Nancyeclark's Blog


LONG DARK NIGHT

I can’t stop crying…and it is from a sadness and despair so profound, so deep, it has loosened my foundations like an earthquake. Everything I cherish and love and find beautiful in this world is being destroyed..by us. I cry in pain, and despair…and in the darkness of a soul that feels its connections withering into dust. My long dark night has begun.

I have seen the cruelty of humans. Active, intentional cruelty to children, to animals, to each other. And I have seen the neglect, the unintentional cruelty…the cruelty of not caring, of ignorance. Now I see, a cruelty, a neglect that comes, I believe from a deeper, more sinister place…and on a much more massive scale. We may say we are not aware…but if we stop to think, we must know the consequences of our actions…we are the smartest animal on the planet after all, and for years now it has been warned of, been in the news. “Activists”  and “environmentalists” and “scientists” have been issuing warnings for years. (I use the quotation marks because these folks have always been seen as alarmists and not quite with the mainstream.) We did not listen because we are too greedy and too busy to heed the warnings. There is a picture floating around the internet for shark week that I find revealing…(thanks to Ocean Defenders for the image)

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We have so polluted and corrupted our planet…our mother, our home…our only place to survive, that it may never recover and become whole again. And the cruelty isn’t just to our fellow creatures, it is to ourselves. If we create a place so toxic and unwelcoming to other species…why can we not see that it is toxic and unwelcoming to us as well?

We have spewed out so many greenhouse gases that we have changed our climate forever. Even if we stopped right this second…the damage has been done and the erosion of our atmosphere will continue apace because there isn’t any way to remove what we have already released into our air…and because the rise in temperatures we have already seen will continue to thaw the permafrost and release more gases into the mix.

We have cleared so much forest and rainforest, to satisfy our hunger and greed…our planet is like a smoker with stage 4 lung cancer…our planets lungs are not just sick, not just less able to breathe…they are going to die and everything within them die too. With the trees, plants and grasses go the animals that depend on them…and so go we. Maybe not today..but soon. Our remaining time on earth is looking less and less long term. People worry about how to live better now, how to leave something for their kids and give them a better future…we should be worrying about having a future at all.

And it scares me silly that we might explore and expand one day onto other planets. What will we do there? Create more garbage and more problems. Movies show us big bad aliens showing up on Earth and trying to kill us. Maybe the reason is the fear of us figuring out how to colonize other planets. If I were a species from another planet, I would be very worried about us Earthlings showing up and killing them…not with bigger weapons…but with our garbage, toxins, pollution and greed. It might take longer to wipe them out than the apocalypses seen in the movies, but it would happen just the same. I would find humans showing up very scary indeed. Have we not left our refuse everywhere we have been? The moon, space, our own backyards?

doesnt matter how much money we have1148943_604889226218606_512838833_n

We have so polluted our oceans that thousands of miles from any continent…we are still killing in the most horrible and cruel way with just the detritus of our unthinking, greedy, ignorant lifestyles. Tossing garbage out of our cars, off our boats…dumping waste into our rivers and into the oceans…there are huge rafts of plastic floating around the world’s oceans. There is oil and god knows what spilled and leaching into the waters off every coast. That bottle you did not recycle, that hypodermic you tossed into the trash, those 6 pack rings…all of them are deadly.

On the island of Midway…far off in the pacific…look, if your stomach can take it,…at what we have done.

A warning here…the video is graphic and disturbing…and so it should be!

Midway

I am speechless with grief and horror at the reach of the death we mete out to the planet’s other inhabitants without even being present or aware of what we are doing.

I have heard my whole life how smart we humans are and how we can put our minds to anything…to technology and advance it leaps and bounds…to create the internet, robotics, weapons, move into space exploration. How we create language and art and so are far and away more advanced and wonderful and precious than other creatures…we call ourselves Homo Sapiens or “wise man” after all.

I have to say I am more convinced now than ever before that we are the most stupid of creatures, because we have never been able to see the impact of our actions quite so clearly as we do now, and yet we refuse to countenance our complicity in the extinction of species, destruction of habitat and rape and pillage of the planet that sustains us.

Worse than any Mongol Horde, any plague are we…through our lack of insight, our greed and ignorance, our refusal to believe that we are part of the ecosystems we study…that we are somehow above being a species reliant on the Earth’s biosphere. Are we so damn blind?

This is why I can’t stop crying…and it is from a sadness and despair so profound, so deep, it has loosened my foundations like an earthquake. Everything I cherish and love and find beautiful in this world is being destroyed..by us. I cry in pain, and despair…and in the darkness of a soul that feels its connections withering into dust. My long dark night has begun. And so has ours as a species, unless we can make big changes to the way we see ourselves and our place in the grand scheme and loosen the grip consumerism has on our minds and hearts. The darkness we face only mirrors the darkness within.

Welcome to the long, dark night.



AM I NUTS?

I think I may finally, at the age of 53, found my true path in life. I am seriously considering going back to school. Whether that happens or not (and the reasons would be financial), I believe I must work with animals, in animal welfare, somehow, someway. I have seen, heard, watched and learned enough now to know that it is just as important as working to end poverty, injustice and cruelty anywhere…and those things will still be on the agenda too…but animals are truly where my future lies.

I believe that a society must be measured on the way it treats its most vulnerable…the children…the elderly…and the ones who have no voice of their own…the animals who share our lives, our communities, our supper table and our planet.

I have spent the last two years fostering cats and helping my local shelter, writing letters about whales, seals, cats, dogs, horses, burros, cows, slaughter, round ups and gathers etc., etc., etc.; urging legislation, signing petitions, joining groups, emailing, calling MPP’s, MP’s and Senators, Presidents and Congressmen and women, annoying friends and family and just generally dipping my feet into the pond.

I started this blog that no one reads and I do not have too much time for these days, I have learned about supportive care, sub-cu fluids, bottle feeding, hygiene, multi cat household issues, illness, diseases and viral shedding, disinfection, parasites, injuries, death and euthanization. Now I think it is time to back up my internet and library research and pestering of shelter workers, local vets and vet assist and vet techs…and become one of them.

I would like to learn more about the care of the animals I tend to and love, and maybe it would help me get a job at a shelter where I could make more of a difference than what I am doing now. What I would like to know is if you all think I am nuts to consider something like this at my stage of life. Comments are welcome.



waste not,want not…A food rant

That proverb, waste not, want not means If we don’t waste what we have, we’ll still have it in the future and will not lack or want it.

I learned this from my grandmother. My grandmother lived through the depression and was a farmer’s wife; she knew how to take care of precious things so they would last into the next generation. She knew how to re-use and recycle. She knew that helping your neighbour was the right thing to do and that if you had food you were lucky and if you had more than you needed, you shared it with those that didn’t. She is the reason I have boxes of all sizes in my closet, why I keep a collection of used ribbon and wrapping paper, why I have recycling embedded in my soul and leftovers in the fridge. She is the reason I do not like throwing anything out and feel so out of step with today’s world where everything seems disposable; appliances, pets, people and food.

My grandmother would be appalled at the waste in our world. When she grew up, things like oranges were special because they only appeared in the store once a year, and if her Mum & Dad were doing well enough, she would enjoy one in her Christmas stocking. You ate seasonally…the things you grew or the things in the store that were available during growing season.

Now we have food from all over the world  and in huge piles in our stores. If you could see how much of that food is wasted, you would understand my pain.

Hundreds of pounds of meat, cheese, frozen food, produce, thrown into dumpsters every day. Produce that isn’t perfect, so it is not saleable…food close or at it’s expiry date…things like bananas or meat someone decided they did not want partway through their shopping and so left it in the cereal aisle to rot. There is more food in our stores than they can actually sell…it is to produce an effect, a display of plenty…to make you buy.

“Studies have shown that 63 percent of the average supermarket’s waste is food. . In California alone, more than six million tons of food products are dumped annually. An estimated $20 billion worth of food is thrown away each year by supermarkets. Stores in the U.S. waste twice as much food annually as those in Europe, and a recent U.N. report found that total American food waste—including what we pitch from our refrigerators—is worth $48 billion each year.
Although federal and state laws protect grocers from liability, many stores expressed concerns that donated food could sicken recipients, even if it has yet to reach its expiration date. While some major chains donate food, others do not. Major retail grocery chains are more likely to throw away fruits, vegetables and even entire hams and roasts than donate to distribution centers.”

But it is not just stores…40 % of food waste occurred in our homes.

“Every month, residents in the city of Toronto (Canada), toss out 17.5 million kilograms of food. A recent British study determined that about one-third of food purchased in the UK is thrown out every year. This equates to £10bn (about CDN$19.5 billion). A 1997 U.S. study found that 27 per cent of edible food is never eaten. In Toronto, the picture is not all that different: single-family households produce an average of 275 kilograms of food waste each year. Twenty-five per cent of this food goes into the garbage. Most of it edible. Much of it still in its original packaging.” Worldvision

The problem is, that we are consumers and wasters of food, and yet we allow so many in our world to go hungry. And there are rules and standards that sometimes prevent us from helping. At a fundraiser I attended a while back, there was a large amount of food left over, good, well made, nutritious food…enough to give to the local food bank for several family’s meals…untouched food, but the containers had been opened, although not used. Because they had been opened…we were not allowed to give the food away, it had to be thrown away. It killed me to see so much food go to waste. I suppose I understand the concerns over opened containers, but we all knew it had not been touched or spoiled or contaminated in any way, and it hurt, physically hurt, to know it was wasted.

It hurts me to think about wasted food…and hungry people right here, in my backyard.

It hurts to know there are people dying from the lack of decent, nutritious food the world over…particularly in the Horn of Africa…one of the worst hit places by famine on our planet.

“The world produces enough food to feed every man, woman and child on earth. Hunger and malnutrition therefore are not due to lack of food alone, but are also the consequences of poverty, inequality and misplaced priorities.” – UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Kul C. Gautam

And yet, 30,000 children have died in the last 3 months in the Horn of Africa.

And yet, famine exists….what is famine?

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Reference Table (the standard used by the UN), famine occurs when the first three of the following conditions occur:

  • 20 percent of population has fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day
  • 30 percent of children are acutely malnourished
  • Two deaths per 10,000 people, or four deaths per 10,000 children per day
  • Pandemic illness
  • Access to less than four liters of water per day
  • Large-scale displacement
  • Civil strife
  • Complete loss of assets and source of income

There are places still on this earth, where famine and drought exist, where the first three conditions exist, where all conditions exist, and people are dying from lack of food and clean water. It is obscene, when so many have so much, that so many have nothing.

The F Word

We see the bounty (and so much waste) in our stores and are bombarded by advertising for fast food and we do not know what it is like to be hungry, homeless and constantly at risk…we send food aid to countries without realizing that much of what we send is nutritionally deficient, particularly for children. We saddle poorer countries with so much debt they can never get out from under. We can and do so many good things…but there is so much more a species so intelligent and creative could carry out…needs to accomplish. We need to reconnect with our planet and the people on it, or we will never care enough to bring about the changes that must be made to save ourselves from ourselves.

Canada sends food aid around the world…so do many other countries…and that is a good thing…partly. So much of what we send is doing so little for the children who are starving, because what we send is nutritionally deficient and even with our help, children are malnourished and face the effects of that immediately and throughout their lives.

“Diets that do not provide the right blend of high-quality protein, essential fats, carbohydrates,vitamins and minerals can impair growth and development, increase the risk of death from common childhood illness, or result in life-long health consequences. Yet the cereal-based fortified flours donated as food aid do not meet these basic nutritional standards.

The Starved for Attention campaign hopes to rewrite the story of malnutrition, by convincing governments to ensure food aid also targets the specific needs of young children with adequate nutritional products.”

MSF, Medecins sans Frontieres or  Doctors Without Borders has launched a campaign, Starved for Attention, to try to ensure that world food aid actually nourishes and helps children who are starving. You can find out more at their website…

MSF Doctors Without Borders

Famine is obscene…so is the massive waste of food in richer countries.We need to do so much more for hungry people, here in our own country, on our own doorstep, and in our “global village”. We are responsible on every level, from what we buy and where we shop and what we waste right through to our neighbours and neighbouring countries to those who live a world away…they are on our global doorstep after all.

I really do think one of the reasons for humankind’s lack of stewardship of our planet, our technological advancement at the cost of something deeper and more meaningful, the problems we face as a species, are brought on, partly at least, by the continued urbanization of and lack of connection with nature. We live more and more, in places where you cannot see the stars, where you cannot truly see and feel the seasons, where foods are available year round from far, far away instead of being seasonal and local, where children do not know where their food comes from, what growing vegetables look like, who have never met a cow. We isolate ourselves further and further from our own world, the planet that nurtures us and which we rape and pillage daily. If we grow up knowing only that food comes from a store, how do we care about what it costs to produce it, how do we care about the loss of the family farm to huge conglomerates, how do we care about the death of honey bees, or the cruelty to the animals we eat or the underpaid workers who harvest our coffee and other crops. If gas just comes from a pump…how do we care about a faraway oil spill, the toxic waste in Alberta or Ecuador…the cost to our oceans and marine life…to our air and climate?

Even with the internet and television there are too many people who do not seem to care that children are dying from hunger and thirst in a world that has more than enough food and water for all. We demand that our food be available at all times and in huge supply and not too expensive. We consume far too much of the world’s supply of food, resources, and water. It is time to re-think our ways.

Take a moment or two today (and every day) to assess your own habits, to open your eyes to the plight of the hungry. Follow a link, read about hunger…look at the faces of the children…and of the parents who would provide if they could, but instead see their children starve. Sign a petition…write a letter…make a donation.

Waste is obscene. Famine is obscene…allow yourself to be disgusted…and then add your voice to all those hungering for change…and help.

Please get involved. Now, before it is too late for one more child.



My Rant for today…

I have been talking a lot to friends and family lately…my Mum has not been well at all and I have been trying to keep in touch and let everyone know how she is doing. With my Uncle Bert the conversation has been relatively new to us and thanks to his compassion insight and knowledge…very thought provoking. We have talked about Mum and Dad and friends and family and the stars in the night sky.

Funny isn’t it how something that looks so small, so insubstantial and not so very far away…just hanging there in the sky, is, in reality so enormous, and so far, far away and it inspires and awes me, that the light we see from the stars is so old…back into and past our human history and so much further back into time. The light takes so long to reach us and is so beautiful and bright….

I really do think one of the reasons for humankind’s lack of stewardship of our planet, our technological advancement at the cost of something deeper and more meaningful, the problems we face as a species, are brought on, partly at least, by the continued urbanization of and lack of connection with nature. We live more and more, in places where you cannot see the stars, where you cannot truly see and feel the seasons, where foods are available year round from far, far  away instead of being seasonal and local, where children do not know where their food comes from, what growing vegetables look like, who have never met a cow. We isolate ourselves further and further from our own world, the planet that nurtures us and which we rape and pillage daily. If we grow up knowing only that food comes from a store, how do we care about what it costs to produce it, how do we care about the loss of the family farm to huge conglomerates, how do we care about the death of honey bees, or the cruelty to the animals we eat or the underpaid workers who harvest our coffee and other crops. If gas just comes from a pump…how do we care about a faraway oil spill, the toxic waste in Alberta or Ecuador…the cost to our oceans and marine life…to our air and climate?

We see the bounty (and so much waste) in our stores and are bombarded by advertising for fast food and we do not know what it is like to be hungry, homeless and constantly at risk…we send food aid to countries without realizing that much of what we send is nutritionally deficient, particularly for children…just ask MSF. We saddle poorer countries with so much debt they can never get out from under. We can and do do so many good things…but there is so much more a species so intelligent and creative could accomplish…needs to accomplish. We need to reconnect with our planet or we will never care enough to bring about the changes that need to be made to save ourselves from ourselves. In my own small way I am trying to improve my world and lessen my impact on it.

I live in a small village north of Napanee, between Kingston and Belleville in Ontario, Canada. There are family farms nearby and we try to support them by buying local foods and products..attending markets and going to the fair each year to see the things they grow and the animals they raise. These are important people, the farmers who raise and grow our food…and they do not get the help and support they need from government or from business…local grocery stores need to carry more local food…why should I buy vegetables from California when there are neighbours growing the same things just down the road…or at least in the same province? 

We live in an old house from the 1850’s and are currently renovating much of it to lower our carbon footprint and reduce our use of non renewable resources. It all started with the now defunct Eco-Audit/Green Audit program, one of the best programs a government has come up with, as it allowed some financial help for those in older homes to insulate and improve and lower their costs as well. The program has now been cancelled by our environmentally deficient government, an incredibly stupid decision because not only did it help home owners, it helped the economy through the products and services bought and used by the people in the program. There were contractors hired, work provided, products like insulation, windows, caulking, toilets…all given some rebate help and bought by those using the program.

We had our house and well audited and then insulated our walls,which had no insulation at all, our attic, which had a little insulation, but not enough, added vents for air circulation etc., added all new low-e windows and doors, rebuilt all 4 porches, patched, painted, rebuilt all the old trim and mouldings, did some electrical and plumbing and are now rebuilding the bathroom which fell apart during the rest of the project. It has been a full year of renovations and is almost over….we hope to have reduced our carbon footprint considerably and also our bills…although thanks to the idiocy of the McGuinty government in bringing in the HST, our bills may now go up instead of down and our payback on the whole project will be messed up. It has been a lot of work..both for the contractor and for me, as I have done most of the interior work myself…carpentry is indeed mostly math.

The house sits mid village, but is far enough away from Napanee, that we do get to see a decent view of the night sky…and it isn’t too far away to get an even better view…just north along the Salmon river or somewhere to the north. We are not really in the country and yet it is pretty rural…farms nearby, wild places not too far away…lots of birds and wildlife…coyotes come through most nights about 3 am…there are migration flyways for geese just at the end of the village…last year we had swans go through…and there are eastern bluebirds, larks and bobolinks in the hay fields down the street….oh, and lots of cats….people dump their unwanted cats and kittens here all the time…we have taken in and fostered 5 pregnant mums this past year…more than 30 cats and kittens…both on our own and through the local shelters. We have found homes for all of them so far.  There are two new mums upstairs in my studio and in Alicia’s room at the moment from the shelter…with 9 brand new babies. Now there is another rant i could get into…people not spaying and neutering their pets…but I will get into that another time.

I truly believe at this moment in our planet’s history and in the place we are right now as human beings…each of us has to do something to make the world a better place. It doesn’t have to be big. Teach your children about where their food comes from…show them vegetables growing…let them see a cow or pig if you can and that meat comes from living things too….show them how to recycle and why it is important…teach them to be kind to each other, their neighbours and friends, teach them compassion and respect for animals, for each other and for our planet. Show them the night sky and let them learn about our universe. Turn off a light. Turn down the thermostat. Join a group. Sign a petition.Teach your children tolerance, charity and compassion. Let them learn about other countries, religions, races and species. Anything that will impact our lives together on this small blue planet. Look at the stars…let them fill you with awe…let them inspire you to make a change, however small. From small things, big things come. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow.



animals feel good…and bad…
August 3, 2010, 7:08 pm
Filed under: cats, horses | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

We treat animals so badly, not just horses. Puppy and kitten mills, starved and abused animals, farm animals treated cruelly. What about the seal hunt…cruel, inhumane and totally unnecessary; there is no market left for the products…but it is tradition…a tradition which stops Canada from banning the use and sale of dog and cat fur in this country because we do not want to offend anyone(mostly Asian markets, as the E.U has banned our seal products) and dry up what market is left for our seal hunt. Check out those stuffed cats for sale in gift shops, the toys for cats and dogs with real fur…whose fur is it????  Most cat fur from Asia comes labelled as rabbit…do not be fooled…it is most often cat fur..and believe me when I tell you they are not killed in any way humanely…they die a painful death too horrible to contemplate. And Canada will not join in banning these products or even enact laws to label products properly.

Why do pet stores sell puppies and kittens (let them stick to fish) when there are millions of cats/kittens and dogs/puppies in shelters waiting for good homes…millions are killed by shelters every year because no one steps up? For the same reason there are children of older vintage who are not adopted…we want cute babies… not youngsters… cute kittens… not cats. The state of animal welfare in our civilized world is appalling…our laws do not do enough, the penalties are not harsh enough, they are not enforced. Dog fighting and the use of bait animals to train the dogs…cock fighting, bull fighting…we allow animals who have no choice in the matter to battle and bleed and die for our amusement. Perhaps we should go back to the days of Rome and gladiators…except they had no choice either. Choice is what we allow each other but not the animals entrusted to us. Institutional cruelty exists in Canada because our animal welfare laws of 1892…outlaw unnecessary suffering…and so would seem to allow necessary suffering…Check out “No Country For Animals”..Kevin Newman’s documentary for CanWest/Global.

I am tired of living in a country so smug because we make the list of places everyone wants to live…while we accept institutional cruelty, slaughter horses in a way that would make you sick, and live by animal welfare laws that have not been updated since the century before last…we pride ourselves on being a kind, gentle, peacekeeping country…all the while the creatures who live with us have no recourse and few protections. They are living, breathing, sentient and feeling creatures…pain is as horrible to them as it is to us…we spend millions on food and toys and trinkets for the animals we choose…and neglect the rest.

I love my country and I am a proud Canadian…but I am not proud of our continued abuse of animals and our inability to protect those who cannot speak for themselves. Countries in Europe are doing so much more than we are…surely it is time to make some changes…and truly become a kind, gentle and humane place to live. To quote a man I revere (as do many),

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”…Mahatma Ghandi

 

He also said,

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed

 

and,

Be the change you want to see in the world.

 

That is precisely what I will try to do with the rest of my life. You can too…join the OSPCA,ASPCA, WSPA, the CHDC, any group working to change the lives of animals…adopt from shelters if you want a kitten or cat or puppy or dog or rabbit or any of the other animals that need homes…do not buy suspect fur products from Asia…not even those little fur mice for your kitty…contact your Representative, your MP, MPP, Mayor, Councillor…tell them you want to change and update our animal welfare laws and ban the sale of dog and cat fur and the slaughter of horses…if enough of us do these things it can happen…it must happen. If you know what happens to animals here or anywhere else in the world…change must come so we can sleep without nightmares and know we are the change…we are progressing morally and in every way we can.