Environment and what WE have to learn from the world’s poorest

Day 21 – Three weeks!

  • 18km walk (10.5 miles) Seattle – Fremont to Discovery Park and back, beautiful!
  • Breakfast: small portion of corn bread
  • Lunch: oats with orange peel, banana and bran
  • Snacks: half bagel with sunflower butter and large cup of ramen broth
  • Dinner:  last of the refried beans and rice (small portion) with ¼ yam, little bit of garlic and fried onion with half a bagel

The Meal: Rice, refried beans, garlic, yam, onion & 1/2 bagel

The walk: Pink pathways in Seattle

The physical aspect of this trip is now done! As it should have been with the original plan of 1000 miles of cycling but instead I actually think it has been more demanding as I have only had one rest day in three weeks. I still have a few walks, swims and rides from here but not everyday and sick of recording them! But stats for my three weeks while eating and drinking on less than $1.50/day – Ride 447km (279 miles); Walk 182km (114 miles); Swim 6.63km (4.14 miles)

The idea of the physical stats was to simply to try and match people in extreme poverty who mainly work hard physical jobs and show how much effort they might do – but usually MORE, EVERYDAY and WITHOUT CHOICE!

The physical work that gets done in real world for those living in extreme poverty

Spending so much time on foot, bike and in the pool while Living Below the Line was always going to bring out the strong environmentalist in me…

Quite a few things have been running through my Live Below the Line head in the past two days after reading a few articles, recalling conversations and present chats with hosts.

Live Below the Line is a direct action towards living within the natural confinement of nature and our environment. Climate change I will not mention because I think it is irrelevant in the argument and too many people have opposing views. Instead I look at our natural environment and how much it can handle and its limitations, regardless of climate change.

So in the case of Live Below the Line and the way people in developing countries generally live, their impact on the environment is significantly lower than your average one white Australian brought up in Adelaide.

The idea of population going through the roof and we can’t fit everyone in the world, especially all those people in Africa is absolutely true, but here’s the thing, that is if they live like the average white Australian from Adelaide.

When you live in extreme poverty or in my case currently Living Below the Line you can only consume a very limited amount of anything – food, water, goods, etc. This is where it all comes together for me and now in my fourth week of Live Below the Line is that LBL is not about starving yourself or feeling sorry for the poor but to understand that living in simplicity is not only quite enlightening and morally enriching but it has a huge positive impact on community and environment.

Living Below the Line for an extended amount time is really teaching me that life is ‘richer’ in social interaction, community involvement and environmental sustainability.

I will make more reference to this in time but on an environmental front my emissions have been next to nothing (if I exclude how I got to North America and the flatulence from lots of refried beans).

  • The food I eat is almost entirely from local producers of basic ingredients that are affordable
  • I walk or cycle to get around as much as possible on my 1000 mile journey
  • I have not been consuming ‘stuff’ as much as normal from the humbling experience of Living Below the Line
  • My entertainment has largely been walking and cycling seeing new places
  • Even more significantly entertainment has been talking and meeting new people – learning, sharing and laughing
  • I have been connected closer to the natural (free) beauty of the world and want to keep it’s integrity more
  • I have been more susceptible to the weather but embraced it as you have to, not to alter it completely for my comfort or happiness
  • I accept whatever housing and hosting is given to me but I prefer the more simpler as it suits the lifestyle I am portraying (not saying I didn’t enjoy staying in everybody’s house because it is the people that make the experience)
  • I am forced to accept the living conditions of the day as someone in extreme poverty would have to for in the weather, income or circumstance

Two major pieces of information on environment that have been bouncing in my head are these two:

I suppose what I am trying to allude to in this blog is that it is not about us trying to ‘help’ the poor but it is also what we can learn from the poor.

I don’t ever advocate we need to bring the poor up to our way of living. I believe it is about us meeting the poor half way (or my preference closer to their half) and enjoying the immense amount of happiness and benefit it brings to ourselves, each other and our environment.

The d'Arcy Happiness & Sustainable Spectrum

Wish I could do a spectrum graph and where we need to meet the poor at place at the big smile…

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