A Culture of Fear

Scanning the headlines on my news feed, I read of disaster after disaster. From people being buried alive under collapsing buildings, floods and tornadoes, and seemingly random shootings, to fires, earthquakes, and the massacre of innocent civilians, the world is falling apart.

Listening to the news, you might think you’re going to die any moment. It could be from something you ate. Everything is bad for us. Even foods that were considered beneficial ten or twenty years ago (such as soy) are now touted as dangerous to our health.

You can’t go to this country or that country because you might be assaulted, blown up, or kidnapped. Here at home, our government is spying on its own citizens. And I just read that the next “fiscal cliff” is coming in late February.

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It’s Still Junk Food

I was looking through an old cookbook, circa 1955, snickering at all the recipes for Jello “salads” and casseroles laced with cream of mushroom soup (with crushed saltines on top). It was a cuisine based on white bread, white potatoes, and white rice. I grew up on this sort of diet. My mom was the consummate consumer, enthusiastically trying every new mix that Betty Crocker could come up with.

Of course, these days we are much more nutritionally savvy. We eat whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Our fruits and veggies are organic. We shun junk food. Our consciences are clear. Right? Then explain this:

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Living Responsibly

Social justice. Healthy lifestyles. Environmental stewardship. Sometimes it’s awfully hard to pull it all together….

My phone alarm chirps, waking me from dreams of tropical beaches complete with coconut palms, perfect waves, and a bathing suit figure. It’s morning, six o’clock. Time to get out of bed and start another day of responsible living.

I reach over to turn off the electric blanket. Yes, it’s electric. Is that environmentally correct? It uses electricity, and we’re trying to conserve. Yet, we’re able to keep the house cooler, turning the heat off at night even in the middle of winter. Surely that saves more energy than my blanket uses.

Dragging myself out of bed, I stumble towards the shower. The water feels wonderful, but I don’t want to take too long—that hot water is a precious, limited resource. I reach for the soap and shampoo. Wait—were they tested on animals? I’d better read the label. Should I use a disposable razor? All that plastic will end up in the landfill. Maybe I should just opt for hairy legs.

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