Author Archives: mocritter

1945 to 1955 to 1965; two half-generations of change, Part II

From the last episode of this piece, I began my diatribe rather softly, merely suggesting that the “job creators” who hire the rest of us for a mere pittance, make their money by taking all our resources, leaving us, first, sick and, finally, dead, while creating a dependency on the stuff they sell us, and make us have to have.  <Breath>

Yep.  First, they take all our resources, leaving you water you can’t drink, mountains with soil that has no health (so you can’t even grow and can your own beans anymore, without worrying that there might be toxic levels of metals in them beans), and you with a host of health problems.  In toto, they have left you with a once beautiful home, a home to not just you but also millions of other creatures, that is forever (in all human lifetimes) changed. Forever, disturbed.  The Appalachia of your grandparents’ youth?  Of their grandparents?  Well, at the risk of being accused of being nostalgic, and not merely reporting facts about a very old planet and what a few latecomers have wrought, their Appalachia was better.  Objectively better.  Sorry.  There wasn’t a Superfund site because of the reclaiming of mining equipment.  Then there were watersheds that were created naturally.  Now, we have watersheds that we are working to safeguard and restore.  Fishable.  Swimmable.  Those were the days, and can be again.

But now that I’ve pissed off half of my friends and bored the other, with these bright and sunny facts, I’ll get to the point.  That is, to my opinions about a system that would allow some people to do this to our home and the rest of us, under the guise of “giving us jobs.” Sell it down the road.  This sister ain’t buyin’.

Here’s what I’m thinking.  We must be either:

  • not playing with a full deck of cards, to let some people take us to the proverbial cleaners, as they say, and on an ongoing basis, and saying thanks for it,

OR

  • playing a game of cards with our every breath, that we think is a different card game.  That is to say, they have us thinking we’re playing something we’re not.

Because I think we’re a pretty smart lot, being apex scroungers and all, I believe it’s the latter.  I think we have a full deck, but the cards we are holding in our hot little hands aren’t capable of winning, ’cause we don’t know the game we’re playing.  And we don’t know that we don’t know.

Knowing better than to do so, you bite your tongue as you ask, “What is the card game we are playing?”

Well, since you asked, it’s the game of SORUBNED: the Stuff-oriented, Resource-using But Not Equitably Distributed game!  Yay!  And how’s our hand in the game of SORUBNED?

Well, that’s the thing.  Whether you have a good hand or a bad hand in any card game depends on the game.  It also depends on your understanding its rules.  We play SORUBNED, thinking it was like Go Fish, and didn’t realize that it was more like Blackjack.

Picture the game being played.  The card table that everyone in the 1950s had.  A cheap, beige, vinyl-covered one.  A few folks had the nicer ones with the green felt cover, with oaken hinges and sawtooth joinings.

The  ones who think they are playing Go Fish have the vinyl ones.  The group with the felt knows the rules of SOURBNED and knows that we don’t.  That groups’ members know that if they play Blackjack against an opponent who thinks the game is Go Fish, their opponents will giggle gleefully until the winner is announced.  At the end of the game.

During play, he will giggle along with you as you squeal with delight as he hands you over his Sevens and Fours and Sixes and Threes so you can amass a pile of matching cards.  He giggles in the same tone as you pass your Aces and Jacks to him.  So there we are, our scrambling for as many matching cards as we can; their looking for two cards that will seal the deal.

You know it’s true.  We are waking up to this realization.

The problem is, we should have woken up to the rules somewhere around 1965 (back to the theme of this piece – 1945, when we really began stoking the furnace of unsustainability).  But here we are.  Some woke up a bit earlier, some weren’t ever really asleep, and some have managed to sleepwalk through the whole game, having taken the Blue Pill.

Solution?  That’s for another day.  Meanwhile, I’ll exercise my uniquely 1955 expression of the human ability to ignore the oncoming doom, with a song, as I begin to venture beyond the path between this chair and my coffee pot.

Oh, what a beautiful Jackman!

Oh, what a beautiful day!

I got a beautiful feeling

Everythin’s goin’ my way.

Oh, the sounds of the Earth are like music,

Oh, the sounds of the Earth are like music,

The breeze is so busy, it don’t miss a tree,

And an old weepin’ willer is laughin’ at me.

Oh, what a beautiful mornin’!

1945 to 1955 to 1965; two half-generations of change, Part I

Ten, eleven years.  A half-generation.  We in our middling age recognize that our lives ten or eleven years ago are a lot like our lives today.  In many ways, it’s very much the same.  How ten years occurred to us in our youth, more than forty years ago, is very different.

Hence my morning musing on something about the ten or so years on either side of my birth.

The beginning is marked by 1945, a year characterized by a sense of shared elation and promise, but also of our first exposure to true, you-can’t-hide-from-it horror.

Cute movie. But then, I was born in 1955.

From 1945 to 1955, we acted out 1945’s promise and tried to forget anything truly horrid, allowing ourselves a let’s-play-pretend version of it regularly at The Bijou.  The campier the better.  It also made for a cool use of the Theremin.  On the big screen, there were always the lucky few who could, until On the Beach, hide under the bed or spray the giant insects with acid and get away.

The PatioBy 1955 there were more brick backyard grill patios constructed than “ever before.”  And now they were modern and hip, a cool place to have a cocktail and a Viceroy. I’m reminded of that scene, at the very end of Blast from the Past, where Christoper Walken begins to pace off the dimensions of the perfect backyard patio.  For the third time.  That we know of.

The PromiseBy 1955, a half-generation (not my half-generation, mind you, but our grownups’ one.  You know, The Greatest one; the one with the martinis and cigarettes and parties out on the patio while we watched through the big sliding glass doors in our jammies and thought that our parents were the coolest!) had plowed that field of elation and promise, with just a dash of ducking and covering and shameful enemy-inventing and scapegoating.

We churned that promise machine, harder, faster, better to make paper to make ads last longer for products that lasted less.  We pumped more and more hydrocarbons into that system to make it work harder, faster, cheaper, glossier.  Making consumable items with a short life span, then shipping them and selling them in containers that had longer life spans than the thing it contained.

Somewhere between 1955 and 1965, it became apparent that the promise wasn’t exactly coming at everyone in the same way.  We, perhaps vaguely, remember – I can still see the images on the news – the barbed wire marking a line that must not be crossed, a line where you could be shot or injured in attempting to cross it.  A line that notwithstanding the grave threat, I remember seeing a woman in a cotton dress, the kind with the self-belt at the waist, a smallish roundish woman, gathering the folds in her dress, so that they didn’t become entangled in that wire, running for it, risking injury and her life to cross it.  A line where, because of the call to freedom that made humans willing to die to cross it, the Berlin Wall would be erected for what seemed to us to be forever, but not to the half-generation before or after us.

The PriceBy 1965, uneven balance between the promise and the price was becoming stronger and more apparent.  The promise had just about hit its peak relative to the price that the planet could pay.

That was the point when we should have realized that we were on a moving sidewalk to unsustainability.  Before then, we and, I think, even many CEOs, didn’t realize that along with what we were manufacturing, we were busy building inequity with and into that promise-manufacturing system.

Investing in inequityBuilding inequity and demanding oil.  Not only oil, it also demanded way more human labor, way more blood, sweat and tears, for an increasingly less equitable portion of the proceeds.

And stuffBut in that trade, we got more stuff.  Lots more cheap stuff.  Stuff that we could hold, plug in, watch, clean, have repaired.  And replaced.  Stuff that we had to have.  And still have to have.  Stuff that must be bought by the cheapest labor that any human can endure and survive.

For some, who can get the stuff, it seems pretty great.  But there are people on this planet who, not only don’t get the stuff, they have their local economies become addicted to a system that will extract all their local resources and leave them, first hungry, then ill and finally dead.  Whether the resource is timber, food, coal, oil, soil/rock, natural gas, or the animals we can grow using those resources, the system is using it up, and belching out, well, to put it politely, poison and death.

(The second half of this oh-so-fascinating and uplifting article will be published as Part II.)

The stages of animal rights activism

Atlanta activists stand in front of the Japanese Embassy to protest dolphin and whale hunting

Save Japan Dolphins Day 2011, Atlanta, Georgia

A few mindless quips by a harmless fellow has brought something to my attention.  Apparently, the saying, “If you’re not activist, you’re an inactivist” doesn’t go quite far enough to describe some who don’t stand alongside me as I hold my “Free the Dolphins” signs at The Georgia Aquarium.  It reminded me that there are people who actually advocate against the notion that animals have rights.  Zounds.  People that, as far as I know, don’t even benefit financially from that position.  And it got me to thinking about stages of activism in this human existence.

Here’s how I think the world stacks up with regard to animal rights activism, at least in the part of the world that doesn’t benefit financially from the exploitation of animals.  The people who do, I’ll save for another day.  I will say, however, that just because one benefits financially from a practice, that does not preclude him or her from seeing things without that $$ lens and making a different choice.  My examples are this awesome guy, named Virgil Butler, who used to work in a Tyson chicken slaughterhouse and one of my favorite human beings, Ray Anderson, for whom the light of sustainability flicked on while he was earning enough money to, shall we say, not want to see that particular light switched on.  And then became an activist for sustainability.

 

milk machine PETA Atlanta GARP Georgia Animal Rights and Protections

GARP and PETA assemble a cast of cows in Atlanta to say, "I am not a milk machine."

The Activist Category A:  In this category, the street can be, uh, the street, or it can be virtual (social media, letter-writing, phone-calling, blog writing, etc).  Activism is activism.  And the crème de la crème of activists are the ones who (get to) participate on the physical front lines rather than from their terminals.  Cat A Activists know this.  The front line and the virtual  Cat A’s have a beautiful friendship.

The Activist Category B:  In this category, I put those who, while they believe that dolphin captivity is wrong, just don’t see themselves as sign-carriers or letter-writers or costume-wearers (you gotta try this one!).  This amalgamation of folks seems to share the recognition that animals have rights, that dolphin captivity can’t possibly be good for the animal, and, therefore, the inquiry stops as it did for Mark Twain when he considered vivisection, and they conclude that they want no part of dolphin shows.

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.                                                                        -Mark Twain

The Category B Activist – the “B” stands for Belief – will not do certain things.  This “not doing” generally comes in fits and starts – most Cat A Activists have gone through Cat B – as new informational tidbit after new video surfaces, and they actually consider the math of the range of a wild dolphin (tens and up to a hundred miles a day, depending on the population) and compare that to a life in captivity, whether wild-caught or bred for captivity.  Cat B’s don’t go to SeaWorld or the Georgia Aquarium or Dolphin Quest Resorts, or even the local putt-putt when they realize that the “attraction” there is the Live Alligators as much as the great golfing, even if it means driving a few blocks to the next putt-putt course to show her golfing prowess.

The only free dolphin at the Georgia Aquarium

The only free dolphin at the Georgia Aquarium

The Believers in Cat B, by the way, end up pledging not to go to the dolphin show or swim-with program, which puts them precariously on the ledge of falling into Cat A, just so you know.  It might not be dolphin activism; it might be dogs-off-chains, or ending cock-fighting, or the horrific farm-factory practices here in these United States and elsewhere, but at least some email-writing, petition-signing or maybe even costume-wearing is not far behind.

The Fearful Haters:  Let me explain that downright ugly name, one my momma wouldn’t want me putting in writing.  Maybe when she learns that I almost called this category The Pig Fuckers, she’ll be impressed with my decorum.  Who are the FHs and how did they get to feeling so darned superior over animals?  But even “darned superior” isn’t quite on the mark to capture their disdain for animal suffering.  These appear to be people who have had an animal trauma.  Maybe their dog jumped on them when they were five, and having been thus terrorized by man’s-best-friend, they’ve never felt comfortable in the presence of any animal afterward.  Or their parents took their dog away but told him, or her, that the dog was mean and had to be sent away.  Or the parents truly liked the dog best.  And now they find solace in the subordination of nonhuman animals, these creatures that jumped on him, or her.

Okay, so I don’t believe that.  There’s got to be something else behind all animal hating or malicious indifference.  And just because I clearly don’t understand the mentality, however small, of those who don’t see that compassion restricted to its own group – whether species, race, ethnicity or religion – is not compassion at all, doesn’t mean that it isn’t understandable.  A real live psychologist would undoubtedly find other categories between the Fuck Holes (oops, I forgot what FH stood for), I mean, Fearful Haters, and the activists.  But I’m not a psychologist.  I’m just a human being, with a compassion for creatures other than humans, who recognizes that we have encroached on their territory, extracted them from it for our own purposes – first only circuses, now circuses, education and warfare.

I also see a trend; with regular updating, the U.S. and/or its states have moved in the right direction in recognizing that animal welfare should be protected and that industries who benefit from exploiting them may not be whom you want to define the standards.  So I have hope that we will continue until we get our laws to spring logically from our science.

But who, I ask you, could hate a dolphin enough to want to rip it from the ocean, or worse, breed it in captivity and to live its life in one or several small tanks or ponds, to be gawked at or worse, ridden like a bucking bronco?  Don’t get me started on that one.

Striped dolphins free Georgia Aquarium Seaworld

Striped dolphins as they were intended, free

Okay, okay. Uncle! Uncle, already.

Okay – Uncle!  Uncle!  There is a god.  There.  I’ve said it.

If you like either Eddie Vedder or Johnny Depp, you’ll understand.  If you like them both (which of course you do), take a valium before watching.  Or at least don’t take a sudafed.

I mean, Johnny Depp playing lead guitar to Eddie’s rhythm.

Yes, yes, yes.  There is a god.  :  )

You could have pointed this out at any time.  I would have gotten it.

I’m going over to .org

OMG.  I’m preparing for Day Two of Wordcamp Atlanta 2012 (#WCATL).  I’m there with my friend @3pupsinapopup.  Thank God.  Funny how you don’t feel as lost when you share that experience with somebody.  As lost.

Cove Blue for Jiyu dolphin blog

Cove Blue for Jiyu: In the end, it's about respect. This is how she looks now at .com.

We’re both poised on the precipice of leaving .com and going over to, gulp, .org.  I know, I know.  I shouldn’t make it sound like a scary thing.  If you’ve told me once, you’ve told me a thousand times, it’s easy!

But when you talk about widgets, and plug-ins, and things that aren’t widgets or plug-ins but they’re something else, god knows what; well, let’s just say that I’m feeling a little uneasy about it all.  As if I will never know what you guys who know .org know – the plug-in talk was outstanding by the way.  Don’t you just get a trillion trillion trillion calls?

I do take some pride at being further along than those who still don’t know the difference between a category and a page.

Anyway.  I’m scared.  But excited.  So that I can select the right plug-ins and put them in the right widgets to create and optimally deliver to you what I would consider to be pretty close to the mark (Miss High Standards, to you) what I want to say and how I want to get it across to you.

I just backed up and extracted my file.  For the first time.  I’ll have to do it again in about five minutes to catch this post.  For the migration.  Cool.

I wonder if @3pupsinapopup has done this.

More dolphin education from the Georgia Aquarium. Not. Unless dolphins picking the Super Bowl winner is educational.

Before we get to the dolphin education brought to you by CNN and Georgia Aquarium, and to a lesser extent the Super Bowl, I’d like you to meet the two dolphins now housed at the Georgia Aquarium, reported by CNN to be Shaka and Lily, who are the subjects of today’s post.

 

Shaka, a wild-caught dolphin, caught in 1988, estimated birthdate in 1985, Georgia Aquarium. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory Copyright Dolphin quest

Shaka, a wild-caught dolphin, caught in 1988, estimated birthdate in 1985, Georgia Aquarium. Photo from Ceta-base’s Phinventory Copyright Dolphin quest

Shaka:  Shaka was wild-caught.  I’m not very good at dolphin research yet, so I can’t tell you precisely where Shaka was taken, or how many dolphins from her pod were taken from the ocean on that memorable day.  But thanks to Ceta-base (because the government doesn’t do a very good job of tracking the dolphins in captivity), we know that she was captured on May 27, 1988, and arrived at Dolphin Quest Bermuda on August 20, 1988.  Estimated to have been born in 1985, Shaka has been used to breed dolphins for the captive industry.  She has lost at least two calves in this effort to supply more captive dolphins, one in 1996 and one in 1997.  Dolphins generally breed only every five years, maybe a bit less, because in the wild, the calves stay with their mother continuing to learn how to be a dolphin.  So Shaka was busy.

 

Lily, also at the Georgia Aquarium, born April 9, 2004. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory. Copyright Dolphin Quest

Lily, also at the Georgia Aquarium, born April 9, 2004. Photo from Ceta-base’s Phinventory. Copyright Dolphin Quest

Lily.  Lily, on the other hand, was bred in captivity.  She has never lived in the ocean.  Born to Cirrus (Circe) with sperm from Khyber (Keebler) on April 4, 2004, she now lives in Georgia.

I’m at a bit of a loss to  know what to say next about Shaka and Lily, because I see what sort of “education” about dolphins the Georgia Aquarium provides that justifies keeping these sentient creatures in a tank, and am left speechless, almost.  When I watched the following video, the universe supplied me with words like imbecilic and disrespectful.  The word “education” was not found in the parade of words that floated past.

But lest you worry that the video will be shocking, let me assure you, this is just a moronic display of disrespect of the dolphins to sell news over at CNN and get more people to watch the Superbowl (as if) and come to the Georgia Aquarium.  Same old story.

So to the morons and imbeciles, I humbly apologize.  I know, I know, labels only label me, not you.  Whatever.  Just watch this educational spot and see if you don’t agree that, even if you can’t put your finger on precisely what is wrong with this picture, you know that it is wrong.

Seeing how these creatures are being used, please do not go to the dolphin show.  Not here.  Not there.  Not anywhere.  And to add your voice to those who have put their finger on the wrongness, take the pledge with Save Japan Dolphins not to go to dolphin show.  Share it with your friends.

If you take the pledge, I thank you.  And I bet, Shaka and Lily thank you.

If you’d like to let CNN know that this spot makes it clear that two of the four mammals in it appear to be clueless about how off the mark they were on selecting this spot, you can contact them at 404.827.1500.  I wonder who thought this one up?  CNN? Or the Georgia Aquarium?

For more information, you might want to watch a trailer to The Cove.

The irony of entertainment bedfellows

Jut a few words, as I swallow just a bit of vomit in my mouth.

“Why did you vomit, Mo?” I can hear you thinking inquisitively.  Well, this morning it came to my attention that the World’s Largest Aquarium is screening a movie.

“Why would that make you vomit!!?” you’re continuing to turn over in your laudably open mind.

Well, it’s the comingling of mutually contradictory facts, also known as irony.  Sometimes irony is amusing.  But sometimes it makes you vomit.  Today was a vomit kind of irony.  The facts in today’s not so pleasant irony?

  • Fact 1:  The Georgia Aquarium is the World’s Largest Aquarium.  It sought and gained that status as a result of having built dolphin tanks – as little as 8 feet deep for a creature that in the wild dives hundreds of feet on a regular basis – and brought dolphins in from where they had been captive bred, well, except for the one dolphin that was caught in the wild.

Now, that’s a video you should watch – of dolphins being wrested from the ocean, trapped in nets, crying, trying not to drown, separated from their family.  Sometimes getting free, but because it refuses to leave its family, is recaptured.

It’s also the World’s Largest Aquarium because of having to build a large tank in order to house one of its other attractions, the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, which were, not so incidentally, or coincidentally, caught in the wild.

  • Fact 2:  The World’s Largest Aquarium (built so that it can house lots and lots and lots of animals that should be swimming free in the wild) is screening a movie.  I know you’re still not getting why that would make me vomit.  Well, the movie is a fictionalized account of an effort in the 1980s by a Greenpeace staffer of rescuing some free and wild grey whales that were trapped in the ice off the coast of Alaska.

Oops.  Vomited again.

They’ve included the price of the ticket to the movie – the one about saving the wild humpback whales so they would continue to live free lives – in with the price of seeing dolphins, beluga whales and whale sharks (and the list goes on) that will live in captivity until they die a likely premature death.

Here’s that video that I said you might want to watch:

Urp.

But it isn’t the irony that gets me; it’s the hypocrisy.

The big miracle is that I didn’t blow chunks.

So, go see the movie if you want.  But see it without the hypocrisy.  See it at a theater where they don’t at the same time that you’re saying “free the whales” make their living dependent on your thinking that captivity is okay.

An epidemic that could be ended

There is an epidemic on this planet.  Even though we are aware of it.  Even though we could stop it from spreading.  Even though we could cut out the delusional and disingenuous cancer that it is.  Even though we could educate people to its true nature.

Why aren’t we stopping it?  Why are we not curing ourselves of something that is infinitely curable?

Ask The Georgia Aquarium.  Ask SeaWorld.  Ask the Miami Seaquarium.  Ask the Shedd Aquarium.

Ask the Indianapolis Zoo.  Ask Dolphin Quest.  Ask The Mirage.  Ask Dolphin Cove.  Ask Theater of the Sea.  Ask the National Aquarium.  Ask Dolphins Plus.

Ask Florida’s Gulfarium.  Ask to see their living versus their deceased dolphins list.

So, why aren’t we ending this epidemic?  This epidemic of dolphin and whale captivity?

Ask to see their door receipts.

If you watched the video, you know that’s a lot of door receipts.  A lot of hot dogs.  A lot of cola.  A lot of really bad reasons not to end dolphin and whale captivity.

Thanks to TheComanchewolf for the video on Youtube.

Join in finding freedom from captivity – A New Show

Ric O'Barry after release of The Cove

Ric O’Barry after release of The Cove, photo from The Examiner

For years, Ric O’Barry and Hardy Jones have spoken out against marine mammal captivity.  They have pointed out in movies, such as The Cove and A Fall from Freedom, that whales and dolphins do not belong in captivity.  Recently a group of former Sea World trainers have created an interactive website, where they speak out about the life of captivity for marine mammals.

Mr. O’Barry, as a former and probably the world’s most famous dolphin trainer, learned from being with them on an ongoing basis, that training them to perform and keeping them in captivity was not an ethical undertaking.  He learned that dolphins in those settings can become dispirited and depressed.  He learned what Jacques Cousteau admonished, that

No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.  – Jacques Yves Cousteau

In response to that realization, Mr. O’Barry and others have devoted their lives toward securing the release of dolphins and orcas from a captive, for-human-entertainment life.

Rehabilitate the captives.  Mr. O’Barry has suggested an ethical alternative for the trainers and the captive facilities, like SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium.  That alternative is to provide real education about whales and dolphins by rehabilitating for a life in the wild the cetaceans whom the aquarium industry has captured or bred for captivity.  And making that the show. There are over 50 cetaceans at Sea World Orlando alone, and hundreds in the United States.  The international situation mirrors the United States one, with worse conditions than the meager protections afforded by U.S. laws.

Wouldn’t rehabilitation of former “performers” be a fine undertaking and a show that you’d be proud to attend?  And a wonderful memory for your children?  Of having been part of and been there on the front row of finding freedom for the world’s dolphins and whales.

You have, perhaps, seen the videos of dogs who had spent their entire lives chained to a post and then become free from that chain.  While dogs and dolphins are not an apt special comparison because dolphins are actually wild, undomesticated animals, watching even a dog experience freedom from a chain, unsuitable for its normal activity and range, may give us some sense of what an orca or dolphin, far more intelligent than a dog, would experience in the same situation.

We would need to be very responsible in that endeavor to release these highly intelligent mammals in a way that took into account their intelligence, their lifestyles, their instincts, their native habitat.  We could do that.  And if we humans are ethical and moral creatures, we will do that.

Rehabilitate the stranded.  After we succeeded in rehabilitating the captive-bred or captured dolphins and orcas, there would be ongoing work to rehabilitate whales and dolphins who strand, generally en masse, for reasons that still elude the human species.  Instead of finding reasons to retain the stranded, Sea World and the rest could re-focus the effort that they now expend in training for jumping, splashing, ball-throwing shows on caring for the stranded, locating the still-free remnant of the pods, and reuniting them.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to share with your children an experience of restoring a free life to these magnificent creatures?  As a comparison, if we desired to design a depressing life for dolphins and whales, we would wind up with a design like the current Sea World and The Georgia Aquarium.  Of course, that is not our desire.  That is, I feel certain, not the desire of the aquariums.  But the apparently willful blindness of the aquarium industry to the egregious, depressing life that they have designed for whales and dolphins is no excuse.  It is not an excuse for any of us, any more. We and they must step beyond the Mid-Twentieth Century mentality of dolphin and whale captivity.

The great news is that there is an alternative. An ethical alternative.  An alternative that will allow us all to participate in making a difference for life.  But we must together create that alternative.  How?

By being part of a demand for A New Show.

And, meanwhile, by taking a pledge not to go to the current one.  Be part of building an ethical outcome to the captivity dilemma.  Never again allow a dolphin to die as Jiyu, whose life will forever remind us that dolphins should be free.

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn't withstand captivity Taiji Cove

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn’t withstand captivity, photo by Heather Hill of Save Japan Dolphins

Namaste.

Free Recycled Shopping Bags

Watch out! It's Recyclosaurus!! (Kroger)

If anyone has read my blog lately, they may pick up on the idea that, among all my other traits, I am, shall we say, extremely disorganized.  Thank god for chairs and computers and books and printers and notebooks and pen and paper.  Words are a wonderful world of partially-furnished organization.

I also love organization.  It’s soooooooo cool.  But I just don’t have the knack to do and keep it done in the physical world.  So my life, in the home organization department, is pretty much spent getting organized (to a greater or lesser degree) and then spending the next two years on the sliding board of disorganization, only to land in the disorganization mudpit at the bottom of the slide, where it becomes so obvious that disorganization is now a problem that I must do something about it.

Which brings us to this article.  This last home organization cycle has lasted for more than two years.  That is to say, I’ve been living in the mudpit for awhile, peppered with periods or even moments where I cleaned up enough to notice an improvement and then stopped.  If you follow this blog, you’ll notice that I have been climbing back up that sliding board since the weekend of Christmas.

So disorganized?  Yes.  But will I find single-use plastic shopping bags in this mess?  No.  Because, while disorganized, I’m also an environmentalist and lover of the planet who tries in my disorganized way make choices about my lifestyle that are consistent with my love of the planet.

No single-use plastic in this disorganized gal’s house.  Instead, I find, in my cleaning adventure, a medium-sized pile of recycled shopping bags.  Not a huge pile, because it isn’t really true that Hoarders invited me on their show, and if someone suggests that, Hoarders and I both know it isn’t true.  But a pile, yes, and one bigger than I can use to do my food-shopping.  Fresh vegetables really don’t take that much room in shopping bags.

And of course, you’re ahead of me.  You know why I have that medium-sized pile.  You all (except the most organized) experience those moments walking into the grocery store, the “Crap!  I forgot the recycled shopping bags!” moments.  The ones you even stomp your foot and snap your fingers about, right there in the grocery store.  But I refuse to use single-use shopping bags.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.   Ergo, medium-sized pile.  If I were more organized, I could say medium-sized stack.  But, alas, I am not, and cannot.

So, I just decided this morning that if you, dearest (you have no idea how dear, unless my stats are showing) reader, would like to have one of my existing shopping bags, please leave a comment and I’ll send one to you.

Bag that saves dolphins. www.savejapandolphins.org

It’s not like I’m the Imelda Marcos of shopping bags; I don’t have that many.  I just have more than I need and thought I would share.  Simple.  So, when my paltry pile is empty, I won’t purchase more just so I can send one to you.

Hm.  Wait a minute.  Maybe I will.

If you take a pledge not to use single use shopping bags in your comment on this piece, I will send you a brand new one.

Show your love for the planet.  Leave a comment. Pledge to not use single-use plastics shopping bags.  I can’t send an on-request, particular kind, but I think you’ll like them.

Hey, pledge in the comment to work on an ordinance for your City Council  to end the use of single-use plastic bags within its jurisdiction, also providing contact information for your Mayor and City Council members, and I’ll send you five new recycled shopping bags.

But you won’t find a Publix bag in the lot, because they sponsor the diabolical dolphin show at the Georgia Aquarium, and I will never give my money to Publix, unless I am visiting my mom, where that is apparently all they have.

Wait.  Ooh.  If you sign the pledge at Save Japan Dolphins to not go to the dolphin show and comment on this article indicating the date and time (for verification, because I’m a bitch) you signed the Pledge at Save Japan Dolphins, I will send you five new free recyclable shopping bags, too.  I’m still not guaranteeing the message.  But you’ll like them, unless you’re a bolt of cloth.  Note that Save Japan Dolphins has not approved this; this is just me on a Saturday morning drinking coffee.

And what about my medium-sized pile?  I’ll continue to palm them off on my most honored first and last born and his amazing sweetheart.

Late-breaking edit: I’m thinking a five-bag maximum makes sense.  I wouldn’t want you to start creating your own pile.  So, if you both pledge to not go to the dolphin show AND agree to work on an ordinance in your town, you’ll get twice the karma points, but not the number of bags, except for Georgia, whose awesome commitment brought this consideration to the surface.  And can only do this for U.S. addresses.  At least for now.

Note: It doesn't say "Organize it." or maybe I would have? Basically.