I moved to Cambodia in November 2018. Since then I’ve been amazed every day. Khmer have the capability of making the most out of nearly nothing. You can find sustainable living inspirations in every part of their lives.
Until very recent years, 1990s to early 2000s, Cambodians were still living in a catastrophic situation. Khmer Rouge civil war and then fighting against Vietnam. Most people lost everything they had, including their families. To make a living and survive, they had to manage with natural resources only.
Palm tree leafs for sheltering. Banana tree leafs for cooking, serving and food wrapping. Woven mats for drying food. Bamboo for baskets. Brooms and Brushes of different fibers for specific tasks.
Coconuts provide refreshment with zero storrage requirements, the fibers used for mats, the shell as bowls, the meat for cooking, dried flakes for sweets and the oil for cooking.
Over the last few years, more and more tourists and investments are pouring into Cambodia. That and social media exposes the western material values to the local population. Cambodians started to pursue a lifestyle the West is trying to fix. Plastics, fast food and over purchasing of unnecessary things. All this at the time the West is seeking a sustainable, zero waste lifestyle.
Sustainability vs. Commercial Development
That reminds me of what exactly we have gone through in China. We were eating, using and consuming things that were natural and actually good for us. Then big brands entered from the West and brain washed us with “fancy life” ideas. We started to forget our perspective, thousands of years of inherited wisdom, and adopt theirs. We wanted their lives and consume their products.
Now we have all those commercial things in China, we are not really happier, plus we have caused a lot of environmental and social problems along the way.
Perspective Changes Everything
I’m not saying that the West is bad. I’m just saying perspective changes everything.
Like Asian ear cleaning, you may think it’s crazy to stick an object smaller than your elbow into your ears. In Asia, we consider it as normal, it’s intimate, one of the most amazing feelings, because it’s so stimulating, relaxing and eco-friendly.
In Asia, on the same table we share food, so that we can eat more dishes and get different nutrition. To most Westerners, this is not sanitary.
Your perspective influences your mindsets, thus determines your judgements and actions.
In Cambodia and many other developing countries, a natural and simple life is satisfactory to most people. But a sustainable life is not enough anymore once exposed to the “fancy” Western lifestyle. Human nature makes us desire things that we don’t have.
Changing Perspective – Sustainable Living Inspirations
Keeping an open mind and respectful conversations are the key to sustainability. Join me to inspire each other with sustainability perspectives that allows us to strive for a happier life.
Be Part of the Sustainability
Use #zenopium on twitter (more about zenopium later) to tell your perspective on eco travel, veganism, plastic free households, minimalism, zero waste or anything related to sustainability. Why do you think it’s important to you, how does it benefit your life and how do you apply it?
Winning Perspective Prizes
At the end of each month, the tweet that received the most Likes (30+) will get the following two prizes:
- A set of Asian Ear Cleaning tools with handmade ethnic roll case.
- A special eco-friendly product from Asia.
If a perspective opens your eye or brings you value, generously give it a Like. Happy sharing!
Zenopium – Sustainable Lifestyle Inheriting Asian Wisdom and Nature
I started Myearpick in 2008 with a small success. The ear cleaning tools sold out quickly. Then it took me a long time to improve the products quality and make the business more sustainable, both environmentally and economically.
During that process, I met Chris, the owner of Zenopium. It’s a Cambodian company located at the edge of the Kep National Park. Zenopium is specialized in utilizing natural resources and traditional wisdom to substitute for plastics. At the same time support the local community with technology and know-how to make a living on sustainability and live sustainably.
I joined the team with the Myearpick project almost instantly after our encounter. Chris and the team have helped me a lot to convert Myearpick to a plastic-less operation.
Zenopium is actually looking for collaborators and volunteers to promote sustainable lifestyle. More on this later. Their site is under construction. You will find more news about Zenopium on this blog, so don’t forget to bookmark this page.
Let’s use #zenopium for sharing perspectives on sustainable living. I’m sure you can tell what it means. 😉 It’s a very cool name, isn’t it?