Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Choosing Life Over Money

Published: August 17, 2008, Author: MHirch

It is very simple. Good air, water, food. These are some of the most essential and basic principles of the quality of life. They are harder and harder to find for people around the world, rich and poor. What is offered in food stores in industrialized countries more and more often is only junk at a high price. A shocking surge of obesity has reached many parts of Europe, with people’s bodies similarly deformed as in the United States. Inundated by a lifestyle of convenience.

This lifestyle change is happening tremendously fast. The enforcing of consumerist structures goes hand in hand with privatizing educational systems making education less accessible and reducing the educational level of the general public. Citizens thus can be more easily controlled. Lacking proper education they stay aloof from decision processes that directly impact their lives.

Despite wide discontent tax money is not used in the interest of the highest number of people at all. It is invested in e.g. exclusive congress centers only accessible to well to do local companies. Or big and inhospitable shopping areas, built on precious farming land. Expensive road projects are designed catering to the newly build shopping centers, impacting public parks, creating stressful air and noise pollution. Whole areas are being turned into places where no one can walk anymore.
It is these surroundings, this new world we live in that shape our minds, our bodies, our health. The result is sickness in the midst of great wealth. Clearly the poor state of health in many industrialized places is not a monetary issue, it is primarily a mental one. There is enough money to guarantee the most essential human needs to everyone.

Fortunately despite all those disconcerting modern developments still there are people working hard for and being able to offer high quality standards. Rural areas where community cohesion is intact in Switzerland are wonderful examples of this awareness. To people in traditional regions like Appenzell, Valais, Bernese Oberland, it is unthinkable to have people suffer in one’s community while only accumulating personal luxury. In their communities people are actively involved and can decide for themselves what they want. They feel a strong connection to their surroundings and care for it, their fellow beings and thus themselves. Living in partly remote, beautiful mountainous areas they proudly retain their traditions and produce exquisite quality making people happy and healthy.

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