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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:05 AM

I don't want to be depressing, here, but - how do you cope with it?

I read about the booming trade for ivory trinkets in China, and the ensuing slaughter of hundreds (at least) of elephants.

That there are only 4 white rhinos left in the wild.

All of the awful, tragic, horrible things that humans do (and please don't list them so I don't fling myself off a cliff) for profit, 'beauty', or boners.

And the abuse of animals, pets, the conditions in industrial farms, medical experiments, all of it.

So - how do you cope with feelings of anger, rage, sadness and despair? Sometimes I feel like I'm going to just shatter. And I don't want to be ignorant, but the knowledge of what goes on tears me to pieces.

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Reply I don't want to be depressing, here, but - how do you cope with it? (Original post)
Flaxbee Feb 2013 OP
Warpy Feb 2013 #1
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #6
Marie Marie Feb 2013 #2
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #7
stopbush Feb 2013 #3
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #8
stopbush Feb 2013 #11
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #12
ellenrr Mar 2013 #20
longship Feb 2013 #4
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #9
Warpy Feb 2013 #13
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #15
Control-Z Feb 2013 #5
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #10
narnian60 Feb 2013 #14
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #17
otherone Feb 2013 #16
ellenrr Feb 2013 #18
stuntcat Mar 2013 #19
ellenrr Mar 2013 #21
villager Oct 2013 #28
ellenrr Oct 2013 #30
ellenrr Mar 2013 #22
CrispyQ Mar 2013 #23
leftyladyfrommo Mar 2013 #24
Name removed Oct 2013 #25
Flaxbee Oct 2013 #26
Name removed Oct 2013 #27
Prophet 451 Oct 2013 #29
Beringia Oct 2013 #31
flvegan Nov 2013 #32
LeftyMom Nov 2013 #33

Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:09 AM

1. First, realize you have no real control over these things

and that they've been going on for a very long time and bad habits are hard to break. Second, realize what you do control. If you've got a few bucks you don't need, consider sending them to organizations dedicated to protecting the critters we have left and to zoos with habitat and breeding programs.

Be careful what weasels you're supporting when you buy your food and clothing.

And just realize you can do only what you can do, just like the rest of us. None of us can save this wicked world. We can only support people on site with the knowledge to make a difference where it counts.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:09 AM

6. I know. And I'm getting to a better point where I should be able to send

money on a regular basis to people on the ground.

I have a sister who is a marine advocate and works with breeding programs / cleans up oil spills, etc.

And I'm thankful for people who have stronger emotional constitutions than I do and can actually get out there and do the work.

Thanks, Warpy. I appreciate your answer, just responding makes me feel like at least I'm not the only one in anguish. I know I'm not... I just need to hear it sometimes.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:17 AM

2. I rarely allow myself the luxury of denial in most of life's little tragedies but,

when it comes to the mistreatment or abuse of animals, my brain just shuts down. Can't handle it because there is so little that you can do and it is so heartbreaking. Please accept this hug Flaxbee, we will grieve together.

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Response to Marie Marie (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:11 AM

7. Thank you, Marie Marie

to you too. Let's donate money as we can, speak out when we can, love and care for our own pets and those we can help, and then go watch or read something completely escapist.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:34 AM

3. By realizing that 99% of the species of plants and animals that have existed on this planet

have gone extinct, and most of them long before human beings ever got here to help with their demise.

Sure, we're good at destroying life, even our own lives, but to the planet and deep time, we're a pimple on the Earth's butt.

Man will eventually go extinct as well, and the Earth will go along on its merry way, with new life forms rising as quickly as the others die out. According to PLOS Biology, "some 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description. Between 16,000 and 18,000 new species are described every year."

I guess it's a question of which species YOU feel sympathy/empathy toward. Does your respect for life extend to cockroaches, or do you draw the line at animals that remind you of humans? You know, big-eyed baby seals, dogs and cats. Do you tend to endow these creatures with imagined human-like emotions to go along with their human-related characteristics?

Do you mourn over the loss of insect and plant life forms as you do over white rhinos? If not, why not?

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Response to stopbush (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:18 AM

8. I know. We're all part of a grand scheme,

and humans are just goddamned nuisances (most of us, anyway, not all).

I just hate the thought of these animals feeling pain and fear.

While I don't feel warm and fuzzy about cockroaches, I don't want any creature wiped out, or their habitat destroyed. I leave spiders be, or remove them from the house. I don't kill anything on purpose. Thankfully kitties in the house keep bugs at bay because while I'd remove roaches and mice because of any health concerns, I wouldn't enjoy it, and I'd worry about it. I worry about the bees, and the monarch butterflies, and the fireflies.

I hate seeing trees cut down, plant life destroyed. I don't worry too much about plants for food, though I worry about farming practices, and I thank my tomato, basil, pepper plants, etc.

My point is that this is a spectacular planet, every creature big and small, plant, mineral or ant deserve their place here. We're supposed to protect, not dominate.

And the huge percentage of species undiscovered is fine, but I suspect a majority of those are of the microscopic variety. Again, they have their place, but aren't as majestic (to me) as elephants, rhinos, tigers and wolves (and polar bears, and whales and sharks, and .....)

Sigh.

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:38 AM

11. You wrote: "We're supposed to protect, not dominate."

That's a bit of a human conceit, don't you think?

There's nothing in our evolutionary past to support such an idea...though if you believe the make believe of the bible, we ARE supposed to dominate all other life on this planet.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:20 PM

12. I don't believe the bible

I think there are some nice parables in there about how we're supposed to treat each other - which humans, for the most part, ignore.

Why is it a conceit?

Wordplay aside, my point is that humans at this point in time before apes or dolphins or cockroaches or spiders take over, humans pretty much have the ability to destroy (or protect) this planet and its inhabitants. I wish we'd act according to our better nature and protect, not exploit.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 07:02 AM

20. There is background extinction and there is mass extinction

Background extinction is going on all the time.

Mass extinction is characterized by large numbers in a short time. We are now in the 6th mass extinction.
Imo this is not something to be taken for granted. It is directly due to huge human population growth leading to loss of habitat, as well as illegal poaching and trade in wildlife.

Imo non-human animals have the same right to life as humans. I do not believe in human superiority or speciesism.

Some facts from Species Alliance:
http://www.speciesalliance.org/facts.php

•One quarter of all mammal species face extinction in 30 years. (United Nations, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)
•For every person in the world to reach present U.S. levels of consumption we would need 4 more planet Earths. (Wilson, p. 23)
•Humans currently consume 50% of the Earth's available freshwater, leaving what's left over for all other species. (World Wildlife Fund, http://www.panda.org/)
•Humans currently consume 40% of all organic matter produced by photosynthesis on Earth, leaving what's left over for all other species. (Wilson, p. 33)
•Every species of great ape on the Earth (gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos) is in imminent danger of extiction. (United Nations, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)
•Every species of tiger on Earth is in imminent danger of extinction. (World Wildlife Fund, http://web.archive.org/)
•The number of lions left in Africa has fallen 90% in 20 years -- there are now only 20,000 remaining. (BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)
•90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the world's oceans in the past half century. (Nature Magazine, http://www.cnn.com/)
•Human population is expected to increase by at least 50% over the next 75 years. (United Nations Population Division, http://www.enviroliteracy.org/)

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:36 AM

4. Nobody eats rhino meat.

They are killing them for the rhino horn because it's a phalus, so ignorant guys think it makes their phalus bigger.

Jees! I wish you women would take over the world quickly so we didn't have to all suffer this misogynistic rubbish. We might even save both animals and women.

I would support that.

Plus, we'd still have rhinos. And maybe guys would be less assholes.

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Response to longship (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:20 AM

9. Appoint me leader of the world, and I'll save everyone and everything.

Birth control for humans would probably be mandatory, though, after 1 kid per human (meaning, zero pop growth), so that might cause some friction.

All these insecure men would have free counseling. And maybe substitute their rhino longing with free, large, manly codpieces made from something other than animal products.

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Response to longship (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 02:39 PM

13. Actually, they do

Safeway International in Washington DC had some of it frozen along with other exotic bush meat back in the 70s.

If you're starving, you'll eat anything that walks, crawls, flies or swims. If you're far away from home, you'll do anything for a taste of home.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:09 PM

15. I know - people are hungry, and I do understand

That's why I don't understand why people get so freaked when we talk about (human) population control, birth control, etc. -- create a sustainable world for all creatures.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:59 AM

5. Honestly, I don't often allow myself

to think too deeply about the things I have no control over. And when I do it is usually about human suffering. Living, breathing people who are treated as badly - sometimes worse - and it kills me inside.

It's hard to care about everything but impossible not to. And then, daily, I am reminded that Global Climate Change will probably make it all moot. I try to take in the beauty around me. And then I rage against the greedy. Which brings me back to the innocent, helpless animals.

I know this doesn't answer your question. Just know you're not alone.

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 01:22 AM

10. Thanks, Control-Z

It does help to know I'm not alone.

I worry about children and the elderly, too - and powerless adults - but mistreatment and abuse of the helpless and innocent - human and animals and plant life, frankly (rainforests...) drives me damn near crazy.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 02:51 PM

14. I am with you also on this, Flaxbee.

A stray dog walking down a street depresses me.

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Response to narnian60 (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:10 PM

17. same here. I just want to save them all, and convince people to stop being

so damned cruel or apathetic.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 08:10 PM

16. I had a bowl of chili tonight

leftover chili that my gf made in the crock pot.. it is all I can do..

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 09:50 AM

18. coping...

I share your feeling. Sometimes it seems unbearable. I don't believe "there is nothing we can do". We are always doing something. Just by being humans on the planet, we are part of the problem. I'm not saying - so let's all kill ourselves. But it's a fact. As someone said, "Activism is the rent for being on the planet."

To cope with feelings of despair, are you familair with the work of Johanna Macy? She does despair work. I have never done it with her, but would like to.

There is a movie called Call of Life about mass extinctions, which I haven't seen yet, but have talked to someone who has seen it many times. And it is not just about let's see how awful we can feel, but about how to deal with our feelings.

I think the first thing we have to do is speak about feelings of hopelessness, despair, etc.
And it is not easy. Most people do not want to be "brought down". Yet, in terms of climate change we are clearly on the way to catastrophe, and so the idea of being in denial does not seem to me to be a useful reaction.
Those of us who have these feelings are in fact the counter to denial. And not easy. I certainly don't always speak out.

Thanks for posting this. It comforts me that I am not the only one.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 08:45 PM

19. I'm trying to keep laughing

I spend a while every day looking at what goes on at the torture farms, in the oceans, what "hunters" do, etc. Because I feel like everyone is in denial and some humans need to witness these things and acknowledge them and feel the horror or shame.
I'm not looking forward to the rest of life. I have to be here until at least 2050 and things will get so much worse by then. What hurts me worst is the mass-extinction our species is causing. And yes I know, I KNOW that extinctions always happen, this has been repeated soooo many times, enough times to make it clear it's another desperate lie our species will tell itself, kinda like how a virus would act before it killed it's host. This is a mass-extinction that will wipe out perfectly healthy, well-adapted animals. That the species doing this, to an entire planet!, considers itself the very image of "God" just convinces me we are a plague, no matter how beautiful our music and science and stuff are..
I've been pressured for years in sick ways to have a baby, but I'd die before giving this century to my child, especially taking the chance if it being a girl.. no, no f'ing way. Between dealing with the baby-pressure, the mass-extinction, being the only one I know who doesn't eat meat & being treated like a weirdo for it, being mocked by some people I'm supposed to consider family as "Concerned Citizen" for going to environmental rallies in DC.. all that bullshit and knowing all the time how the Earth's being raped by their existence, watching all my neighbors pop out their happy lucky little kids.. I've just decided to try to keep laughing. It's all I can do, laugh and sing and sing, laugh, just stay alive, try to help the animals around me, laugh, even if it's turning into a crazy creepy laugh.
And until the blackouts start I'll have internet so I can come online and see I'm not alone.

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Response to stuntcat (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 07:13 AM

21. I agree and I admire you for this

"I spend a while every day looking at what goes on at the torture farms, in the oceans, what "hunters" do, etc. Because I feel like everyone is in denial and some humans need to witness these things and acknowledge them and feel the horror or shame."

I also think that the least we can do is pay witness,and not be in denial.

For me, I also have to "do something" or I would be too depressed to live. So for ex in the next couple of weeks I'm giving two talks about Deep Ecology, in which I will talk about mass extinction, and animal experimentation, and human chauvinism and climate chage.

I'm not going to change the world, but perhaps one person out of 30 will get their interest piqued enough to learn more.

And altho rationally it certainly looks like nothing will change, still...consciousness can change quickly, so anything is possible. I think it was the Italian communist Gramsci who said he has "optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect".

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Response to ellenrr (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 08:35 PM

28. Just unpacked my copy of "Deep Ecology" from the current move...

...and, putting it out on the living room shelves, along with some other "Deep Eco" books, has me thinking about the need to "rewild" myself...

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Response to villager (Reply #28)

Mon Oct 21, 2013, 06:29 AM

30. I'm feeling the same way..

in the "wilds" of NJ - shopping malls, traffic jams, and too many fuckin' people!
it's hard to stay focused on what is important - which is the wild.

I'd be happy to hear - how do you go about "rewilding" yourself?

the best I can do for myself is to go into nature which I do every chance I get.
Where I go is not "wild", it is pretty tame

...but trees, deer, clouds, birds, insects -
long vistas without cars and houses, and if I am lucky, without people.

but I have no one to talk to about these things. I know lots of people concerned about fracking, and the like, and I am too - but I know no one who talks about the wild.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 07:14 AM

22. some comments about non-human animals

We have a unique opportunity, and that is to learn to live with other animals in a kind of harmony that has never been possible in the past, but could well be the one and only way we can continue to live on this planet. Since we share so much of our genetic heritage with other animals, it is high time we realised how much we share emotional capacities as well, and once that is realised perhaps we can begin to share the earth, which has been given to all animals, human and otherwise, in common.
~Jeffrey Masson, The Emotional Lives Of Animals~


"When we bond with an animal, we open to the animal self within us that civilization has forced us to disown."
carolyn denise
http://carolynbaker.net/2013/03/15/what-an-animal-you-are-by-carolyn-baker/

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 01:43 PM

23. I'm the wrong person to ask.

I'm a cynical misanthrope. Our species deserves to go down in the halls of extinction. Unfortunately, we are going to take much beauty with us, & much of it in a savage way.

So I go outdoors & take in the good things in my world.

Yesterday was decently warm & when I was out with the dog, we strolled over to bird station two & there above the shallow bird bath were about 2 dozen bees, flying all around. Some were on the sides of the bath, kind of hanging out. There are always bees around this particular bird bath, but never have I seen more than 3-4 at a time. This was amazing!

Later, they were gone, but we were there when they were there.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Mon Mar 25, 2013, 11:04 AM

24. I do Tonglen

It's a Tibetan form of breath meditation where you focus on the awful and magnify it as much as you can with the In breath - and blow back pure breath into the world.

Breathing in all the awfulness you live with every day helps to deal with the pain. It's very therapeutic.

This doesn't probably help the big picture but it helps me to be able to live each day without just wanting to go jump off a bridge somewhere.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #25)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 08:28 PM

26. Can they put them in elephant ivory, too? And bear bile ducts?


Interesting use for RFID, though. If it helps reduce or eliminate poaching, I'm all for it.

And then track down and imprison forever the fuckers that kill or torture these animals? Please?

Actually, it's not the poachers that anger me so much - it's the idiotic big game hunters, and the mindless idiots who think rhino horn will give them a better boner or the people who want a cute little carved ivory tchotchke for their bedside table. Or the people who still use bear bile in their medicines.

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #26)


Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Mon Oct 21, 2013, 02:01 AM

29. I pray

I'll be upfront. I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, I have intrusive "visions" and occasionally hear voices. My mental state ricochets between sadness, despair and suicidal ideation. Due to both my mental illness and physical limitations (I can only move with crutches), I'm very limited in what I can do to help. All I can do is write letters, send emails and so on.

I don't need to tell you that there's a lot to feel despair over. Just open a newspaper and you can find a dozen things to feel despair over.

So I pray. It doesn't work for everyone and that's fine, everyone has their own path. But it works for me. It gives me some sense of peace and comfort, I draw strength from communing with my deity (and my choice of deity doesn't really matter here). I also paint model soldiers as a creative outlet. And I take my meds, I'm a big believer in better living through chemistry.

And without wishing to alarm you; if you find yourself feeling despair frequently and especially if you find yourself unable to feel anything else, please talk to your doctor.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Mon Oct 21, 2013, 01:36 PM

31. I read enough about a subject

to become informed and aware. If there is a video or article on something related to animal suffering or abuse, I find out the essential facts, but I won't keep reading about it or watching videos about it over and over. I think to myself, the people who care the most are the ones who are motivated to help the animals, so our efforts are the key to a solution. People who think animals are just machines and don't matter should not be the ones in charge of the animals' fate.

Also society does change. For instance factory farming is a very new way of treating animals. And people who feel that it hurts animals to be treated this way, have spoken out loud enough to be heard and try to make a change. My grandfather was a farmer, when he was a child, there was no factory farming. He became a farmer involved in factory farming. Now me 2 generations down, realize factory farming is bad, and want a change.

Hunting for sport is a relatively new thing. It was not always such.

And also I think using your capacity for spirituality, to become aware and knowledgeable about subjects but not be pulled down by them, is important. People like Albert Schweitzer went into the heart of miserable conditions and used his life to make positive change.

Only that man is truly ethical who feels the necessity of assisting all life that he is able to help, and who shrinks from inflicting harm upon any living creature. (Reverence for Life - Albert Schweitzer).





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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 01:19 AM

32. I made a decision.

And this is what I posed to hundreds of folks at a seminar some time ago.

Make a decision. What's your role? What the fuck are you ready to do?

We need outrage. Decide what part you play in that.

How do I cope? Boltcutters and balaclavas.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 01:43 AM

33. Identify a problem that's within your reach, do something about it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Burnout is usually caused by struggling with problems that are too big for you to handle, in my experience. Or trying to solve everything in one go. Successful social movements never, ever work that way.

Practice self-care. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed it's okay to choose to step back or shift gears. If the bank account is running low you don't donate your grocery money, so if your energy and enthusiasm are running low don't take on a project you don't have it in you to do well right now. Say no sometimes, an activist community where one person does all the work isn't healthy. Don't be that person and if somebody else is step up and lighten their load (and be aware that if their identity is in being a martyr to a movement that they're likely to resist assistance.)

So back to your OP, the problems that you list are overwhelming and some of them are probably lost causes. Some of them are problems that exist because of people you don't know in places you may never see, where your leverage is non-existent. You can't fix all of them, no one person can. But you have it within you to work diligently to create change in some small part of one of them. You find that part and you do your best, and you know that other people are doing the same with their little parts of bigger problems, and that that's how movements work. And you educate other people and grow the movement. Especially that.

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