Weekend To-Do (Good) List

Is it Friday already??

Here you go everyone, your to-do list with a twist. The weekend is more than mowing the lawn, taking the kids to soccer, catching up on your stored shows, etc etc. Let’s not just do our weekend like we normally do. Let’s inject a good dose of GOOD into the world. I’m making it easier for you by giving you these few leads. I’m sure some of you are doing good in ways that I can’t even imagine. Please…inspire us! Share your good actions so we can join you and get something done!

This week, I’m offering one item for each of three areas of connection that I write about : animal connection, inner connection, and ecoconnection. Enjoy!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Animal Connection: The Pata Zoo According to Mindful Wanderer

There is a couple I’ve been following lately. No, I don’t mean I’m stalking them around Los Angeles. I’m following them on Facebook and Instagram of course. Their names are Giselle and Cody and seem like pretty neat people to know. Their blog is called Mindful Wanderlust. They write about vegan lifestyle, animal rights, ecotravel, LGBT issues, tattoos and many other things. Just look at how fun they are:

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Anyway, I digress.

Recently, Giselle and Cody were traveling in Bangkok,Thailand where they encountered the Pata Zoo. They visited this place to find out how animals were being treated at a small zoo in the Pata department store, a “decrepit building in the middle of a local area of busy Bangkok.”

Inside they documented images of isolated, neglected, understimulated, and abused (yes, restriction of any semblance of natural behaviors/stimulation is abuse) animals, including an isolated gorilla, an orangutan and her infant, and a penguin who lives all by himself and hides in his shelter almost all day. The pictures they shared on their blog are tragic (though, not graphic for any of you who worry about that.)  Click on this picture of Bua Noi to view the full story:

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo. Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo.
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody were enraged and heartbroken for these animals which they rightly called “prisoners.” Giselle and Cody are used to putting their sense of injustice to work and that is what they have done.

They have started a petition on Change.org which you can find by

CLICKING HERE.

It will literally take you no more than 2 minutes to fill in your name and information, copy the URL and paste it to your Facebook. Can you do that? How about for Humbolt?:

Humbolt the Penguin Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Humbolt the Penguin
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

How about for this baby who has never touched grass and deserves to know more than concrete and metal?:

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Thank you for caring. From me, from Giselle and Cody, and most of all from the animals. May our travels be of compassion and kindness.

2. Inner Connection: Mindful 

Speaking of the word “mindful,” I recently started a morning meditation practice with more diligence than usual. A friend and I are doing it together and–not surprisingly!–I am already feeling the benefits throughout my day. Along with silent meditation, we are using the great book, Living In the Moment by Anna Black to learn some ways of carrying mindfulness into our everyday lives.

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I wanted to share one of the exercises in the book that I have found particularly enlightening. Black calls it, Who Are You Showering With?

“When you shower in the morning, take a moment or two to notice who has ‘joined’ you… Who are you thinking about–perhaps it is your boss, or colleagues at work, maybe it is someone you are going to see later that day, or perhaps it is someone you talked to yesterday. It might be your partner, your children, your parents, your next-door neighbor.. How many people are in the shower with you?

“Then, begin focusing on the physical sensations of showering… the water running off your skin… the temperature of the water… the soap lathering up between your fingers. Notice when you experience a sensation of delight or when there might be a feeling of pushing away or dislike. There is not a right way to shower and whether we are invigorating ourselves first thing in the morning, simply shampooing our hair, or cooling off after a hot day, all we are doing is paying attention to the act of taking a shower.

“Tip: Identifying who turns up in the shower regularly may give you some helpful feedback on where you preoccupations are at any one time.” 

Try this out this weekend. It’s amazing where our mind goes and who it goes with during such a short, sublime time of the day. Can you stay in the moment? Can you be with your own sensations of pleasure. I promise…you’ll like this one.

3. EcoConnection: Earthing

A few years ago,my father brought my attention to a book and video about “Earthing.” He sends me the most interesting things to read about, or to watch on youtube and documentaries. This was one.

Earthing is based on the idea that connecting to the earth physically, say by walking barefoot or lying down on the lawn, actually transmits the electrons from the Earth into our bodies. That in turn, is supposed to be beneficial for our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Because it is hard for some people to actually step (bare)foot on the ground (maybe because of urban dwelling or extreme temperatures for example), people have designed a device that you can attach to your feet while you sleep. It is “grounded” in the Earth somehow and is supposed to be able to transmit those healing electrons into your body.

I don’t know about the device. I’ve never tried it…yet. (I’m up for anything!) But I definitely believe in the healing power of nature.

So this weekend, let’s all agree that we’re going to get our green on!

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

One way or another, let’s get into nature. Yes, hug a tree. Yes, smell the roses. Yes, lie in the grass. Sit and be still…listen to the sounds of nature and notice the feel of the air on your skin. Notice a bug and watch it as it lives in its moment. Give thanks for the astounding biological system all around you of which you are just a small participant. Let yourself revel in that smallness.

Then tell me if you don’t feel just a little bit better!

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Now you can connect with Life As a Wave on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. We’ll see you there!

More Hard Truth About Dairy

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay, it’s time to face more hard truth about the factory dairy industry. A new investigation by Mercy For Animals shows unbelievable–just unbelievable–abuses at a dairy farm at Leprino Foods in New Mexico which is a supplier for Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s.  Yes, this is a hard video to watch. If you are squeamish about these kinds of images, muting your volume first might help, or read my tongue-in-cheek list of tips from a previous post. But please watch it.

If you can’t stand to watch it, I understand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t engage. Instead of watching, just quickly scroll down so the video is off screen. Below it you will find a petition to sign stating that you will boycott Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s unless stricter animal abuse prohibition is put into practice. Signatures DO make a differencePlease sign it.

I know many of Life As a Wave readers are already aware of the lack of transparency in factory farming. I know many of you have taken steps to educate yourselves and to adopt humane lifestyles and diet. However, there are numerous people out there who still don’t know the suffering behind what they are eating. Some of them are your friends and family. They don’t know the connection between the meat and dairy industry or believe that they could “never stop eating cheese.” For their good, the animals’ good, and the Earth’s good, it is crucial that the facts about factory farming be shared and so that change can happen. So, please share it.

Here is the link to the video and the petition: http://www.sliceofcruelty.com

Remember, no one ever stopped abuse by turning a blind eye. You can do it! For them, you can look.

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Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more ways to help better the world around you!

Weekend To-Do (Good) List: FOR THE DOLPHINS!

This weekend, I am happy to present a to-do (good) list with a theme…..

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DOLPHINS! We love them, are intrigued by them, and consider them to be a lot like us. This weekend, to pay homage to the dolphins (not to mention the multiple other species) that will die or be sold to captivity during the annual Taiji dolphin hunt which began this week in Japan, Life As a Wave is devoting each good deed on this to-do list to dolphins. They are our social, intelligent, and self-aware non-human co-animals who have long been abused and exploited and they deserve better. And so, help us acknowledge these amazing creatures this weekend by participating in the following good deeds on their behalf…

1. Dolphins in the Desert??

Rick O’Barry, the former dolphin trainer featured in the film The Cove, is still in pursuit of dolphin liberation and preservation. Among his many initiatives, he is leading an campaign to end dolphin exhibitions at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel houses dolphins in pens without sufficient shade and without sufficient depth of water to keep themselves cool. The dolphins are apparently displaying skin disorders due to this poor care and then are expected to perform unnatural tricks for audiences.

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On his Facebook page, O’Barry is encouraging people to write to the hotel Head of PR, CEO and Director of Animal Care to voice their disapproval and to demand that the dolphin captivity at the hotel end. In fact, O’Barry has done much of the work for you! Here are the contacts that he shares:

David Blasko – Director of Animal Care – DABlasko@Mirage.Com
Jim Murren – MGM Resorts CEO – MurrenJ@MGMResorts.Com
Yvette Monet – Head of MGM PR – YMonet@MGMresorts.com

And here is the letter template that O’Barry gladly provides: http://www.scribd.com/doc/220135245/Letter-to-Yvette-Monet-MGM

In that letter, O’Barry says,

The death rate of The Mirage dolphins since 1990 is 55%. 12 out of 22 dolphins have died (mostly from stress-related illness). Wild dolphins can live to their 50’s, even 60’s. The average age of death at The Mirage is 10.6 years.
 
Will you take a minute this weekend to copy and paste this letter to the individuals above? Can you help to change the statistics in that quote and possibly help to free a few animals from a life of exploitation and inhumanity? I thought so!
 
2. From Exploitation to Education
 
As SeaWorld continues to flounder after Blackfish backlash, some facilities are making a concerted effort to transition away from animal exploitation and toward animal rehabilitation. The story goes that the Clearwater Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida is one such facility. The Aquarium was featured in A Dolphin Tale, a film about the development of a prosthetic fin for a dolphin named Winter.
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 A recent report says, 
 
The Clearwater Aquarium has announced it will no longer feature any animal performances, focusing instead on the rehabilitation and care of marine animals.
 
According to the aquarium’s CEO David Yates, stories like Hope and Winter’s will be the focus of the aquarium when its new center opens later this year.
 
“We don’t rescue them so we can have them to show to guests,” he said. “Our goal is to release them back into the wild. The whole essence of this thing is no matter what animals we have or don’t have, the experience of getting behind the scenes of our work, that’s going to be the draw long-term.”
 
Hip Hip Hooray if that is all true! You can read the whole story here.
 
But what does this have to do with you and your weekend? I thought it would be nice to give the Clearwater Aquarium a big thank you and a vote of confidence in their ability to help and not harm by following leaving them a THANK YOU on Facebook, Twitter, etc. So just click on the links below to go to their sites and share your encouragement. Remember to mention that you are proud of them for closing their animal shows! Let’s show them that the public is watching and is hopeful in their efforts. 
 
 
3.  The Call of Dolphin Duty?
As I was digging around in cyberspace, trying to find any interesting news about dolphins, I came across an oped in the New York Times from back in May. You can read the full version here, but in a nutshell, the author considers the dilemma (or is there one?) about the use of dolphins in the military. Did you know that dolphins are trained for a variety of military purposes such as scouting expeditions, mine searches, and even drone missions? 
 
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The author suggests that we should beware of hypocrisy in our quickness to condemn sending dolphins into warfare.
 
Many ethicists and environmentalists question the morality of keeping cetaceans in captivity. But if we accept cavorting orcas and dolphins at SeaWorld, then why not working dolphins in the Navy?
 
Well that is up to each of you to mull over. But, speaking of hypocrisy while the Navy values dolphins for their usefulness in warfare, they are at the same time killing hundreds of them with repeated tests off U.S. coasts. The Navy estimates that between 2014 and 2019 the tests will “kill approximately 155 marine mammals outright, permanently injure another 2,000, temporarily deafen hundreds of thousands more…” The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) believes this to be an underestimation. Read the original AP story from 2013 here. In response, the NRDC is suing the federal government to protect the marine life. They have also gathered over ___signatures on the petition located on their website. Click here to sign:
 
 
4. Movie Time!
After all, it is the weekend. It’s a great time to relax and do good at the same time! One way to do this is to watch a good documentary. After all, knowledge really is power and documentaries are a great medium for staying in touch, involved, and in the know while also getting to unwind and recline. So, expand your mind and meditate on our marine life brethren via a enjoyable flick, then share what you’ve learned with people around you. Raise awareness about the plight of marine life in your conversations and through your actions! To help you, here is a short list of films about dolphins, whales, fish, and other sea creatures that need our help in a variety of ways. Okay, they’re not ALL documentaries, but they’re all at least based on true stories.
 
 
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Have a wonderful weekend. Keep listening for news from Taiji over the next few months. Follow us on Facebook and get weekly reminders of your connection to the entire sea of life and beyond! Thank you for caring and for doing good in this world.
 
~~~S Wave~~~
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Role Beyond the Theater Doors

This week I went to see Blackfish, an important film about the life of orcas at marine parks like SeaWorld. It focused on Tilikum who has been in captivity for over 2 decades. It is receiving positive reviews left and right and anyone who sees it will be challenged to defend their support of parks such as SeaWorld where animals are exploited for entertainment and denied the ability to carry out natural social behaviors. In this age, conservation and education needs to be the name of the game. The times of animals in entertainment is passing.

But, those times won’t pass without actual action by regular citizens.  It’s good to show your support of animal welfare through your attendance at the theatre, but our role in real change doesn’t stop when the lights come back on. So after you’ve seen the movie, ask yourself what your next step might be. Here are some suggestions:

-Pledge to boycott marine parks

-Share the film with others: http://blackfishmovie.com

-Attend a marine park protest. How about one going on TODAY!

-Express your intentions via social media

-Express your disapproval to SeaWorld

-Sign a petition. Here is just one of many.

-START a petition

-Support Free Tilly campaigns like this one.

You are more powerful than you think and there is always another step waiting to be taken.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
—  Margaret Mead

Alma Mater, Mission Accomplished!

One of today’s report from PETA is about their campaign to ask University of Michigan to end it’s needless use of cats in medical training. The school has just announced they are putting an end to the practice! I’m posting this because it is times like this that I am encouraged to continue with each little step I take. I was one of thousands who signed this petition and when I can actually see a result like this, I instantly feel joined to every other person who voiced their opinion. Have you visited our Signed, Sealed, Delivered page yet? Get your name on something and see what happens!!

Here is the article from PETA…..

Victory! U-M Ends Cruel Cat Labs!

Written by Heather Faraid Drennan

After more than a year of campaigning by PETA and supporters—and a day after the release of a shockingPETA exposé—the University of Michigan (U-M) announced that it has ended the use of cats in its Survival Flight intubation training laboratory.

More than 100,000 people—including Michigan natives Iggy Pop and Lily Tomlin—called on U-M to replace crude and cruel live-animal laboratories with more humane and effective human simulators, which are already used for other U-M courses. The U-M student group Michigan Animal Rights Society led demonstrations in support of the effort, the student assembly passed a resolution urging the school to end the laboratories, and the student newspaper editorial board came out in favor of replacing animals with simulators. PETA supporters even jammed university circuit boards with phone calls to protest the Survival Flight animal laboratories.

U-M says that it still plans to harm and kill pigs to teach other skills in the Survival Flight training course, and PETA will continue to push the school to replace all animal use with simulators that are already available on campus.

Of course, this victory would not have been possible without the help of our supporters.