Monday, 18 June 2007

WHY Shizen-nou? (2)

Worldwide dissemination of LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health and Sustainability) has reflected a growing trend in Japan. Eating organically grown vegetables at a health focused restaurant, wearing organic cotton or silk shirts, sipping fare traded coffee at a quiet café – these are all aspects of the so called ‘slow life’ which is enjoying increased popularity among women of my generation. I do not deny that I also enjoy the fashion whenever I have extra time or money to spend. It gives certain satisfaction at a personal level, whether it benefits the environment at a global level or not.

My approach to Shizen-nou is the same. It is not possible for me to sustain myself only on the vegetables I grow, so I do not at this initial level aim to produce surplus for trade at a local market. However, it is not to suggest that what I do is merely a self indulgent activity which has no meaningful input into society. People who serve organic food at restaurants help farmers who have an affinity for and support vegetables cultivated without chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and those who trade organic linens or coffee beans can help improve the working conditions of labourers. This kind of effort made by certain people are surely passed onto ordinary consumers like us, and generate awareness of these and associated issues.

Shizen-nou is a hobby yet I regard it as a principal guide for understanding the nature and qualities of life. What I experience through my dealings with nature expresses my thoughts, visions and approach to life.





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