What the f#*& is a tiger doing at a truck stop?
What the f(*& is a shark fin doing in a soup?
What the f*#^ is Iams experimenting on dogs for?
What the f*&# is L’Oreal still torturing bunnies for?
What the f*#( is Monsanto working at owning all our food for?
What the f!*& is an African Gorilla doing in a cage in Los Angeles?
What the f(*& are American mustangs being butchered in Canada for?
What the f&)* are 4 million animals dying in shelters for?
And what the F@*$^ can we do about it???!!!
There are so many “What the F#*@s?!” on this planet, not to mention “Why the F*@%s?” Why are we shipping electronic waste to the Philippines? Why the hell are we paying farmers to grow way too much genetically modified food? Every day I wonder what the F#*^ is going on over there in Africa, over there in Canada, over there in the Gulf and always over there in the other guys head, usually politicians… You name it, there is shit going on “over there.” But, the common denominator is those guys “over there.”
Then something happened to me the other night. My husband and I caught the movie “Gorillas in the Mist.” It’s about Diane Fossey trying to stop businessmen from hiring local Africans to murder the Mommy and Daddy silverback Gorillas, our closest genetic relatives, in order to take their baby gorillas and ship them to zoos. Less than half the time the babies live, for a while. I could not stop the tears from flowing. To think of the pain and suffering, the cruelty that goes on out of view all so we can take our kids to the zoo, eat some popcorn and look at the monkeys, the elephants, the killer whales, the dolphins and someone can make a buck. So there I was on my couch fantasizing about visiting comparable horrors on all those responsible “over there” for those murdered Mommy and Daddy Gorillas in Africa and their poor orphaned children and then I realized – that would include me. I’ve bought tickets to many zoos in my lifetime. I went to the Shamu (number 6) show at Sea World. I bought a ticket to the San Diego Zoo. So guess who helped pay for those hunters in Africa? Me and anyone else who’s gone to a zoo. Maybe not that week, but Gorillas were not put here by God in a cage in America waiting for humans to evolve turn styles, some form of paper money and cotton candy. Humans invented this concept as a business. In fact, Dr. William Camas in Philadelphia created the first zoo. He funded the expeditions of hunters to bring all the world’s exotic animals they could capture to Philadelphia, for people like me to see — and they got very rich doing so. It’s always funny to me that our “love of animals” doesn’t translate into thinking of what they might like as well. I went for years, never wondering, “Now how did a dolphin that lives in the ocean end up in a swimming pool for me to pet?” Thanks to “The Cove,” we can know how they get there now. They are caught in a net in Japan and the “lucky” ones who don’t end up on a dinner plate get to entertain us for the rest of their lives — far, far away from their families — for $12 a pop. I never thought about it, until one day some person said, “Look at this.” I used to say, well, that tiger was born in captivity, to make myself feel better. Using that logic, if prisoners had babies in prison, should that baby just grow up there? If a slave had a baby in slavery, then should that baby should just be a slave? People did think that way, didn’t they? But, we changed. How did we change? People looked. People started to think. People talked about it, fought about it, and we evolved.
Sign the petition to get Tony the Tiger moved to a larger cage at the Animal Legal Defense Fund Site.
Big Oil and Us
I think I need to evolve into a person who knows the problem is not only over there. Those BP bastards dumped all that oil in our ocean! Have you ever thrown out a plastic anything? We all have! We do it every week. Hell, every day. Then we are also dumping oil is someone else’s backyard. What is plastic? It is oil. That trashcan isn’t a magical evaporator. It is a mover of mostly used oil, trees and wasted food. Every single time we buy plastic, we pay for BPs oilrigs. Every time we throw out one starbucks lid, one used food container we are dumping oil, just like BP did, and with just as little thought, if not less. But, they are greedy! They are rich! The Earth doesn’t care who, how or why, all it knows is — it is full of plastic. It also doesn’t matter to the families and children who share ground water with that waste dump if it was a greedy rich corporation or just a busy American. And our great grandchildren, who will live on a trash heap called Earth, will likely find the stories fascinating of the people of yesteryear who were always on the go and so they were very, very thirsty.
I saw “Blood Diamond” and when I saw the death and astounding cruelty for this — not even rare — stone we use as a symbol of love, I knew I would never buy another diamond. And I have not. My engagement ring was in my family. But for every red carpet event, I borrow them. So, I promote them; I help the jewelry store sell them. I am not innocent. I do it because I want to be part of the “in crowd” since I am being honest. In my heart, if one child is set on fire, one child has lost a limb for diamonds, how can I still think of jewels as a sign of affluence, of success, as a symbol of love?
I tell you all this because I care deeply and I am battling with what my heart and soul would wish for and what a modern life includes, mainly by default. Everyone throws out plastic lids from Starbucks. Everyone wears jewels on the red carpet. Everyone thoughtlessly eats the meat served in restaurants. There are a lot of “everyone’s.” And only a few Ed Begley Jr’s and Annie Leonard’s. Most of us are stuck in routines and unexamined habits. People think I am really good at this stuff because I will never throw anything recyclable in the trash, ever. I only use cloth bags. I talk about which company’s animal test. I only rescue animals, never buy. I do PSAs. But, I am battling to be better every day. I do too little — if I use my heart and soul as a barometer of who I want to be. And who I want to be doesn’t say it’s them “over there” but this better future-me knows it rarely is. It’s in our cabinets. It’s at the meat counter. It’s in your trashcan. It’s us! It’s right here, in our own homes. BP executives are greedy selfish bastards, like most corporations’ executives, in my opinion, but I throw out at least one big plastic trash bag of garbage every week and dump it in the earth. I also know — with a little more looking, a little more thinking — I can do better. And really — ultimately — it’s only my soul I need to worry about. It doesn’t work any better now or in the future than it did when I was eight, But everyone was doing it!!!
That is what I admire about the Ghandi’s (even though there was only one Ghandi). He looked for himself and decided who he was and then had the guts to live by that. With all of our conveniences, and ways to be entertained and distracted, that simple process of evaluation, which may be all that life is about, is the one thing I have yet to do. And that my friends, is hysterical! But, I try. I start by looking, every day. I look. I think. And I decide who I am. Then I change. It is slow. It is two steps forwards, one back. But, I really care and I am proud that I try.
I get asked all the time, “But what can I do?” And I think, “What we can do is care, a little more – about what we do, in our homes, what we support, what we buy, what we throw away, who we eat, and what we believe.” We can care…a little more. BP is a business. The zoo is a business. They all do what they do only for us and we pay their mortgages.
A woman went to Ghandi and asked him to tell her son not to eat so much sugar. He said, come back in two weeks. She did and Ghandi said to her son, “Don’t eat sugar.” The Mother asked why he couldn’t have just said that two weeks ago?! And he said, “I was still eating sugar.”
I personally enjoy throwing stones at assholes, but I am also trying to remember that we all live in glass houses.
To support one of Kristin’s charities, The Amanda Foundation, check out the incredible limited, numbered, print of Alexander Skarsgard drawn by Kristen herself at: Amanda Foundation Auction
Photo Credits: Kristin Bauer
Credit: Kristin Bauer