The Impacts of Our Choices on Animals and the Earth
As I woke up this morning and got my son ready and off to school, I heard the chorus of birds outside. We live in a tropical area with birds everywhere, and we are lucky, they are beautiful to look at and incredible to hear and sing from early hours until dusk.
But they are not so lucky. What used to be rain forest and bushland(their land), is now covered with homes, grocery stores, schools, roads and phone towers(with select acres left alone for the wildlife).
Thankfully for ‘our’ birds, our home backs onto forest land, and we watch the kangaroos, koalas, birds, and snakes(a little less enthusiastically) make the most of the patch they have been left. No zoo could compare with watching animals in the wild, and we enjoy this privilege every day.
I sat on my deck in the warm sun and opened up my laptop to begin research and writing for the day. The first thing I watched was this video about ‘Moon Bears’ in China and Vietnam. They are tortured for decades, living in cages barely bigger than they are, left with open wounds and poked regularly in already infected places with dirty needles for their bile, which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I am appalled that TCM which is supposed to be natural and holistic as opposed to synthetic could support – no, instigate – such horrific treatment. They look majestic and beautiful in the video, as those that have been lucky enough to be rescued play amongst the grasses and water, in the sanctuary where they will spend the rest of their days. But it does not diminish the horror and torture that tens of thousands of these bears are still experiencing right now.
I move on. I read about the debate in the UK of wild animals being used in circuses. I read about captive elephants and dolphins and lions and monkeys. All used in circuses, and theme parks and movies….all for our entertainment. They live lives far away from their natural environments and mostly their lives are of pain and suffering. Of loneliness, beatings, performance, painful physical ailments, hunger, thirst and confusion.
It dawns on me as I read story after story and flip through page after page and watch video after video, that we have failed this earth. We were given a gift, mankind; to ‘rule’ the earth and we have squandered this gift. We have disrespected the enormity and responsibility of the task and we have failed. We have failed the animals that were entrusted into our care, we have failed the land that we have poisoned with our chemicals, we have failed the oceans that we have polluted with our rubbish. We have failed our future children who will be left with the aftermath of our decisions.
In all this overwhelming misery and negativity, I truly, truly believe that most people would make different choices if they just knew better. I know there are so many people who simply do not know or understand that their choices, seemingly small choices, are a part of this toxic cesspool we call industrialism.
Do you think about the animal who suffered with painful experiments in their eyes, on their skin and inside their bodies, in the making of your makeup or shampoo?
Do you think about the turtle, whale or fish in the ocean ingesting and suffocating from the plastic bag you are using and throwing away?
Do you think about the baby calves that are starved, ripped from their mothers and trucked in the hot sun with no food or water – often for days, and then killed as ‘waste’ in the dairy industry, when you are drinking your milk?
Do you think about the sheep that are tortured when large strips of flesh are cut from their back ends with no anaesthetic (a process called mulesing), left bleeding and raw just so you can have your pristine wool clothing?
Do you think about the cattle, chickens, sheep and pigs that are kept in cages or pens with barely room to move, often never seeing daylight, walking in their own excrement with disease and sickness running rampant, pumped with hormones and antibiotics to feed you?
Do you think about the rabbits, foxes, seals and other animals that are kept in cages or killed in torturous ways for the furs and skins you wear on your back?
When you eat your thanksgiving dinner do you think about the wretched life of the turkey you are eating?
When you scramble your morning eggs do you consider the chickens that live in a box smaller than a piece of paper for their whole lives to give you those eggs?
Do you read this and think to yourself that the enormity of the problem is so great that you simply don’t know what to do? I have.
Its huge. Its all over the world. It’s millions and millions of animals. It’s so great neither you nor I can make the difference on our own. But together…together we can implement change. If this article influences only 10 people in the next year to make better choices, and those 10 people influence 10 people each and those ten people do the same… do you see where I am going with this? The impact is startling!
As an example, Mother Teresa was one person, born in the small and seemingly insignificant country of Macedonia who left home at the age of 18 to become a missionary. She influenced (and still influences) many, many people across nations. Orphanage’s and programs for the sick and dying are in place today that make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people because of one small, seemingly insignificant woman.
Its never too late.
What you are eating, wearing, carrying or shopping for. All these choices impact our world every day. Its up to you to choose what kind of legacy you will leave.
When you have passed on, what will people remember of you? Did you contribute something to this world, your children, your grandparents, or your neighbors Or did you take from it, make it just a little bit more dark, toxic and foreboding?
Did your choices inflict pain and suffering or did they promote freedom and health? What about living with yourself. How do you sleep at night? Do you feel at peace with the impact of your decisions?
How many lives will you save today by buying cruelty-free cosmetics? How many animals lives will you improve by purchasing organic and free range meats? Carrying reusable bags, driving the car a little less. Walking a little more. What about having just one day a week that is vegetarian? Try out a great pasta recipe and add it to your repertoire! Small things. Huge impact.
The reality is that your decisions can save or drastically improve a life. What an incredible thought I am leaving you with today!
Karyn is a freelance writer and student of holistic medicine. When her son was born 3 months prematurely with health issues, Karyn began a journey of researching the impact of our daily choices on our children, the earth, and its inhabitants. Now a campaigner for safe food practices, green living, and animal rights, she blogs at Natures Conspiracy about her passions of holistic and eco living.
Karyn has traveled extensively living in England, Ireland, and the USA over the past 10 years. She has recently moved home and happily resides with her family in a small beach-side town of Australia.