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Money vs Life
This morning I made a phone call on behalf of a client to find out what materials were used to make a set of kitchen cabinets that had been installed by a contractor.
When I called the dealer, I was told this brand of cabinet comes in three models.
Least expensive is an all particleboard cabinet with solid wood doors and drawer fronts.
The first upgrade is to solid wood on the sides of the drawers with a soft close drawer.
The second upgrade is to an all plywood cabinet.
Of course, the cabinets made primarily from particleboard would outgas a significant amount of formaldehyde.
Then the dealer asked, “Is your client going to LIVE in this house?”
I said yes.
He said, “If someone is going to live in the house, we won’t sell them the particleboard cabinets, we will only sell them the upgraded cabinets. The only people we sell the particleboard cabinets to are the flippers and people building houses to sell, not to live in.”
This dealer apparently considered particleboard cabinets to be so toxic that he would not sell them directly to someone who would be living with them every day. Why he was OK with selling them to others who would install them in houses where people would be living, I don’t know.
I said, “But don’t you think that’s unethical to build a house with toxic cabinets [and other toxic materials, but we were talking about cabinets here] and then sell it to someone who will then get sick?”
And he said, “Yes.”
Yet he was selling these cabinets that would be installed by others and he KNEW they were toxic and was selling them anyway.
Then he said, “The flippers and builders don’t care. They just buy the whatever is cheapest so they can make the most money.”
This is why it’s so difficult to eliiminate toxic chemicals from consumer products. In our society today the prevalent viewpoint is to make as much money as you can, regardless of the effect it may have on Life in terms of health, environmental, and social effects.
And this is because in our society people think money is essential to survival.
But it’s not.
What we really need to survive is air and water and food and ecosystems. No amount of money can buy these if Life isn’t there providing them.
This is why we are creating Lifely. Because what is needed today is more than nontoxic products.
What is needed is a whole shift of viewpoint to knowing what is most important if we want to sustain our own lives and our planet.
To accomplish this we start simply by becoming aware there needs to be a change. And then we learn a better way. And then the better way becomes known and spreads throughout society and the world. And things change.
For us, money is not the most important thing in the world. Other things—such as love, spiritual growth, relationships, creativity, and sustaining life—are much more valuable to us. While we do need some money, there are other forms of exchange, such as barter and time banks.
We're not saying we should abolish money or everyone should live in poverty. Not at all. We're just saying there are many ways to make money where sustaining health and life are part of the intent and included in the decisionmaking. And that should be included in ALL businesses as the standard operating procedure.
Much more to come about money and Life in future posts.