all over the place - India, Africa, Germany or who knows where.

I've got some beautiful tulips in a vase on my table. They are likely from Holland, the typical import of all flowers to Dubai.

If there is time, I go exercise or do yoga. I have a pair of sport shoes made in the Far East somewhere. I am not sure where the yoga clothes are made.

I'll check my emails and personal things on my MacBook that I use for my photography hobby. I love it, really.

I'm also planning my next vacation. I wonder where I will fly to next?

If I'm not exhausted at that point. I'll read a few pages of a book from my Kindle, or one of the few last paper books that I have. Then I drift off to sleep rather quickly to get up and start it all over again....

...sounds like a nice life...It is, but what is wrong with this picture?!! The use of energy and resources is what is wrong with this picture!! Granted, I do live in a country that doesn't have much in terms of natural resources (except oil) and the occasional local tomato. However, I am sure if I were not in Dubai and say living in the US, there would be just as much energy consumption going on there as I have here to sustain my lifestyle.

I am not opposed to environmentalism, or saving energy by any means. But what can we do on a large scale because the "system" is now like that. I have been thinking about this ever since the BP oil spill. The link to the Garrison Keillor editorial at the end of this blog entry also got me thinking about it even more.

Additional food for thought, I read just a few days ago about the increase of suicides in a factory in China. This factory is where Apple and many other technology companies make most of their products. As a Mac user, is their blood on my hands as well?

What has happened with BP in the Gulf is an awful horrible thing. That ecosystem will never be the same. But "we" let it happen. Yes, BP could have taken more safety measures. However, all of us sitting here at our computers live in the developed world. We are dependent on what they are doing - drilling for oil to sustain our lifestyle.

As a good friend of mine always said "when you point the finger at someone, don't forget there are always three more pointing back at you".



Sew Pretty Dresses said...

Dang it I just left you a NOVEL of a response and my computer battery died. I don't think I can remember it all but I will try. I so agree with your observations! I don't know if those casual observers/commentators really get it. People say they want to be earth friendly but do they REALLY? I doubt it. It would require the sacrifice of SO MUCH. A complete restructure of personal lives not to mention industries. Our small attempts to be earth friendly are just that, small. I think that anyone that makes an attempt is sincere in their concerns but don't really get it how much more they need to do to make an impact. Oil is just one example and such a hot button topic, even before the stomach churning atrocious disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The hot solution is to move a way from gasoline. But the problem is, that is not going to put oil companies out of business or really significantly impact the need for oil. Our dependence goes so much deeper. Gasoline is the byproduct of the refining of oil. Only one of many byproducts that we use. Look at plastics for example. It fills our life, from convenience packaging, to "necessary" packaging, building materials, piping, car materials, machinery, medical equipment etc. It is a ubiquitous part of all our lives. If we get rid of plastics, what do we replace it with? Another natural resource no doubt. And then there is the core of the issue, changing everyone's hearts to see we need to be more thoughtful in our choices we make everyday.(that includes my heart!) Legislating it will only divide and tick off people, and create pathetic industry compromises that have little to no impact or create new environmental issues(phasing out the incandescent light bulb comes to mind, you have to clear the room for 10 minutes with the new lightbulb if it breaks. What the heck? And this is BETTER?) Oh girl I could go on! It is just so refreshing to see a familiar viewpoint, we are all definitely the problem.

4 Yapraklı Yonca said...

Pam...I love to read you!

Pam said...

I hear ya Jenny...it was eating at me for days..actually, its something I think about often here b/c this is not a very green place at all. Something dramatic will have to happen to make real progress in that area.

Yonca, thank you. From you, that is very flattering... (((Yonca))) - Virtual hug for you :P ...and one for (((Jenny))) too :-)