Saturday, 4 June 2011

Time to bring out the tortoise in you.

This is an article by Greenhouse Executive Monique Agius which was previously published on the Insiter Magazine (and online at


What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?...

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began. - W. H. Davies

We’re constantly running to some destination whether this is physical or a metaphorical one, all this at the expense of the journey. We’re currently living in a fast paced life in which we do not have time to stop and think, savouring the moment. Back in the 1980’s in response to a McDonalds outlet opening in Rome, Petrini a prominent activist who campaigned against the fast food chain started off the slow food movement. A movement which eventually grew over time to encompass other areas such as slow travel, slow money, slow fashion, slow sex, slow reading, and slow parenting amongst others.

The slow food movement, as already mentioned started off as anti-fast food movement. Nowadays, the slow food movement educates the public about the repercussions of fast food. Not only on one’s health but also on the environment. It also aims at creating awareness on how the food is produced and aims to preserve the local dishes. Instead of a ready made pizza, a person who advocates for slow food will rather take five hours to prepare a delicious home made stew. I suggest that the next time you’re strolling in Valletta past the parliament take a left and you should find a slow food restaurant, it is named after the food of the gods… Ambrosia.

Slow fashion or retail involves craftsmanship and will not be affected by seasonal changes. Unlike the current fashion system which we’re constantly bombarded with (just open a magazine and see how many pages are dedicated to models wearing clothes from X for the Autumn/Winter ‘11). I wonder, how many of us when buying clothes off a shop question themselves about 1) where does the raw material come from? 2) who produced it? Many might not be aware that somewhere someone is working inhumane hours to meet the demand posed by the so called developed countries. 3) is its production sustainable? With slow fashion, craftsmanship is involved, either by supporting local artists who dedicate their time creating an item or by opting for fair trade items. Slow retail also involves choosing to upcycle your clothes rather than throwing them away and donating or buying second hand ones from charity shops. All this as opposed to buying a dress which you ordered off from magazine only to find that half of your friends own an identical one.

The following might come in handy this summer, it helps on reducing your carbon footprint and gives you a new outlook on travelling. Slow travelling is not about reading as many guidebooks as one may lay his hands upon or exhausting a five-day holiday making sure you’ve visited every spot in town. Slow travelling is about connecting with the locals, taking strolls in the place one has travelled to and leaving possibilities open to whatever comes your way. Landing in mainland Europe and couchsurfing as you travel from one place to another being hosted by different people gives one the opportunity to connect and immerse into the daily lives of the locals. Opportunities such as WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, also exist. Where one in exchange of 5 hours of work a day can have free accommodation apart from reconnecting to mother earth.

Back to the poem I started off with, what I find one is experiencing in our time is time poverty. So slow down, live moments fully, laugh heartily, fall in love, make love, and truly connect with one another. I am aware that all this might sound cliché, but take into consideration that 2011 may as well be our last full year on earth J

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