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Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
What do I mean by that? Well, I'll tell you.
The first Earth Day was a really big deal, with people everywhere waking up to the reality that we were literally destroying our home. There was a groundswell of public and even government! support for protecting our Mother, nurturing and respecting Her. Sweeping legislation was passed, including the Endangered Species Act, The Federal Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Teach-ins were held. Development projects were stopped. Habitats were saved. Congress even adjourned for the day, with over 500 participating.
This year did Congress adjourn? No.
In fact, this administration has done more to roll back all of those hard-won protections than any before. It's shameful - truly shameful what Bush has done.
Cutting old-growth forests under the guise of fire-suppression. Yeah right. It's not the old-growth that is the problem, but the underbrush that has grown up in the clear-cuts that poses the most risks. But, there is not much of a market for underbrush, now is there?
Gutting the Clean Air Act - putting even more people at risk due to breathing polluted air, especially kids with asthma.
Allowing mining companies to remove whole mountaintops and shove them into streams!
I just want to scream! What the hell has happened? It started out so good. Where did the momentum go? What happened to the burning desire for true change?
There are still a few out there that have not lost it, but far too many organizations seem to have reduced Earth Day into a big fund-raising event, selling T-shirts and things like that. A few organizations are planting trees, cleaning up beaches, etc. Well, that's nice and all, but shouldn't that be going on anyway every day of the year?
Where are the protests? Where are the people marching in the streets demanding new leadership and change resulting in the real protection of the environment that every one of us calls home? What has happened to the true spirit of Earth Day?
We are still overpopulating wildly. There are still little kids drinking polluted water and facing death from it. The oceans are so over-fished that we may not be able to "fix" them. Our rivers, including the one I live on, are contaminated with mercury, with warnings about eating the fish - (not that I do that anymore anyway, but that is not the point).
You see what I mean, don't you? We have gotten complacent. We think we can go about our busy little lives and then one day a year do something symbolic to "save" the Earth from our actions on the other 364 days of the year.
Well, that's simply not enough. We have to do more than that. We must or we will not be given any choice. Mother Earth will simply choose for us, and it won't be pretty. Instead of buying filters for our water, we need to quit polluting it in the first place. Instead of attending an Earth Day festival once a year, we should be writing letters to our legislators every day.
You know what I think we should do today?
Just stop everything for a moment. Go find a quiet spot in Nature somewhere, even if it is only under a tree in your own backyard. Take off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet. Take a few deep breaths, consciously breathing in positive healing energy and breathing out the negativity that builds up in all of us due to our stressful busy lives. Feel the breeze in your hair, the sunshine on your face. Give thanks just for being alive. Listen to the birds. Watch the butterflies. Look - really look - at what is around you that you take for granted every day. Spend a little time with your family. Appreciate what they mean to you and you to them.
In short - reconnect.
Become one with all that is again, or for the first time. Regain the balance and harmony that somehow gets lost in our daily lives as we bustle about. Take an inventory of what kind of an impact your life has on Mother Earth - your own personal ecological footprint. Think about what you really want to be remembered for having accomplished when you are gone. Pledge to take the time every day to remind yourself that there are horrors in this world than you can do something about.
Then start over again on a new track, making even just a few changes in your life to make the world a better place. Do something every single day to accomplish this new goal. There are many things you can do that really take very little effort, but add up to a lot when many people engage in these responsible, caring behaviors.
Don't buy a product from a socially irresponsible company. Write Congress about something that bothers you. Help someone else learn about something that you know. Go vegetarian - or even vegan. Just do something - anything at all. Each and every day - not just today on Earth Day. And take the time to nurture yourself and those you love. Literally take the time to smell the roses. Appreciate and respect life.
Every day should be Earth Day. I look forward hopefully to a future when Earth Day is not necessary anymore. A day when we don't rape, trash, and otherwise abuse our Mother. A day when society shakes its head sadly at the idea that in the past the Earth was only thought about one day a year. A day when we decide that the environment is far more important than economic growth. When we grow up and mature into socially responsible people. When we can again live in harmony with all living creatures.
Wouldn't that be wonderful?
I can hope, can't I?
Well, with that, I'm signing off now. I think I'll go pick up some trash off the road. But then I intend to just go sit in the woods and breathe in the wonder of life. I'll enjoy the fresh green smell of the newly rain-washed woods, listening to the birds and watching the butterflies.
Have a good day everyone. I truly hope that you have a nice day and that you do take some time to appreciate the day. I would love to hear from some of you to hear how you spent today.
Happy Earth Day, Mother.