For Love of Animals and Trees…

 

Professor X: [voiceover] Either way, it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. (X-Men 2)

As I get older (officially middle-aged, though it feels a lot older), I am plagued with this odd sort of remembrance. I am remembering a lot of things about my girl self that got shoved aside in hopes of becoming somebody loved, worthwhile, hire-able, successful, popular, pretty, rich–all of which, of course, never happened (yet, anyway). So I put away a lot of stuff that made me, me, because society taught me to be ashamed of who I was (and I believed them). Though it was always still sorta there, and it would escape from time to time, as I got involved in environmental causes and animal rights causes and human rights causes. I even majored in environmental science, once upon a time, even though I really wanted to be a marine biologist, but the school I ended up at didn’t offer it. But, math didn’t really come naturally to me, so I let that dissuade me from a career in science.

I was that girl who hated to see animals hurt, even in movies, where they (purportedly) said that the animals weren’t really hurt–it was all for show. I didn’t even like to kill bugs, and tried to fight against the use of pesticides even in my small world of the family home. Even though it was “Nature’s way”, I still had a hard time seeing animals hurt or eaten by other animals. I still feel guilty over the high school dissections I performed in the 80s. I try not to even kill bugs, and feel terrible if I accidentally kill bugs, or fall back into a certain callousness to insects just because I’m tired and it’s been a long day of struggling with too-vivid dreams and depression and anxiety and worry and stress and allergies and workplace hell and I just want to make dinner and go to bed.

The point is; I am realizing what’s really important to me, after all these years. I don’t want to live in a world without animals and trees and wildness in nature. It kills me that the price of having a comfortable life as a human is yet another species going extinct or getting on the endangered list. Animals losing their homes. Trees being murdered. Rampant, unchecked, local-politician-supported-against-all-protective-laws destroying my beloved swamps and ecosystems in my home state of Florida (for example). That the trafficking of endangered species is more widespread than I could even imagine. Just to end up on a dinner plate, for vanity (decoration) or to spend life in captivity as someone’s trophy pet.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade

https://www.fws.gov/international/wildlife-trafficking/

So, maybe it’s partial selfishness as I enter into this transition #437–trying to figure out who I am and what kind of life I want to lead going forward. Sometimes it feels frustratingly slow, especially for someone as proactive as I am, coupled with seeing the clock run down for so many non-human lifeforms that we share (or not share) this planet with. It kills me that I’m just sitting here while non-human lifeforms are suffering and dying all around the world, because of us humans.

The takeaway? Who wants to live on a world stripped of trees and plants and birds and snakes and bugs and all the other wonderful diversity of life? Do we really want that on our conscience that we were part of an entire world destruction just because we want our Starbucks coffee and our designer clothes and diamonds and furs so that we know we are loved. What about loving other lifeforms, instead? What about appreciating and protecting the beauty that we already have? Who cares how beautiful we look in the mirror if we live in an ugly, desolate, plastic-bubble, sterile world?

 

So, take steps today. Make choices for the planet and not just for ourselves. Give up meat, even dairy. Buy organic and non-GMO foods. Start an urban garden. Adopt animals from a shelter instead of buying (inbred/puppy mill) breed animals. have your pets spayed/and neutered and keep cats indoor-only. Have yourself (the human equivalent) of spay/neuter–the world has plenty of adoptable children who need homes, too, right here on U.S. soil. Don’t wear fur or leather. Volunteer for animal rights causes. Stop using harmful pesticides and Round-up–learn about xeriscaping instead. Downsize your possessions. Reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t buy new–shop at thrift stores and purchase/remodel an older home rather than a brand-new (cheaply built) home/residence (do you really need six bedrooms and five bathrooms?).

I know I don’t want an entire planetary destruction on my conscience. So, my life going forward will be finding more ways to save the planet, outside of my usual armchair activist activities. Because I don’t want to be alone with just other humans for company. Even though I’m just one person, I want to change. And make change happen.

 

 

 

It’s been a long way down…

Or maybe we never really rose up.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bleak television shows. (But, that’s not an apology, mind you.)

Coming off of watching The Killing, and now wrapping up the last of Torchwood.

Really hitting me about having to be human, especially looking around at the world.

I never really realised how I always felt like an outsider, but my awareness about being human has shifted over the past month or so. Or maybe just remembering how my awareness used to be when I was a kid.

Trees were amazingly vibrant friends.

Plants sang to me.

To recycle a phrase that’s probably grown cliche (or a borrowed quote from some other human somewhere), I felt their pain with all the “intensity of a thousand knives” hitting me all at once. When trees were being cut down, that pain that I felt was excruciating and unbearable. I wanted to scream with the agony I felt. Sure, you could probably chalk it up to just being an imaginative and sensitive kid, but it didn’t erase how I felt. Especially when I had to be the plant murderer (i.e. mow the grass, trim plants, etc. *wry laugh*). I would be standing there with a pair of hedge clippers just sobbing my little kid heart out. (Yep, I was a weird one!)

I tried. I tried to adopt that normal human insensitivity to non-human life forms. For a while, I succeeded in turning it off. In building up a fortress of protection. But the older I get, the more that fortress crumbles. And I’m back in a morass of emotion, and conflict. It’s like being a teenager, but even worse in some ways.

Animals look at me with souls of the ancients…tolerant, loving, inscrutable, and, sometimes, (rightfully!) angry and/or scared of me as a human that’s come bumbling into their midst. And I love them for it. Because they should be scared and angry.

Yesterday, I saw the article about the whales beaching themselves in Florida. And it was so unemotional. “Why,” I screamed. “How?” “What the f*ck are we doing about it?” And, the answer is nothing. There’s no change we can implement soon enough. Even if we did (and do) care, it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can do.

Because we are human.

And I have never been more ashamed of that fact than right now.

I don’t want to live on a planet without bees and birds and animals and trees and plants and water and oceans and fish and whales and everything else that is a non-human life form.

Akin my (faulty?) memory of Medea (from when I was in middle school), when she talks about being underwater and the fish eating the flesh from her bones until she is pure and white, that’s what I feel sometimes.

Like I want to strip off my human skin and transform into an animal. Or a bird. Or even the air, or an unknown fantastical elemental. Anything but a creature that’s linked biologically to the human race. Enough with cell phones and social media and television and money and stuffy stuff and banal work and being hated and being insulted and put down and being ignored and losing…everything.

And, yes, I know that’s not possible.

But that’s what I wish. have wished since I was a child. And that I could fix things. Help make people around me understand. Help make sure that evil doesn’t win. Like so many kids, maybe, I wanted to be a hero.

But now I just feel helpless.

I am a coward.

I am weak.

I am so very tired.

 

 

 

Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

 

(Well, aside from the fact that we humans are all a bunch of bloody arseholes, that is..)

I don’t care whether you believe in climate change, or not. It’s happening. And we’re just standing around arguing about it in the name of your god(s), whether religion- or science-based.

(Even if your God/Higher Power did create this world, maybe you should look at how you’re returning the favor. By using this “divine creation” as your personal toilet/garbage dump? If I’ve offended you, good. Consider that your wake-up call. I’m already living in a pretty dark place, so threats of eternal damnation aren’t really going to phase me.)

Maybe those rich climate change deniers should pool their resources and buy a private island, then sit back and watch the sea level rise and threaten their (multi-million-dollar?) houses. Then, maybe we’d be united on the climate change front. (Let’s see them try to build the wall to keep out a gazillion gallons of sea water.)

Until then, we’ve got to stick together and come to some sort of accord, rather than waste a bunch of time arguing about religion and knowledge and building walls because of some imagined superiority complex. We’re humans, after all, yet our communication skills when compared to the animals that many look down on or dismiss (now, maybe even trees and plants, as well) suck, quite frankly.

So let’s put our supposed differences aside, and get busy saving the planet.t And the animals. And the trees and planets. All lifeforms, basically. If we don’t, we won’t even have time to argue about all this sh*t, anyway.

Please?

Pretty please with a (non-GMO) cherry on top?

 

(I might take a little break from blogging for the next week or so–see you on the flip side!)

 

 

 

 

On Mindfulness and Self-Indulgence…

 

Professor X: [voiceover] Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. —X-Men 2

Mindfulness seems to be the new catchphrase of the era. I’m trying to cultivate some of that, myself, based on the suggestions of others. Meditating and balancing chakras and eating more healthy and a bunch of other new-agey crap.

But, I get kinda sick of myself after a while. Of my own headspace. And I get kinda bored, truthfully. (So, I’ve got a lot of work to do, it seems, on being “mindful”. *laugh*)

Then my mind starts to wander, despite my best attempts.

I’ve been bogged down with a lot of worry and stress (hence the mindfulness attempts) over lots of stuff. Mainly about me and crazy things going on in my life, unfortunately, while the (natural) world is dying all around me.

And I start thinking about the human condition, and how damn self-indulgent we are (myself included–see above).

It’s like the consumerist attitudes we protested back in the alternative subcultures day have returned with a vengeance. Like the 80s on steroids. Gluttonous Starbucks coffee sugarfests, obscenely large brand-new homes with open floor plans and granite countertops, outrageously expensive phone service and cable and heating bills (while pay-rates fail to advance with inflation), and people on (especially in the U.S.) TV shows and movies that look like plastic perfect dolls rather than real humans (I can’t even begin to imagine the pressure on cinematic actors these days.).

Right now, I’m trying to downsize and live more lightly, and to fight consumerist urges in myself (being broke helps, but books and Etsy and Tee Turtle are among my shopping temptations.)

Fighting depression and anxiety on a daily basis creates its own set of motivational challenges to get off my fat arse and do something. Not that I mean to suggest that I’m using that as a crutch to hide under the covers while the world burns outside the window, but…it just makes things a little more muddled and confusing.

And, because I’m harshly analytical, even with  myself, I begin to think that those things are the height of self-indulgence. But I didn’t write this post to wade through my personal battles online (something I try really hard to avoid, seriously!)

Something posted by Dominic Monaghan on Twitter fell in line with things I’ve been thinking about for a long time (kinda integrated into my belief system, by now) about the human way of thinking in regards to the planet and its non-human inhabitants. (See Twitter post here.)

And that’s this–it’s maybe human nature to want to be comfortable, to have creature comforts, to indulge in things that make us happy and feel good (on a transitory, fleeting level), to eat good food, and to have clean water–a roof over our heads, etc. But these things are not only self-indulgent, they are also not a reality. Unless it’s organic and GMO-free, the food we eat is proving to be not very good for us…our lifestyle choices as humans have given us toxic, polluted water to drink, our manufacturing practices has given us livespaces that are poisoning us, and our lack of a sustainable life and a sustainable society (liveable wage, safe working conditions, health insurance/adequate health care) has pushed more and more of us into poverty, homelessness, and despair.

The things we have grown accustomed to as humans in society (if you have adequate income, and financial and mental/emotional/physical security and safety) are just not feasible if we want to pull the world back from the brink. The time is now for making sacrifices–all of us.

Self-Indulgence Awareness #1: I believe that the environment can’t sustain factory farms, genetically modified foods, overuse of pesticides, and a meat-based diet. I’ve been vegetarian since 1991, and have expanded this to eat non-GMO foods, organic food, and locally grown food whenever possible. I’ve also tried to eat more healthy–less wheat, less sugar and more fruits and vegetables (smoothies, stir-fries, etc.)

Self-Indulgence Awareness #2: Consumerism and too much stuff. I’m trying not to impulse buy, and am working on downsizing my possessions. I also don’t buy/have a lot of new things. I reduce, re-use, and recycle whenever possible. Thrift stores and antique stores are my friend. (not that I have a lot of disposable income, but most of the stuff in my house has been passed down through the family…a lot of it dating back to the 70s or even the 50s, maybe.)

Self-Indulgence Awareness #3: Driving my car. Okay, I don’t really have a solution for this. I used to bike all the time, but for reasons left unsaid, that’s not really an option right now. I had plans to move to a city with a good public transportation system (I miss European cities so much) but things didn’t work out that way, and where I live is a little rural. So, I try to consolidate shopping trips into town on days when I have appointments or other engagements, and use my car as little as possible. While not electric, I have a car now that has fairly good gas mileage (when compared to my former SUV). Plus, it helps me save on gas costs!

Self-Indulgence Awareness #4: I’m trying to work through a lot of issues right now, and practicing mindfulness and meditation is actually helping clear away a lot of crap. Which is surprising to this practical skeptic wannabe. Just trying my best to get my life back on track and more in sync with the things I used to love and believe in…environmental causes, social activism, animal rights, etc. It’s a slow process and a little frustrating to the part of my self that’s used to being a go-getter aka steamroller when achieving goals. So, trying not to be so hard on myself and succumb to the pressures and other things around me at the current time.

Self-Indulgence Awareness #5: I try to look at people living inspiring lives, or people setting a good example of things I would like to achieve/be on the internet. Things to remind me of who I would like to be in my future incarnations. Maybe that’s self-indulgent…I don’t know. Just trying to keep my hopes up.

Self-Indulgence Awareness #6: I’ve tried to do this my whole life, even though it’s really made me a misfit among other humans, but love all animals and plants and trees and insects. Stop bringing new human life into this world when the ecosystem can’t sustain it. Like Dominic Monaghan said in his tweet (link is above): The planet is not solely ours to use up as we will. It’s not a place to dump pesticides on, pollute the water, the air, and use up all the resources, selfishly. We have to change this mindset. Period. Otherwise we, too, will go extinct. But maybe that will be the best thing for the planet.Because I often wonder whether we humans really have a place on this planet, aside from our ability to destroy it.

 

I’m trying to do all I can, and not give up, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough. And I’m so tired. Talk about self-indulgence, right?

 

 

Sustainability of Self…

 

I’ve been having this incredibly detailed dreams. My dreams are usually pretty immersive, but, lately, they have been like living another life. Or three, or four, in one night.

Not sure what the (practical) explanation is. Or even what message they are trying to tell me. A few are more simple, but also just as confusing. Because they’re dreams, yet they seem to be building a connection with…something. And, my rational side is saying “They’re just dreams, you tw*t.” *laugh*

So, I woke up after another parallel dimension dream, and felt a bit blue. More than usual, anyway.

Wondering about the place of humans on this planet, when humans just seem to be destroying everything they touch. And where my place in all this madness is. I’ve always been sort of activist-orientated…outspoken, my actions geared towards fighting social injustice, saving animals by the truckloads, loving wild plants and trees that embody the spirit of kismet and serendipity that are perfect symbols of resistance against stereotypical human desire for order and control.

Can it be possible to pull ourselves and our world back from the brink? The geographical history of the planet says yes–because our time (humans, that is) on this planet will be but a blink in the eye of the earth’s life span.

I’ve sort of renewed small ways to reinvent my life…annoyingly slow baby steps for someone as aggressively proactive as myself…but (without seeming like I’m trying to get your pity)…this current life transition has been pretty intense, even for one well-used to chaotic shifts and subsequent rebuilding. And, I just feel like I’ve made so many mistakes–taken wrong paths, and made some not-so-right choices.

I’ve restarted the process of downsizing my books. I’m attempting to meditate. I’m taking  a good, hard look of where I got off track with my life (another way to look at it, is figuring out what path I need to be on.). I’m trying to get rid of a lot of inner baggage, and bring myself back in tune with the things that are important to me and to this planet–nature, animals, conservation, plants.

Arrgh, I’m not explaining this very well, because it’s still sort of emotion- and instinct-based and a little muddled up in my head.

Especially when it feels like the planet and its inhabitants doesn’t have time for me to be stuck in an egocentric/ego-gratifying pool of introspection. (Not that I think I’m going to be the sole person that’s going to save the world, mind you!)

But something does need to shift on a consciousness level within myself in order to help change the world. However small that change is. Whether it’s meditation, action, ass-kicking, healing, opening one’s self to the world around us–I’m still trying to rebuild my toolkit to restore balance in a self and a world that feels like it’s gone mad.

A poetic tweet that was posted from a public figure made all the difference in my little world this morning. They’re probably used to being in the spotlight, but I would feel awkward in posting the link here, but it really gave me a pick-up-me regarding unlimited possibilities of spirit and self. I’ll leave that post to serendipity’s magic for others to find.

Going to try this out in a bit, courtesy of the Forest and Crow blog I follow: https://forestandcrow.com/2016/07/23/20-things-to-be-grateful-for-a-written-meditation-for-restoration/

Now, go out, be mindful of all creatures and growy things (even “weeds”), and change yourselves, and the world, while you’re at it.

 

(Feel free to share mindfulness, consciousness-raising, and other mindfulness techniques in the comments below.)

It’s a small (shark) world…learn to share it, humans!

“Fish are friends, not food.”–Finding Nemo

For my sustainable Saturday post, I was inspired to make the topic sharks.

Partially because of a tweet I saw this morning, which had a Care2 petition to urge FedEx to stop shipping shark fins. (Sign it here.), and partially because I saw an ad for a show that yet again played up the shark’s reputation as a vicious monster.

And, it’s Shark Week, as I just realized, belatedly.

Growing up near the ocean (well, the Gulf of Mexico, technically) as a kid, we learned to be smart in the water. If we were stupid enough to ignore shark alerts, or go swimming at night–things like that–well, it was our own damn fault if something were to happen to us. There just seemed to be common-sense things that you did without question, especially in regards to animals and nature in general. Guess it was a different world?

Here’s some sites with statistics that highlight the odds that are stacked against sharks (and, what fascinating creatures they are).  Because we humans have much more of an impact on sharks and other creatures than they do against us. Nature is not the enemy, we humans are.

http://sharkangels.org/issues-facing-sharks/looming-extinction

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

http://natgeotv.com/ca/human-shark-bait/facts

http://www.seashepherd.org/sharks/?gclid=CjwKEAjwzN27BRDFn9aAwLmH2yISJABWuEXcbE1ZjUm_38HfOG-KUF1kz2bF-amjpdmsYj-SUnTzOhoCDnHw_wcB

http://aqua.org/blog/2014/november/shark-diversity?gclid=CjwKEAjwzN27BRDFn9aAwLmH2yISJABWuEXcc4VqKHMmfimolEXLk1U9TARcwqUSjjqD2GVTMaRwgBoCDGrw_wcB

http://www.oceanicresearch.org/education/wonders/sharks.html

http://www.livescience.com/topics/sharks

Save the Sharks!

 

Sunday Sloth(s)

A little while ago, somebody in the Twitter world posted a few pictures of a baby sloth, along with some poetic, evocative turn-of-phrases that stayed with me. I wasn’t sure about posting the link for the photos, permission-wise, even though posting on Twitter is invariably public-access, I’m guessing (?).

Most of the stuff on Twitter I just like and move on–it’s pretty ephemeral in nature, even if it’s deep in nature, incredibly lovely photos of insects, birds or animals, or just plain fluff to look at while I have my morning tea and wait to wake up.

But those photos, poetics aside, reminded me that it is possible for humans and animals to have a deeper connection. The question that’s been on my mind is “Why not”. Why the encouraged distance between most humans and animals? I was thinking of this filmed bit of cows in a slaughterhouse–maybe it was courtesy of Morgan Spurlock…or PETA…can’t really remember the source, sorry, as I’ve seen so much of that sort of disturbing footage over the years as a vegetarian/animal rights advocate/volunteer that, terribly, I lose track.  I just don’t understand how people can calmly stand by and not be affected by the very real trauma and fear cows for slaughter, or animals used in testing, and lots more examples, go through. It’s so evident. People are always saying that I’m just projecting, or being overly sensitive, or any of the 101 criticisms people like to say about me, but I still can’t imagine standing by and watching an animal suffer like that. To deliberately inflict pain. I would probably starve to death if I had to actually hunt my own food for survival, even though you never know what you would do to survive until you are actually placed into that situation. I’m a bit of a grumpy misanthrope a**kicker type in real life (or so people say, anyway) but I still can’t imagine the hate and invectives levelled at “the other” (people who aren’t like some imagined, fictional “ourselves”).

Arrgh, I’m not writing this very well. It’s just been an off week or two, what with all these strange dreams and the summer heat/blues and such.

I know that I rescued two spiders and an earwig of some kind out of my tub today. That I said good morning to my little spider buddy in the window when I got up, who was having a bit of breakfast, albeit somewhat gruesomely. I’ve spoiled my cat BFF, Cricket, even more this week (if that’s even possible).

But, I felt the usual twinges of guilt over having (organic, free-range, hormone free) cheese on my beans and toast, and honey in my tea. *wry laugh*

And I still wondered over the plague of humankind swarming over the earth, and the inevitable consequences of being human myself on this threatened, wonderfully diverse planet. And feeling that all my well-meaning actions were just tiny specks against a flood of destruction.

A crisis of faith/spirituality? Or just a midlife crisis? Or just a bout of the blues this week…I don’t know.

I still hope that love can win out over hate. That the world can be saved, with all its lovely plants, trees, flowers, insects, animals…diversity of life, essentially. But can it happen as long as humans live on the planet, too?

If Trump wins the election…well, I just don’t know. I would hate to assign any sort of impact that man can have on history and the course of the world, but…well, we all know what impact one person can make on history.

I know that those pictures of the baby sloth made me feel a bit of hope…because they just seemed to capture a poignant connection and communication made between human and animal (the words that went along with the photos really helped illustrate the photo, too). But maybe I’m just projecting. Or so my critics would say. But, as Fox Mulder would say: “I want to believe.”