Monday, 28 July 2008


My ideas have often been challenged and my actions inspired by the words and deeds of my fellow Bloggers. Kati who gardens in Alaska, yes that is correct, Alaska. No daylight in mid-winter and no darkness in mid-summer and the temperatures are just as extreme. Barefoot, who has a turn of phrase that I would dearly love to possess. Regarding the energy crisis she wrote “Now, I am not going to sit and tell you all that we are in for an apocalypse. I am not going to say that someday we will just wake up to find that the lights won't go on no matter how many times we flip the switch or that the gas stations will all just close down overnight. There are other folks who say that better than I". [I have my doubts there barefoot.]

Becoming Me, a talented author who has struggled against and is triumphing over health problems, and there is Mrs.Green and Mrs.Average, both whom make my efforts seem inadequate. I could keep going on and you can see my favourite blog sites on the left, but recently I visited one blog, Russell's, and found a simple statement that stopped me in my tracks.

When I have been asked “do you practice the five R’s” I have usually (far too smugly) replied “no I practice the *five* R’s, not just reduce, recycle & reuse but also, repair and refuse”, e.g. refuse excess packaging, plastic bags etc. But Russell has added one more ‘R’, R for ‘Respect’.

Respect for the person that made the item and respect for the quality of an item. I personally cannot respect something made under sweatshop conditions or a cheaply made item. I have far more respect for a Fair Trade T shirt than one from a Third World country that I suspect was made by child labour and also far more respect for a 100 year old handmade spade that is still giving good service than I have for a Chinese manufactured stainless steel item.

In a way one only needs the one ‘R’ as it sums up all the other five and, on reflection, shows why I decided to clear 'my' lane, see my previous post. Those that discarded their 'rubbish' (they had actually purchased it) had absolutely zero respect for it or for the creation of our local environment.


homebrewlibrarian said...

This reminds me of a Wendell Berry quote I found not too long ago:

Good human work honors God's work. Good work uses no thing without respect, both for what it is in itself and for its origin. It uses neither tool nor material that it does not respect and that it does not love. It honors Nature as a great mystery and power, as an indispensable teacher, and as the inescapable judge of all work of human hands. It does not dissociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work, or usefullness and beauty. To work without pleasure or affection, to make a product that is not both useful and beautiful, is to dishonor God, nature, the thing that is made, and whomever it is made for. This is blasphemy: to make shoddy work of the work of God. And such blasphemy is not possible so long as the entire Creation is understood as holy, and so long as the works of God are understood as embodying and so revealing God's spirit.

I have this taped near my computer monitor in my office. Whenever I'm feeling put-upon by my job, I read it and resolve to be respectful. This works most of the time!

Kerri in AK (yup, another Alaskan)

Mrs Green said...

Gorgeous post, just gorgeous and one that stopped me in my tracks too.

I have to disagree with you though, Peter - your 'efforts' recently in litter picking have been truly amazing and inspiring. If only there were more people who cared in the way that you did and bought so much meaningful change to the world.

Keep on doing all that you do and spreading all the love that you share. The world is a better and more fortunate place for you ;)

Mrs G x

Becoming Me said...

Thank you for the mention, that caught me off guard.

I had never thought of the respect factor before. Excellent point. As we are preparing to move, I am ashamed to say that I have more trash than I intended. I've also discovered that even though compared to many in the US we may not have "much" we in fact have way too much stuff. I've already carted four gigantic boxes of unwanted items to the Kidney assoc. for them to sell.

I've also been convicted this weekend that less stuff for me is not only healthier for the environment, but for mankind as well...the less I focus on me the more I can focus on others and the more money I will have to actually help others.


Peter, thank you for the mention and what a lovely post. It's funny how I was talking to a friend about respect today. She was encouraging me to go along to a well known discount brand store. I politely declined her offer, saying that even though I love a bargain, the store made me feel very uncomfortable and I couldn't bear to walk into it.

As I tried to explain I realised that I feel unhappy about the mess and despair over the way that clothes and shoes end up falling on the floor. It all boils down to lack of respect for the fact that someone has made those items, someone might want to buy them and someone will have to pick up the pieces on behalf of the retail outlet.

I interviewed eco designer Oliver Heath recently for a feature in Sustained Magazine and it was he who taught me that sustainability hangs on respect, with respect for the environment, for people and community.

I agree with Mrs G about all your efforts, as well as those of your dear wife. I've enjoyed this moment of reflection so thank you. :-D

russell said...

Wow, that is a great quote Kerri.

Peter, your picking up of litter in the lane has inspired me to do what I can do in our street. I no longer just walk paste the litter, I pick it up. Thank you.

Melissa said...

what a powerful way to think about resources. thanks for sharing.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

Kerri, I echo Russell remark, that is a fantastic quote and thank you so much for it. Almost Mrs. A, I feel exactly the same about the type of stores you mentioned, physically repulsed and Mrs. G, your new site is amazing, it makes many professional sites seem poor. Melissa I visited your blog and loved your ‘my rules for me’ section, great food for thought there and Becoming Me, I do hope the move goes well and the PPD is well under control.

Bless you all and thanks!

Kati said...

Thanks for the mention, Peter. And thank you for sharing the thoughts on respect not just for the items we buy (or don't buy) but for the people who make them, and the need to buy items who's makers (and sellers, if they happen to be different people/companies) we CAN respect.

I'm also liking Kerri's quote. I don't have a wallspace at work to hang that, but I may have to copy it and print it out for here at home, anyway.