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Moving Forward

Guest Blogger

It is easy to see the difference between the world I live in and the world we experienced in Bali. Until I went there and witnessed it myself it had never really crossed my mind. I was blissfully unaware. Since my visit I see things a little differently. There is opportunity to do “good” in so many of the day to day activities that we go through mindlessly every day. We live a pretty simple life without a lot of impact on our environment. We have always participated in the recycling programs that are provided by our local government. Picking up bottles and cans and putting them in the recycling bin is hardly a major effort but being aware of things like the use of water, recycling food for compost, growing our own vegetables and generally just being more aware of the things that we can do (easily) to contribute more and consume less.

Way of Life: My experience in Bali helps me to take a second (and a deep breath) and try to not react with annoyance but to be more understanding of others and their path in life. The Hindu “way of life” is a good one that seems to provide followers with a peace of mind. I should be more patient. Regardless of peoples’ station in life, everyone deserves to be respected and treated with dignity. A simple smile and a kind word costs nothing and can have a major impact on the recipient.

Conservation of my environment: As part of the construction of our home we have gone beyond what it required to conserve water and limit soil erosion. Water collection tanks gather rain water from our roofs. Other downspouts direct water to porous surfaces where run-off will seep into the ground as it makes its way to the ditches. We have tiered our block so that water will not run off quickly similarly (but on a much smaller scale) to the terraced rice paddies (Tegalalang). We are starting to build vegetable gardens so that we will be able to grow our own produce. This will be supported by composting that we learned about in Bali at the Green Camp. (maybe without the cow poo!!)

Family: The importance of family and community was well illustrated and I am more aware of how my behaviour in my community is not only useful to the community but also provides an example to others. If this “leadership” by example changes the behaviour of one person in my community then it has been a positive action. My commitment to my community is supported by my family and friends. This is important because it helps to keep a positive attitude when thing don’t seem to be going well. Care for the children in our community is paramount. They are our future so a good example should be set and the bar kept high for them to grow into responsible adults. It is a job that belongs to all of us. I was particularly moved by my experience at Taman Permata Hati (Day Orphan Centre). The children who might otherwise be lost to society are given a chance to grow and prosper. The smiles and pure joy on those kids’ faces when they were singing and playing was such a treat to behold.

Industry and opportunity: There were a few businesses that struck me as innovative and interesting. Kopernik was one that I thought was pretty cool because it started from a simple need for light in communities where there is no electricity and has grown into a thriving business with so many products available. Hubud was another. A need for a place with some infrastructure to do some work turns into a cooperative centre where people can come to work on their own or interact with people to share ideas and network. A simple idea that has grown and diversified. East Bali Cashew Company is a socially responsible company that uses innovative ideas to further their workforce requirements. So what did I learn? There does not need to be a huge epiphany. No “aha moment”. A simple idea that is carefully and patiently developed can turn into a very good business that is both financially rewarding and socially responsible.

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