This week, we look at the bigger picture.
When I started publishing this newsletter for the community 15 years ago, there were a few words I intentionally left out everywhere. Most people have clear ideas about anyone who uses these words and labels them hippies and dropouts and new-agers. I witness this often in expressions of surprise at first meetings.
Apparently, I am not what people expect me to be.
While some of those banned words (consciousness, mindfulness, holistic) have found their way into the conversation, I remain unconvinced about our use of “alternative” to describe any lifestyle choice viewed as being outside the box.
My simple explanation is to look at the timeline of humanity. Regardless of what we believe with regards to where we came from, most agree that humans have inhabited this planet for around 50,000 years.
For 40,000 years, we lived as hunters-gatherers, in harmony with our surroundings, respecting our environment and existing as part of our local ecosystems. The arrival of agriculture marked the beginning of our expansion around 10,000 years ago.
A few hundred years ago, industrialization changed everything. With rapid scientific and medical understanding, there were soon more of us and we lived longer. Nothing changed our world faster than our ability to begin processing oil in quantity 150 years ago. Since then, we have been on the fast track of development — bigger, better, faster is the mantra.
In the past few years, 21st century technology has added a new dimension to our appetite for growth.
Since the 1950s, we have worshipped at the alter of convenience, leaving our gardens for supermarkets, ditching home cooked for take-out, forgetting how to make and sew and mend and repair in our pursuit of fashion, dismissing anything traditional in favor of modern. We first embraced plastic as a durable and affordable material. Now, we produce an abundance of unnecessary, durable packaging designed to be used once before it hits the landfill in the absence of significant recycling systems.
Today we yearn for life in the fast lane until we get there and before long we begin yearning for a way out.
Looking back at this timeline, we wonder how anyone could consider a holistic, natural lifestyle as something alternative. When seen from a distance, our current lifestyle of destruction and waste looks suspiciously alternative.
In the context of 50,000 years, we’ve only just arrived and we’ve already made a very big mess of things.
First movers who recognize the connection between our health and the health of the planet are beginning to return to a simple life. Off-grid luxury holidays, country living, family farming, windowsill gardening are signs of the times as workers leave industry to start their own small businesses with purpose.
Our community is diverse and representative. We are not hippies or dropouts or new-agers. We are everyday people with principle and purpose. Many trending products and services are grounded in ancient wisdom as old as humanity itself.
As we move into the next chapter, we begin to recognize there is nothing about modern living that can be described as eco-friendly. Though the word has a certain soothing quality to it, this may be the only time you will read it here. It is a clever marketing word that raises our suspicions every time we see it.
What is your alternative?
Founder & Publisher
natural life in the fast lane
Everything is connected.
Listen to your own heartbeat.
“Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” Elon Musk
Events in our community this week
13 (7-8:30am) Dancing in the Dark | First Light Hong Kong | details
Join as a community member (free) for full access to calendar details.
May 6 Lantau Health & Wellness Expo
May 13-14 IRIS – Your Escape
May 20-21 The Science of Ayurveda Aromatherapy
May 27 360 Wellness Fair
June 23-24 Evolution – Asia Yoga Conference
Fresh content and local connections for everyday choices since 2001 … naturally
Hong Kong’s original natural lifestyle community is home to thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations sharing fresh content and local connections for authentic products, services and programs. With everything from acupuncture to zero-waste solutions, our members have everything you’re looking for — even when you’re not sure what you’re looking for — chemical-free health and beauty, lifestyle services, whole food, sustainable fashion, eco-style, green gadgets and more … naturally.
Photo by Kinzie