Falling Earth

Falling Earth

Who will save you,

little creatures?

Who will build the wall

to protect you, gracious trees?

Who will weave the net to catch

your falling earth?

Last night, in dreams,

I made contact with an off-earth race.

“I’m so sorry for what we’ve done,” I said.

So, we worked out a solution

to save the planet, in their interstellar boardroom.

Take away the humans, I said.

Do what you want with us.

Only remember, I pleaded,

we leave behind pets and plants

behind closed doors

with no way out.

Can you save them, too?

I woke with their dream promise in my mind

to wait in foolish hope

for their arrival.

All because I feel helpless

to change the human race.

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.

 

 

 

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!)

 

 

 

 

Destruction of Florida’s Ecosystem: Who Cares as Long as We Have Perfect Green Lawns!

It really seems that Floridians are becoming increasingly reliant on pesticides like Round-up, and other chemicals used to maintain green-grass landscaping here in Florida, even in city and state parks. Even my bank, busy promoting a “save-the-ocean” gimmick to get new clients sees nothing wrong with the fact that their landscaping (and sidewalks) is maintained by those eco-system chemicals/pesticides (I voiced more than one complaint).

Yes, I am always on my soapbox about this (not that anyone listens to just one voice, unless you have scads of $$$, of course), but here in Florida we have a vote coming up on November 4th: the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment 1, which is part of the inspiration for this blog. I doubt that it will ban the use of Round-Up, etc. but I’m sadly cynical enough after having grown up here to hold out much hope that it will make any difference, no matter what it proposes. But, yes, I voted, in favour of it.

So, my science links garnered from around the Internet world have to do with Florida’s ecosystem, since the local politicians seem to have put the ecosystem/environment on the back burner in favour of catering to developers.

Green vs Brown (Cuban) Anoles–I remember when the green anoles populated our back yard, now we just have the brown lizards, and only rarely will I see one in the (Round-Up flooded) state parks/wilderness spots. Pretty cool!

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/invaders-drove-lizards-evolve-stickier-feet-just-10-years

The impact of fertilizer run-off. We have almost year-round red tide, bacteria-laden water that made people sick when swimming, and a dead zone in the Gulf. I don’t even go swimming anymore. Who knows if this was even related, but one overcast evening I went out for a walk on Siesta Beach, and there was all these dark patches of algae on the beach. I realized that one patch of algae looked really weird, so I went over to look at it, ironically just as the moon came out of from the clouds–it was a dead seagull. As the moon came out more, it illuminated the beach. I realized it was not just one bird, but hundreds, all over the beach. The algae was not algae, it was dead seagulls, terns, etc. that I had been walking through. I went home and called the news hotline(s) to make a report, but it did not receive one bit of coverage–not on the TV or in the print/online news.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20121124/NEWS/121129635?tc=ar

Research paper on the impact turf lawns have on the local ecosystem, plus a more general research paper on the impact of Round-up type pesticides/chemicals:

http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/gc/harmony/landscaping/nativeandexotic.htm

https://www.lehigh.edu/~dpm2/Perez,%20et%20al%202007%20Ecological%20Applications%2017(8)%202310-2322.pdf

On the Monarch Butterfly:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/tracking_the_causes_of_sharp__decline_of_the_monarch_butterfly/2634/

That’s just the beginning…plenty more out there, but please, Floridians, explore native plants and other non-toxic, drought-friendly landscaping over those toxic lawns (I “love” when I see “native” landscaping, having been planted for environmental purposes, routinely doused with Round-up, etc. to kill the weeds :-p).

It is just unbelievable how people think it’s safe, and to highlight just how scary it was, I watched the staffers at the local fairgrounds douse the grass with Round-up in front of an event, where, less than an hour later, you had little kids rolling around, eating the Round-Up laden grass, sticking their fingers in their mouths…How is it that people aren’t disturbed by that I will never understand.

Though I try to get involved and advocate for change, I just feel so powerless, and bitter, here in Florida…

The Vampire Squirrel of Borneo

Articles about this fluffy, but apparently bloodthirsty, rare squirrel caught my attention this morning (courtesy of Janet Fang at ilfscience.com and Jim Meyer at grist.org).

They’ve already written two excellent articles on this tufted ground squirrel (Rheithrosciurus macrotis) so I’m not going to regurgitate the contents of their work. You can read their fascinating articles here.

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/killer-squirrel-has-worlds-bushiest-tail
http://grist.org/list/borneos-adorable-vampire-squirrel-is-threatened-by-deforestation/
 

Unfortunately, the squirrel is threatened/endangered due to habitat loss via deforestation to feed the greedy appetites of us humans. I am deeply saddened, every day, over the loss of so many amazing life forms that share the planet with us. It’s way past time to make some lifestyle changes, and get off the couch and do something. It’s not just about survival and preservation for these animals, as we will not be exempt from the same fate that these endangered species are face as a result of our self-absorbed, limited-view actions.