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.

 

 

 

Suburbanite Wannabes

Where I live is kinda rural (by my Florida standards)…a little place that’s a short drive into Santa Fe.

It’s called Tesuque and I’m not really sure if it’s a town, a township, an extension of Santa Fe (it’s still Santa Fe County), or some other classification that I’m not familiar with…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesuque,_New_Mexico.

Like I said, it’s rural for me. So quiet. Horses in actual horse pastures. Lots of wild animals animals, too–deer, adorable skunk and raccoon families (good to help keep the pack rat population down), coyotes, and hummingbirds.

One Sunday I was cleaning, and I heard this weird noise out on the road. I was like “That can’t be what I think it is” so I went out and looked. Yep. It was a person riding a horse down the road. Clop, clop, clop.

There’s lots of lovely wildflowers, a gorgeous meadow within the complex itself, and did I mention the peaceful silence?

So, what’s wrong with this picture? Why am I blogging about it on my Sustainable Saturday blog?

As some of you may already know from a previous blog, it’s the mindset of the complex I live in as a whole.

I just don’t understand why people would want move into this rural, wild-ish environment, when they have such a strong suburban mentality. There are plenty of (gated?) communities in Santa Fe proper with perfectly pristine landscaped yards/landscaping. Why don’t you live there? Why do you have to come out here and ruin this lovely rural spot with your suburban wannabe mentality? To be frank, my (human) neighbours are an ugly taint on this otherwise picturesque haven. Plus, I’m also just plain pissed off that it’s twice in a row that I got woken up by a weed-whacker on my first day off after working with kids and teenagers all week. Because, by the time Saturday comes, I’m just so exhausted and drained, and just need one morning to sleep in. Just one. Yes, there was grumbling and cursing this morning. A lot of it. And I didn’t even care who overheard me. I was that pissed off. And then maybe I cried some. Which didn’t help my  already bleary-eyed fumbling as I tried to feed the cat.

Right now, the once-sunlit meadow full of beautiful waving grass is being chopped down by some guy with just a weed-whacker. (Poor guy! I imagine he’s not even making very much. If he were in Florida, he’d only be earning a pittance.) Not to mention the habitat loss of all the critters who used that meadow as sanctuary or for foraging or whatever other unseen animal activities take place in meadows.

They also routinely cut down all the lovely purple and orange wildflowers that the bees love.

So, I’m angry. Frustrated. Confused. Stressed. Hurting. Still exhausted.

But most of all, I’m heartbroken for the loss of the quiet beauty all around me that it seems only I appreciate. Well, me, and the animals and bees.

So, human neighbours, I don’t care if you smile and wave at me as you drive past. I’m not interested in being neighbourly with people like you. End of story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

Sustainable Menstruation!

 

There’s much debate over the environmental impact over the products we women use to soak up our monthly bleeding. (Oh, come on, it’s 2016!!! Though, given the current state of things, sometimes I wonder…)

Anyhoo, the debate rages on such topics about comfort, period shaming, and women’s health. (Disclaimer: I have not received any products for free in the making of this review blog.)

Here’s a site I found that breaks it down pretty well:

https://rathofeve.wordpress.com/using-disposable-menstrual-products-what-are-the-environmental-impacts/

I, for one, was delighted to discover LunaPads back in the…90s? Years ago, anyway. (I discovered them in a Bitch Magazine ad) Disposable pads just didn’t cut it. I tried everything for years (sans tampons–not a fan)–heavy “flow”, wings, industrial-strength sponges (just kidding!), but nothing worked to prevent “leaks”. (Yep, yet another reason why I hated high school–aside from being a huge nerd, that is…LOL)

But LunaPads did. They were fantastic! I never had any problem after that. Well, until they changed their construction. The old ones had the wings on the inside, sewn directly into the base wing pad, and now they had one of the wingless inserts sewn onto the base. When I purchased a set of the new ones, I realised they were no longer as effective. I even contacted the company directly and asked them why they changed the construction and explained that they weren’t as effective, and they said they had customer requests and positive feedback about the new design, and that’s how they were going to be made from here on out.

So, I’m on the quest for new replacements. I have tried GladRags in the past, and they weren’t my first choice, but I might try them again, as I desperately need a more effective alternative. I’m also looking at the “Period Panties” that Thinx makes.

In any case, I put together a shopping list to get you started. Please, post up below with any feedback or comments on these products! Thanks!

http://www.shethinx.com/

http://gladrags.com/

http://lunapads.com/?geoip_country=US

http://www.earthwisegirls.co.uk/ecofriendlyperiods-g-19.html

http://www.theveganwoman.com/green-period-5-eco-friendly-vegan-period-products-will-change-life/

Happy Green Bleeding! (i.e. environmental, not Vulcan…it wouldn’t be the Chaos Fairy without some lame nerd humour!)

 

 

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.

The Chaos Fairy is a Fourth of July Party Pooper!

“The Borg: Party poopers of the galaxy.” The Doctor, Star Trek: Voyager.

I gotta admit, I have never really been a fan of the Fourth of July. Even in my younger, social party days, my circle of cohorts and I would always stay home from the goth/punk clubs and watch movies and order pizza or get Chinese take-out. Something about the frenetic, drunken, crazed energy out there made us all want to hide out. So, in keeping with tradition, I’ll be huddled in front of the telly with my neurotic cat welded to my side, watching movies and such.

I used to find fireworks amazing, but I have become more and more aware of the effect they have on songbirds and other wildlife, not to mention the impact they have on the environment. Here in our neighbourhood, I’ve even witnessed people shooting unbelievably loud, large fireworks directly up into the trees (As an aside, a couple of residents of The Oaks in Osprey–not as part of Fourth of July celebrations–deliberately fired fireworks into this rookery near their homes. http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/neighbors-accused-of-shooting-fireworks-at-bird-rookery/article_ea0ca11a-a09b-11e2-9e70-001a4bcf6878.html).

So, I’ve put together a list of links for this “Sustainable Saturday” post of ways to still have your Fourth of July firework fun while being mindful of local wildlife and birds. And some tips for your scaredy cat animals! And for the real Fourth of July terrors–kids! *laugh* Thanks for reading!

http://birding.about.com/od/birdconservation/a/fireworkssafety.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_fireworks.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

http://www.insidebainbridge.com/tag/effects-of-fireworks-on-wildlife-and-domestic-animals/

http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/fireworks.html

http://www.voiceforthevoiceless.org.za/pets.htm

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/fireworks/fireworks-safety-tips

Have fun, and have an emergency-room-free holiday, U.S. peeps!

Sarasota County Commissioners for sale/rent–available to the highest bidder…

Developer? Sport Hunter? Or, simply an individual property owner that hates leaf-dropping, old oak trees? Sarasota-Bradenton will welcome you with open arms! Pesky development and environmental/wildlife laws preventing you from cutting down old-growth trees, building on wetlands/protected natural areas, or hunting on wildlife like black bears? Not to worry–Sarasota County Commissioners will change local laws and regulations to suit your heart’s desire!

(Except where I’ve included links and quotes from newspaper and online articles, this is an opinion piece, and all opinions are mine, and mine alone. –A.C.F.)

On the wake of seeing homes like the one that was built in 1925 in my very neighbourhood demolished, and even this one (http://realestate.heraldtribune.com/2015/06/30/historic-119-year-old-reasoner-home-becomes-rubble/) meeting the wrecking ball, as well as beautiful old oak trees being cut down with no effort to preserve them (despite purported codes/laws in place protecting said trees), I was greeted by this article in the paper this morning that Randy Benderson, who infamously got permission to build a huge, wildlands-destroying and traffic-congesting mall, the University Town Center, “somehow” convinced Sarasota County Commissioners to “unanimously” grant his proposal to expand development to a whopping 600K feet of retail space and 100K of office space, according to the article (Read full article here). Not to mention that he’s going to be able to put in “nearly1,800 homes and 500 hotel rooms” on the site. But, no worries, the commissioners have learned to hide their bias towards/ties to developers behind convenient green-washing doublespeak. Supposedly, the “281-acre property…bolster(s) wetland protection.”

Here’s a novel idea, County Commissioners, why don’t you just simply PROTECT the wetlands and Florida’s natural ecosystem?

Oh, that’s right, because you are apparently carrying on with a trend in local Commissioner behavior–behavior which seems to point out that you pass measures that not only support a small influential percentage of the local population, but your own interests as well, as this article states “It wasn’t a tough sell for commissioners, most of whom shoot guns and frequent the range themselves.”

The article about the expansion of the shooting range in Nokomis goes on to inform us that the County commissioners allowed about 43 acres of protected natural land to be used for the expansion of the shooting range in Nokomis, despite environmental outcry, and the article suggests, by my interpretation, that you probably (illegally?) tried to keep it under the radar by not informing the public that it was coming under vote until the last minute.

(A small local paper presents another viewpoint into some of the issues facing Sarasota, often including reactionary articles on Benderson and County Commissioners that are interesting to read, simply because of the perspective offered on issues that would be hot-button among the voting demographic anywhere else: https://www.facebook.com/SarasotaPhoenixNews. )

Is it any wonder I (and other environmentally concerned Sarasota-Bradenton residents) feel so helpless? After all, we can’t compete with wealthy developers, out-of-state snowbirds (whose needs and wants are placed above those of long-term/year-round residents), or the special-interest groups that have the advantage simply because they reflect the needs and wants of our County Commissioners, as it suggests in many of the articles in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, and the events taking place “on the ground”.

Also, keep in mind that all this is happening while schools are underfunded, funding for the arts is being slashed, libraries don’t have enough funding and have had to slash staff and programs, social support programs are being neglected, and many people here are “lucky” to make minimum wage, and, even then, that is routinely exploited, with many businesses/individuals paying their employees under the minimum wage (I know about this tactic, firsthand, from personal experience in years of job hunting/working in Florida.)

I am saddened and angry beyond belief. And I have admitted defeat. I feel so powerless and alone to stop any of this from continuing to happen. Since I am poor and have no social status, I don’t matter. I can be sidelined like all of the other residents with heart, who care about what happens to not only Florida’s dwindling ecosystem, but to the local community and to preserving a sense-of-place connection with the area as well. I cried a lot this morning over the fate that Florida’s natural areas and wildlife faces in the face of political-based greed and favoritism. Not that the County Commissioners would notice, or even care, how members (like me) of their grassroots community would feel.

You win.