Free Therapy!

We all have stress. Here’s a GREAT video about how some people got free relaxation therapy.

 

 

Now that all you want to do is play with kittens, why not make a DECISION to volunteer at one of your local animal rescue facilities. They’re easy to find with a simple google search. The animals need love. You need stress relief. It’s a win-win.

I just contacted the Best Friends Animal Society in my area to start the volunteer process. Will you make the decision too?

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A Chaser of Good News

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To counteract the distress many of us feel following the MFA investigation story and the Taiji Dolphin hunt updates, here is a bit of encouraging news. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust team and the Kenya Wildlife Service in the Tsavo National Park reported that they were able to save an African Bull elephant from poachers earlier this week in a pretty remarkable way.

Click HERE for the story. Here is the video:

Just when I feel hopeless with humanity, I am reminded that there are people who do things like this. Thank you to this medical and aerial team for respecting our historical, cultural and spiritual connection to animals.

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Life As a Wave on Facebook

Change in Taiji: Finite Disappointment, Infinite Hope

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Remember in 2009 when The Cove won best documentary? The film opened the world’s eyes to the annual drive hunt of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Well the hunt continues. This weekend in fact. But the opposition continues as well. Sea Shepherd is one of the leading voices of this opposition. They are even live streaming this year’s round up, capturing and (I assume) slaughter of dolphins. As far as I understand, the slaughter will begin Monday.

USA Today reported the following today:

Fifteen of the animals were taken for a “life of imprisonment in captivity,” the group said, adding that one dolphin died in the process. On Saturday, the group said 25 dolphins were removed from their pod, and one died.

The remaining dolphins will spend a third night in the cove before being killed Monday, the group said. CNN reported that the dolphins taken Saturday and Sunday were likely to be sold into captivity at marine parks in Japan and overseas, according to the conservation group.

In an interesting connection, the popular marine park, SeaWorld, is one of the main profiteers of the Taiji hunt. This year’s popular documentary, Blackfish, details via firsthand accounts from former trainers and others how orcas are captured, trained, and kept captive through inhumane and unnatural methods. The park’s attendance and celebrity affiliations have suffered greatly due to the film’s popularity.

Another account, from Sea Shepherd reads:

“Tomorrow is going to be a rough day. They took over 30 dolphins to be sold for entertainment, including this albino (probably blind) whose mother fought to stay with her baby and then drowned herself, according to Cove Guardians. Tomorrow the remaining 220 will be hacked to death and the Cove will be more red than ever. If SeaWorld really cared about dolphins as they say, they would stop this.”

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So now, dear readers, is the time when we feel helpless to help. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” So stir up your hope that there is a world awaiting us where respect for our non-human animal companions is the norm. Then, take even just one action. Can’t think of what you might be able to do? Let me help:

Spread the Word:

Follow Operation Infinite Patience on social media and share with your friends and family. Ask them to help us end this atrocity.

Cove Guardian Facebook
Sea Shepherd USA Facebook
Cove Guardian Twitter
Sea Shepherd USA Twitter

Educate others on the link between the captive dolphin industry and the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Please discourage your friends and family from visiting dolphinariums, aquariums, or participating in captive dolphin programs like “swimming with the dolphins”

Contact the Authorities:

Help us end the brutal Taiji dolphin slaughter by voicing your concerns to the authorities in Taiji as well as the Japanese Embassy, US Embassy to Japan, US and Japanese Ambassadors to the UN, and the US Senate members of the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Japanese Embassies Worldwide:

Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions

List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan:

List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan

US Embassy in Japan:

Kurt Tong – Charge d’Affaires ad interim
Telephone: 011-81-3-3224-5000
Fax: 011-81-3-3505-1862
Send E-mail to the U.S. Embassy in Japan

Japanese UN Representatives:

H.E. Mr Kazuyoshi Umemoto – Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
japan.mission@dn.mofa.go.jp

H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki – Deputy Representative of Japan to the UN
japan.mission@dn.mofa.go.jp

United States UN Representative:

Samantha Power – US Ambassador to the UN
Samantha Power’s Twitter
United States Mission to the United Nations Contact Form

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Wakayama Prefecture Office, Fishery Division:

E0717001@pref.wakayama.lg.jp
Telephone: +81-73-441-3010
Fax: +81-73-432-4124

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

The Red House,
135 Station Road,
Impington,
Cambridge,
Cambridgeshire CB24 9NP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 233 971
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 87
Email: secretariat@iwcoffice.org

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Convention on Migratory Species (CMP)

UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49 228) 815 2401
Fax: (+49 228) 815 2449
Email: secretariat@cms.int

Mayor – Taiji Town Hall:

Telephone: +81-73-559-2335

Taiji Fishermen’s Union:

Telephone: +81-73-559-2340
Fax: +81-735-59-2821

Hotel Dolphin Resort/Dolphin Base:

Telephone: +81-0735-59-3514
Fax: +81-0735-59-2810

Japan Fisheries Public Content Form:

Contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries

WAZA: The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

secretariat@waza.org

IMATA: The International Marine Mammal Trainers’ Association

info@imata.org

This information is from Sea Shepherd and surely there is ONE action from this list that you can do. To make it even easier, here is the message I will be including in my e-mail to many of the above contacts. Please feel free to copy the text and use it for yourself as well.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my dismay and disapproval with the continued Taiji dolphin hunt. In light of the increasing global awareness and concern of our exploitation of dwindling marine creatures, as well as the increasing public outrage (including that from Japanese citizens) toward this hunt, I believe the time for defending this tradition has ended. With respect to the citizens and leaders of Japan and admiration for many of the country’s beautiful non-violent traditions, I implore you to cease this annual hunt and bring Japan further into the more peaceful and conservationist future that is necessary for our planet and its species.

Lastly, I want to exhort you to remain compassionate toward the people who carry out this hunt. I have seen plenty of comments on social media spewing hate and violence toward them, but there is no difference between that violence and the violence they inflict on the dolphins. Not essentially. And what are we doing if we counter darkness with darkness?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

– MLK

So find your balance, find your love, and take action in your world!

Love to you. And love to the dolphins.

~~~S Wave~~~

A Side of Veal With My Sundae?

“…boycotting veal…is a pointless gesture if dairy products aren’t boycotted as well.”

– James McWilliams, Forbes, 10/25/13

I had a revelation in 2009 that spurred me to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. The revelation was basically that cows don’t make milk unless they have a calf. It seems like something that makes a lot of sense. How had I somehow  forgotten that fact? I guess I had never thought much about it at all and walked along in a blissful milky haze thinking of cows as perpetual milk machines, even though a moment’s pause to look at all of mammalian behavior would tell me otherwise. There’s one purpose for milk.

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Once I had that realization, there was an emergence of oh so many of questions that needed to be answered:  “What happens to all those calves?” “How do the cows keep getting pregnant?” “What are male cows used for?” “Does my vegetarianism matter?” Etc., etc. After time spent considering all these aspects I finally came to this conclusion:

I can’t eat dairy without also supporting the meat industry.

Calf being transported from his mother to his veal crate.  Photo credit: I wish I knew.

Calf being transported from his mother to his veal crate.
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur

This conclusion has gone through not a few philosophical obstacle courses over the years, which are always valuable processes for evolving your viewpoint. I still believe that the vast majority of dairy that we consume comes from inhumane methods of acquisition and is inherently complicit in the industrial meat complex as well. I also believe that as a general rule, cow milk is for baby cows, goat milk is for baby goats, and human milk is for baby humans. I believe the calcium argument is something we’ve been force-fed by the meat and dairy industries and that we are actually healthier if we stay away from dairy. I know that we are the ONLY species that drinks milk past weening and find that weird and kind of gross. For now, that’s where I stand.

Here is one of the most brief yet thorough descriptions I have seen in a long time that illustrates the relationship between large-scale dairy and meat industries. I thought I would share it with you in case you are also a vegetarian having a revelation about milk as an accessory to animal slaughter. Or, maybe this article will serve simply as a another reminder to be humane this holiday season by swapping out some of those dairy products you’re used to for easy-to-find vegan alternatives. It will take 2 minutes to read and is not graphic. It was written by James McWilliams and appeared in Forbes magazine last month. Here is the link:

Milk of Human Kindness Denied to Dairy Cows

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The Gift of Hard Questions

There was an incident in Hawthorne, CA this week in which a man was being arrested for allegedly hindering an investigation. (He was taking video of police activity with his cell phone which I thought was legal. But I digress until the whole story is told.) While the police were arresting him on the sidewalk his rotweiller who was in his car became distraught and escaped from the car. The dog came near the police officers and when one of them tried to get a hold of his leash the dog snapped at the officer at which point they shot the dog. The whole scenario is on youtube and has received over 3 million views.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

I guess we all have opinions about this, right? I’m sure there are lots of blogs being written about it and Facebook posts being posted for it. It’s one of those events that elicits lively debate and strong opinions especially because there is a video to make it “real” and because the dog is suffering in the video, not just falling over dead. Most of the commentary surrounding the event is regarding the officer’s action and whether shooting the dog was necessary. Were other options available? Was this a case of poorly trained—or worse, trigger-happy—police? Of course the wider discussions then can touch on police brutality, gun laws, and individual rights to record police activity. All valid discussions.

But there are other reactions elicited by this video that bring us to the topic of this post. When I watched the video, I was like many people rattled by the scene of the dog flailing on the ground after being shot trying to defend it’s owner. Many other viewers had similar reactions. “Poor dog.” “He was just trying to defend his owner.” “He didn’t deserve to get shot.”

I agree. Yes, of course it is sad. But what I noticed was that when I watched the video my physical and emotional reactions were similar to those I have while watching undercover vivisection videos or even watching fishing videos. I think my reactions are the same because no matter what the purpose of the activity, in my mind it is a moment of suffering without homage to the life that is being taken. This made me wonder if those who becry the suffering of Max have becried the suffering of the animals on their dinner plate or in their clothing. The fact that we tend to condemn some animal suffering while supporting others is interesting to me. You’ve heard the kind of question before…why do you care if someone hurts a dog but you eat pigs?

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It’s easy to answer that question: because we view dogs as family, as friends. Cultures in which dogs and cats are pets have occasional outcries against those in which cats and dogs are dinner, sometimes putting extraordinary efforts into having the practice banned. But really is there anything different about these two pictures of animals being prepared for slaughter?

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Photo: Reuters

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Sadly for our anthropomorphic tendencies which would like to say “yes,” when it comes to life being taken for pleasure no, there isn’t. In both cases animals will suffer and will die to sustain us. In both cases the person who eats the animal will be connected to its experience. I don’t see a way around our complicity in suffering when we eat animals and I have looked at it from many points of views. I chose at a point in my life that I didn’t want to be complicit in that kind of suffering anymore. It wasn’t for me.

That choice came after much self-reflection and honesty with myself. I am still in the process of that reflection in a myriad of other areas of life where my actions may be causing suffering. I had a friend who recently told me that he only buys clothes made in countries with strong labor laws and later he mentioned that he invests his money based on his requirement to know exactly what his money is supporting. No vague mutual funds for him. Honestly these are two things I have rarely and never thought about, respectively. 🙂 What a great moment that was for me. My mind had just been opened up to two new things I can be aware of in my own life and in the moment-to-moment choices I make. I might not overhaul my entire wardrobe and IRA portfolio tomorrow, but now I have placed my foot on the path toward that betterment.

Some people don’t question their own complicity in suffering–whether it be animal suffering or human suffering.  Some think a little. Some think a lot. Some probably even think too much to the point of self-induced paralysis. We’re all somewhere in the process of self-reflection about our choices. Taking an active role in that process is what is important. Asking ourselves the hard questions whose answers will possibly require us to change our behavior isn’t an easy thing to do. Those questions are easier to ignore. I’ve had many people say, “I just don’t think about it” when veganism becomes part of the conversation. But isn’t choosing silence complicity? Even silence within ourselves?

“An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering.”
― Byron Katie

I guess the lessons I have learned are 1) to be honest with yourself about where you are avoiding some hard but worthy questions, 2) to have the courage to engage with those questions and 3) to be prepared to make changes in your life knowing that it is can be a difficult process, but one with great potential for good.

The next time you talk to someone who is making one of those changes in his or her life, stop before you say, “Oh I could never do that” and contemplate the possibility….                                   “What if I did that?”

May we all keep getting better!

~~~S Wave~~~

Be Encouraged!!

I  just received an e-mail from the Care2 petition site. On a typical day I might delete this kind of update e-mail or skim it quickly before trashing it. Not that I don’t care deeply about many causes I hear from in my inbox, but those e-mails accumulate so fast that before you know it you can’t find that one important e-mail from you boss that must have gotten swallowed up by all of the updates from political campaigns, activism sites, fundraisers, catalogs, etc etc. It’s the digital version of the two brown bags I have in my kitchen overflowing with mail for my neighbor that I have been collecting while he is out of town. I’ve told him, “You can go paperless with many of these things,” but on and on it arrives into the NON-metaphorical mailbox outside his house…fliers and advertisements, solicitations and bills, coupons and newsletters.

This is NOT a complaint post, believe it or not. I’m not spending time on this beautiful evening ranting about spam. Actually, what I wanted to share with you was what I mentioned at the beginning…this update from Care2. The subject?: LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! And in the body of the e-mail is a list of just a few of the game changers in environmental issues, animal welfare, and public health that have occurred all over the world just in July due (at least in large part) to individuals signing petitions on the Care2 petition site. Here are the headlines and links:

FDA Bans BPA in Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

Santa Monica Mountain Lion Shooting Leads to Policy Changes

Urban Decay Gets Cruelty-Free Status Back

FOUR PAWS Team Rescues Cub From Cruel Fate

Leatherback Turtles Protected in Puerto Rico

Forage Fish Protected in the Pacific

Chevron to Pay $19 Million For Environmental Damages


 

 

 

So BE ENCOURAGED!! You can be an activist and an advocate from the comfort of your own home if that is what feels right to you. Don’t like PETA? No worries! But it doesn’t mean that you can’t stand up for the welfare of animals. Don’t live in the Ukraine? It doesn’t mean you can’t help little Nastia find a better future at Four Paws. Amazing isn’t it? We can impact our world in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few decades ago. You should know that YOUR life has an impact. Always has. Always will.

I feel the need….

Okay, here are the books that have been accumulating on my “Need to Read” shelf.

Of course there is no way I’m going to read them all this summer but I can make a dent. Where should I start?? If you can’t decipher from the picture, here is the lineup:

THE BOND by Wayne Pacelle

THE WORLD PEACE DIET by Will Tuttle

PROUST AND THE SQUID by Maryanne Wolf

EMDR by Francine Shapiro and Margot Silk Forrest

TAO by Hua-Ching Ni

RADICAL HOMEMAKERS by Shannon Hayes

NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION by Marshall B. Rosenberg

FOUNDATIONS OF TIBETAN MYSTICISM by Lama Anagarika Govinda

LOVE AND SURVIVAL by Dean Ornish

SCIENCE AND THE AKASHIC FIELD by Ervin Lazlo

 

I’m so excited for each one of these and hope to share my reactions in our Book Review section. If any of you have read these let me know what you think! Worth reading??