“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
Sometimes I feel myself helpless and useless if by chance I suddenly happen to listen a TV program, radio or Internet news, because the world reflected from these pieces of information seems to be so violent and it makes me feel so little in comparison to giant global problems of the world. And having EVS in Casa per la Pace means that you will get to know even more cases of hidden violence which is not spoken in media, so on one hand you will feel even more helpless in front of those world tragedies, but on another hand spending so much time with people who make a difference help you learn that you are also empowered;
not to change the whole world though, but at least to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Casa per la Pace has already been working on non-violence and peace education for a long time, and one of the ways to promote nonviolence for them is creative recycling and degrowth. Here I should make a remark – as I am Russian, my background on recycling was relatively poor, we do not even recycle garbage in our country and at first it was a bit difficult to make it a habit. But spending a whole year surrounded by people who are very conscious about bad consequences of our habits towards planet inspires a lot and changed my way of thinking.
Here is what I learned during my year about recycling and degrowth:
1) “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed” or creative recycling of Casa per la Pace
In Casa per la Pace we are doing some wonderful things from recycled items, for example, useful bulletin boards (which can turn into hot pads depending on size) from wine corks. As I like to work with stained glass, I decided to recycle little used bottles like the ones from pesto or jam and turned them in little lanterns. We also recycle radiograms to turn them into stencils with witty inscriptions to use on T-shirts, fabric of broken umbrellas to make shopping bags… I learned that I can use recycled colour paper for quilling instead of buying a special one for this craft and that I can recycle even an old book which was on the way to garbage and turn it in a beautiful drawing.
2) Solar Cooker from a solar Master Chef Merchedes
Thanks to stuff of Casa per la Pace and especially to Merchedes I learned that there is a fabulous device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat and cook food and in this way saves the energy. It helped us to prepare some of our fundraising dinners and to produce a solar jam, which you can buy in the office of Casa per la Pace.
3) Back to Nature: workshops of autoproduction
Thanks to members of Casa Pace I participated in workshops of autoproduction and learned how to make home-made bread and home-made face crème. These simple things help us to be aware of the process of things we usually buy in the supermarkets and contribute less to consumerism philosophy.
4) Te lo regalo se lo vieni a prendere
The world is full of already purchased items which sometimes turn useless for their owners. And it appeared that there are owners are conscious about this and want to gift them to anyone who would like to take them. So before to buy something and contribute to industry of consumerism you can search for the group of people on Facebook in your city who would be happy to share with you the things you need (in Italy those groups are called “Te lo regalo se lo vieni a prendere” and you can easily find them on FB).
5) In bicicletta saresti già arrivato!
Another world that I revealed is the world of bicycle. Unfortunately, personally here in Milan I can’t contribute to this culture because I am afraid of huge traffic, but I admire those people who take advantage of this most ecological means of transport. During my EVS I also learned about another interesting service which helps you to travel cheaper and cause less ecological damage. It is a carpooling service which is called Bla Bla Car which I used to go to Rimini, Ljubljana, Budapest and other places!
6) and much more…
– try to buy local products to avoid exported ones. In these way consumers and produces have a fairer bargain.
– buying unpackaged products (wine, beer, fruit and vegetables) helps to avoid using of plastic bags
– always take a bag for shopping: you economize and avoid using a new plastic bag!
– open an account in an ethical bank, which is a bank concerned with the social and environmental impacts of its investments and loans.
– try to choose products with the easiest packaging to recycle.
– if you need some outer support and inspiration from enthusiasts, you can visit the site Contiamoci.com, which collects ideas and good practices from people who already started to think in a more responsible way
– become a vegetarian 😉
So as you can see, our everyday life is full of choices we usually make unconsciously. But as Mahatma Gandhi said,
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
I believe that today is the best day to start making a difference, even though it is a little thing like closing water tap while you are cleaning your teeth.