Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Conversation with Absinthia, Part 8

A female demonstrator offers a flower to military police, October 21, 1967.

This is part of a continuing series of email letters exchanged with my Swedish friend, Absinthia. To see the whole series, start with Do the Right Thing.


I think that the Chernobyl incident might have been a very loud kind of alarm clock for many in my age. The “green movement,” a.k.a. “progs” (you might call them a Swedish version of hippies with a strong eco-/political agenda), had more or less gone silent, and then BOOM--suddenly the eco-questions were a hot item again, something everybody had an opinion about.

Around here we have to relate to these questions--it is really a matter of everything we do, every day. For example, do we live in a radon-radiating house or not?! If we do, we have to act, or we will get low radiation illness. That is a fact of life for us. The radon really was a very small issue earlier, but now we have to count every bit of radiation very carefully, making both radon and background radiation into very big and important issues.

This has made me think, of course. I made very careful choices when we started looking for where to live our life. I looked for an old-fashioned house with only old-fashioned materials in it--materials that have been thoroughly researched for centuries, materials we are accustomed to and know how to handle safely. I had Gandhi’s theories in the back of my mind. “Choose local materials, they fit the local weather and the local way of life.”

So we chose a very old house, and we have made very few changes to it and only with “safe” traditional materials. And it seems Mr. Gandhi was right in this issue, too. So far we have had very low figures on every radon measuring!

Since there are so few ways we are able to avoid or reduce radiation, I think it is important for us to do everything we are able to do. Reduce what we can, so our bodies have a chance to help us stand up against that which we cannot avoid.

- Absinthia

This is the end of "A Conversation with Absinthia." In future posts, Absinthia and I will discuss ways to live a simpler, more traditional life, now posted starting here.

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