Seems like a no-brainer to me. We have to be environmentalists if we’re to be animal rights activists, otherwise what is the point?
Humans are putting unfathomable amounts of pressure on animals as it is, encroaching on their habitat, pushing them into ever smaller and less sustainable areas, killing them when they compete with the human desire for bloodsport. We poison the air, the land, the water, until they die drinking the water they need to survive. Plastic chokes the oceans, and the few fish that are left are filled with it. Baby albatross are dying from starvation, their bellies filled to bursting with plastic that somehow finds its way to their remote nesting areas. We compete for resources, for land, for life. This is only going to get worse as the climate change puts more pressure on all of us. We saw this with the tsunami, with Katrina, we can see it in the Amazon’s rainforest failing, while farmers continue to cut it down for unsustainable crops.
What are we doing? We don’t have a choice, we have to be environmental activists as well as animal rights activists if we’re to be taken seriously. Yet are we reaching out? Are we spending time on the environmental issues as well as the animal issues? Are we going to the Social Forums, as the other movements are?
Not so much. And we need to.
That’s something that was pointed out again and again last weekend, at the AR conference in LA.
I’ve been reading a bit on environmental issues in the past few months, partially inspired by a good friend (who would probably be shocked to learn the impact he had), partially inspired by pattrice jones, and once I got started reading my awareness really took off. Diet For a Dead Planet, Food Not Lawns, Aftershock and With Speed and Violence, I know I have to do more. I have to make changes in my personal life, where I can, but I also have to educate myself on the environmental issues, and join in their fight. Because it is also our fight.
RAN was at AR07, and I had the pleasure of hearing Debra Erenberg speak several times. RAN was the only environmental group at the conference, which doesn’t seem like much, but I think it was an important start in what I can only imagine will be a growing trend. These movements need to connect. We need to connect with them, and that means putting in some time on their causes. I don’t just mean the Environmental movement, either. The whole range. It gets talked about, but what do we actually do about it?
Debra wrote an entry in RAN’s blog about the conference, which includes one of the speeches she gave, and I think it is a great into into why it is so important that our movements hook up.
The first step is always education. RAN’s blog seems like a good place to start, and they have other blogs listed. I’m just getting started. I’ve read a few books. I’d love to hear what else is on the must-read list. Bird Flu is in my to-read pile.
I’ve made a few changes in my life in the past year – energy efficient light bulbs, the bus to nyc instead of driving, cloth menstrual pads, buying more food from farmers markets, and paying more attention to whether the food at the local organic grocery is locally grown…I still drive to work, and I don’t see that changing. I’m sure there are other changes I can make though.
And of course there is the need to get involved. I’ve joined RAN, and I’ll participate where I can in their local campaigns. I don’t know yet where this will take me, but it feels right to be on this path.