Hello all! I’ve wanted to do a series about feminism for some time now, and I think that I’ll spend the next few months doing just that. This series will cover a lot of feminist topics, such as the arts (activist groups like the Guerrilla Girls, underrepresentation of women, women in music, etc.), different schools of feminism (ecofeminism, religious and irreligious feminism, anarcha-feminism, feminists of color, sex-positive, radical, postmodern, etc.), women’s issues today (abortion/reproductive rights, rape culture, patriarchy in the United States and abroad), and other topics. I hope to conclude with a post about why we still need feminism. If you, my readers, have any topics you’d like to see me write about connecting to feminism, please leave them in the comments below. I hope to be able to kick this series off very soon.
Here at Rocking the Suburbs, I’ve heavily criticized big international activists organizations such as HSUS and PETA for not being effective in bringing animals closer to freedom. I stand by my criticisms of these groups, and today I wanted to write about the little people in the animal rights, and other various movements. These “little people” are activists who work at the grassroots level; those who may not bring in millions in donations a year, and who may not have big fancy offices, but who work tirelessly for an end to animal exploitation and environmental destruction.
Such organizations include Defending Animal Rights Today and Tomorrow (DARTT), a Washington, DC group whose website describes it as “grassroots collective dedicated to dismantle ALL systems of oppression, injustice and exploitation,” and anti-vivisection collective South Florida Smash HLS! participate actively in animal rights and environmental protests, but their support is miniscule compared to that of larger groups. They, along with animal shelters and sanctuaries, need donations much more than do large corporations like PETA, HSUS, and Greenpeace (I’ll get to them in a future post). Animal shelters and sanctuaries seek to try to give animals better lives, but they (especially kill shelters) don’t always have the means to do so. As for grassroots collectives like Smash HLS! and DARTT (the latter of which I have been active in for several years), they, unlike PETA and HSUS, unequivocally support and fight for animal liberation, but there is only so much they can do with their available resources, just like shelters and sanctuaries.
So am I saying that you, my readers, should not donate money to big orgs like PETA, HSUS, and Greenpeace? In a word, yes. Groups like those, that have countless rich and even celebrity donors, don’t need donations, especially for the very little that any of them actually do for the earth and the animals. But grassroots groups, like Smash HLS!, Rising Tide North America, and my beloved DARTT, as well as shelters and sanctuaries, need all the support they can get. Saving animals and the earth are the last causes that need to be used solely for lining pockets; if they’re going to be achieved, it will be because of people who understand the right thing to do.
Until all are free!
This past Friday, May 31st, I attended a protest against the seal hunt in Namibia which occurs annually on July 1st. This seal hunt is perhaps not as widely known about as the Canadian seal hunt that occurs in the winter, but it has been getting more attention in recent years. In this blog post, I hope to convince you, my readers, of why this issue is so important, and why you should take action.
According to Sea Shepherd’s “Operation Desert Seal” website, up to 85,000 baby Cape fur seals are killed in this commercial hunt every year. An additional 6,000 adult males are killed as well, so that their penises can be used as (ineffective) aphrodisiacs, mostly sold in Asia. The seal pups killed are often dragged away from their mothers, and should the mothers try to protect their pups, they are killed as well. Even more sickening, the beaches on which these seals are murdered are big tourist hotspots; tourists come to see the seals. So during this hunt, the clubbing of the seals begins at 6am, then 3 hours later, bulldozers come in to clean up after the massacre, making the beaches look nice and clean for the tourists, so that they can see the remaining seals and be blissfully none-the-wiser to the bloodbath that occurred beforehand.
Aside from the ethical standpoint against this hunt, it is problematic in other ways as well. The hunt is driven by one man, Hatem Yavuz, who, according to the Sea Shepherd site, has the contract to buy every seal pelt from the hunt in Namibia until 2019. Furthermore, Yavuz pays $3 for each pelt, but will eventually sell the furs, in the few places in the industrialized world where buying and selling seal fur is still legal, for thousands of dollars. The Namibian workers who take part in the hunt earn very little and live in poverty.
This hunt cannot continue. Not only are innocent, living beings being murdered, but one man is profiting off of it at the expense of both the seals and poor Namibian workers. Fortunately, the cause to end this hunt is gaining support, and hopefully, as more people learn about what’s going on, more people can rise up and take a stand against it. See this website for more information about the Namibian seal hunt, activism against it, and what you can do. Until all are free!
Hello, readers! I know I have been MIA for a little over a year now. I’ve been very busy with school, work, and trying to actively make the world a better place, but in the coming year, things will change. I plan to finish college in the spring, and finally enter the “real world.” But I still want to continue doing this blog. I have some ideas of both individual posts and blog series I could do:
-Feminism/women’s issues series (including ecofeminism revisited)
-Occupy: Where is the movement headed?
-Human rights series (including posts on world hunger, homelessness/poverty, and imperialism)
-Different shades of veganism (cooked vegan, raw vegan, fruitarian, macrobiotic vegan, etc.)
…Just to name a few ideas.
Leave your comments below to let me know what you think of these ideas. And if you, my readers, have any suggestions, please let me know as well. Happy holidays!
Over the past half-century or so, there has been a lot of talk about saving ancient Sequoia, or redwood, forests. But why is this issue so important?
Many activists feel the need to protect these great trees because they, like our rainforests, are one of the natural wonders in the world. Found mostly on the west coast of the United States (in places like central and northern California and southern Oregon), these trees can reach up to heights of 360 feet, and are known to live for thousands of years. Because of their longevity, the Sequoia forests are what are known as “old growth forests”, and have thus gained unique ecological characteristics, including “large trees and standing dead trees, multi-layered canopies with gaps resulting from the deaths of individual trees, and coarse woody debris on the forest floor”. And of course, just like all forests, these forests are home to many nonhuman animal species.
Unfortunately, redwoods face certain threats today, mostly from the logging industry. It has been said that of all the redwoods on the West Coast, 95% have been logged as of now. There were once 2,000,oo0 acres of redwoods. Today, there are fewer than 106,000 left.
So what has been done to save these trees? Some activists, such as those in Earth First!, have gone as far as taking part in tree-sitting, an act of civil disobedience in activists literally sit in trees that are set to be cut down, refusing to leave until the trees are spared. One such activist, Julia Butterfly Hill, performed a tree sit that last two years.
But obviously, not everyone can make it to the West Coast to sit in a redwood, so what can the rest of us do? I often talk about the value of educating people who may not be in the know so that they become aware of the issues affecting our planet. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Get the word out to everyone you know, especially if you or your friends or relatives live on the West Coast and can get active for these trees. You don’t have to sit in the trees, but even organizing a demonstration and getting loud can be helpful.
Come on people, let’s save the redwoods!
The Southeast Asian region is known for many things, but one of the natural wonders it is most known for are its rainforests. These rainforests are the oldest in the world, dating approximately 70 million years back. They are home to many different flora and fauna (tigers, elephants, tapirs, rhinos, and, perhaps most notably, orangutans). But now, several forces are threatening to destroy these areas (wow, that sounded very movie trailer-esque. But I digress).
The primary threats facing the Southeast Asian rainforests are logging and deforestation. Because so many trees are being cut down at such a fast rate, and, just like all other rainforest, cannot be replanted, many of the species who depend on the forests to survive are dying out or critically endangered. For instance, the Javan rhino has gone extinct, there are only about 300 to 500 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild, the Javan tiger is no more, and the Sumatran tiger is well on its way to extinction.
In addition, the mutual relationship between Southeast Asian wildlife and plant life has been radically upset by these changes. As the trees are cut down, animals’ habitats and food supplies for the herbivores (and thus, the carnivores, eventually) dwindle, and this will eventually cause the entire ecosystem to collapse. In fact, it is projected that all of Southeaast Asia’s main rainforests will have been destroyed within the next decade.
So, why am I telling you all this? I’m hoping that you’ll all do something about it. Tell people. Hit the streets. Spread the word. Help stop these majestic rainforests from being destroyed!
For more information, visit the Rainforest Action Network’s website. Peace, love, and keep hope alive!