Cast Out Caste

Enora Haugmard France

India is a booming country, rich with diversities, but its territories haven’t developed equally everywhere. Indeed, some discrimination still exits  between Indian inhabitants. Hopefully, the situation is evolving positively.

In India, there is a system that makes it possible to classify the population a thousand heredity groups called “caste”. The caste system was developed many years ago and still survives today. We can notice 4 major castes : Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, which are the upper class, and Sudra the lower one. It would be necessary to add the Untouchables (Dalits) which are left outside the other castes. Currently, the discrimination about caste is forbidden, however, it still continues to play a major role in Indian society.

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Indeed, there is large-scale of abuses by the police, for example when some refused to fill a complaint or acting in collusion with the upper class. Upper class oppression lead to terrible actions, such as humiliation in public, paraded naked or raped with impunity. Dalits lives are very hard, in part of immoral actions that they have to face everyday; for example, their jobs which are unclean (cleaning latrines). Moreover, the Untouchables face lower wages and a terrible way of life.

 

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But, the situation has been improving since XX century. An emergence of grassroots human right movements and organizations among Dalits has resulted.

People’s Watch organization by Henri Tiphagne was established on Dec. 10, 1995 in the state of Tamil Nadu. People’s Watch is at the heart of the human rights fight in India. The objective of this organization is to empower the victims of human rights violations, such as domestics violence, torture, child labor, harassment and of course, caste discrimination.

 

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As Henri explain during an interview, People’s Watch is an association of volunteers that want to operate independently and without  outside resources. According to Henri, he would like to act step by step instead of working throughout the country, because he wouldn’t possess the skills and the capacities to be able to make an entire state accountable. Thanks to their work, they provided immediate relief to 20,000 families, mostly Dalits affected by a tsunami.

 

On the 17th of July 2017, a man from India’s lowest caste was elected president. Ram Nath Kovind is the second president who came from Dalits.ram-nath-kovind-ambedkar-jayanti-pti_650x400_81523727422 His election as president represents a support among the Dalits community. Although, the role of the president in India lacks any real executive authority, Ram Nath Kovind has a symbolic role. Traditionally viewed as “impure,” the group continues to grapple with persecution and exclusion.

 

So, even though discrimination against Dalits still prevails, the situation has been improving and we can hope that it will continue in this way. But, unfortunately, the Untouchability is an entrenched and its hard to remove it. India is riddled with discrimination and prejudices, and that provokes huge consequences towards the lower class. Perhaps, we will have wait for its economic development to notice a real social evolution.

 

 

 

https://www.peopleswatch.org/our-work

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Nath_Kovind

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/atrocities-on-dalits-social-problem-not-political-says-ramdas-athawale-1351387-2018-09-28

https://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-tiphagne070104.htm

 

Minimalism

minimalism picJulia Feldmann, Germany

Smalls steps to resist increasing consumption

A common misunderstanding of minimalism is that it is just all about having the smallest number of items in your life as possible. But when you take a closer look at the point of minimalism, it is actually about having items which you really appreciate and which add value to your life. Knowing that you don’t need material belongings in order to be happy and enjoy life will increase your mental health and emotional stability.

Having more and more things is not making people happier and more fulfilled. Mindless shopping has become a problematic trend.  There is a risk to developing an addiction to material items, especially clothing that creates a feeling of being weighed down by clutter. Clearly, it is human nature to always long for more and to progress in life in all aspects, like experiences, careers and relationships. On the other hand, it is essential to be grateful for everything that you already have and, in general, to be grateful for being alive. The clue is to find balance between both of these things.

 

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A good start to becoming a minimalist is to go through your home with a box and fill it with random items you find standing around with no obvious use. Put the box out of sight for 30 days. If you don’t need to open it, or if you don’t even remember what is in the box, donate or sell it. Start in one place in your home, which could be a wardrobe drawer, your desk or underneath your bed.

Another important aspect minimalism includes gratefulness. There are a lot of things people take for granted that are actually really special to others. This goes from having food on the table to simply owning a bed and a blanket. Often people forget how many people on earth don’t have access to these things that seem so natural to others.

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Apart from belongings like clothing and furniture, minimalism also affects wastfulness, especially of food. It’s a fact that there’s more than enough food to feed the planet, but still large amounts of people suffer from malnutrition. As a minimalist, people can try to become aware of how much they throw away every day. Next time you are shopping for groceries, try to only buy what you will actually eat.

Most recently, the textile industry has gone crazy on their sales prices. T-shirts for less than 5$ and jeans for less than 20$ are no rarity anymore. This development is the reason why we tend to buy more and more clothes just because of the bargain price. However, the majority of people only wear a small amount of their wardrobe on a daily basis. Some pieces even end up never being worn. On the way to becoming a minimalist, you have to think logically. What do I actually need? How can I simplify my wardrobe? Which pieces are unnecessary?

4 first little steps into your minimalism journey:

  1. Travel lightly and focus on the things that are necessary
  2. Only buy new things when your old stuff is used up or broken.
  3. Write down your plans and your achievements in a diary
  4. Try to find multifunctional items

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Remember that it is not a contest or a race, but about your personal comfort. There is no specific rule to start a minimalistic lifestyle, just follow what comforts you and what feels right to you.

 

 

Does the Street Art have a place in Galleries ?

Post graffiti, murals, frescoes or Urban Art, the Universe of the Street Art is known under many appelations. But where does it come from ? What were the changes ?

These different kind of appellations have evolved over time and with the artists in this movement. At the beginning the Street Art was known as “Graffiti” which was an act of vandalism during the 1960/1980s decades. 2018-06-24 11.52.31Nowadays, this form of Art which is exhibited in the international galleries, festivals or fairs like the “Urban Art Fair” in Paris, “District13 Art Fair” in Paris [which is coming soon in September 2018], “Beyond The Streets in Los Angeles” a huge showcase of graffiti and street art or the different festival of POW ! WOW ! in Hawaii, Long Beach, Washington and many other countries in the world.

This big change about Street Art in our time period evolved the attitudes and beliefs in this Art movement. Now, this kind of Art is perceived as cool and “in”, Artists don’t really need to hide anymore. Some of them became famous and can live on the income from their Art. Companies, city halls, associations and different kind of institutions call on these artists to beautify their buildings and facades. Artists are not perceived as “delinquent” like in the past when they could be arrested and go to jail for vandalism, but this fact depends as well on many aspects (location where the artists “graff” and if it can be legal or not).

Street Artists now are reconignized and some of them have their exhibits in Galleries because they deserve to be famous and well-known and live off their passion for their art. Their passion became their profession. However, if Street Art tends to be exhibited in galleries and only in galleries the movement will lose its meaning/value. If Artists forget the space that gave them their reputation, their birth as an Artist and they will expose/exhibit in Galleries, the fact that they wanted and desired to make Art accessible to the street, to people who don’t go on or are used to going in galleries will be lost and the debate on this accessibility and about money and business can be questioned.

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In other words, Artists should continue to do murals on the street and for free when they can/want and they have the right, as well if they wish to show and exhibit their Art in Galleries, Fairs, Festivals etc. Both can be combined for the well-being of each Artists.
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Vegan/Veganism

by Katharina Coenen

 

Veganism is a type of vegetarianism diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many Vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. They also don’t wear particular types of clothing, such as leather, fur and wool.

Vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself. That is, the word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is vegan”, or, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cookies, too.”

But why would you choose to become a vegan ? They are many reasons. Let’s have a look.

Animals are a constant part of our lives. We share our houses with them, our beds, and we even consider them to be members of our family. While they may not be able to speak our languages, we value them highly. We interact with them and we often turn to them for emotional support. When they pass away, we mourn them.

We also believe that they enjoy being alive as much as we humans do, as they enjoy the company of others. Yet for other animals we stick forks and knives into their bodies and wear their skin as clothing. Is that morally right ? Maybe you think it is wrong to act violently against dogs or cats, but why do we think this? Animals around the world are dying just because we want to wear their skin, eat them or their products.

Some of us try to defend this by purchasing products that are marketed as “humane” or as produced “ethically.” However, these words are meaningless and actually do very little to give animals a better life. In any case, these terms comfort the public to believe it is okay to exhaust animals simply because we enjoy using them. We can change this social affliction and respect life by going vegan.

Consuming a plant-based diet also has significant benefits for our environment and health. Many studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables can dramatically change rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Raising animals for food is also the single greatest human-caused source of destruction to our environment. In the rain forest, areas as big as soccer fields were cut down and used for growing soy beans for industrial livestock farming. Many rare animal species are in danger of extinction.

Personally i decided to going vegan. For me, its the next logical step, after being a vegetarian for over six years, to do the best as you can to help our environment and to reduce my ecological footprint. I never felt so happy with myself. 🙂

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All around the world

Dana Lazzaro

Switzerland

Traveling is a way to see new places, learn new things and different cultures. It is a way to see different points of view and to grow up as a person. Every trip changes you a little bit, and when you come back home you’re a different person in some way.

 

Lately, I had the chance to go to lots of places with my family because they like traveling as much as I do. Last summer we went to Florida for two weeks and we traveled around Florida so that we could see all the different cities. We saw “small” cities, like Fort Myers and Daytona, and also big cities, like Orlando and Miami. I could see the differences between those cities, the small neighborhoods with a lot of lovely houses in Fort Myers and the big ones in Miami with a lot of mansions, the small and empty beaches and the crowded ones.

I liked everything about this trip. I had the chance to see a lot and to see how real life is in the USA. I live in Switzerland and I always watch American movies or tv series, and I’ve always dreamt about going there. So this trip was a kind of dream that became true.

This year I also went to London and Amsterdam for a few days.

I had the chance to see a lot of history and museums and they were really interesting but it was also interesting to see some characteristics of the countries.

For example, did you know that in Britain all the people always stay in line on the escalators on the right side? Because in this way the people that are in a hurry can go on the left side. I was really impressed about that! I’ve also been to Italy and to the seaside of Greece, but that was more of a relaxing holiday than a real trip.

I would really like to go far away, like in Asia or Africa to see some really different cultures.

Another way to see new places and new cultures are going abroad to learn a language.

You can learn a new language and you can actually live like a native of the place. You can change your lifestyle for a period and I think that this is really a great experience!

I study a lot of languages at school, and I like to travel in the summer and improve my additional languages. I’ve already been to Germany a couple of times to study German and I really liked that. So this summer I’m in Santa Barbara for a month to work on my English.

I think that this has been a really great experience, an experience that I will remember forever!

You live for a month away from your home and you are away from your everyday problems. You live a different life and you learn new things. When you come back home you will be an improved person, and maybe you will see things in a transformed way.

In conclusion, traveling is a way to change your personality and it is an experience that you won’t live again, and you will always have it in your heart, because it’s going to become a part of you. This experience is going to become something that you’ll never forget.

 

Olympic Games History

Tom Lumiere ,  France

The Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, a city of Greece. Competition was among representatives of several city-states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. These Games featured mainly athletic, but also combat sports, such as battle and the pankration, horse and chariot racing events. It has been generally written that during the Games, all conflicts with the participating city-states were suspended until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or accord. This idea is a modern illusion because the Greeks never suspended their wars

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The modern Olympic Games (FrenchJeux olympiques) are best international sporting events presenting summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s principal sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are adhered every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by developing every four years but two years apart.

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Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin (French) founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, principal to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority.

Pierre de Coubertin

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The reason why I choose is that since I was young, I have been

going to every summer Olympic Games: ‘Athens in 2004, Beijing in  2008, London in 2012, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and I will go to Tokyo in 2020’ .

 

 

What If Obi Wan DIDN’T Leave Anakin on Mustafar

By Giulio Monaco, Belgium

Something that always made me sympathize with Obi Wan was the level of pain that he must have gone through when leaving Anakin there burning to death on the lava riverbank. This is someone who was like a little brother to him who he spent almost every day with since they met and taught him everything that he knew in respect to his master’s dying wish. Now one reason I think Obi Wan aged so terribly is because I can’t even imagine the nightmare that he must have gone through while Anakin was burning limbless screaming at him in pain.

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Now what if he hadn’t left Anakin on the floor to die ? What if he walked down the lava riverbank as he slips down with each step ?

 

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Looking at what Obi-Wan had done and what Anakin had turned into, how it wasn’t supposed to end this way. He grabbed him crying and telling him that he loved him, how he was his brother and that he wouldn’t leave him there. Anakin wanted to reach out and choke him, but knew he was only a fragment of the man that he used to be. Walking back into the ship with Padme and Anakin, they immediately were taken into a medical capsule and Padme to the delivery table. Yoda would come and see Anakin who just didn’t seem like a human anymore with a pain that he had never seen.

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At this moment Obi wan and Yoda saw the Emperor step outside of his shuttle and walk straight towards the Jedi master surrounded by his troops. The battle between the clones and the Jedi start and end quickly. With the use of the force, Yoda threw the clones in the air and pulled them together breaking all their necks. Darth Sidious ignited his spare red light saber and started the battle against Obi wan, blocking all the attempts of Sidious. Obi wan gave time to Yoda to jump and kill Darth Sidious.

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Coming back to the ship, Padme would be next to the bed of Anakin with their two children watching the eyes of Anakin turning blue again. He was safe now. He started to talk with difficulty to apologize for everything that he done, the only thing that he wanted was to save Padme.

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Yoda starts to have new ideas about the force, the dark and light will no more be separated. It’s when we use the two with balance that the result is the best. It’s time for the Jedi to end, a new area will start now with new rules, with less chain than before and it’s only in that way that the tragedies that occurred will never be repeated.

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Mecca

By   Ibrahim Al Radi, Saudi Arabia

  It is in the west of Saudi Arabia. It is a city in the Hejaz Area in Saudi Arabia. It is the capital city of the Mecca region.

            Mecca has two million people. It has many of the features of the Islamic holy Grand Mosque.

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          The Grand Mosque is the holiest place on earth for Muslims because it houses the Kaaba that Muslims kiss in prayer 5 times a day for more than (1.5) billion Muslims in the world. Many Muslims visit Mecca during the Hajj and Umrah seasons.

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             The prophet Muhammad communicated his messages to all people in the world from Mecca.

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           All Muslims enjoy traveling to places in Mecca. Saudi Arabia is making great efforts to serve them by increasing service and creating large developed areas in Mecca.

Autism as a Unique World

by Klaudia Lubczuk, Poland

Today’s world is full of people whose behavior is difficult for us to understand. Seldom are we drawing attention to these people who, despite having specific disabilities, are unique. One of these disabilities is autism, which is invisible to the eyes. Autism is one of the major issues affecting children nowadays. Although, do we know for sure what the condition involves? Autistic children with language and cognitive abilities is the topic which I would like to raise. This subject is close to my heart, because in the future I would like to work with autistic children, helping them with everyday reality.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that can cause problems with thinking, feeling, language and the ability to relate to others. To the main symptoms of ASD we can include limited ability to initiate and sustain social contacts, deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as repetitive, stereotyped forms of activity and behavior. Cognition deficits of autistic people relate to deficits in the development of the theory of mind.

“By THE TIME I’d returned to my old school, I was so withdrawn that I had little idea of what was going on around me.  As I gradually emerged, it was once again into a world of things. I became fascinated with words and books, and making outside order out of inner chaos.”

Donna Williams, “Nobody Nowhere”

Helen Tager-Flusberg in 1995 carried out research based on detailed studies of autistic children’s narrative story-telling abilities by PhD Loveland and her colleagues. Loveland asked autistic children to tell the story that they were watching in the form of a puppet show. She found out that autistic children weren’t able to retell the story. Furthermore, some of them in this research failed to understand the events. Thus, we can speak about the lack of cultural perspective, imagination of others intentions, desires or the ways of thinking. These deficits can have a strong impact on fundamental aspects of autism, for instance, participation in social interactions.

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Hinging on the foregoing research, Helen Tager-Flusberg wanted to verify autistic children narrative abilities. She asked 10 autistic and 10 developmentally typical children to narrate a story from a wordless picture book. The book was telling the story about a boy, whose lovely frog ran away at night. This is a typical task for examining the theory of mind. In narrative stories, it was difficult to identify the character’s emotions, and only 4 of the 10 children reported a solution to the character’s situation. Autistic children were using very expressive language, they were minimally narrating picture stories, not describing the main characters. In their stories there was lack of cause-effect relationships. Henceforth, we can see the deficits in understanding others intentions and mental states. The empathy level of autistic children’s is relatively low.

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Whenever we are raising the narrative abilities issue, we need to remember how big an impact it has on the theory of mind. Autistic children’s stories represent particular deficits in understanding both mental states and other’s emotions. Deficits in emphatic behaviors can be broaden by usage of strong expressive language which, widely considered, is inadequate to socially agreed standards. Furthermore, deficits in the theory of mind can bring many complications. In 1992, Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues had put forward a hypothesis that autistic children have problems with understanding other’s desires, beliefs and intentions. These elements concur to support the theory of mind which is indispensable to understanding and predicting other’s behaviors. Baron-Cohen mentioned as well that autistic people can perceive the world as chaotic or even intimidating. Not only social contacts but also attempts to understand them will end up in failure. The motivation to begin social interactions is very common for autistic children, nonetheless, the biggest barrier is misunderstanding the function of communicating, as well as their limited skills in people-to-people contacts.

In essence, autistic children have many difficulties with everyday reality. Despite having motivation to communicate with others, they cannot understand the process of communication. Perceiving the world as chaotic or even intimidating should not affect autistic people. Our duty is to make their life easier, because they see the world  in different colors than we do.

Zero Waste Lifestyle – Why and how to reduce your waste

By Luara Garcia

Understand the importance of reducing waste

First thing: waste doesn’t start in your trash can. It starts before arriving at your home: at the markets, stores, shops, wherever you are shopping.

We are using too much stuff and to have all of these things we are using many resources and quickly running out of them. In the past five decades, more than 1/3 of the planet’s resource base has been consumed. 80% of the world’s original forests are gone.

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The United States takes up 5% of the world’s population, and uses 30% of the world’s resources and also produces 30% of the world’s waste. If everybody consumed at the U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets.

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In the production process, industries mix toxic chemicals to make our products, and also create a lot of pollution. When we discard our trash, it is dumped in a landfill, which is a big hole in the ground, and most of the time, it is burned and then dumped in a landfill.

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When toxics chemicals (contained in the trash products) are burned, they turn into new toxics, like dioxin, the most toxic man-made substance known to science. Both of the discard processes pollute the air, land, water and change the climate.
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A funny thing to think about is that about 1% of total materials we buy are still in use 6 months after the date of sale. That means that 99% of the stuff we buy is trashed within 6 months.

Each person in the United States produces 41/2 pounds of garbage a day.

These are just some of the reasons why we should stop producing so much waste.

 

Zero waste life style

Zero waste means not producing any trash, not sending anything to landfills, not throwing anything in a trash can.

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This girl in the picture is Lauren Singer. She lives a Zero Waste life in New York. That jar in her hand is all the trash she produced in 3 years.

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She decided to start living like this when she was an Environmental Studies major in college, where she saw this girl taking all her food in a lot of plastic bags and trashing it every day, which made Lauren feel frustrated. Then one day when she got home, she opened her refrigerator and looked at all that plastic. She felt like she was that girl and so decided to cut out plastic from her life.

This was the beginning. Today she composts and recycles; she produces her own tooth paste and other products. She goes into organic markets and places where you can use your own jars and bags to “package” things.

 

Kamikatsu, Japan, is a Zero Waste town. Is it possible?

Well, they are nearly.

Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks, so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins.

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The town has a store where people can leave their old clothing and stuff and exchange them for others that other people have left.

They also have a factory where women make products from discarded products, like teddy bears from old kimonos, or new kimonos from old flags.

With a population just over 1,700, Kamikatsu recycles about 80 percent of its trash and only 20 percent goes to landfills.

The residents of this city take recycling very seriously. They started in 2003 and actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.

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Tips to start reducing your waste

(These tips are not to become a zero waste lifestyle person; they are little things you can do that will make a big difference, but it is not that hard to change your lifestyle. There will be some links at the end of the article where you can find out more about how to become a zero waste lifestyle person)

 

  • Have your own reusable water bottle; bring it with you everywhere so your not going to need to buy one which you are going to trash after the water is gone.
  • Have your own reusable bag for shopping; use it in the markets, stores, so you’re not going to need a plastic or paper one.
  • Only buy things you really need, try to use them until they can’t do their job any longer.23
  • Choose to buy things with less packaging.
  • Recycle.18
  • Reutilize as much as you can.19
  • Prefer to buy organic products when you can; they don’t harm the environment to be produced and you have less to be discarded.
  • Remember: you awlays can do something more.22

 

To know more about Lauren Singer and her lifestyle, here are some links that you might like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYDQcBQUDpw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF72px2R3Hg

http://www.trashisfortossers.com/p/about.html

To know more about Kamikatisu and its plans:

http://www.odditycentral.com/news/kamikatsu-japans-aspiring-zero-waste-town.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eym10GGidQU#action=share

http://www.techinsider.io/kamikatsu-japan-is-a-zero-waste-town-2016-1

To know more about the world’s situation and production process (all 21 minutes worth it):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM