Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Au Revoir, 2008

As we say goodbye to 2008, we have many things to be grateful for. Proposition 2 passing in California. Oprah Winfrey using her national platform to expose mainstream America to factory farming and puppy mills. Donna Karan finally agreeing to stopping using fur. Even small victories, like the pet shop going out of business at my local shopping mall. And yes, even the humble organic soy milk in my office refrigerator that has become so popular after I requested it.

With a new year ahead, the fight for animals must go on. Fur somehow seems to be socially acceptable again, with fur trimmed jackets all over. People are going to McDonald's and other fast food places as the economy dips...bad news for the animals, the environment, and our health care system. Many alternative energy plans are on hold, a victim of both the weak economy and dipping gas prices, worse yet for all the inhabitants of this Earth. I think Tori Amos had it right in her song "Father's Son" when she asked, "Can you blame nature if she's had enough of us?"

But it is we as individuals that decide the America and the larger world we want to live in, and not just on election day. Every day, with our dollars and our voice. Do we want a world filled with factory farms, or local, organic farms? Do we want chain restaurants with homogenized foods, or do we support the local restaurants? Do we value animal rights, workers rights and the environment when we fill our shopping cart?

And we must continue to spread the light of veganism in the most positive way. Judgement is not the answer. It was all a different journey for everyone of us to get to our current destination, and with habits so ingrained on our population, change can only happen step by step.

I love this passage from "This Low," by The Swell Season. While the song is about relationships, I always think of it in the context for continuing to learn and build our knowledge and wisdom as animal advocates, and then spreading the beauty, joy, compassion and peace that is veganism, and doing it in the most loving of ways.

"Shine the light,
Don't hide the light,
Live the light,
And give the light,
Seek the light,
And speak the light,
Crave the light, and brave the light,
Stare the light,
And share the light,
Show the light,
And know the light,
Raise the light,
And praise the light,
Thread the light,
And spread the light"

A happy and healthy new year to all. Let's make 2009 an even better year for the animals.

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