I saw that movie about dolphin slaughter, The Cove and wow did it affect me. I knew that it would. I actually saw it by accident. It’s not a movie I would have sought out, knowing myself as I do. It’s the same reason I have yet to watch Earthlings.
(If you do click on the earthlings link, be careful, the trailer will start immediately and it shows stuff that will make you weep if you have any semblance of a heart. )
I often get angry at myself after I’m shown things like this. This kind of stuff is happening all the time and I do my best to not see it. I honestly do. Even if I wasn’t many levels of a soft touch when it comes to non-human animals, I have this photographic memory for images (which is one of the traits that suggests to me that I have some degree of autism, but more on that later) and there is no way I would ever be able to forget what I had seen. Ergo, images of cruelty are not something I seek out.
However, every so often I come across such things. Whether it be at a film festival or in a hotel room late at night in the middle of a blizzard while driving across country. So now it’s there. I can’t ignore the fact that it exists. I can’t go back to being the person I was before I knew about it.
So what does one do? The initial response is often to search online for things one can do to help. And yes, there are plenty of petitions to sign, save the whales, save the dolphins, stop the seal hunt, etc. Protect these beings who are being slaughtered for no good reason at all from ignorance and cruelty. Besides Norway, Iceland and Japan, there are no countries on earth that really consume whale meat to any great degree. Even there it’s falling off as people realize just how toxic the levels of mercury in the meat are. But still, it goes on. For what reason? Tradition? There was a time when it was traditional to throw one’s chamber pot into the middle of the street. It was stupidity and it stopped. Pest control? Does anyone really buy the notion that fish stocks are declining because it’s whales and dolphins who are consuming excessively? It strikes me that there is a whole lot of self-imposed blindness happening. With me, just as much as with lots of other people.
Ok, so I wanna do something. Beyond signing a petition, beyond making phone calls to disinterested house wives, beyond handing out pamphlets to apathetic humans living in comfort and absence of concience. It’s way difficult to feel passionate about something so far removed from one’s day to day. I understand that. And if one talked to them about it, they would probably feel like it was wrong. They aren’t the people who need to be convinced that there are other ways to make money.
I find most protesters ineffective and frustrating. Go to any earth day/save the…/aboriginal rights/insert worthwhile cause here rally and what will you find? A whole bunch of people who are already convinced that whatever cause they’re supporting is worthwhile. A choir to preach to. I have left more earthday/whatever rallies more apathetic than when I came because nothing new has been said. Nothing innovative has been suggested. People are perfectly content to go along they way they were before, believing that true change isn’t really possible. How many people have changed their light bulbs and have a separate place for recycling their tin cans and feel like they’re really making a difference?
Recycling uses more energy than not recycling. Does that mean we should stop doing it? It seems we’re becoming far too apathetic with regards to changing the world. As if, since we’re obviously hurtling towards armageddon or the apocalypse or zombieland or whatever form the end of civilization takes, there’s not much point in continuing to pretend there’s something we can do to prevent it.
I seem to go through phases of apathy. I can always tell when they’re passing though because I start to look at volunteering with various organizations, mostly out of guilt that I don’t do as much as I feel I should. I found a new organization today that I’ve been checking out. Will this be the year I actually start to care enough that I attempt to affect positive change beyond my own backyard? Likely not if I manage to get a garden going on. If I’m in Tanzania building schools or in Nepal teaching 10 year old monks english, who will water my beets and sunflowers? Maybe that’s the essence of affecting positive change. Grow something.
If only it would stop snowing. It’s difficult to feel passionate about gardening when there’s still snow on the ground.