Everyday is Earth Day

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I am not really big on celebrating holidays. The word HOLIDAY comes from holy day.  One of the most sacred holidays for me is Earth Day.  The only change I would make to the date of the celebration is to make it 365 days of the year.  I also love Mother’s Day, but for me it is also every day of the year and it focuses on non-human and human mothers who routinely have their young taken away.  This callous separation of close-knit families is always done for greed/profit.  Whether it is a human child sold as a slave to pay a family debt, a calf torn away from his or her mother so that humans can steal her milk, a young elephant stolen so he or she can be trained to do unnatural acts for human entertainment, an adult chimp killed and her baby stolen for invasive experimentation and a life of imprisonment or a puppy sold by a puppy mill while still at an age where he should be with his mother….all cause intense emotional pain for both mother and child.
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Most holidays have completely lost their meaning.  Very few people know that most holidays mean more than an extra day or two off work.  We are trained from early on in our lives that it is OK to have major inconsistencies in what we say we care about and how we actually choose to live our lives.  When the Be Kind To Animals Week banner is stretched across the same wall at the school where the hamburgers are listed on the school lunch menu or we hear “peace on earth” repeatedly for a holiday that consists of buying a bunch of stuff and eating animals, we learn that holidays are not about their original intention.
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I tabled at three large events for Earth Day week.  Our table had outreach material for compassionate environmentally responsible and healthy food choices.  We were the vegan table.  Two of the events included people selling or displaying baby goats, piglets and young chicks.  The food sold at these two events was 95% animal products.  The smell of grilling flesh permeated the air for both full days.  One person came up to our booth and said, “You may have the only booth that is appropriate for Earthday.”  I actually found a few other booths that sold appropriate items like organic local seedlings and solar cookers and some trying to preserve wild lands and care for animals.  But, for the most part, the events were just parties and most people attending were not giving earth-friendly choices much attention.
My third tabling was at a local college.  Most people zoomed by the table not wanting to know about anything that may change their consumer habits.  One man was wearing a t-shirt that had the word PRIVILEGE with the red cross-out over it.  He was telling his friend that he would never even consider being vegetarian.  I piped in that he may not want to wear that shirt while saying that.  He was very quiet from that point on.
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An older woman came by the table and quietly watched the Farm to Fridge film I had running continuously throughout the day.  This incredible Mercy for Animals compilation includes a look at the violent realities of food animal industries.  This woman said to me, “We would never do it this way.  This is terrible.  We do it the traditional way, the kind way.”  I asked her what the kind way was.  “We just shoot them in the head,” she responded proudly.  Then she continued, “They send the women into the house and then shoot them in the head.  It is very quick.”  I asked her, “If it is a kind way, why do they send the women into the house?”  She got a distant look and then just kept repeating, “This is awful, we do it the kind way….this is awful, we do it the kind way.”  I told her that in my family we decided that the kind way was to not unnecessarily kill any living being. She grabbed a little literature and then wandered off, still saying “We do it the kind way, we do it the kind way.”
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I would love to see Earth Day not only celebrated everyday, but to see it celebrated with some actual mindfulness about how our personal choices affect the earth and all her inhabitants.  We can all work to make our local Earth Day celebrations retain some of the integrity they were meant to have.  Go ahead and get your face painted, dance to some good music, celebrate with friends, and make sure that every booth, product and message is consistent with caring for the Earth.
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Tabling is not my favorite form of outreach, but on my most sacred of holidays, Earth Day, I am more than willing to give my time and energy to at least trying to preserve a little bit of the original intention of the day and be a voice for the voiceless.

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About RaeSikora

Rae Sikora has been a spokesperson for animals, the environment and human rights for over 30 years. Her programs have been changing people's vision of what is possible to create in our lives and in the world. Rae has worked internationally with participants ranging from teachers, students and prisoners to businesses and activists. As co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, Rae created interactive critical thinking tools that are now being used by people around the globe. Rae draws from years of experience to help individuals and groups discover how implementing changes personally/locally can bring about positive change globally for all life. She is and co-founder of VegFund and co-founder/co-director of Plant Peace Daily.
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