Please Take Action –> www.saveoakflatws.com
…that’s the subject line I saw, as I opened a newsletter email from Emily McDowell.
Here’s a handy link to what she wrote: https://view.flodesk.com/emails/623e196f8c7fa55a2bfd9810
I thought the newsletter was so timely and well written. It’s worth your attention. The quote below is a small piece of it.
“I took this photo last Thursday night, in the lobby of the Warsaw airport hotel. When I posted it on Instagram, it got one-tenth of the engagement of my previous post, which was a selfie I took at the border. In hindsight, I should have posted this picture with a hand-lettered inspirational quote about failure or burnout or spiritual growth as the first slide, because then more people would have seen it or maybe engaged with it. In case you’ve been living on Mars: the algorithm is actively invested in making this world a worse place.
[aside: what does it do to our brains, to our nervous systems, to open our phones day after day, hour after hour, and scroll through this: Jeans haul / buy this coaching program / Black man murdered by police / French bulldog on a skateboard / school hit by bombs / this dance is trending — I have observed that it both numbs and overwhelms me, and it flattens the meaning of everything into a low hum of consumption. It is almost impossible to pay attention in a medium that has been carefully designed to train us to do the opposite.]”
I am sharing directly from Matthieu Ricard’s blog. There will be a direct link to it below, that will connect you with books he recommends, if you want to do deeper into this topic, as well as other resources.
Compassion in Action
Our common responsibility has become all the more obvious now that we face major social, economic and environmental disasters. These issues generate disturbance, confusion and seemingly complex interrogations, but it is actually a simple matter of opposition between altruism and institutionalized selfishness. The best way to bring about cultural change and create a more compassionate future is to act together with consideration for other species, for future generations and for the environment.
The end of year celebrations are an opportunity to strengthen our bonds with loved ones, with our friends, but also to extend this love to all beings. We live in a time when showing affection for our children and those we cherish is generally done through excessive consumption, with dire social and ecological consequences. In 2010 alone, over 61 million games and toys where bought in France! The energy cost is estimated at 17 000 tons of CO² for toy delivery worldwide, from the site of production to their future owner. And production is probably much more important in 2021!
With the coming holidays, we can have a direct and simple impact by choosing to buy locally and responsibly made products such as wooden toys for children, giving pre-loved goods or reusing packaging. And we need to reconsider how we behave with our close ones, ours friends and the world at large. Compassion is an essential quality for creating bonds. As my friend Christophe André says: “Recycling love is a beautiful act of transmission”.
As individuals, we may feel powerless and discouraged by the multiplicity and urgency of the challenges we face. A change of culture is possible if we mobilize our capacity to act together, with perseverance and discernment, in the right direction.
Year-end celebrations are an opportunity to act together on social, economic and ecological issues. At our level, we can carry out simple and effective actions to make a change of culture happen.
By choosing to buy locally, moderately and responsibly, [see previous blog], but also by avoiding the consumption of animal products produced industrially which, aside from obvious ethical considerations, is a disaster for the environment and our health, and increases global poverty.
According to an organization called L214, the production of foie gras in France requires the killing of 45 million ducks and geese every year and relies on a force-feeding process considered cruel by the international community and prohibited in most European countries In the United States alone, 46 million turkeys are slaughtered annually.
Every year we kill 60 billion terrestrial animals and 1,000 billion aquatic animals. These figures are beyond imagination and pose a serious problem to the coherence of our ethics.
The time has come to move toward more altruism and cooperation, toward an economy of solidarity, toward less inequality, and toward extending our benevolence to the other 8 million animal species that are our fellow citizens in this world.
You want protein? Well, you’ve got it: if we look at the protein content of the 100 most consumed foods in the world, the first meat – pork actually – comes only in 13th position, far behind tofu and even our good lentils, red beans and chickpeas.
Let’s not celebrate Christmas at the cost of the suffering and death of others. How about delicious dishes based on smoked tofu, seitan, beautiful grains and fresh vegetables!
Reducing the consumption of products from intensive animal farming is something we can all commit to right away, at our level to prevent sentient beings from suffering but also, according to the IPCC, to help remain below 2°C of global warming.
As Jane Goodall aptly puts it in her new book, The Book of Hope: “The word hope is often misunderstood. We associate it with passivity, with a form of illusory complacency, “I hope this thing will happen” we say, arms dangling. Such attitude is the opposite of true hope, which requires action and commitment. […] The cumulative effect of thousands of small ethical gestures can save our world, and even make it better for future generations. […] Hope is contagious. Your actions will inspire others.”
To my surprise I won a prize! Encompass (an amazing organization for animals & equality, link here) contacted me and said that I won a gift package. And it just so happened to be a book titled, Tiny But Mighty. The latest book by the Kitten Lady, Hannah Shaw. As well as, a gorgeously wrapped soap set from Lush.
Wow, winning something caught me completely off guard. It was totally unexpected! But I had to laugh to myself when I found out I won a book about rescuing kittens. How did Encompass know that I’ve spent the last 4 months feeding feral kittens everyday?! They didn’t, but the Universe definitely knew and worked this whole thing out. I’m sure of it.
Embedded below are a few videos from the Kitten Lady. And here is a link to Tiny But Mighty. I highly recommend it. It’s a big book! Jam packed with life saving information, and really great photography.
Thank you, Encompass team, Kitten Lady, and Lush! I am so very grateful.
The Language of Empire 2010
Seeds of Our Ancestors 2014
Land Rights and Climate Change 2019
Water and Food Justice 2020
33 years in congress.
45 arrests, and thousands of protests.
John Lewis passed away on July 17th. His legacy is an impressive one, and social media is flooded with people giving thanks for the life he led and all of the work he did for others.
There is also a movie about his life.
The following quotes are by John Lewis.
“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”
“You have to tell the whole truth, the good and the bad, maybe some things that are uncomfortable for some people.”
“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.”
“You must be bold, brave, and courageous and find a way… to get in the way.”
“You have to be persistent.”
“You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”
“I believe race is too heavy a burden to carry into the 21st century. It’s time to lay it down. We all came here in different ships, but now we’re all in the same boat.”
“The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in the American society.”
“There is a need for a movement of non-violent direct action.”
Artwork by Nicholas Konrad
Maria Shriver protesting for Black Lives Matter.
“So many people have said to me in the past few weeks that they feel helpless and don’t know what to do or say. I tell them what I tell myself: When you lay there in bed in the dark of night, imagine the country you want to live in. Imagine the leaders you want to rally around. Imagine the ideas that make you feel hopeful. Imagine your best-case scenario. Then, pick a lane and get to work.
Do you want a better climate? Get to work. Do you want to fight against racism? Get to work. Do you want to push for gender equality? Get to work. Do you want to close the gap in health care disparities? Get to work. Do you want a different kind of media? Get to work. Do you want criminal justice or police reform? New gun laws? Mental health parity? A more inclusive church? You know what to do.
The work ahead of us is not for the faint of heart. Every one of us must put on our thinking caps and imagine a more evolved, inclusive, and equitable world. Yes, there is a lot to do, but that is not an excuse to do nothing.”
Quote by Maria Shriver
Natalie Portman shares thoughts on defunding the police.
“When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason. Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training. I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives who have made us question the status quo. And who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people; (in their education, healthcare, environment, shelter)— rather than putting all of our money into punishment. I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”
Quote by Natalie Portman
Seth Godin shines a light on white supremacy.
“The systemic, cruel and depersonalizing history of Black subjugation in my country has and continues to be a crime against humanity. It’s based on a desire to maintain power and false assumptions about how the world works and how it can work. It’s been amplified by systems that were often put in place with mal-intent, or sometimes simply because they felt expedient. It’s painful to look at and far more painful to be part of or to admit that exists in the things that we build.
We can’t permit the murder of people because of the color of their skin. Institutional racism is real, it’s often invisible, and it’s pernicious.
And White Supremacy is a loaded term precisely because the systems and their terrible effects are very real, widespread and run deep.
The benefit of the doubt is powerful indeed, and that benefit has helped me and people like me for generations. I’m ashamed of how we got here, and want to more powerfully contribute and model how we can get better, together.
It doesn’t matter how many blog posts about justice I write, or how clear I try to be about the power of diversity in our organizations. Not if I’m leaving doubt about the scale and enormity of the suffering that people feel, not just themselves, but for their parents before them and for the kids that will follow them.
It’s easier to look away and to decide that this is a problem for someone else. It’s actually a problem for all of us. And problems have solutions and problems are uncomfortable.”
Quote by Seth Godin
Illustrations by Meenal Patel Studio
By now I’m sure everyone is aware of the George Floyd protests that have been taking place. As someone that has participated in social justice protests in New York, I can attest to the dedication and courage it takes to participate. You can literally arrive with peace in your heart and the best intentions, and end up with your life on the line.
Please do not confuse looters with protestors. Looting is not protesting. Anyone that was involved in nefarious activities was not a protestor. (*For additional views on on the protest, as well as looting and rioting, please read my other post.)
Many of the protestors that participated will arrive home safely and others will need some form of legal, financial or medical assistance. Please stand in solidarity with these individuals, as well as the organizations that support them. I’ve listed donation links below by city.
If you are not able to make a donation, please post something supportive on your social media accounts or write a letter to congress. Anything that will raise awareness.
And if you feel unsure about what’s happening, these social media accounts might be of interest to you.
You are welcome to post additional social media accounts and organizations in the comments.
I’m just encouraging everyone to take some type of positive action. (If they haven’t already done so.)
The world is a very small place. We are all connected. If we ignore, misuse or abuse each other (or the planet) we are only hurting ourselves. Let’s rise to help one another. You have the freedom to do it in your own way.
A better world depends on a better collective consciousness. And that depends on each one of us taking responsibility for our part in that collective. If we want the world to change, we must change first.
Think of new ways to be and new ways to help. The possibilities are endless. And if nothing comes to mind, just support those on the front lines. That’s always a great place to start.
Sending love and support to everyone during this time. I know we’re all hurting in different ways. Let’s continue to be compassionate and courageous, and calm.
Fear, stress and blame is not where we want to focus. I always remind myself of this quote, “Where your attention goes, it grows.” Keep your mind and energy on what the world needs right now.
Empathy, peace, love, creativity, patience, compassion, ingenuity, encouragement, support, healing, well-being, understanding… Let’s root our actions and thoughts in what we need most.
Donating to protestors in Minnesota:
It’s my understating that Minnesota Freedom Fund is fully funded right now and wants donations sent to the following organizations;
Donating to protestors in other cities:
For all the cities I missed, you can check this website and scroll down for a city near you.
And if you need bail support or have questions, you can call the National Lawyers Guild directly 612-444-2654