What freaks you out the most? [discussion]

Sorry to disappear on you for a few days. My internet woes are far from sorted but I’ve climbed a hill with a wire coathanger in order to bring you this post, so pay attention!

As I posted a week or so ago, I had an inspiring trip down south and now these few days offline have given me a clear idea of where I want to take this blog and the reasons I just can’t live without it. More on that later.

For now, I want to hear from you.

Why are you interested in eco-living? What is it that motivates you to live more lightly on this earth? Are you worried that we’ll run out of oil and will have to live some kind of Amish-style existence? Is it the toxins that surround us that most people know nothing about? Do you lose sleep over food security or wonder what kind of world our kids are going to grow up in?

Or do you just feel a vague sense of responsibility about the future and figure recycling is the answer?

Whatever your thoughts, I would love to hear them. To get the ball rolling, I will answer my own questions in the comments. Please join the conversation – your comments will help me shape the future of this blog (no pressure!).


  1. (dt)em says

    Ok, so me first. As you may have worked out there are a number of things that freak me out and in turn motivate me to live a cleaner, greener life. For one, I believe we are chewing up resources faster than we can possibly imagine. This makes me wonder what state the world will be in when my first granddaughter comes along.
    I worry about my kids’ health and the effects of air and water quality, pesticides, toxins in foods, toxins in just about every consumer item.
    I am also concerned about the growing disconnection between people and the environment. We are animals, peeps, we need this land to support us!
    When it comes to eco living, I am motivated to hang nappies, sort rubbish and put in the hard yards to make more ethical choices because I want to teach my kids that life is not cheap, easy and disposable. As my old mate Mahatma said, “be the change…”

  2. Mother Down Under says

    I guess I feel a sense of responsibility to myself and to others to live consciously.
    I get enormously frustrated at governments and corporations and the way they feel zero sense of accountability to citizens and consumers. And as my own form of protest, I take it upon myself to learn as much as I can about products and make educated decisions.
    But I really wish there was some higher authority that would make governments and corporations behave and do the right thing. I am saddened when I look around and see others ruining their health and their environment just because they don’t know any better.
    I do what I can and I often wish that I could do more.
    Mother Down Under recently posted..Sunday Styles: Meeting Other BloggersMy Profile

    • (dt)em says

      Thanks for your comment Mother Down Under. The frustration you write about is the reason I started this blog in the first place. On the one hand, it really disturbs me to see people making choices that can harm themselves or the environment – without realising what they’re doing – but on the other hand, I don’t want to be the crazy lady at the park lecturing everyone on the evils of sunscreen and refusing to befriend anyone who won’t use cloth nappies!
      What freaks me out is that most people are so unaware of things like toxins in beauty products, food, packaging. Part of my mission with this blog is to raise awareness without shoving it down people’s throats. We’re all massively busy and don’t always have time to read the fine print or do the research on whether a brand is ethical. Most people quite rightly believe if it’s on the shelf it’s safe and the sad thing is that is often not the case.

  3. Bernadette Eden says

    Oh my goodness where to begin…. I worry Australia will become a pawn in a future war, I worry about people living in third world countries and how our actions are affecting them, I worry about our own Indigenous Australians, I worry that no-one else is worrying about them, I worry that even though I am trying really hard to be sustainable that I still make mistakes so what must a person who doesn’t care be doing? The list goes on. My absolute main concern that takes my breath away over all others is that my kids will never know a world without tv, mobile phones, computers etc and won’t know how to just stop and look around them and be okay with being bored. I guess that one is up to me though.
    Great question!

    • (dt)em says

      Thanks for your comment Bernadette. I hear you on the global front – so many people don’t realise just how good we have it here in Australia. AS for our kids, imagine the technology they will using every day (or not, I do have some apocalyptic visions of the future sometimes!). Their health, their posture, their eyes! Not to mention their reliance on technology. It’s up to us to show them that there is life beyond the screen (she says, tapping away at her laptop the moment the kids go to bed…).

  4. Michelle Ambrose says

    Australia is currently in the grip of a corporate take over of our natural resources e.g. Mining and in particular Coal Seam Gas extraction through fracking. This is an unconventional mining practice enforced on our farming and prime agricultural land. It must be stopped now. Coal seam gas extraction takes five million litres of water and many chemicals to extract the gas. This will affect our underground aquifers and eventually our rivers and streams. It pollutes OUR AIR OUR WATER AND OUR land. If we do not stop our pollutitions from selling our land to corporates our childrens future and that of our water is at serious risk. Please YOU TUBE Brian MONK and see for yourselves what the effects of fracking is, this is criminal. Lets grow our veges and our fruit and stop relying on the major chains to supply our food.

    • (dt)em says

      Michelle, fracking is terrifying, but do you get the impression that most people in Australia have no idea what it’s about? I think if you took the average Aussie and said, “we’re going to punch loads of holes in the earth and suck out some poisonous gas”, they’d say “hmmm, not happy about that”. I will check out your YT recommendation and will get a post up about this issue asap. Thanks very much for your comment.

  5. Lisa Wood says

    There is so much that freaks me out about this world!! Like will I grow old to see my grandkids?Will I grow old gracefully so that I do not have to go to a Nursing Home (they are one scary place!!)
    What about our kids future, will they have one?
    Then again with the prices of real estate will they be able to afford one?
    What about the price increases every year but the wages do not keep up with them?
    Or how many people seem to pollute our world with dumping rubbish?
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Max Brenner Chocolate :: Date NightMy Profile

    • (dt)em says

      Lisa, I think it’s safe to say that our kids will be living with us for a lot longer than previous generations. Check out this story in the Telegraph, it is about a new way of living, called the tiny or small house movement. I am all for communal living (if you read down to the end, you’ll find a family of grown-up kids living with their mum, but all in separate cabins with a communal area. Mulch-generational living sound good to me.

    • (dt)em says

      OMG Kathleen, I hear you! It terrifies me to think that foods that we think are ok – healthy even – could be causing damage to our kids. My son definitely goes mental after sugar – and not just hyperactive, but completely loses his self-control. what are the long-term effects of this when sugar is so prevalent in our society now? Then there are the endocrine-disrupting chemicals in everything from baby wash to laundry powder. it really does make me want to hide under a rock sometimes….

  6. Tammy Eakes says

    To be honest I don’t think about it much. My children have actually taught me most of what I know about recycling and such (I guess they are learning at school). We do recycle in our home and I use cardboard boxes from things I have ordered to organize my drawers and cabinets but that’s about the extent of the “green” in our home. It’s not that I don’t care, I guess it’s one of those out of sight, out of mind kind of situations for me. I am thankful for people like you out there who do make this a priority and are spreading awareness.
    I found you through Probloggers Discussion Post contest. I am participating too.

    • (dt)em says

      Thanks Tammy. It’s amazing what kids are learning at school about recycling, reusing etc. I think it’s definitely a good thing to have ingrained in your mindset from an early age. It’s like whenever English people come to stay with us, I am astounded by how much water they use. Growing up during years of drought, I instinctively turn off the tap rather than leaving it running – and that’s from years of hearing that message on TV and at school. I guess I have a “drought mentality”, hopefully our kids will have a “limited resources” mentality!

  7. Rohit Sharma says

    Hi Jo,

    I congratulate you for initiating very interesting and meaningful discussion. I am performing my part by checking & reducing my personal wastage.

    I personally avoid wasting things because I believe wasting is morally wrong, when one wastes, one doesn’t learn to appreciate, to learn to take with gratitude and not to take for granted.

    When wise men lose their appreciation for things and for life, they fall in category of sinners.
    Rohit Sharma recently posted..What is your Revolution?My Profile

  8. narelle says

    It is a concern to me that mothers and women will not rise to the challenge of our times – our fore bearers faced different but also difficult decisions when it came to family and making the world a better place. I think as women we all got a bit lost when Germaine Greer wrote her book and we discovered the wrong meaning to the word “empowerment” because to me empowerment is the power to raise our families in an ethical, healthy and safe community. As a women do we have that?
    How can we make smarter decisions for our families and change the future with our kids….
    A teacher asked me one day about “what will happen to our kids when it comes time for them to be employed because they are home schooled and don’t have a “formal education” – my simple reply to her was I’m not raising my kids to be employed by others who are constrained by rules and regulations of how to and how not to. I am raising my kids to be the ones that change the world – to make it a better place – and to come up with solutions to ethical business problems that are not taught in schools. Ask Richard Branson what school taught him. He is an amazing ethical business leader in our world.
    You are welcome to follow our journey of why and how of unschooling. It is a different perspective you may like to look at…
    I want a future that includes the women of this world sharing their lives – learning and giving to each other – keeping ourselves informed of ethics, health and education….. what a beautiful movement we can start if we take the first step : )
    What freaks me out……. that women won’t rise to the challenge.
    narelle recently posted..How we teach our kids – without a curriculum…..My Profile

    • (dt)em says

      “to me empowerment is the power to raise our families in an ethical, healthy and safe community”

      I love this, Narelle, so true!

  9. Susan says

    Hi great discussion Jo… I sometimes literally feel sick when I think about how I’m not doing enough to help the environment and how wasteful I am.

    Why? I’ve never really thought about it until now… I think it’s for a few reasons, the main one I worry about is what us humans have done to the world and that it’s going to blow up from being mistreated. I worried about this before I was parent and probably more now that I have kids.

    For me though also a big one is the waste factor. Yes I care deeply about environmental impacts on everyone, but for me day to day I could cry about the fact that people don’t put the right things in their recycling bins, more than I’m thinking about baby penguins covered in oil. It’s just more in my face I guess. I care about things like the recycling, finding new homes for things and using up leftovers instead of chucking them out, because I really can’t stand the thought of all the people and resources that made these items for nothing, if you’re going to chuck it out that is, and landfill….. I am so scared of landfill and constantly worry where all the garbage of the world is going to go when we’ve run out of holes to dig. Eeek! It’s like a horror movie. Yes, landfill, that is what freaks me out.

    • (dt)em says

      Hey Suz, Landfill totally freaks me out too. We bury our crap in the ground, the same ground that feds us. It makes no sense at all. We are on a no-waste mission. Well, I am anyway!
      I think just being aware is the first step, then making small changes over the course of time. In the not-too distant future, I’d like us to be water and energy self-sufficient, able to make whole meals from the backyard and better connected to our local food sources.
      Thanks for commenting xx

  10. Abbie says

    Hmmm. So many things.
    I work in the environmental field and I read a lot. And so much of it is so effing scary when you understand what is happening, and it amazes me, in this age of information and the technology we have available to us, that people are less informed than ever. There was a comment about how people think that if it’s on the supermarket shelf then it’s safe, and I can’t tell you not only how wrong that view is, but how I can’t understand that, given what we now know about markets and companies and the way the economy (and the world) works, that we could ever trust that assumption.
    SO my reasons for doing what I do:
    1. I want to, no, need, to be able to look my kids in the eye in 5 years/10 years times, when they asked me what I did to save the planet, to be able to respond I did as much as I could. Not respond with, “well, I changed the lightglobes and stuff, but there was this awesome show on TV and so I didn’t have time for anything else.” I want to be able to say with total truth that I couldn’t have done more if I tried. Still working towards that goal, and don’t even know if it’s achievable.
    2. Because it IS the right thing to do. Ethically/morally, environmentally, socially, humanitarian-ly, you get the picture.
    3. I do what I do with my family, house, work and even community, because there is big problems coming. I’m not talking an apocalyptic zombie/terminator “rise of the machines” future, no, something we could stop but no one took the time to think to do it/no one had the courage. I’m talking climate change, eventual running out of vital resources, Peak Oil, loss of ecosystems, and more, etc all things combined. Things that are known about, 10 minutes of googling would give you an overview. They’re not hard to find out about, but are the elephants in the room. There’s a good cartoon that came out about the same time as the GFC – kevin rudd opens the door to climate change, and shuts it, telling climate change that now isn’t a good time for it to call. No government is going to make those “unpopular” decisions until it’s too late, and what company out there would say, “you know what? We’ve screwed the world enough. Let’s just leave the rest of this in the ground/unburnt/unused/etc. None. The short term thinking means that resources are used and pollution created at an ever increasing rate to create more money, no matter how much it screws over the future. So my last answer, I do what I do in order to help my family, my community and as many people as I can, be prepared for some of what is coming and maybe make the change a little easier (mainly through things like Transition Towns). I don’t like to be negative about these things, because studies show that negativity, guilt, scariness all put people off acting, but sheesh, this isn’t about changing your brand of toothpaste – we need to be, quite seriously, working together to save the world.
    Sorry for the long response, it’s a Friday afternoon and my positivity seems to have flown out the window….

    • (dt)em says

      Oh Abbie, I hope you got your positivity back over the weekend! Thanks for your passionate response, I know exactly how you feel. I love your first reason – I am starting to realise that actions are more important that words and am looking at ways to make an actual change in my community. Something tangible that I can say, “I did that”. Being able to say to my kids “I worked on the campaign to ban plastic bags in our city” or “I restored that creek” teaches them a lot more than just talking about it!

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