Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To talk of many things

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The cover story of the Summer 2008 issue of Defenders, The Conservation Magazine of Defenders of Wildlife, is titled WALRUS IN A WARMING WORLD. The article, subtitled The melting of Arctic sea ice poses new challenges for Pacific walrus, is comprehensive and the research reported is alarming.

We who are concerned about global warming and its devastating affects on the planet's animals (we are animals, too) can feel overwhelmed as report after report is released (or worse, censored) describing conditions more dire than thought or predicted by scientists even five years ago. As citizens we must decide which issues fall within our circles of concern and our circles of influence (there's quite a difference). You have to pick your causes and fight your fights commensurate with your time, money, and energy. If not, your passions and whatever positive changes they might effect will shrink like the ice cap.

I've been an activist on behalf of the polar bear and baby Harp Seals for decades now. I still am and will be until my dying day, or theirs.
They have been my predominant animal causes that I defined within my own circle of influence.

Now I learn from the Defenders article that last summer thousands of walrus on Alaskan and Russian shores were stranded due to the retreat of Arctic ice. That led to fatal stampedes. Just imagine. And remember we are animals too, prone to mass panic and mob behavior including stampedes, both past and present. The time has come...for me to add the walrus to my circle of concern, which is the reason for this post.

I think it's important to buoy up one another in the face of the serious issues confronting us in the world today. So I'll end this post with a vignette about my mother that just cracks me up to this day:

I was spending the night at her house over a weekend when I was in my 30's, which means she was in her 60's. In her case 60 really was the new 45, for she was young in appearance and spirit. She'd come out of retirement for a high profile community job that kept her busy during the week, and the only way she showed her age was by falling deeply asleep in her recliner in the evenings.

Even when I was a child my mother entertained the family by talking loudly in her sleep and once my step-father was anything but entertained when she "showed" him how a horse she was dreaming about was kicking her as they slept side-by-side in a full bed. In her later years she alarmed Mike and me by getting up and writing bizarre notes to us in her sleep, and even waking to find she had opened the front door during the night. My mother had an active sleep life to be sure.

The weekend evening I was at her house we had enjoyed relaxing in the two recliners in her family room while we watched television. There was a fire in the fireplace and we each were cozy in our robes. I was involved in the TV program when she began asking me, How do I look? How do I look? Only she wasn't enunciating clearly, and instead was pronouncing the words as if her mouth was obstructed. I turned to look at her to find her facing me with her eyes tightly closed and her teeth bucked out over her lower lip as she asked again, Hhaw oo I loog? She was sound asleep and I began to roar, which abruptly wakened her. Although now awake, but holding onto her dreamworld, she looked both embarrassed and somewhat disappointed as she explained:

I dreamed I was a walrus and I was so proud of my beautiful tusks that I was showing them off to everyone who would look at me!


Don't Feed The Pixies said...

This is so true - not a single one of us can save the planet, but maybe we should all pick a piece to save and between us we can make a difference.

For many generations we have assumed that we can treat the world how we want to - we still do to a great extent. A Manic Street Preacher (not one of the band, just a street preacher) stopped me recently and asked me if i thought the world would survive. I responded: very probably - but i don't know where and if humans will be in that world.

I loved the story about your mother - a great memory and thanks for sharing

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I love people who talk in their sleep, it trips me out.

This post reminds me about a cause I've been meaning to blog about for quite some time.......maybe I'll finally get around to it?!

I'll have to read more about the walrus' later...

raccoonlover1963 said...

Great post. Very informative. I would love to be able to do something myself for wildlife conservation/rescue. I wouldn't know how to go about it.

Lydia said...

Interesting about being interviewed by the street preacher; your reply was profound. Thanks for reading. :)

I hope you do blog about your cause. The walrus awaits...

Wow, how to go about it...so many ways, really. There's a woman in our local area who started a wildlife rehab for raccoons mainly but she also takes in injured or trapped skunks and others. On a larger scale, just joining one of the groups that focus on saving wildlife on earth is a way to have an effect. With a small annual contribution you'll get newsletters, etc. that will help you with other possible ideas. Some excellent groups are the Natural Resources Defense Council, The World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Greenpeace. You can see which one appeals most to you by visiting websites. Or if you find another good one I'd be interested in knowing the name!

Lisa Allender said...

I LOVE "Defenders Of Wildlife" and WWF, too.
I can't recall how many e-mails I've sent out, and petitions I've signed to try to help save:
*Seals in Canada from the ghastly seal hunts allowed each year(ugh)
* Polar Bears who are in grave jeopardy
* Wolves, especially gray wolves in multi-state areas, now at risk of being shot at by "trophy hunters" (there is a very temporary repreive, but the Feds are probably going to make wolves stay on a list that says they are nOT endangered, even though until very recently, they certainly were)!
Sorry to rant, but it gets me reeeaaallly upset. Glad to read you support these animals through Defenders of Wildlife--it's a great group!

Lydia said...

Lisa A,
We are totally in sync with our outrage over the plight of wildlife and our support for the groups mentioned. On Aug. 1 there was an email message in my inbox from Defenders of Wildlife, telling about the 14 wolf pups that were illegally shot in Alaska by its Game Board. I'm contributing to counter the advertising in place that supports such a travesty and tragedy.



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