Peak Oil? How about “Peak Stuff”

Photo courtesy of Treehugger.com.

Many of us have heard of the concept of ‘Peak Oil’, that oil has been tapped to it’s maximum and that global supplies are in decline. I recently read an article about ‘Peak Car’, which said that Americans are driving less now that 10 years ago due to high gas prices as well as choosing to live car free in densified urban settings.

With this in mind I thought it would be both fitting, and ironic given that Xmas shopping is in full swing, to talk about ‘Peak Stuff’, the idea that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need more ‘stuff’.

All you have to do is look at the state of the global economy, with Europe and the U.S. on their way back into recession, to see that people don’t, or soon won’t have the same level of disposable income that they used to. Most Canadians are currently indebted to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. We have known for some time that the ‘Western’ way of life, one of affluence and excess, is not environmentally sustainable at a global level, now we seem to be faced with the reality that it isn’t likely economically sustainable either.

Our cultural brainwashing since World War 2 has told us that our purpose in life is to work hard so we can buy more things. The idea of living within our means and making do with what we have has been an ‘old fashioned’ idea for a couple of generations. Under the influence of the media and peer pressure, the fickle whims of fashion and the planned obsolescence of many items in our day to day, we are constantly reminded that there must be something we need.

Recently there have been ‘buy nothing’ days, weeks, and even months, where individuals are challenged to only buy essentials, aka food, for that given time. I participated in a month of ‘buy nothing’ and was struck by how hard it was to fight the ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’ impulse.

As our current society is essentially a ‘Consumerist’ one with the global economy based on the endless need for new things, what happens when the wheels come off the bus and we all decide to live with less?

Header photo courtesy of Ian Muttoo

Healthy Communities Need Healthy Guys, Too!

According to Wikipedia, ‘gynecology’ is defined as “the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system.” There is a male counterpart to this field called Andrology, but, for the purposes of this article, I’d like to talk about ‘GUY-necology.’

GUY-necology is defined (by me) as “the study of why men wait until they are broken before doing something to fix it.”

In my dozen years in the healthcare field, I have noticed that most of my patients are women.  Admittedly, I work as a Massage Therapist, and many guys have hang ups about being touched by another guy (thank you Seinfeld), but I have worked with other healthcare practitioners for most of my career, and have noticed that women just tend to be better at health maintenance.  So I asked myself “why?”

Perhaps we can attest this phenomenon to the early days of man when the men of a tribe went out in search of big game. If you were regularly tackling mammoths and wooly rhinos, you wouldn’t expect to be alive for very long, so obviously self-care was a bit of a waste. Nowadays, the scariest thing in our day is usually our overflowing email inbox, and yet the apathy towards healthcare amongst males continues. Most men usually know more about their car, their computer, or their favorite sports team than they do about their own bodies and how to best take care of them.  Maybe it’s time to bring our healthcare thinking into the 21st century.

To begin, here are a few common health misconceptions that I’d like to clear up:

-Headaches are not a normal part of life

-Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting fatter

-Although fine in moderation, beer should not be used to hydrate

-Many ‘normal aches and pains’ are in fact not normal and can be prevented

So guys, here’s the challenge: build your own team of healthcare providers. Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine all have ways to improve your health and your life, both directly and through education. So take up the challenge because healthy communities need healthy guys and gals!