Diapers: An Daoist Approach to our Environment and our Future
While having lunch with a few friends yesterday, we began talking about how foreigners are always so curious about why so many Chinese children wear pants with openings in them. It reminded me that I had few guests who also asked similar questions about the unfamiliar style, in fact some of them even took pictures of it. I also remembered that one day I saw a very big English boy who looked like he was 5 or 6 years old having his diaper changed by his father. I was so surprised by this because I had recently just seen my neighbor’s 5-month old boy signal to his parents when he needed to pee. My friend told me even western children as old as 7 or 8 still used diapers sometimes.
When I was a baby my parents never used diapers for me! My parents used to cut up their old cotton clothes into certain shape that could be used as a diaper for me. This was the exact same way my grandparents took care of my parents when they were babies. I think nowadays Chinese people’s lives are getting better and are also becoming more influenced by western practices; some for better, and some for worse. Many young couples have started to use diapers for their babies. Many people have told me though, that using diapers don’t help babies, especially young boys. Apparently diapers cause babies to develop rashes and also young children to take much longer when learning how to use the bathroom properly. Another problem with using diapers is that it is very bad for the environment. I heard recently that in the UK, people have been dealing with big problems concerning diapers. A few months ago, I read in the news that there were a few big containers of living garbage from UK shipped to Brazil. The containers were forcibly shipped back to the UK because of an order by the Brazilian president, Lula. In this aspect, Chinese people are very environmentally protected. Most Chinese babies don’t use diapers. Occasionally some of them will use them when they go out, but most of them stop using diapers, even cloth ones, when they are about 2 years old.
I think that the use of diapers is similar in a way the use paper towels for drying hands instead of automatic hand dryers in nicer hotels, as well as choosing to drive bigger cars as opposed to smaller ones when you are very wealthy.
This reminds me a famous Chinese philosopher Laozi, whose famous theory is Daoism. In this 2500-year old Chinese philosophy, it is believed that everything in the world has its own law or rhythm, and human beings should follow the law or rhythm of nature, not break it. Everything needs a balance. I believe Laozi was the world’s first environmentalist. I think the world would greatly benefit from everyone being influenced by his teachings. Let’s cut fewer trees, drive fewer cars and use more solar power to make our earth a better place to live.
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