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.

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day (should be) Earth Day…

…so take action on one of these upcoming holidays and then celebrate with a beer from an eco-friendly brewery. Or vice versa. Cheers!

Yesterday  (June 17th) was World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

July 11: World Population Day

July 29: International Tiger Day

August 12: World Elephant Day

August 22: National Honey Bee Day

September 21: Zero Emissions Day

 

Here’s a whole list:

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

 

I have been dreaming of life in a pre-industrial (ideal) forest world lately. And,  a book called Green Mansions  has been on my mind lately, even though I haven’t read it since middle school. It may be a bit dated, but I still love my memory of the book.