Ignorance is not bliss and what zero waste has done to me

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-wednesday-jan-28-1.2952242/why-norwegian-teenagers-were-put-to-work-in-a-sweatshop-1.2952245
Photo source: CBC


Years ago one of my initial inspiration’s for starting Dream Love Grow was because I was horrified at all of the news. I wanted to find good things in the world and welcome them in and not really pay attention to the media because it wasn’t positive. I thought well, I just don’t want to hear about anything bad because then I’m paying more attention to it and giving that negativity energy. I want to be this happy place of inspiration. Which don’t get me wrong, I still do. But, then I travelled more. I lived in more cities and met all kinds of amazing people of all different backgrounds and my eyes opened. And then the internet became this phenomenon and people from all over the world started sharing their voices and our choices of what we heard and from who could come directly from the people, not the media. And my heart opened.

And now I’m at a point where I can’t just turn a blind eye anymore or not pay attention. I can’t just live a “normal” life when I know too much of what is real. Ignorance is not bliss. Lack of knowledge or wanting to see the truth does not make one happy. At least not me. I am not comfortable not knowing certain things or pretending like I don’t know them.

And I’m thankful for it.

Because that little voice in my heart said I cared about the environment enough to do research and then do something about it. And now look. It’s almost been 11 months.

And this little heart keeps opening more. And it’s overwhelming but I don’t care because my feelings about a situation are not as important as taking actions to make the right changes.

silence martin luther king

I’m happy that I wasn’t born in Canada, that I am in fact from a third world country because I can say I truly see the grass on both sides of the fence. I love having lived back in the Philippines and knowing that I can return there. I also love that I can really, truly understand how much I have here in Canada and how fortunate I really am. There are no words to express the daily luxuries I can afford, and really, compared to most of the people living in the city of Ottawa, I can not afford much. I would be considered “low income.”

But the truth is I have everything I need right now and I am working on getting rid of what I don’t need on a daily basis. Donation piles keep growing! I love that I will never take the fact that I am not from Canada for granted because I am reminded on a daily basis that what I have here today, right now, is way more than enough.

We are so privileged here. Many times I hear complaints from people who have big houses, cars, even food on a daily basis saying that they have nothing. That they have no money. That they are broke. That they aren’t getting what they want in life. That what they have isn’t enough. I see that they have family. Friends. Shelter. Clothes. Clean water. Food. A job. (What more is there to want???)

Yet they can afford to go shopping for clothes at box stores. They can walk into a Walmart and a Dollar Store without a thought in the world about what it looks like on the other side. Without realizing that what they are buying is barely helping the people who have made it. Without realizing that they can just buy.

People are dying of starvation and we have no idea what that even means, what it looks like or feels like because all we care about is the price we are paying for things.

When I watch videos of the workers in Cambodia, India, South America, I feel like I know them. I feel like these people are my people, that they are my family. I see them and immediately feel connected. (Maybe it’s because I have brown skin like they do?) I understand them because I have looked into their eyes – back in the streets of the markets in the Philippines. Back in the landfills. Back in the orphanages. The struggle is real.

And I sit here and I wonder what life is it that I have been given?
A privileged one. A better one. That’s what my Mother wanted for me.
But for what? So I can sit here on a fancy overpriced computer in a “big” home (having 2 bedrooms is a huge home to most!) and complain? And do nothing about any of it?

No. I owe my Mother more than that.
All I care is to do something about it. But I have no idea what. Or how.
I just know that my choices in what I’m buying, consuming, doing – do make a difference. Even if it’s tiny, even if it’s all that I can do, at least I am doing it.

Everyone deserves to live a good life. Everyone deserves to have food on their table. Always. Every day. No one should have to suffer. No one should have to work in terrible conditions for little to no pay. No one should have to sacrifice their lives so that others can live lavishly.

I never fully understood the ramifications of shopping at box retail stores and what it meant until the start of this year because no one ever taught me. I thought, like everyone else, that shopping sales at the mall were cool. That it was normal. I wasn’t taught to question where it was coming from or who made it. I was taught to buy into it and feel like this is what life is like. I wasn’t taught to ask if it could be any different.I wasn’t taught that I should care. The horrible reality isn’t just like this with fashion. It is with almost everything we consume, places like Walmart, the Dollar Store – even our iPhones. There is no equality here. And it needs to change.

Because it’s a huge problem when what we pay for our items isn’t even feeding the people who make them. We can afford these materialistic things here, but the people who make them can’t. We have a luxurious life here and what – it’s just fair that millions of other people, who are also worthy of a good life, can hardly get access to clean drinking water or food? That’s not fair. And we’re told, “well Life isn’t fair. It’s just like that. Life can’t be fair for everyone” What the fuck is that? Why the fuck would I be happy with going along with that like I’m a robotic, heartless lemming?

If there is anything that makes me happy about becoming zero waste, is that through this journey my eyes I have become more open. WAY OPEN. I know better. I have learned so much through it and because of my zero waste choice, I know I continue to make the changes and choices that I feel are in alignment with my values. And I’m really starting to learn what my values are. Wow, am I learning.

For example:

  • I try really hard not to shop at box stores. The last thing I bought was CD’s and a thumb drive at Wal-Mart for a client. I normally only send photos/videos to clients via internet and what I should have done was sourced free or upgraded to a larger transferring site.
  • I don’t buy anything new if I can help it (here’s hoping I won’t need any new photography equipment) because there are already so many things made that we definitely don’t need more and I definitely don’t want to feed the system that doesn’t feed people
  • I won’t buy any clothes from any retail stores nor will I promote them like fashion bloggers because we all should know now that clothes don’t biodegrade and again, people aren’t getting fed
  • I choose to have less not because I’m poor, but because having more doesn’t make you happy and I definitely don’t want my son thinking that success is what society tells you it is.
    …and the list goes on

I know that even these choices are not perfect because I’m trying to live outside the system that has been designed to keep us in a box. To me perfect would be finding a way to make sure that everyone could afford at least the basic necessities.

Perfect to me would be ensuring that whomever is making what we are buying can afford food on the table, clean clothes and comfortable living conditions.

Having family that still live in the Philippines, seeing the lives of others who have nothing, being of minority, being of “low income” here in Canada (yet still be ridiculously wealthy in comparison to some people here and in my homeland), seeing how our actions here in the Western world affects the lives overseas – it just seems like a no brainer to make better choices. It seems like a no brainer to care. Because ignorance is not bliss.

But the question is this: are my better choices enough?
And if it’s not, what steps can we take together to help be the change?



Episode 1:


To view the rest of the episodes visit:
Sweatshop TV

Published by Mailyne

Owner of DLG Media. Founder of A.R.T. in Action. Philanthropist. Environmentalist. Activist. Photographer. Video Producer. Writer. Artist. Mama.

5 thoughts on “Ignorance is not bliss and what zero waste has done to me

  1. I found your blog today via your exploring alternatives video on youtube and you have given me so many ideas! I’m on a journey to a simpler life and I started by going vegetarian in 2013, then fully vegan in january 2015. I give away stuff I have that no longer has any meaning for me. I only buy what I really need. Along the way I have discovered what is truly important for me and that is not “the normal” lifestyle. I have lost a few people along the way but also found some true friends. My goal is to be nearly self sufficient living on a farm and be completely debt free! Thank you for your words and I will continue reading your blog. Sorry for the bad English, it’s not my first language 🙂 AND if you want an ethically made phone, check out Fairphone! TAKE CARE

    1. Malin – thank you for taking the time to connect with me. Your English is great by the way. And I will definitely look up Fairphone. Happiness to you on your journey 😀

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