Serenity (Photo - Pixnio).

      Serenity (Photo – Pixnio).

      My friend Bill has spent his whole life building cancer one brick at a time. It was easy. He had over 100,000 toxic lab-made chemicals to choose from. He stuffed as many as possible into his pores, into his belly, into his lungs.

      By Thom Hawkins

      To cement his achievement, he irradiated everything. His monumental task has been to create a bulwark against nature, an edifice that imperceptibly disintegrates living tissue, a structure of destruction, making him into a new species: Synthetic Self-Predator. Building his house of horrors has taken so long and felt so good that he never noticed his cells changing. How could he?

      He could have noticed if he had been practicing Voluntary Simplicity. The goal of Voluntary Simplicity is a healthier environment for our bodies, as well as for all life on earth. Practicing Voluntary Simplicity to the best of our abilities affirms our love for the earth, for ourselves and for each other. Understanding the following four cornerstones is fundamental to making good choices for simple living:

      1. Discipline:

        Say no to more stuff.
        Step outside our cultural comfort zone and ask ourselves the question in number two.

      2. Sufficiency:

        How much is enough? The answer: Enough is enough. Not more than enough, just enough.

      3. The Precautionary Principle:

        If there is no scientific consensus that something does no harm, don’t use it.
        In colloquial terms, “Look before you leap.”
        The European Union and other countries function on this principle. The USA functions on the Acceptable Risk Principle and is trying to convert the rest of the world because this principle leads to higher profits. The Precautionary Principle is inseparable from the next cornerstone.

      4. Total Toxic Load:

        Toxic Buildup and Toxic Overload in our bodies caused by The Acceptable Risk Principle.
        Government and industry assess each product’s risk in isolation from our total exposure. We are bombarded daily by far more “Acceptable Risks” than our bodies can tolerate, resulting in an epidemic of chronic illness and unnecessary fatalities from toxic exposures. No federal agency is tracking this toxic accumulation in our bodies!

      A compelling illustration

      The global presence of plastic chemicals in our bodies and in air, soil, water and plants is just one set of thousands of synthetic toxic chemicals released in the last hundred years that are bio-accumulating with disastrous results for human health and life on our planet.

      We can’t control our exposure to all of these toxins, but there are many we are in control of through the choices we make as consumers. That’s where simplicity comes in. Taking plastic out of our lives is one Simple Living tactic that will have a very positive impact on personal health.

      For instance, replacing plastic food containers with glass, ceramic or stainless steel immediately reduces the portion of our toxic load that comes from food contaminated by plastic gas and microscopic particles. Plus, we reduce our waste stream, another goal of simple living.

      There are many other tactics that limit our exposure to a range of environmental toxins. For the exposures we can’t control, there are nutritional supplements, healthy foods and exercises that will help our bodies repair the damage.

      We don’t have to be victims. Live a life of Voluntary Simplicity.

      Thom Hawkins was a staff writing instructor at UC Berkeley for twenty-two years and has published books and articles about teaching, as well as short fiction and poetry. He is currently preparing his first book of poems and editing an 800 page anti-war novel. 

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