~Frugal and Organic Living ^.^

living a frugal (thrifty & economical) and organic (or: as natural as possible) life, while keeping ~minimalism~ and ~environmental consciousness~ in mind.

 

or, alternatively, of course, the title and subtitle of this essay could have been:

Minimalism and Environmentalism:
living a minimalistic and environmentally-friendly life, while keeping frugality and organic/natural-made in mind.

 

These 4 phrases (frugality, organic-ness, minimalism, and environmentalism) cannot actually be put in any order of superiority, I think, because no one concept is superior to another. And; all the ideas are intertwined and eternally connected, I think.

For example; living frugally (continuously sparing as much money/earnings as possible) can really help with minimalism, and vice versa. Being careful with spending money—thriftiness—prevents you from owning things that are ultimately unnecessary (minimalism) And, not desiring much to begin with (a minimalist mindset) leads to not spending money (frugality).

But anyways: I just needed a functional title, really >.< I tried to think of a good-sounding one that would cover all four concepts fairly equally. So, I chose the aforementioned. But all the ideas are equally important and strongly related, I believe.

Title clarification is out of the way, now!

                          ******************************

~Last thing~

Important Note on the reading of this essay:

The words highlighted in yellow (like this) are the actual suggestions (my main bullet points) on overall thrifty, organic, minimalistic, and environmentally friendly living. (All the other words/lines/paragraphs underneath each highlight are just building on the main point, highlighted.)

*Also: not every one of my highlighted bullet points are applicable to each and every concept that I have recognized, above. Like, not all of the suggestions on thrifty, organic, minimalistic, and environmentally-friendly living actually cover each one of those ideals. Some of the highlighted suggestions only lead to organic, economical, and environmentally-friendly living, for example. (They knock out three of my four golden ideals).

I have indicated this caveat, where necessary.

~

Time to start the essay!! 🙂 

Beginning with my personal relationship to each of the four concepts, mentioned above. (briefly.)

                                         ↓ ↓

Me and Thriftiness:

Frugal? Thrifty? Economical? That hasn’t really been me, in the past. While I’ve never been too overly extravagant with money, I’ve never been money conscious, either. Not to the level that suited my overall life; not to the level I needed to be, for my own sake. Which really sucks, looking back. Because, I wasted my money (which was actually my parents’ money, in 99% of the cases). (I feel really crummy about it. 😢 They didn’t raise me to waste their money—they raised me to be a good daughter and good human being. ~tears, sighs. and frustration~.)

That being said, I think I’ve always been somewhat in the middle of the two ends (spendthrift-iness and frugality). But I’m trying to move more to the frugality end of things.

And;

In terms of me having a little bit of frugalness;

Something (a character trait) that has helped me not waste every penny I find (and save some of the money that comes into my possession):

I don’t really find that much joy in shopping. I do get joy in purchasing something cool/unique/useful to me/etc. But I don’t think I’ve ever (in my whole life—23 years) gotten much pleasure from shopping, or even from buying or owning things, in a general sense.

So; shopping in itself is not fun…but I do like having something I really like or admire (like a lava lamp, or the best/most upgraded type of storage containers. You know—like that stack of shelves/connected containers that has wheels on the bottom part of it, so you can move it around? And you can open and close the shelves, like drawers? I’ve always thought that is kinda cool).

So; possessing something you like is different from the idea of shopping being fun. Shopping isn’t fun, actually. To anyone, I bet. Lemme prove it (if I may): 1. When you shop, you have to give someone your money. (Often way too much of your money—everything in this world is over-priced, to me. Inflation? Well, I don’t know what that is, but I bet if we all really tried, we could make at least the necessities of life (like; an apartment/home, food, medicine, clothes, etc. highly affordable for everybody).

So anyways; you have to become a few dollars poorer (or; many dollars poorer) in order to get an item or product or service that you need, or really want. I mean, why can’t most things in life be free? That’s a hard question for anyone to adequately answer, I bet.

Another reason why I’m sure nobody truly enjoys shopping (the carefree kind—the kind that is without need) is because nobody likes the idea of being extravagant. Extravagance is an ugly quality. And this idea is actually implanted in each and every one of us, no matter how much we forget it, externally.

Lemme prove it:

We all look up to the best of humanity—the best people who ever walked this earth. And a few of those great people include Christ, and the prophet Muhammad.

Both those figures were extremely sparing and simple, in living their lives. Therefor; we all (deep down) admire those traits, in those men. (Like; if we revere those central figures, then we also by necessity admire their personal traits. like their frugality. It makes sense–trust me :p ).

-Christ (Allah’s peace be upon him, as we say in Islam) only had a few changes of clothing, I believe. He forsook the riches and materialism of this world. And he led a most simple life. He embraced and loved the poor and the weak, and taught “they are blessed, and that they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” He was a personification of simplicity and humility: humbleness, modesty, and etc.

-And prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be with him, as we say in Islam) also forcefully detached himself from the unnecessary qualities of this world. He also embodied simplicity, and prudence—wise regard for the future. He said: “What have I to do with this world? In regards to this world, I am like a rider who shades himself under a tree, and then goes on his way.” I.e., “I am only on Earth for a very short time—I will soon go back to my Lord (i.e., die—move on, in this eternal journey of existence.)

He also warned against extravagance with anything; overspending, over eating, talking too much, etc.

In regards to talking, the prophet said; “Someone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good words (kind, beneficial, necessary), or (otherwise) keep silent.” The Prophet used words so sparingly that, according to a hadith, people around him could often count the words that he would speak (at a time) with ease. Like, they could remember the number of words he said. (And, obviously, the content of what he said). In other words, he (peace be with him) never “talked too much,” as we say.

both Christ and the Prophet exemplified rejecting and distancing oneself from materialism. I really need to do that–to follow that example. We all do, actually ..

Me and Organic Living (or; as natural-as-possible living. #ChemicalFree)

I’m also (in addition to cutting out the unnecessary spending) currently trying my best to rid myself of chemicals, whether in my hygiene products, food, house cleaning products, and etc.

E.g.; the hygiene products that we use, like lotions, deodorants, and soaps are often (most of the time, in fact) laden with chemicals. Especially the fancy shmancy kinds, in my opinion. Even the hygiene items that are the most natural variety of the store-bought products likely have less-than-healthy chemicals in them. What I mean is that; even a brand of shampoo (for example) that is the most natural kind you can find in stores is nowhere near the healthiness of all-natural (100% natural) shampoo. Like African Black Soap, for example.

http://www.treehugger.com/style/what-is-black-soap.html ~

We don’t often think of our hygiene products (or; our food, our cleaning supplies, etc.) being dangerous for our internal health. But; they often (usually, I think) are. But we can make changes!

I mean, I myself (over the past year or so) began to make my own hygiene products, at home. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is in fact highly economical/cheap, natural, and easy to prepare. (See fourth highlight, below).

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Me and Minimalism:

I’ve also recently become interested in minimalism. Minimalism (from what I’ve read, and how I like to perceive it) is: freeing yourself of things you don’t need (via donating them, selling them, gifting them to others, etc.), being content and happy with what you have remaining, and not feeling the need to obtain much else, of material possessions. “Wealth is not the amount of physical riches you have—indeed, (true) wealth is the richness of the soul.” (–said the prophet Muhammad, peace be with him…as well as many other blessed people. Many people have said variations of this quote, this reality. ❤ ).

Me, and Environmental Consciousness:

Last (but not the least; this might well be the most important): Environmental consciousness.

I. Wanna. Reduce. My. Carbon. Footprint. (Now, I just have to repeat that to myself every day, so I can internalize it and have a greener mindset).

Like every other person (I’m pretty sure), I’ve always liked nature, and both marveled and worried at the fact that there is only one planet that we have. We need to take care of Earth. (Which, incidentally, is “heart,” with the letters rearranged. ~A good heart cares for the Earth!)

And, for a completely unnecessary comment (‘cause, why not; I think it’s at least kind of interesting): Both of the words “Earth” and “heart,” with their letters rearranged, spell my name; “Ethar.” And in addition to that, ‘Ethar’ in Arabic means “altruism; selflessness.”

I think there might be a connection going on, here! 😮

perhaps you can only look at it this way through a stretch of your imagination—but anyways (here’s my theory):

A good heart cares for the Earth.  (-these letters, alphabetically (just to make it easier) are: a, e, h, r, t)

Ethar, (also a combination of ‘a, e, h, r, t), if you claim to have a good heart, you’d better help the Earth. Have altruism (the meaning of ‘Ethar’) for that cause! :O 😮

Ok; I’ve never (ever) been into the whole signs thing (i.e., the universe or God or fate or something else is sending you a sign—to do something, go ahead with something (a decision), to feel something (e.g., to have reassurance in this situation), etc….

But this particular thingamajig (with words ‘Earth’ and ‘heart’ and ‘Ethar’ (my name) is, like, something, I think. It’s really weird, but that doesn’t take away the potential significance, to it (the good meaningfulness.)

Even if this ‘word-miracle’ isn’t quite a sign, I still interpret it as a push to get working. On that selflessness, and/or that stewardship of the Earth, and also the whole ‘having a good heart’ task. None of the above are easy, but I’m determined to do it.

~

Ok, thank you for reading that mushy and slightly weird and sometimes off-topic part of the essay. The actual ‘suggestions, advice, thoughts from my experiences/research’ starts now: ↓

To attain a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life (all there for the taking, in this life), this is what you should do (in no specific order):

  1. go for reusable products (minimize disposable, one-time or short-time use products).

Reusable products are products/items that you only buy or obtain one time, with no need to re-purchase more of them, in the future.

This mechanism/choice is thrifty because you will never (or; hardly ever) need to buy ‘another one’ of those types of items, saving you a lot of money as time goes by. It is often all-natural because you can most likely obtain reusables made with zero chemicals to them. It is minimalistic because you’d only have one single item per group of items, in your possession. (E.g., you’d only own and use one ___ (fill in the blank.) It is environmentally conscious and friendly because if/when you take the option of getting a reusable product made of sustainable or biodegradable or recycle-able material,  (e.g., glass, paper/cardboard etc./stainless steel, and all the other good materials), you are not contributing to pollution. (E.g., plastic production and use in our world is too high, and only a fraction of it gets recycled, I believe. That means a lot of trash (i.e., plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and etc.) in landfills, and trash contaminating nature (e.g., oceans, and the many animals that live there)…        ↓ ↓

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2011 the U.S. recycled only 11 percent of plastics. That means most of the plastic bags we use end up in landfills across the nation!

You might ask yourself, what do plastic bags have to do with climate change? Let’s start with the fact that most people tend to use plastic bags once, even after knowing that they are not biodegradable and can sit in a landfill for over a century. Plastic bags are mostly made out of polyethylene, which is a byproduct of petroleum and natural gas. As plastic bags decompose into little pieces, they release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, adding another number to the long list of anthropogenic climate change sources.”  ~ http://climatesociety.ei.columbia.edu/2013/08/29/climate-change-who-thought-plastic-bags/  ~

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Some items that you can (should, actually) buy in re-usable form:

  • water bottle

A good quality stainless steel bottle can last forever, I’m pretty sure. You wouldn’t need to ever replace it.  

You’ll save a lot of money by purchasing a reusable water bottle. No more paying $1.25 per bottle at cafes, vending machines, etc. And no more buying a pack of water bottles as part of your grocery supply. You would have a lot of incentive to simply fill up your stainless steel bottle with tap water from your sink, and drink from that, instead. Lots of money saved! So a reusable bottle is pretty thrifty.

Reusable bottles are often made out of safe, natural materials. (BPA-free stainless steel, for one example.) In contrast, disposable, plastic bottles become unsafe to use after a certain amount of re-use, because the plastic wasn’t made to stand up to a lot of wear. (I think I read or heard somewhere that even brand new plastic bottles (like; a Deer Park bottle that you just bought from the vending machine) can transmit harmful chemicals to you, simply due to the plastic, itself. Plastic can be harmful.)

Links to what I’m talking about: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html     ↓ ↓

Many bottled waters contain toxins, even if they’ve nixed BPA.

Plastic isn’t just bad for the planet: it’s not good for you, either.

Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but laced into plastic bottles are other chemicals that can seep out if bottles are exposed to heat or sit around for a long time. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disruptors. No one knows for sure what the health outcomes are. Do you really want your body to undergo that experiment?” (from mindbodygreen site, above)

~

So anyway: reusable, BPA-free steel bottles can easily be found. An all-natural material: no harmful chemicals being transferred to your body.

Also: reusable bottles are in line with minimalistic ideals, due to their owners only having one of them. (Would you really need two? Need? Or just want? Besides, multiples of things probably have zero correlation to sense of well-being, or happiness. At best, they help generate a false sense of happiness.)

They are environmentally friendly because they help eliminate plastic bottles from the world.

~

a really awesome bottle brand that you should check out:

S’well (https://www.swellbottle.com/ ) – the main mission of this company (from what I’ve read so far on their site) is; drastically reducing the amount of plastic bottles, in the world. Plastic is toxic to the environment, largely because it often doesn’t actually get recycled, like it is supposed to. It often ends up in landfills. Landfills contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. So; unrecycled plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, in many cases 😮 #OneEarth #Let’sTakeGoodCare

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  • another reusable product: bags. Cloth/tote bags, to be exact.

Thrifty: I (to be honest) don’t really know how a cloth or tote bag will save you any money. 😛 ~here’s one of those caveats/exceptions that I was talking about, earlier.

Minimalistic: Of course, you can choose to have only one cloth bag, in your life. Why not? #de-cluttering. #reducing my amount of stuff.

Organic: well, I’m not sure if bags, in general (cloth, or plastic, or otherwise) can be harmful to your health. Like; I don’t think that choosing cloth bags over plastic bags will particularly benefit one’s health, in any way. -however, the one area in which alternative-material bags really could be healthier than plastic ones is: in wrapping your food. I try to avoid wrapping my food in plastic bags/plastic wrap/cling wrap/plastic containers, because the chemicals from the plastic can transfer onto your food. Instead, I try to use stainless steels containers…and I’m interested in using cloth napkins (and tying them with something of course, so nothing spills), in future.

Environmentally-friendly: Finally—a goal that is 100% attainable, with cloth bags/non-plastic containers! (Yea!) (I couldn’t really see the benefits of using cloth bags for money-saving, minimalistic, or organic living purposes.) But, environmentally: Using cloth/tote bags instead of plastic or paper ones will reduce your carbon footprint, because: 1. you won’t be contributing to the amount of plastic bags, in the world. This means that you won’t contribute to the amount of pollution that happens because of plastic’s greenhouse gas emissions. And 2. you won’t be contributing to paper (bag) consumption. I.e, you won’t be involved in the consumption of trees (which are the main ingredient in paper).

*So: when you go grocery shopping, when you go clothes shopping, and etc.: why not bring like three or four good-sized cloth tote bags to pack your items in, at check-out? (Like; instead of using the plastic bags they give you, at check-out.) # saving trees! (And avoiding plastic.)

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  • a third reusable product: washcloths, and cloth cleaning supplies, in general.

Thrifty: no more spending money on paper towels or sponges. You can simply wash the piece of cloth once it gets too dirty (via hand-washing, or machine washing), let it dry, and reuse.

Organic: ? not quite sure that paper towels and sponges, etc. had any harmful chemicals in them.

Minimalistic: no more having a bottom sink cluttered with paper towel rolls, sponges, and other similar items

Environmentally-friendly: you’d be reducing your carbon footprint by not contributing to the production of paper towels/sponges (via cutting down more trees, and etc.)

***

  • A fourth reusable product (for ladies): reusable menstrual products (menstrual cup, cloth menstrual pads, and etc.).

Reusable menstrual products are period products that you re-use continuously, rather than dispose of after a single use. Reusable period products need to be washed/rinsed, after every use.

#No more disposable tampons or pads!

This option and method of handling your period is thrifty because reusable menstrual products last a long time, as opposed to disposable products, which you throw away after a single use. This long shelf life that is intrinsic to reusable period products means a lot of money saving.

I heard that a menstrual cup lasts between like five to ten years before it should be replaced…and cloth menstrual pads last at least five years, with proper care. That’s like five years’ worth of saved money! The money you would have spent on buying the disposable products (every single month), of course. The tampons, and etc.

Organic: opting for reusable menstrual products is much healthier for your body than using disposable period products. This is because you’d be using (for just one example), natural (or even organic, like I do) cotton cloth pads. Or; free-of-harmful-chemicals silicone (as in the case of menstrual cups). Disposable tampons and pads, on the other hand (like the Always and the Kotex, etc.) have chemicals on the surface/exterior of them. You don’t want that, as this material will be coming in contact with your vaginal area. (*It’s true that you can buy disposable pads and tampons  that are the organic cotton kind…As in; pads and tampons that are single-use, but made of natural material (in essence, organic cotton).  Like; the kind you can find at Wholefoods market…). While this is true, you’d still want to go for reusable organic period products, because 1. it is cheaper for you, in the long run, and 2. reusable anything is better for the environment, because it cuts down on production and potential pollution.

Link to a really good (short) article that talks about this topic: http://www.healthychild.org/is-your-pad-or-tampon-safe/

Another (longer) article:

Minimalistic: by using reusable period products, you will be decluttering your bathroom space, due to only have one single stash of cloth pads. Or; one single menstrual cup.

environmentally friendly: by choosing reusable period products, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of period product material (e.g., cotton). Also; I don’t think that disposable period products are biodegradable. Organic cotton, on the other hand (as in the case of many cloth pads–the cotton kind) is entirely biodegradable. :

“Organic cotton—More than 25 percent of the world’s pesticides are used in conventional cotton production. Organic cotton is grown without toxic, synthetic chemical inputs. Look for natural dyes or colored cotton to further reduce the amount of chemicals dumped into our ecosystem.” ~ http://www.ecowatch.com/7-eco-friendly-fabrics-that-will-green-your-wardrobe-1881821403.html ~
~~~

Quick info. on menstrual cups: a menstrual cup is a silicone cuppie (teeny little cup, which is flexible and oval-shaped) that you insert vaginally, during your menstrual cycle. It collects, rather than absorbs your menstrual blood. You remove it and empty its contents (like down the toilet bowl…probably the most sanitary option, as opposed to the sink or bathtub, or something), and the wash/rinse it well, and then re-insert it. It’s not painful any more than a tampon is painful.

Quick info. on cloth menstrual pads (my personal preference):

 https://clothpads.wordpress.com/faq/   

–There are other options for reusable menstrual products, too! Like sea-sponge tampons. But personally, if you want my honest advice, I would try to avoid using internal cloth products, for your period (like; any type of tampons–even organic kinds). I heard that tampons and things absorb the fluid that your reproductive organs naturally create (like; they don’t just absorb the blood–they absorb all the fluid.) This can be bad, for you. 

~

http://gladrags.com/product/383/Organic-Day-Pad-Plus.html (this is the company that I bought my reusable cloth menstrual products from. I’d give them a 5-star rating! ).

-last thing: all reusable period products (a stash of cloth pads, a menstrual cup, etc.) are more expensive than the disposable variety, but only at first! The amount of money that you will save throughout that 5-10 year period of time (hehe—period of time) will make up for the initial purchase, and then some. I read somewhere that you will ultimately save several hundreds of dollars, per year! 😮 (I’m pretty sure that figure is right. Here’s an article that says this:

Links:

 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/reusable-menstrual-supplies/ 

http://www.treehugger.com/health/reasons-why-you-should-switch-to-reusable-menstrual-products.html 

So; why not make the switch for your own health (avoiding the chemicals present in disposable products), and for your long-term savings.

~happy periods ~ ^.^

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           2. The second way that you can live a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life is by purchasing items second-hand, or used (in other words)

This choice/method is thrifty: used items are cheaper (and often much cheaper; sometimes even an unbelievable bargain) compared to buying new items.

Organic: I’m sure you can find organic, used items. Like: (used) organic-cloth washcloths, and (used) glass jars.

Confession: I’ve never really gone for used and organic items—the thought never really crossed my mind, before. I guess I always thought that I had to choose either used, or organic—that I couldn’t have the best of both those worlds. (Feeling kinda sheepish right now, by the way; I don’t know why I thought that! Haven’t really been using my noodle/brain, I guess.)

Link to some websites where you can find all-natural, second-hand stuff (I found these through a quick Google search; deeper research into this will yield better results, I’m sure): 

{links coming soon iA}

Minimalistic: hmm. Not sure how buying second-hand stuff instead of new, never-before-used items contributes to minimalism, in any real way. (Like; you’d pretty much be purchasing the same amount of stuff that you would, otherwise…But the stuff would just be in used format.) All-in-all, buying second-hand can’t really help with minimalism, in itself (I think).

Environmentally-friendly: buying second-hand is env.-friendly because you won’t be contributing to the production of goods. Like; you won’t be contributing to the system that brings more products into this world (i.e., the mass-markets, which are big sources of pollution, and other environmental threats).

In other words; it’s all about a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mindset! Have that mentality whenever & wherever you can~! #green!

***

Some places where you can purchase second-hand items:

  • Thrift stores, like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Thrift stores sell items like clothing and shoes, jewelry, small furniture items (or maybe even large furniture items), etc. They are like Wal-Marts to a great degree, except much cheaper (due to their items being second-hand.)

I have found some of my favorite items (like; a dress, and a little table) through thrifting.

And; this pair of pants (the red and orange one, below) was from Goodwill (thrift store). It was no more than $7.00, I’m sure (because I never purchase pants for more than $7.00. That’s my maximum amount I can tolerate. I’m actually trying to lower this threshold to $5.50.)

Here is the pair of pants:

pants from goodwill, 7 dollars. i rly like these , i like the print

~~~

This is the main Goodwill.org website: http://www.goodwill.org/ –To find the nearest store near your place of residence, enter your zip code in the white ‘search box’ near the top of the page.

-I think Goodwill and Salvation Army only operate in the U.S. and Canada. (I could be wrong, though…there may be other countries in which they have stores.)

  • Another avenue through which you can purchase your items second-hand: Websites, like:

Ebay.com, and Amazon.com (just be sure to specify your search by clicking on the “used” option, for every item searched. Or; just simply type directly into the search engine “used chair,” “used table,” etc.)

  • Another avenue for buying second-hand stuff: flea markets! Whoo-hoo.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea_market (comprehensive Wiki article about what flea markets are)

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/flea-market (‘flea market’ short definition)

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/flea-market (another short definition of it)

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Some good resources on finding flea markets near you:

https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=flea+market&find_loc=Sterling%2C+VA

https://www.yellowpages.com/sterling-va/flea-markets

~~~

Some items that you can buy second-hand

Clothes (just be sure to wash them, before wearing).

Electronic devices (e.g., iPads, laptops, etc.)

Books

Jewelry 

Furniture (e.g., sofas, couches, rugs, lamps, tables, ornaments/décor, and etc.)

Random stuff (pens, paper, stationary, storing containers…)

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            3. The third strategy on this list (for living a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life) is; Selecting cheaper alternatives to the over-priced items in our world. This is for time when you have to buy new, never-been-used items.   (i.e.: buying used items will most likely be the best bargain…but if you must purchase new items, get them for cheap, or at least affordable/fair prices. )       ~Also (another thing); buying items in bulk. (Sorry—I just lumped these two ideas–selecting more cheaply-priced items + buying in bulk–together because I thought they complement each other).

Thrifty: you will save money

All-natural: it is very true that all-natural or organic items are often more expensive than the ‘regular’ kind. I.e., organic produce and food (apples, eggs, milk, etc.) are often more expensive than the non-organic kind. So; it’s often really hard to find organic + affordable food (and other items).

And, leaving ‘organic’ aside for a moment: even buying all-natural and wholesome food (that is not even organic—just natural and healthy) is often more expensive than buying processed food.

This really sucks, you know? Healthy and organic should be the cheapest category of food. And the processed, chemical-ly food should be the most expensive. Like; this would be an incentive for people/the general population to eat healthy, non-chemical food. (Instead of fast food, and other processed foods. Like; chips, and so on).

But; the system doesn’t really care about its consumers. E.g., their health and well-being.

Like; there should be a system (like; a government system) that enforces a rule on food companies and grocery stores. Like, a rule that says that organic + natural foods must be sold cheaply. This would really help!

minimalistic:

environmentally friendly:

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Places where you can buy stuff for a fraction of the cost you would spend, elsewhere:

  • Dollar stores!

Like, for one example: Family Dollar https://www.familydollar.com/ (Most items and products here are priced under $10. And many are $1, or even less.)

When it comes to getting value for everyday items for the entire family in an easy to shop, neighborhood location, Family Dollar is the best place to go. One of the nation’s fastest growing retailers, Family Dollar offers a compelling assortment of merchandise for the whole family ranging from household cleaners to name brand foods, from health and beauty aids to toys, from apparel for every age to home fashions, all for everyday low prices. While shoppers can find many items at $1 or less, most items in the store are priced below $10, which makes shopping fun without stretching the family budget.” http://corporate.familydollar.com/pages/about-family-dollar.aspx

Also: Five and Below

~

Dollar stores are really fun places to be. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the fact that you subconsciously know (or; very cognizantly know) that you’re getting a really good deal for certain items (compared to what you would find in most other stores). Being inside a dollar store just makes you gleeful because of that, I think. (I can testify to this, personally..).

So, anyways: A Walmart or Target or whatever else there is very over-priced, in comparison to dollar stores.

Just one small example: say you need some miscellaneous items (a toothbrush, a pair of socks, and some stationary supplies). Why pay like $15 on those, when you can pay $3? Just a dollar, per item? Or, at most; like 9 or 10 dollars, or so? :/ 

(I totally understand the convenience of places like Walmart, Target, etc. They have everything in one location; they are “super-stores.” Like; clothing, groceries, electronics, pharmacy (medicine), furniture…even random stuff (like children’s play things, and whatever else…lightbulbs, I guess). These are all available at such stores. But I’d rather drive around and find the items I need for a low price than spend like $200 at one of these places. E.g, some new winter clothes (which are e

Besides! I don’t know if this is just me (like; something that is unique to myself), but whenever I shop for things at Walmart (for one example), I leave the place having bought crap I don’t really need (or even want, as I eventually realize)… + I often feel kinda disoriented. (The disorientation comes mainly from the shopping spree that I never saw coming, but also because Walmart is, like, bright! Like; the lighting is really weird! Being inside there is like having to stare at an overly bright computer screen for three hours. Everywhere you look, it’s uncomfortable.

(Fun fact/update: I *just** Googled “Walmart too bright” (like; right now), and found some forums and stuff where people have said this! Like; I’m not alone!

~~~
                                              ******************
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~And another thing wrong with Walmart stores; the layout! The layout of the store is really weird to me, too! Like; everything in the store is sort of just spread out there–like; there are no clear divisions between the grocery section, the clothes section, the home stuff section, etc. This makes me oddly dizzy and confused; like: I feel like I’m face-to-face with the entire store.
Ugh I’m so glad I don’t go to Walmart for anything, anymore! Too much to deal with, visually. Like: the aesthetic experience of it is awful: disorienting.
I bet there is like a secret science to the layout and stuff, though. They probably want to (purposely) disorient you so that you can’t  think clearly, and end up buying stuff you don’t need (out of sheer lack of focus and mental clarity).
Like; I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if this is in fact true.
***

So, anyways: I try to always get all of my stuff for a good deal (all of my new stuff, that is–the stuff i have to buy new. Like; food, or undergarments).

Other places that you can buy things for a much more affordable price:

  • Thrift stores (which are discussed above, under “Buying items second-hand/used”)
  • Flea markets (discussed above, as well)
  • Amazon or eBay, and other similar sites (discussed, above). *This method of buying things at an affordable price only works if you go for the ‘used items’ option. (like; if you buy new items from these sites, they’ll be the same price as purchasing them from a brick-and-mortar store. I.e., sites like Amazon and Ebay are not cheaper, inherently. They’re ‘just’ online stores. So; go for their used items, to save money.

~

Methods that allow you to buy stuff more cheaply:

  • Couponing: You can find coupons on the back of receipts – I always find some on the back of Safeway receipts, for one example. You can also find coupons in newspapers and magazines, and even online. 

Awesome website on’where to find coupons, including online ones’:

http://embracingbeauty.com/2011/03/22/extreme-couponing-where-to-find-coupons/ 

  • Store discount cards. I make sure to get the kind that don’t require a monthly fee, for having it. A yearly fee to me is the only real time frame that I am willing to pay for a store discount card.
  • Always keep an eye out for clearances/sales. Like; holiday sales (e.g., Christmas sales), and Black Friday 
  • Price matching. A lot of stores have this option, for their customers.

~

             4. The fourth strategy that I have: Make certain items/products, yourself (do-it-yourself, homemade products). And (this is related): buy 100% natural products

Thrifty: By making certain products and items yourself, you save money, over time. (Store-bought items are oftentimes more expensive than the items and products you make, yourself.)

Some examples of items/products you can make yourself, at home:

  • Food (like, cooking)

Preparing food from home saves you a lot of money, over the long run (it’s economical)

Cooking food at home can absolutely be (and; often is) all-natural. You can tailor all of your food to be natural and wholesome. And you will be 100% in charge of what goes in your meals. (Compare this to restaurant food, where you often really have no idea what’s in the food. It’s most likely comprised of unhealthy fats, too much salt, too much sugar, too much starches, and etc.)

  • Hygiene products

Believe it or not, you can actually make most of the hygiene products that you use, instead of buying them from stores.

Some examples:

  • Toothpaste: coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil, mixed.
  • Shampoo: African Black Soap. This is all you really need, but you can add essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil to make it even more beneficial for your hair.
  • Facial moisturizer: sweet almond oil, or coconut oil, or argon oil. Or any type of oil that is safe for facial use. Or; butters, like shea butter.
  • Facewash: black soap, again. Or, castile soap: https://shop.drbronner.com/

There are lots of recipes for home-made hygiene products, online! Many of them involve organic ingredients, too.

My favorite website for stuff like this is:

https://wellnessmama.com/4992/natural-skin-care-options/ check this website out, please! You’ll love it.

                 5. Miscellaneous strategies (for adopting & keeping up a thrifty, all-natural, minimalistic, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. These points don’t really fit into the categories above, of course. They’re kind of random): –

  • Clearing your space/letting go of things you don’t need.

e.g.: through donating and selling

 

donate your unwanted possessions (e.g.; to thrift stores, charities, and religious organizations, like churches). Perhaps make this a task every six months, or every year. e.g: Every year near the holiday time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc… I wish I could add ‘Ramadan’ to this holiday list, but Ramadan starts 10 days earlier, every year. #lunar calendar, lol)…. -Anyways, at the end of every year/near the holiday time, you can gather all the items that you don’t want (or; want, but would rather see it given to a needy person…like one of your winter coat + scarf …), and donate them/give them away to an organization that collects them.

Goodwill accepts donations year-round; no need to wait til the holiday season (or some other time) to drop off your things.

http://www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/  -this link shows you how to donate your items to Goodwill.

I have also copied and pasted the relevant parts of the above article, below:

How to Donate (to Goodwill)

Step 1: Gather Your Stuff

Walk around your home and collect items you and your family no longer need — that shirt that’s been hanging in the back of your closet for three years, the toy trike your five-year old has outgrown, the holiday gift from grandma you never quite found a place for, etc.

Step 2: Give Them a Look Over

Donating items that are in working condition, contain all of their pieces and parts, and are free of stains and rips is the best way to ensure that your goods do the most good. While we accept most clothing and household items, there are a few things we can’t accept – such as items that have been recalled, banned or do not meet current safety standards. In addition, if you’re looking to donate specialty items such as computers, vehicles or mattresses, it’s best to give your local Goodwill organization a call first to find out any rules or restrictions around these items.

Step 3: Go to Goodwill

Ready to drop off your items? Just use our locator at the top of the page or on our homepage  and check the box for “Donation Site” to find your nearest Goodwill drop-off location. Donating a lot of items? Some Goodwills offer donation pickup services – give yours a call to find out what’s available in your area.

Each year, we also get together with our partners to offer unique donation drives, giving you the chance to drop off your items at retail stores, college campuses and more. Stay tuned to this space for information about new opportunities to donate through our partners.

SPECIAL NOTE: Donation Bins

While we invite you to visit one of Goodwill’s many attended donation centers, we understand that donation bins may represent a more convenient option for your donation needs. Unfortunately, many goods that wind up in donation bins end up supporting for-profit groups, rather than aiding nonprofit, charitable organizations. To help you make informed donation decisions, we offer the following handy guide.

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as for selling your stuff that you never use (e.g., books, clothes, and etc.);

An awesome website for selling your used books (I’m about to register for this; I have like a million old textbooks from college that are just laying around):

https://bookscouter.com/?utm_source=aff&utm_campaign=aff-511& 

This is a paragraph i took from the site: ↓ ↓

About BookScouter

“BookScouter helps you sell textbooks and used books for the most money by comparing offers from over 35 book buyback vendors with a single search. This allows you to quickly and easily find who is paying the most for your textbooks. Oh, and BookScouter is 100% free with no registration required.

To start, simply enter an ISBN into the field above. Following your search, you’ll see several offers for your books from various vendors. Identify your desired vendor to whom you’d like to sell your book and you’ll be taken to their website where you’ll complete your transaction. Before you decide on a vendor we invite you to read user reviews left by other BookScouter.com users.

Once you’ve completed your transaction on a vendor’s website, you’ll have been emailed or given the option to print a free shipping label. Pack your books securely and drop them off at your local shipping center. Once the vendor receives and inspects your books for damage, the vendor will send your payment. It’s that easy!”

                               ~
Another website for selling used stuff:

https://www.thredup.com/tou  (online used clothes store. You become a seller of your old clothes. But it looks to me like they have kind of strict prerequisites, for the clothes they accept. I am planning on reading more on this company in future, though, because it does look like they sell really trendy clothing (if you’re into that: )

  • Use the three-day rule, when it comes to purchasing new items.

3-day rule: Before you buy ~anything~  , let three days pass. In many cases, you won’t want that item anymore, after three days of thinking it through & clearing your mind (of any reckless impulse to ‘just buy it.’)

*extend the three days to a week, if you have to. Even two or three weeks. I’d say if you still want the said item after around two weeks or so, you’ve gotten a solid green light to go ahead and buy it. Some items really are worth it.

  • Never purchase water. Rather, get it for free from a water fountain or a nearby café, like Starbucks. (There’s a Starbucks in like every neighborhood, I think! Seems that way, anyway). A cup of water is free, there. Quench your thirst for free!

One tip (about getting free water from Starbucks, and most cafes, I believe):

-just keep your reusable water bottle on you at all times, so that when you ask the barista for water, you can ask her/him to fill up your personal bottle. They’ll totally do it! No matter how big your personal water bottle is. Even if it’s like a 32 ounce one (a big one), they’ll fill it up to the top if you firmly and kindly ask. (Like; they can’t say ‘no,’ because their overall policy is that their tap water is free.)

Don’t forget to ask them to put ice in your bottle, too, if you like water with ice. Don’t be shy about it—it’s part of their duties to give customers/people drinks, anyway. They get paid by their boss for just being there (at the counter). Like; it’s not as if they get commission on the number of drinks sold, or something. No it’s their time that gets them their paycheck.

So; ask for like 10 seconds of their time, to fill up your big 32 oz. with the free water. (with ice, don’t forget. Starbucks ice is like good quality ice, I think! 😂 Like, it doesn’t melt that fast, rofl.

Free 32 ounces of water , w/ some super ice! All in your super cool and handy (and earth-friendly) reusable water bottle. My afternoon would be, like, made! ^.^ 😉

~

Ok, I’m just about done. I will probably add some more (a few more) points to this blog post, in the future. 

there are a lot more ways that a person can live a thrifty, organic/natural, minimalistic, and eco-friendly life, too! hopefully, i can find them and add them to this post, in future.

~

~thank you so much for reading this really long blog post~

Some final thoughts/hashtags:

Life isn’t supposed to be expensive.

Or: unhealthy-for-you (like; with no way of avoiding chemicals, bad foods, toxins, etc. Nuh-uh! As long as it is your body and your life, you can choose what goes into it, and what you eat, and what you rub on your skin (creams, deodorants…or their natural-made alternatives), and what you clean your house with, and etc. Why not? You make choices every day, anyway. Why not choose to live organic, natural, or chemical-free?

Life isn’t supposed to be about accumulating as much stuff as you can, or even about owning things (or; anything, it could be argued). It is about being a good person, and having what is necessary to survive.

#Life is transient, anyway; we are only journeying to a better place. Don’t get attached to things. Don’t have a lot of things. (likewise; don’t let people get you down, don’t be sad about things. this is soon all over…this will soon be done. guaranteed, promised. ❤ ❤ ❤ )

 

Lastly: life is very much about being responsible inhabitants of the Earth. The pollution and etc. (and wastefulness, as opposed to conservation) is a mark of our own negligence and disregard. We can do better, as people.

*~*~*~*

~~~

Key Terms (used in this blog post)

Islam and the Environment

~

I am planning on writing an essay soon about “Islam and the environment.” (I might try to get it published in an Islamic publication, like an online Islamic magazine. Or even in an environment-centered publication.) This (aforementioned) topic is worthy of discussion  due to the fact that–unbeknownst to many people, even Muslims–Islam teaches stewardship over the Earth, with a section of its religious teachings devoted to taking care of the Earth (e.g., through hima, or conservation of natural resources).

In my essay, I might also focus on the similarities and differences between Islam and aspects of Christianity–or possible aspects of it, I should say–in terms of the environment and climate change.

From what I understand; There are some Christians who interpret the Bible and the teachings of their churches in a manner contrary to current scientific thought, in regards to the environment. Specifically; they interpret their religious text, tradition, etc. in such a way as to reject the idea that human beings are destroying the planet, and that climate change is caused by human activity, and that humans need to reverse their actions in order to ‘save the planet,’ and etc.

To be honest, I don’t know very much about the Bible, or Christian tradition. (I was raised in a Sunni, orthodox Muslim environment, my whole life.) So, I don’t know if this view that is held by some Christians (in regards to climate change) is even valid, in the (very) scripture or tradition they claim to extract it from. (In other words; I don’t know if it is true that the Bible discourages such notions of ‘man-made damage to the environment—e.g., greenhouse gases being caused by human activity, rising sea levels, earthquakes, acid rain, and etc. being triggered by human misbehavior, etc.’).

But; if scholars of the Bible (and of Christianity, as a whole) could research the subject of the environment in Christian tradition—specifically; what Christianity really says about climate change, and humans’ damage to the environment (if it says anything, at all)—then I think a major breakthrough could occur.

What I have in mind, specifically is that; there may not be any sound basis in the Christian religion for rejecting (or being skeptical of) climate science, at all. Perhaps some Christians have misunderstood or misinterpreted their religious tradition, on this issue. *The fact that most/many Christian communities take in current climate science and incorporate it into their faith (e.g., with the idea of “Battling climate change is part of caring for the world that God gave us”)–i.e., the fact that most Christian communities welcome climate science may provide some evidence of this theory. (This theory that the Christian communities who struggle with climate science may simply be misreading their religious teachings–that they’re looking at climate science from a certain–perhaps traditional–manner. When in fact there’s probably no teaching in Christianity of how to interpret science. As a matter of fact, I bet Christianity says (or at least implies) that everyone should believe in scientific results/facts. Because it says that people should be caring and ethical-minded. What could be more caring and ethical-minded than battling climate change, for one example?)

I think that if one could manage to prove that rejection of climate change has no Biblical or Christian basis, then Christians (who reject climate science based on their religious beliefs) could join the fight against climate change. They could join the fight to protect planet Earth from further harm.

~

Here is an article that talks to some degree about how the majority of Evangelical Christians in the United States don’t believe in climate change (e.g; that the earth is warming).; http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/05/conservative_christians_and_climate_change_five_arguments_for_why_one_should.html

An excerpt from the article;

“Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average.”

Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication suggests that while 64 percent of Americans think global warming is real and caused by human beings, only 44 percent of evangelicals do. Evangelicals in general, explains Hayhoe, tend to be more politically conservative, and can be quite distrusting of scientists (believing, incorrectly, that they’re all a bunch of atheists). Plus, some evangelicals really do go in for that whole “the world is ending” thing—not an outlook likely to inspire much care for the environment.”

The Slate article mentions some reasons why these committed Christians don’t believe in such environmental science (in addition to the above tidbits);

-“One conservative Christian argument is that God just wouldn’t let human activities ruin the creation. Or, as Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has put it, “God’s still up there, and the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate, is to me, outrageous.”

-Another one: “The Bible does not approve of letting the world burn.’ Hayhoe agrees with the common liberal perception that the evangelical community contains a significant proportion of apocalyptic or end-times believers—and that this belief, literally that judgment is upon us, undermines their concern about preserving the planet.” (In other words; some Evangelical (and possibly other denominations) Christians believe that the natural disasters and detrimental shifts in the environment that are happening (e.g.; sea levels rising, and ice melting) are part of God’s end-of-times plans—that it is all divine will. That it is apocalyptic signs.

-“One (other) reason there’s such a tension between the evangelical community and science is, well, science. Many evangelicals are young-Earth creationists, who believe that the Earth is 6,000 or so years old.

Hayhoe isn’t one of those. She studied astrophysics and quasars that are quite ancient; and as she notes, believing the Earth and universe to be young creates a pretty problematic understanding of God: “Either you have to believe that God created everything looking as if it were billions of years old, or you have to believe it is billions of years old.” In the former case, God would, in effect, seem to be trying to trick us.”

~

I really like this Slate article. I actually read the whole article; and my favorite part of it was the focus on how Hayhoe (an Evangelical Christian climate scientist) finds no real tension between climate science, and Christian beliefs/Christianity.

-“If anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience (Evangelicals who don’t believe in climate change), Hayhoe does. “I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to,” explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. “We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values.”

-“Hayhoe thinks the answer to Senator Inhofe’s objection (that God would not let humans destroy/damage the environment) is simple: From a Christian perspective, we have free will to make decisions and must live with their consequences. This is, after all, a classic Christian solution to the theological problem of evil. “Are bad things happening? Yes, all the time,” says Hayhoe. “Someone gets drunk, they get behind the wheel of a car, they kill an innocent bystander, possibly even a child or a mother.

Climate change is, to Hayhoe, just another wrong, another problem, brought on by flawed humans exercising their wills in a way that is less than fully advisable. “That’s really what climate change is,” she says. “It’s a casualty of the decisions that we have made.”

~

I think with people like Ms. Hayhoe, who can speak from both a Christian viewpoint and a scientific viewpoint, the rejection (or dubiousness) of climate and environment science by some Christians can disappear. As aforementioned; if dispelling the idea that climate change is contrary to Christian belief can be achieved on a wide scale, then what could (then) stop the entire Christian community from becoming avid environmentalists? People who join the fight to combat climate change, and protect the environment and planet? Nothing, if you ask me. I think once it is clear that Christianity does not even remotely hint that climate change is unreal/it is not caused by human beings, then every Christian in every denomination would become avid environment activists, or advocates.

~

Here is another article (this time by The Guardian) that conveys that there is resistance to the idea of climate change on the part of some Evangelicals. (the article is titled “Global Warming; a battle for evangelical Christian hearts and minds”) :

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/oct/02/global-warming-battle-for-evangelical-hearts-and-minds

Here are some excerpts/parts of the article that I think are especially interesting (this article also mentions Dr. Hayhoe…like the Slate article, above):

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a conservative evangelical Christian public policy group that promotes a free-market approach to protecting the environment. The organization recently published a list of ten reasons it opposes policies to reduce carbon pollution and slow global warming, purportedly to protect the poor. As the first point on the list illustrates, the group essentially believes that the Earth’s climate will be able to correct any damage done by humans.

1. As the product of infinitely wise design, omnipotent creation, and faithful sustaining (Genesis 1:1–31; 8:21–22), Earth is robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting.

“The Cornwall Alliance has tried to use scientific arguments to support its religious beliefs about the resiliency of the global climate, claiming,

3. While human addition of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere may slightly raise atmospheric temperatures, observational studies indicate that the climate system responds more in ways that suppress than in ways that amplify CO2’s effect on temperature, implying a relatively small and benign rather than large and dangerous warming effect.

“Many evangelical Christians recognize this moral angle of human-caused climate change, and also view the issue as one of stewardship of the Earth. For example, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian herself, and often speaks to like-minded groups. She recently did an interview with Bill Moyersthat’s well worth watching. Hayhoe told me,

The foundation of the Christian faith is about loving others as Christ loved us, and it is clear from the work that I do myself as well as I see from other colleagues that those with the least resources to adapt to a changing climate will be most affected by our actions.

The National Association of Evangelicals has likewise acknowledged the reality of human-caused global warming and concluded,

Therefore, even when scientific uncertainties are taken into account, the precautionary principle (e.g., Overture 60, Agenda for Synod 2012, p. 594) compels us to take private and public actions to address climate change.

Evangelical Christians tend to be divided between these two camps. Although they tend to view global warming as a threat, evangelicals are also more likely to doubt scientific concepts that they view as contradictory to their faith. Many like Hayhoe have been working to show them that addressing climate change, taking care of the Earth, and protecting the poor are all consistent with the evangelical faith.

Contrary arguments by groups like the Cornwall Alliance are based on misunderstandings of climate science, free market economics, and the evangelical faith. It remains to be seen who will win over the hearts and minds of the evangelical Christian community, but the poor (who often suffer the effects of climate change) will be better off if Katharine Hayhoe’s perspective wins out.”

~

Also; this article (also by The Guardian, titled “Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming?”) states:

“Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming? I doubt we’re ever going to get a satisfying answer to this long-running question, but it is being raised yet again by the publication yesterday of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The poll canvassed views on climate change among the “major religious traditions” in the US. Surprise, surprise, it shows that “white evangelical Protestants” were the group with the lowest level – 34% of those surveyed – of acceptance that there is solid evidence that global warming is real and that it is attributable to humans. This compares with 47% of the total US population (still startlingly low), and 58% of those surveyed who “had faith” but who were unaffiliated to any particular religious tradition.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2009/apr/17/climate-change-religion

 

~

Now, for Islam. Islam takes a totally different approach to dealing with the environment and the issue of climate change (than that taken by some Evangelicals/people of other denominations, who may or may not be influenced by their religion on the subject of climate change/the env.). Islam teaches that humans certainly have the potential to damage the Earth, and that they certainly shouldn’t do so. Islam teaches its followers to care for the Earth, for plant life, for animal life—for our own (humans’) sake, if nothing else:

“The existence of many hadiths that encourage the greening and afforesting of the environment clearly reflects the Prophet’s concern thereof — “If a Muslim plants a tree or grow grains and a bird, a person or an animal eats from it, will be counted as an act of charity, on his part.” (Bukhara, “al-Khars ve’l-Muzara”, Muslim, “Musakaat”, H. No: 12). “If any of you has a date sapling on Doomsday, he should (still) plant it -if possible.” (Bukhara, Edebu’l-mufred, (thk., Halid Abdurrahman), p. 138, Daru’l-Ma’rife, Beirut, 1966). The aim here is to make people understand the importance of planting trees. “Whoever plants a tree is rewarded by Allah as much as the produce grown in that tree.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, V, 415.) “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61, 374) “Whoever plants a tree and it matures, Allah plants a tree in paradise for that person.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61).

Animals-

“…We should be merciful not only to humans but also to other living creatures; The Prophet has prohibited practices against animals such as hitting them, practicing shooting by targeting them, inciting them to fight, hunting for fun, and using a slingshot to hunt them. It is mentioned in hadiths that the humans will be accounted for their bad treatment of animals. By saying, “Allah will question those who kill a sparrow unfairly on the day of judgment.” (Muslim, “Sayd” H.No:57) The Prophet asked people not to torture animals. He forbade cauterizing and cursing animals, ruining bird nests, and removing chicks from their nest. He also wanted people to keep domestic animals and their sheds clean and to treat their cubs with compassion. Considering even a cat as a family member, he stated that every good deed concerning an animal would be rewarded. Treating animals in a humane manner and abandoning traditions that harm them is an irrefutable precondition of being civilized. As the greatest environmentalist, Prophet Muhammad had affirmative practices in relation to the environment throughout his life. At the root of the hadiths which are related to the environment lie sensitivity for nature and a consciousness to protect it.”

-I found these (authentic) Hadiths of Islam from this site: http://islamvision.org/prophet-muhammad1.html

Also; http://www.islamicbulletin.org/newsletters/issue_23/environment.aspx states that:

“The idea of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) as a pioneer of environmentalism will initially strike many as strange: indeed, the term “environment” and related concepts like “ecology”, “environmental awareness” and “sustainability”, are modern-day inventions, terms that were formulated in the face of the growing concerns about the contemporary state of the natural world around us.

And yet a closer reading of the hadith, the body of work that recounts significant events in the Prophet’s life, reveals that he was a staunch advocate of environmental protection. One could say he was an “environmentalist avant la lettre”, a pioneer in the domain of conservation, sustainable development and resource management, and one who constantly sought to maintain a harmonious balance between man and nature. From all accounts of his life and deeds, we read that the Prophet (SAW) had a profound…….connection to the four elements, earth, water, fire and air.

He (SAW) was a strong proponent of the sustainable use and cultivation of land and water, proper treatment of animals, plants and birds, and the equal rights of users. In this context the modernity of the Prophet’s (SAW) view of the environment and the concepts he introduced to his followers is particularly striking; certain passages of the hadith could easily be mistaken for discussions about contemporary environmental issues.

Sustainable Use of Land

“The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.” [Al-Bukhari I:331] With these words the Prophet emphasizes the sacred nature of earth or soil, not only as a pure entity but also as a purifying agent. This reverence towards soil is also demonstrated in the ritual of tayammum, or “dry wudu” which permits the use of dust in the performance of ritual purification before prayer when water is not available. The Prophet (SAW) saw earth as subservient to man, but recognised that it should not be overexploited or abused, and that it had rights, like the trees and wildlife living on it. In order to protect land, forests and wildlife, the Prophet created inviolable zones known as hima and haram, in which resources were to be left untouched. Both are still in use today: haram areas are often drawn up around wells and water sources to protect the groundwater table from over-pumping. Hima applies particularly to wildlife and forestry and usually designates an area of land where grazing and woodcutting are restricted, or where certain animal species are protected.

The Prophet (SAW) not only encouraged the sustainable use of fertile lands, he also told his followers of the benefits of making unused land productive: planting a tree, sowing a seed and irrigating dry land were all regarded as charitable deeds. “Whoever brings dead land to life, that is, cultivates wasteland, for him is a reward therein.”

Conservation of Water

In the harsh desert environment where the Prophet (SAW) lived, water was synonymous to life. Water was a gift from God, the source of all life on earth as is testified in the Qur’an: “We made from water every living thing” [Qur’an 21:30]. The Qur’an constantly reminds believers that they are but the guardians of God’s creation on earth and that they should never take this creation for granted:

“Consider the water which you drink. Was it you that brought it down from the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter” [Qur’an 56:68-70].

Saving water and safeguarding its purity were two important issues for the Prophet (SAW). We have seen that his concern about the sustainable use of water led to the creation of haram zones in the vicinity of water sources. But even when water was abundant, he advocated thriftiness: thus he recommended that believers perform wudu no more than three times, even if they were near to a flowing spring or river.

The Treatment of Animals

“If anyone wrongfully kills even a sparrow, let alone anything greater, he will face God’s interrogation” [Mishkat al Masabih].

These words reflect the great reverence, respect and love that the Prophet (SAW) always showed towards animals. He believed that as part of God’s creation, animals should be treated with dignity, and the hadith contains a large collection of traditions, admonitions and stories about his relationship to animals. It shows that he had particular consideration for horses and camels: to him they were valiant companions during journey and battle, and he found great solace and wisdom in their presence.”

Conclusion

It is impossible to do justice to the full scope and significance of Prophet Mohammed (SAW)’s environmental philosophy in this short article. His holistic view of nature and his understanding of man’s place within the natural world pioneered environmental awareness within the Muslim community. Sadly, the harmony that the Prophet (SAW) advocated between man and his environment has today all too often been lost. As we face the effects of pollution and overexploitation, desertification and water scarcity in some parts of the world and floods and violent storms elsewhere, it is perhaps time for the world community as a whole, Muslims, Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, to take a leaf out of the Prophet’s (SAW) book and address the current environmental crisis seriously and wisely.”

http://www.islamicbulletin.org/newsletters/issue_23/environment.aspx

 

~

Another way to demonstrate the fact that Islam believes in climate science (i.e., that the Earth is warming, that sea levels are rising, that earthquakes are happening, etc. all due to human activity) is that; Islam encourages scientific advancement, in society. The clash between science and religion that was prevalent in Western history (e.g., during the European Dark Ages) was not there, between Islam and science. So much so that the Golden Age of Islam produced advancements in the scientific method, the invention of algebra and algorithms, and biological, geographical, anatomical, and evolutionary discoveries, among many other major accomplishments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age . And some academics and historians believe that without the Islamic Golden Age, with its inventions and discoveries and scientific (and mathematical, and philosophical, and literary, etc.) achievements, there wouldn’t have been any Renaissance in Europe, years later. In other words, the European Renaissance really owed the Islamic Golden Age a big one.

Anyways; Islam encourages scientific discovery, experimentation, advancements, etc. It tells its followers to have such knowledge—to seek this knowledge, even. That of course includes environmental facts, knowledge about the health of the planet we all live in (called Earth), and environmental science, in general. So; there’s really no room in Islam for such things as climate change denial, or skepticism. If the scientific community comes to a conclusion about such a matter as the health of the Earth, Muslims must believe in it. To believe otherwise is almost a rejection of one of the tenants of the religion, itself (i.e., to have knowledge/to make the earth a better place, and etc.).

I would just like to conclude with stating that there are many verses in the Noble Qur’an which deal with science. With environmental science in particular, I think. For example, there is the verse in Surat al-Rahman (which refers to an oceanic phenomenon); “And He has made two water sources meet—but between them is a barrier that neither can cross.” This verse means (and has meant for hundreds of years) that there is a barrier between two water bodies—an invisible barrier that prevents them from mixing. So, the salt water doesn’t mix with the fresh water, and vice versa.

This fact was only discovered by secular science recently, I think. Imagine a book stating this fact 1,400 years back. The Qur’an really is miraculous. (To Muslims, at least.)

“The Invisible Barrier:

The Koran states that there are two seas that meet but do not intermingle because of a barrier between them (Koran 55:19-20). It is a necessity that seas intermingle through straits between them. the Koran however is aware of a very unusual phenomenon, which scientists discovered only recently. The Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans differ in their chemical and biological constitution. The French scientist Jacques Yves Cousteau conducted various underseas investigations at the Strait of Gibralter and explaining these phenomenon concluded:
“Unexpected fresh water springs issue from the southern and northern coasts of Gibralter. These mammoth springs gush toward each other at angles 45 degrees forming a reciprocal dam. Due to this fact, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Oceans cannot intermingle (as quoted by Nurbaki).”
– The Unifying Theory of Everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony, by Muhammed A. Asadi. page 12.
***
“The Strait of Gibraltar links the Atlantic Ocean directly to the Mediterranean Sea. This direct linkage creates certain unique flow and wave patterns. These unique patterns are created due to the interaction of various regional and global evaporative forces, tidal forces, and wind forces.
Through the strait, water generally flows more or less continually in both an eastward and a westward direction. A smaller amount of deeper saltier and therefore denser waters continually work their way westwards (the Mediterranean outflow), while a larger amount of surface waters with lower salinity and density continually work their way eastwards (the Mediterranean inflow). These general flow tendencies may be occasionally interrupted for brief periods to accommodate temporary tidal flow requirements, depending on various lunar and solar alignments. Still, on the whole and over time, the balance of the water flow is eastwards, due to an evaporation rate within the Mediterranean basin higher than the combined inflow of all the rivers that empty into it.[citation needed] The shallow Camarinal Sill of the Strait of Gibraltar, which forms the shallowest point within the strait, acts to limit mixing between the cold, less saline Atlantic water and the warm Mediterranean waters. The Camarinal Sill is located at the far western end of the strait.
The Mediterranean waters are so much saltier than the Atlantic waters that they sink below the constantly incoming water and form a highly saline (thermohaline, both warm and salty) layer of bottom water. This layer of bottom-water constantly works its way out into the Atlantic as the Mediterranean outflow. On the Atlantic side of the strait, a density boundary separates the Mediterranean outflow waters from the rest at about 100 m (330 ft) depth. These waters flow out and down the continental slope, losing salinity, until they begin to mix and equilibrate more rapidly, much further out at a depth of about 1,000 m (3,300 ft). The Mediterranean outflow water layer can be traced for thousands of kilometres west of the strait, before completely losing its identity.

“The narrow Strait of Gibraltar is the gatekeeper for water exchange between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A top layer of warm, relatively fresh water from the Atlantic Ocean flows eastward into the Mediterranean Sea. In return, a lower, colder, saltier layer of water flows westward into the North Atlantic ocean. A density boundary separates the layers at about 100 m depth.Like traffic merging on a highway, the water flow is constricted in both directions because it must pass over a shallow submarine barrier, the Camarinal Sill. When large tidal flows enter the Strait, internal waves (waves at the density boundary layer) are set off at the Camarinal Sill as the high tide relaxes. The waves—sometimes with heights up to 100 m—travel eastward. Even though the waves occur at great depth and the height of the waves at the surface is almost nothing, they can be traced in the sunglint because they concentrate the biological films on the water surface, creating slight differences in roughness.”

***

https://www.islam-guide.com/ch1-1-e.htm

The Quran on Seas and Rivers:

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them.  This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.1  For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water.  When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics.  The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth2.

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress.  God has said:

 He has set free the two seas meeting together.  There is a barrier between them.  They do not transgress.  (Quran, 55:19-20)

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.  God has said in the Quran:

 He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter.  And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.  (Quran, 25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet.  It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”3  This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water4 (see figure 14).

This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc.  The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea.  Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).”

~

The Qur’an (perhaps by its very inclusion of various scientific verses, like the oceanic phenomena mentioned above) encourages belief in scientific discovery (and that by default includes environmental sciences, such as climate science).

So, again; a big difference, I think, between what Islam says and how some Christians interpret what Christianity says.

I for one don’t know (and am leaning towards refuting) that Christianity encourages climate change denial, or denial of other scientific/environmental facts. I don’t think Christianity suggests any such thing. I think it is some Christians’ faulty interpretation of their text and religious tradition that has led to climate change denial, and other missteps.

Hopefully, with (more) scientific evidence, biblical texts that negate that specific attitude towards climate change, or both, climate change denial on the part of some in the Christian communities can soon end.

We really do need everyone in the human population to help advocate for and help save the planet (after all). It is already becoming very late to do so.

~

Further Reading Material:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hima_(environmental_protection)

excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“A ḥima (Arabic: حمى‎‎ ḥima) “inviolate zone” refers to an area set aside for the conservation of natural capital, typically fields, wildlife and forests – contrast ḥaram, which defines an area protected for more immediate human purposes.

A Muslim has a specific obligation to practice stewardship over nature, and each species of animals is said to be “its own nation”. “Human beings are God’s representatives on earth. This means that if they are not charged with maintaining the world, or rending to it, they must at least not destroy it”.[3]

The selection of ḥimas was thus a religious rather than community obligation, and was often undertaken by the ulema.

There are five types of ḥima:[4]

  1. areas where grazing of domestic animals is prohibited
  2. areas where grazing is restricted to certain seasons
  3. beekeeping reserves where grazing is restricted during flowering
  4. forest areas where cutting of trees is forbidden
  5. reserves managed for the welfare of a particular village, town or tribe (see also ḥaram, although that term usually refers more to water protection measures)

There are good examples of ḥima in the Middle East, some adopted by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[5]

~

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_ethics#Environmentalism

– excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haram (site) and hima, an Arabic term meaning “protected place”, and early urban planning were expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacity and to preserve the natural environment as an obligation of khalifa or “stewardship”.[26]

After Muslims established themselves in Madinah, Muhammad surveyed the natural resources in the region—the wadis (riverbeds); the rich, black volcanic soil; the high rangelands—and decreed that they be preserved and set aside as a hima.[27]

Hadiths on agriculture and environmental philosophy were compiled in the “Book of Agriculture” of the Sahih Bukhari, which included the following saying:[26]

There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats thereof, but it is regarded as having given a charitable gift [for which there is great recompense].[28]

Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the Qur’an, such as the following:[26]

And there is no animal in the earth nor bird that flies with its two wings, but that they are communities like yourselves.[Quran 6:38]

The earliest known treatises dealing with environmentalism and environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic medical treatises written by al-Kindi, Qusta ibn Luqa, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid waste mishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities.[29] Cordoba, Al-Andalus also had the first waste containers and waste disposal facilities for litter collection.[30][31][32]

“In order to preserve the natural environment by not polluting, plant trees, support environmentally-friendly goods and products, Muslims must rectify themselves through simplicity, contentment, resisting endless desires, and then remembering God as well as following His commands”.[33]

~

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/calvin-beisner-environmentalism-greatest-threat-civilization_n_2919756.html

excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“It should be noted that not all evangelical Christians oppose global warming reforms. Groups like the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action take the stance that it is a Christian’s duty to protect the planet.”

 

As a Muslim who (by natural inclination) believes that Islam (e.g., the Qur’an, the Sunnah of Muhammad pbuh, the decisions that the rightly guided caliphs made based on those tenants, etc.) provides full care/welfare/concern/support for society (the members of society—especially the poor), I’m not surprised when I learn of examples of that care and welfare/support shown, in history.

For example; I wrote a research paper a few semesters ago (in college) which mentioned how it was Muslim physicians who established the first psychiatric ward/hospital/asylum, in the world. (If I remember correctly, its establishment was instigated by Ibn Sina (“Avicenna,” as he is known, in English—the Father of Modern Medicine…).

{here is the essay…it actually got published in issue 2 of Doll Hospital Journal–an incredible literary magazine centered on mental wellness…check it out!:)) ;

essay:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/1544031/shifaa_project_-_1.pdf?1449332168 (part I)

https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/1562122/shifaa_project_2.pdf?1450219131 (part II)

I never knew that, before I had conducted my research, for the paper. (That it was  Muslims who created the first psychiatric hospital, in the world.*) When I learned this historical fact, though, I wasn’t taken aback, or shocked, or anything. Because I know that Islam is a religion of helping and bettering humanity. It follows naturally that its adherants act/acted upon this characteristic.

~

The following Wikipedia article touches on the relationship between the Islamic state and its people, in terms of money, mandatory government services, and etc. (*The article is titled “Islamic socialism,” but it is really just “Islam.” (Period. As in; it is the actual and original teachings of Islam which outline all of the points mentioned, below. It is just designated as “Islamic socialism” because hardly any Muslim government today actually enacts these principles (which is the fault of those governments, which they will have to be responsible for on Judgment Day.) So, as a result, it seems like the people who support these (core Islamic) principles are creating something new—that they have formed a submovement, within Islam, or something to that effect. But; that is not the case, at all. It’s just that those Muslims look funny, compared to what the Muslim governments do. But, as always; Islam is not what Muslims do. It is what Muslims should do—what Allah s.w.t. ordained, and what His Messenger demonstrated (by his actions).

Here is the article:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_socialism

Some points that I especially like, from the article:

“The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. This practice continued well into the Abbasid era of the Caliphate. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred.

The Caliphate can thus be considered the world’s first major welfare state.”

I really like that last sentence. (I get very frustrated at the belief (out there) that Muslims haven’t contributed anything to the well-being/advancement of the world. Because; Muslims were one of the most important peoples in the well-being/advancement of the world.

For example: During the European Dark Ages (in which books were burnt because they went against the Church’s teachings/challenged the Church…scientists and academics themselves were executed, and etc.), the Golden Age of Islam (in contrast) gave the world Algebra, algorithms, advancements in the scientific method, and many many other incredible accomplishments.

All of these scholars were Muslims, living in the Islamic Golden Age:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

~

Anyways. Back to the topic:

Some more points I like from the Islamic socialism article:

“During the Rashidun Caliphate, various welfare programs were introduced by Caliph Umar. In his time, equality was extended to all citizens, even to the caliph himself, as Umar believed that “no one, no matter how important, should live in a way that would distinguish him from the rest of the people.” Umar himself lived “a simple life and detached himself from any of the worldly luxuries,” like how he often wore “worn-out shoes and was usually clad in patched-up garments,” or how he would sleep “on the bare floor of the mosque.” Limitations on wealth were also set for governors and officials, who would often be “dismissed if they showed any outward signs of pride or wealth which might distinguish them from the people.” This was an early attempt at erasing “class distinctions which might inevitably lead to conflict.” Umar also made sure that the public treasury was not wasted on “unnecessary luxuries” as he believed that “the money would be better spent if it went towards the welfare of the people rather than towards lifeless bricks.”[

“Umar’s innovative welfare reforms during the Rashidun Caliphate included the introduction of social security. This included unemployment insurance, which did not appear in the Western world until the 19th century. In the Rashidun Caliphate, whenever citizens were injured or lost their ability to work, it became the state’s responsibility to make sure that their minimum needs were met, with the unemployed and their families receiving an allowance from the public treasury.[24] Retirement pensions were provided to elderly people,[23] who had retired and could “count on receiving a stipend from the public treasury.” Babies who were abandoned were also taken care of, with one hundred dirhams spent annually on each orphan’s development. Umar also introduced the concept of public trusteeship and public ownership when he implemented the Waqf, or charitable trust, system, which transferred “wealth from the individual or the few to a social collective ownership,” in order to provide “services to the community at large.” For example, Umar brought land from the Banu Harithah and converted it into a charitable trust, which meant that “profit and produce from the land went towards benefiting the poor, slaves, and travelers.”[

“Guaranteed minimum income

Guaranteed minimum income is a system[29] of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by citizenship, a means test, and either availability for the labour market or a willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to combat poverty. If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income. The first Muslim Caliph Abu Bakr introduced a guaranteed minimum standard of income, granting each man, woman, and child ten dirhams annually; this was later increased to twenty dirhams.[30] Some, but not all Islamic socialists advocate the renewal and expansion of this policy.”

~

“One of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakāt is the practice of imposition (not charity) giving based on accumulated wealth (approximately 2.5% of all financial assets owned over the course of one lunar year). It is obligatory for all financially able Muslim adults and is considered to be an act of piety through which one expresses concern for the well-being of fellow Muslims, as well as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor.[8] Zakat promotes a more equitable redistribution of wealth and fosters a sense of solidarity amongst members of the Ummah.[9]

Zakat is meant to discourage the hoarding of capital and stimulate investment. Because the individual must pay zakat on the net wealth, wealthy Muslims are compelled to invest in profitable ventures, or otherwise see their wealth slowly erode. Furthermore, means of production such as equipment, factories, and tools are exempt from zakat, which further provides the incentive to invest wealth in productive businesses.[10] Personal assets such as clothing, household furniture, and one residence are not considered zakatable assets.

According to the Quran, there are eight categories of people (asnaf) who qualify to receive zakat funds:[11][12]

  1. Those living in absolute poverty (Al-Fuqarā’).
  2. Those restrained because they cannot meet their basic needs (Al-Masākīn).
  3. The zakat collectors themselves (Al-Āmilīna ‘Alaihā).
  4. Non-Muslims who are sympathetic to Islam or wish to convert to Islam (Al-Mu’allafatu Qulūbuhum).
  5. People whom one is attempting to free from slavery or bondage. Also includes paying ransom or blood money (Diyya). (Fir-Riqāb)
  6. Those who have incurred overwhelming debts while attempting to satisfy their basic needs (Al-Ghārimīn).
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of God (Fī Sabīlillāh)[13] or for Jihad in the way of Allah[14] and for Islamic warriors who fight against the unbelievers but are not part of salaried soldiers.[15][16]
  8. Children of the street / Travellers (Ibnus-Sabīl).

~

Confession: I really, really love Islam. I believe it really is based on compassion, care, aid and support (especially for the poor, differently abled people, the sick, and other disadvantaged groups of people), and being there for other people.

Alhamdulillah (praise be to Almighty Allah) that I’m a Muslim. (and May Allah s.w.t. guide others to this beautiful path. Ameen.)

~

Thank you for reading!

-Ethar Hamid

 

My Feelings on Native American Culture:)

The following (short) essay is very emotion-stirring, for me. I love Native American culture, so I actually felt very sad (but in a good kind of way, if you know what I mean) at certain parts of this essay.

I hope you enjoy this personal essay. I hope I wrote it in a way that makes how I feel clear, but is also (or, at least comes close to being) very “correct” and factual (because I mention some things about some aspects of some cultures, around the world. Some beautiful cultures, of course. What culture isn’t beautiful?, and also; some historical facts).

I hope whoever reads this essay understands what I am saying, when it comes to my feelings about Native American culture.

By the way; I actually wrote this essay because I heard that Sen. Bernie Sanders (of the U.S. presidential race. He’s so cool) talked about the Native American communities in the U.S., and visited a certain reservation (I’m not sure which one, though), and spoke there, and stuff. (Which. Is. Awesome!!! 🙂  I would love* to learn more about Native American peoples, and how things are going for them, and what is happening for them these days. But I agree that a presidential candidate is slightly more important than…well…me. (. 😔 ) But anyways; hopefully someday I can learn more about the beautiful Native peoples—their pain, their resilience, and their hearts/character.) So, anyways, like I was saying, I was inspired to write this essay because of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ visit to a Native community. (That got, like, the thought going in my mind). But actually, I have been a big fan (as we put it in our colloquial, today) of Native American culture (like their oral traditions, values, and everything else) for quite some time. I think they are so…peaceful and pure. And, ultimately, it’s not “I think.” It is true—they are peaceful and pure (both the culture and the peoples). ❤

And; one more thing, before we start the essay. This is slightly off-topic, but it is very in-topic, too (if you get what I mean):

(and; you can skip to my creative nonfiction essay part, if you want. It starts with “I’m both African and Arab. Being from northern Sudan….”).

  • I hope that Native American peoples and their organizing bodies can receive some kind of federal compensations/reparations! To my knowledge, that has never happened. I mean; certain people (even people who are part of the U.S. government…like governors, for example) recognize that Native American communities (like the ones in their jurisdictions/states, for example) are not doing very well, in some of the essential aspects of being a strong, healthy community. Like; employment is not as high and strong (in terms of having good-paying jobs) as it could be, in Native American communities. And; the reason why some Native American communities are struggling/not doing as well as they could be is because of European imperialism (of the past).
  • This is quite annoying. It’s extremely frustrating how the U.S. government (certain people in it, of course) are basically saying; yeah. We know that the people who stole this continent from you (and by “continent,” I of course mean what is now called “the U.S.”, present-day “Canada,” which originally belonged to the Native peoples (Native Canadians, as they are now called), and Mexico, which was also inhabited by its native peoples, before European colonialism…as well countries of Central America, I believe? I’m sorry-my geography is not very good). Anyways, some in the U.S. government are (basically) saying to the Native American communities; yes, we understand that you are destabilized because of the imperialism, bloodshed, and ravaging (of natural resources, etc.) that was afflicted on your ancestors. And, also; We know that your communities are not in the same situation as other communities, in this country. that your history is not one of immigration, unfortunately. It is one of having your own land taken from you. And we’re sorry. But we really can’t do anything about that.

Ugh! How ugly! There’s a lot you can do! Come one, U.S. government! And, besides, if it weren’t for the Native Americans at the time of “king Columbus,” or whoever else they might someday say “discovered” America (like, I think some say that the Vikings discovered America? I am slapping my forehead, right now, by the way. No one discovers a land where some people are already living! That is pompous and cruel language. And dangerous language, too! It is the type of language that leads governments into thinking that they don’t owe the Native American communities a huge “sorry,” as well as a huge compensation/reparation.

So, anyways, like I was saying; there would be no United States (no Canada, and no Mexico) if it weren’t for the Native people. They played the original, and a huge, role. Get it together, U.S. government! 😦

(Rant: And, unfortunately, that’s Western government/media/educational systems, for you. They suck, in many ways. (Not all the time. And; not all of them. But I, for one, am pretty wary of many things that come out of Western-based governments (like; laws, etc.), media (I mean, like: Western/American/Canadian/British, etc. media outlets (such as certain magazines, TV news programs, and etc. that shall remain unnamed) and school/university classes.

Like; I was taught (when I was in elementary school…and this happens to be very relevant to this essay) that Christopher Columbus was such a cool dude (to put it in coloqial language). He not only discovered America—he was just sooo nice! And a great seamen/navigator—(he definitely knew he wasn’t in India! But he was just so nice, that he called the people he found “Indians.” Because, hey! Who doesn’t love to be labeled with the wrong ethnicity?) He was just…awesome.

I mean, that’s really gross, to put it lightly. I mean, Columbus was an awful person. (And; an idiot, too, I guess you’d have to call it. He was looking for India, right? I know the year was like 1492…but you had compasses, and maps, and previous people who travelled to the Indian subcontinent, didn’t you? How do you end up in…ughhh. Never mind).

Also, as just one other example of American educational curriculums being completely wrong; American (and possibly other countries, too. I can only speak for the U.S., because I grew up, here, for most of my life) school classes mess up, a lot, in teaching Islamic beliefs/history, etc. I remember very clearly that in my AP World History class (in like tenth grade, I think it was): it said in the textbook that “jihad” means “holy war.” (Holy war, in Islam, of course. “Islamic holy war.”)

No, textbook. “Jihad” doesn’t mean “Islamic holy war.” It means “to struggle, in the path of God (who is commonly called “Allah,” by Muslims).” To (possibly) give your life in a declared war that is fought to defend yourself is an ultimate struggle, in the path of God, no doubt. But; to say that “jihad” means “holy war,” by definition….that the etymology of the word goes back to the word “war,” or “bloodshed” or something similar, in the Arabic language, is just incorrect. It’s a misconception/misperception, unfortunately. And; that (false) definition only serves to perpetuate the ugly stereotype that Muslims are violent, bloodthirsty, or terroristic.

All Muslims know that there’s nothing “holy” about war, in itself. Like; bloodshed is not “holy.” It is an awful thing, in Islam. It should be the very last resort. But, yes, when an official war between two groups/countries/etc. is going on, to give your life for the cause of Islam/for the cause of an oppressed people is an ultimate sacrifice. Your blood that was spilled is holy. The martyr’s blood is “holy,” I guess you could day, in Islam. But not the blood of the others (the enemy forces). So, what I’m trying to say is; there’s nothing holy about spilling the blood of others, in Islam. 😦

In a nutshell: They (like; lesson planners, curriculum planners, etc.) are often soooo bad at teaching cultures that are not European cultures. I don’t know why that is. Like; they can teach (for example) Western European history  so well (and they certainly do a good job in teaching about Plato, and Aristotle, and everyone else, and about how advanced the Greco-Roman civilizations were), but they stumble and mess up in inexcusable ways when teaching African history, Native history, etc. Like; Columbus was not a good person, a smart person, or anything like that. And, the worst thing is; they know it.

Why the dishonesty? Why are they trying to teach little kids that the European colonizers were all “kind to the Natives?” You can’t just attempt to re-write history, like that, man.   :(same goes for things like “southern African history” or the histories of other African peoples.) 😦 😦

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My actual essay (on the subject of my admiration of Native American culture) is below:

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I’m both African and Arab. Being from (northern) Sudan, those are my two ethnicities/cultural roots/origins. (I think* my African origins are east-African (that makes the most sense, I guess…since Sudan is in north-East Africa)…And my Arab origins are perhaps Saudi Arabian, but definitely (I suppose) from the Arabian Peninsula.

“Sudanese Arabs of Northern and Eastern parts descend primarily from migrants from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with the pre-existing indigenous populations of Sudan, especially the Nubian people, who also share a common history with Egypt. Additionally, a few pre-Islamic Arabian tribes existed in Sudan from earlier migrations into the region from Western Arabia, although most Arabs in Sudan are dated from migrations after the 12th century.[129]

“The vast majority of Arab tribes in Sudan migrated into the Sudan in the 12th century, intermarried with the indigenous Nubian and other African populations and introduced Islam.”

“In common with much of the rest of the Arab world, the gradual process of Arabization in Sudan following these Arabian migrations after the 12th century led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was furthered both by the spread of Islam and an emigration to Sudan of ethnic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, and their intermarriage with the Arabized indigenous peoples of the country.”

wikipedia page on “Sudan.” (where i got the above paragraphs in orange, from).  (they can be found under “Demographics—ethnic groups,” of the table of contents).

 

I think my Arab ethnicity is more dominant than my African. (which is sad. 😦 I would love to be “more African.” That would be awesome.)

My fellow Sudanese people know this identity struggle thing—they know what I’m talking about. (“I want to be African!” “I want to be Arab!” “I want to be 50/50!” Haha, this identity crisis will go on forever, I think).

(By the way: here’s a great article that really highlights this interesting struggle of being Sudanese (the “identity crisis,” as it’s often put): http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/10/sudan-identity-crisis-north-south

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But, anyways; though I am content and ok with being Afro-Arab, I’ve always thought to myself that if I had a choice about what place I’m from, or my ethnicity, or my culture, or however it is put—if I could go back in time and choose my origins/homeland—I would probably choose Native American. (meaning; any of the native cultures or groups of North or South America. Like; the Iroquois of North America, for one example.:))

Why? The answer is obvious, to me, actually. It’s because; Native American values, beliefs, and traditions/practices are some of the most peaceful, on Earth (if not the most peaceful). To me, anyways. Like, reading their history, I am very touched by their gentleness and their views on certain topics (like; how to treat the earth that we all live in). And, as a very diverse people (with many, many different Native tribes, groups, and etc.), they seem to me to be peaceful, non-combative, and tolerant, as a whole. That really says something about Native culture, as a whole, I think. I mean; all Native peoples/groups seem peaceful, they have a strong sense of “being good stewards of the Earth,” as it is sometimes put, today, and they are just extremely calm and compassionate people (and in this crazily chaotic and cruel world, we need that).

I hope the ignoring and the overall harshness towards the Native peoples can someday completely stop. They have done nothing to us. And, historically, they did nothing to the horrible “settlers” who exploited them (e.g., by ransacking their natural resources), brought over awful diseases from their ships (and killed a great number of them, that way), went to war against them (and killed a great number of them, that way), or any of the other injustices that were done against them.

Lastly! I hope I can learn more about the Native cultures and history, in the future. Knowledge is one of the only ways to affect positive change, in other people. (Like; if you simply don’t know about the injustices that were done against the Native peoples, you simply can’t do anything about it. You just can’t be a volunteer for a Native American nonprofit organization, for example…because you don’t know that the cause is so crucial and beautiful).

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Anyways.

I end this mini-essay with this clip from Disney’s “Pocahontas.” (I know it’s extremely cliché to do so….but the song (sung by Pocahontas to the settler) comes at least a little bit close to depicting how beautiful Native culture is, I think.

“colors of the wind.” trigger warning: sadness and tears might ensue

“You think you own whatever land you land on. ‘The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim.’ But, I know every rock and sea and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name.”

…”And we are all connected to each other in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.”

You can own the Earth, and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind.”

😢😢

-“The Colors of the Wind”

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These essays (both parts) were written by Ethar Hamid…

Hi there 🙂

Recently, I discovered a really cool literary magazine called Barking Sycamores. https://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/ It publishes work by neurodivergent artists and writers. The magazine introduced me to the word “neurodivergent” for the first time. After learning what “neurodivergent” means, I learned that I myself am neurodivergent, having a mental disorder.

Wikipedia–

Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome.[1] This neologism originated in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.

There is a neurodiversity movement, which is an international civil rights movement that has the autism rights movement as its most influential submovement. This movement frames autism, bipolarity and other neurotypes as a natural human variation rather than a pathology or disorder, and its advocates reject the idea that neurological differences need to be (or can be) cured, as they believe them to be authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression, and being.

Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems (such as inclusion-focused services, accommodations, communication and assistive technologies, occupational training, and independent living support)[2] that allow those who are neurodivergent to live their lives as they are, rather than being coerced or forced to adopt uncritically accepted ideas of normality, or to conform to a clinical ideal.

Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=neurodivergent) —

A person who has a developmental disorder and/or a mental illness

Amy, who has Asperger’s, prefers to think of herself as neurodivergent rather than flawed or ill. Peter is schizophrenic, and he also thinks “neurodivergent” is a better way to describe his brain, because it does not pathologize him. Sam is both autistic and bipolar, and uses neurodivergent because it allows them to talk about their experiences as both non-allistic and non-mentally-“healthy” in a way that doesn’t carry a bunch of extra judgments about what’s good or normal.

 

I also actually submitted some artwork to Barking Sycamores, and they got accepted! 🙂 🙂

One of my pieces is actually the cover art for the current issue. ↓

IMG_1259

I guess I also get an “about me” feature…which i don’t think I’m cool enough for actually!!

About the Cover Artist-Ethar Hamid

https://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/issue-8-reconstruction-winterspring-2016/

https://twitter.com/BarkingSycamore/status/689276145607393280

I’m so grateful to the editor for considering my work…

I hope the publication continues to be a success, in the future.

Also; may we all find success as writers and artists, in our work. It’s *so* hard to be either of those…but dedication and perseverance will take us there…… 🙂

 

Thank you** for reading (and viewing)! ❤

-Ethar H.

You Know Your Mental Illness Has Become Part of You When…

  • You liked The Soloist and A Beautiful Mind wayy more than your friends did
  • You are blasé about taking your meds in public (like in class, or in a line at Starbucks)
  • You join your college’s chapter of Active Minds (though you had no interest in it/didn’t know what it was, before)
  • You get genuinely upset when hearing stigma/discrimination stories (like someone’s significant other/potential partner leaving him/her after learning about his/her mental disorder)
  • (This one’s for religious people) You try to look for acknowledgment/acceptance of mental illness in your religion ( 😂 don’t ask…)
  • You found out about an amazing magazine (art, essays, poetry) about mental health, and your whole day got brighter (Doll Hospital Journal, anyone?)
  • You regularly find yourself in the fish oil supplements section of the pharmacy (though taking those supplements would have never crossed your mind, otherwise)
  • Your favorite artist somehow becomes van Gogh (or another artist who suffered from mental illness)
  • your Facebook, Twitter, or blog account is filled with mental health-related stuff (facts, pics, video clips, etc.)…
  • you don’t necessarily want your mental illness to go away…but you just want the painful aspects to go away

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Thank you for reading! hehe

-Ethar Hamid