Non-Violent Sustainability

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

What does Non-Violent Communication have to do with a sustainable way of living?

If you ask me, then I would say a lot.

We live in an age in western society where easy access to resources and, at least online, to other humans is self-evident. This has a huge effect on how we value and treat these resources and connections.

If I focus on our human interactions these days, I observe that we tend to quickly exchange our Facebook or LinkedIn profiles or even phone numbers when we meet somebody new. We have an enjoyable short chat and then we go our own ways. So, this type of connection is pretty loose and mostly without any turbulences. We don’t put much effort in its maintenance and therefore, the quality and depth of these short-term encounters tends to be very limited.

But what about long-term relationships, either with family, partners, friends or even colleagues? How do we treat them and how much effort do we put into these relationships? Do we take care of these relationships and with the same passion, like we take care of our environment and nature? There are plenty of organizations “fighting” for environmental protection to save our planet. Who is fighting for the protection of our human relationships?

More and more of our interactions take place in a virtual world. People walk down the street with their heads down and their eyes focusing on their phone displays. It is difficult to make eye contact this way. Many chances are lost for sharing a beautiful smile.

And if you watch teens these days, they seem to communicate via social media even while sitting next to each other. I see a similar crisis coming for our civilization from this behavior as well as from our destructive behavior towards nature.

What can be done?

I am currently undergoing training for non-violent communication, a technique which focuses on keeping a real empathic connection between humans while they communicate with each other, even during conflict. This technique changed the way I live my life and my relationships completely. It taught me to see behind the words we use and to understand the hidden meaning of these words. When you are able to see beyond words you start to feel the person and understand him or her in a totally new way. You start to hear needs instead of stories and judgments. And that is a game changer.

I would call it building a sustainable relationship. Because it builds on something deeper and more profound than just opinions, judgements and stories. Needs are universal, and every human shares the same basic needs. If we can filter out all the garbage and understand that this person just tries to express a need that you share with him or her and that you have experienced, then you are more likely open to connect with empathy to that person. You are more willing to listen actively and leave your ego and righteousness behind. If you approach relationships like that, you have a high chance to create something which has a better quality.

That we witness so many crises in the outside and at the same time experience alienation amongst each other is for me no coincidence. I think they are strongly connected to each other. As more we lose connection to ourselves and our fellow humans, we lose connection to nature and its beauty.

I am not saying that non-violent communication will save our society. But it can make an incredible contribution to our relationships, making them more authentic and fulfilling. And when we are more caring and empathic with each other we will intuitively treat nature with more respect und humility.

Here is my suggestion for you. The next time you recycle your waste, or you try to be aware of where your food is coming from, ask yourself what good you could do for your relationships.

 

Sharing is caring.

 

Advertisements

Trash in Space

casey-horner-778570-unsplashPhoto by Casey Horner on Unsplash

You might remember my last blog post about amazon and the issue of generating trash through our consumption behavior. So, I think this topic makes a perfect sequel for my last post. We not just have to deal with our trash on earth. We also have to deal with it in space.

I came across the topic several weeks ago when I was sitting in a doctors practice waiting for my appointment. In the morning of that day I was wondering what topic I wanted to write about in my next my blog post.

The answer came to me in form of a Swiss travel magazine called Transhelvetica. The topic of that issue was interestingly enough called “Space”. As I am highly interested in that field since I was a kid, it caught my attention right away. Especially one article opened my eyes. The article dealt with Swiss researchers who want to invent an efficient technique to catch trash in space.

There is trash in space?

Unfortunately, yes. Since we started actively exploring space, starting with the Sputnik satellite in 1957, we generated a massive loud of trash or in technical term debris in space. They range from old satellites, spent rocket stages to fragments from their disintegration and collisions.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the many satellites which are out of use? If the satellite is lower in earth orbit the last fuel (I also didn’t know that satellites have fuel) is used to slow down the satellite until it falls out of the orbit and finally is burned in the atmosphere. If the orbit is higher than even less fuel is needed to blast the satellite further into space to the so-called “graveyard orbit”. You get the main idea here.

Here are some numbers of debris from 2016:

  • Debris larger than 10 cm approx. 18.000
  • Debris between 1-10 cm approx. 670.000
  • Debris smaller than 1 cm 170 Mio (not so much a problem on earth but for the ISS and satellites up there)

Honestly, I am quite shocked by these numbers. They make me think about all the amount of trash that we generated and which we are not even aware of. Which is not addressed or spoken about in public. I feel overwhelmed by not only taking actions to deal with environmental issues on the planet but also facing issues which feels so out of reach for my little impact.

But before I get mad and desperate I want to take a look at ideas which are already in the draws of smart scientists. I want to know if we can work this out or if we will find the night sky covered in moving debris instead of stars one day.

After a bit of research in the net I found a quite recent news about a British debris-hunting satellite (largest satellite ever deployed with 100kg weight)which was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) in last summer and is equipped with a harpoon, a debris net and targeting software. The company which developed this satellite is Surry Satellite Technology Ltd. in collaboration with the Surey Space Center. The harpoon was successfully tested on February 8th, 2019. You can watch a short video of the test.

I am now a bit surprised that just a few days ago they executed the test. If I would have tried to finish this post in January this great news would have been missing. Reminds me of great synchronicities in life.

On the one side I feel quite proud to see that things are moving forward. On the other side we have to speed up a bit with our attempts as our demand for more telecommunication services and therefore more satellites is increasing. And let’s not forget the space agencies, which are also still active, want to shoot new equipment up into the unknown.

I really hope that we take this issue seriously and maybe it helps us to remember where we are coming from or with Mr. Carl Sagan’s words “We are made out of star stuff”.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to get out in a clear night to watch the magnificent stars as long as we can see them 😉

Goods for Trash

jilbert-ebrahimi-691926-unsplash

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

 

I just recently had a conversation with my brother about amazon, the former book retailer and today the retailer for everything. My brother told me that, when you order something directly from amazon and you send it back, amazon destroys the goods. I couldn’t believe what he said. So, I started to do my own little research to understand the full story.

I found a German TV report which was broadcasted in June 2018. The report claimed based on several testimonials of former amazon employees, that the company destroys goods worth several 10.000 Euros daily. Why is that? The report mainly focuses on the argument that amazon organizes the logistics for a wide range of external suppliers, who pay a fee for the storage space amazon offers. To keep that volume of storage space as small as possible, amazon receives the order to destroy the goods, which are not sold to the customers.

That seems to me as a pure economic action and maybe ‘business as usual’.

As I went on looking for some other reports I found an interesting article on t3n, which is an online platform dealing with topics around digitalization. The article gives a more objective view on the issue of the destruction of returned goods in the trade. It also details some more arguments for the destruction. For example, amazon donates a certain amount to charity organizations, but the donation is taxed (in Germany 19%). Compared to the tax the destruction of goods costs significantly less.

Yes, if you are a company such as amazon you watch your numbers because your main focus lies on making a profit. I totally agree that it seems like amazon is trying to do good and I also think that this destruction of new goods is an issue that goes way beyond just amazon. The article makes a very interesting statement: “it is a problem of our society and not purely of the trade”. The quote refers to how we consume and that there is the tendency to buy something new if it is broken, because it’s repair would cost more. And that is, in my opinion, the big underlying issue here: our consumption behavior influences the actions taken in the economy. I am sure there are many more things to consider but that is a huge issue.

And so, we have to ask ourselves “How much responsibility do we have?” “How many things do I need, how much do I want to spend on quality, from where do I buy?”

I have been customer of amazon for years now, mainly buying books. In knowing about this behavior, do I now consider to stop purchasing from amazon? …honestly no, because I think that that will not solve that particular problem.

Of course, amazon is a big player, but it is not the only one. So far, I have ordered a lot of my clothes in the past years from Zalando. And I can tell you that I have sent a lot of clothes back, not knowing what Zalando does with them.

But after that bit of research I will definitely reconsider my online ordering habits.

I would love to see any big company doing the first initial step towards a more resourceful handling of goods. But I get the feeling that we as customers also have to make our own contribution.

RETHINK – Reloaded

martin-shreder-349256-unsplash
Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

It has been over one and a half years now since I posted my last article. Guess what… life took a different course for me during that time. My time and energy were directed to other topics and especially to the job I just started at that time.

Much has happened between then and now. I don’t have that job any more, I have finished my yoga teacher apprenticeship and now I give yoga classes twice a month, I got married to a great man and we moved into a new apartment.

It is my mission to contribute to humankind’s transformation and to show people how valuable we all are and that we all play an important part on a wider scene in this universe.

The clear decision to follow my own path and create my own business was made about a year ago, but this inner calling to contribute in the world is much older. Actually, I wanted to become an astronaut as a child and I followed that vision for a long time until something dawned on me.

I wanted to become an astronaut, not because of the science but because to see our blue planet from a totally different perspective. I could sense how precious our existence is in this vast universe and know that we are here for a reason.

And my reason is to remind everyone else of his beauty and power, of his magnificence and his value for this world. That we have the power to transform this world in something incredibly beautiful, where love is omnipresent, and fear is only there to remind us of our growth and not to freeze us.

I now feel ready to completely own this blog and continue with my writing about the topics which are so important to me and hopefully also to you.