Wayne Pacelle in the News, Leading the Charge to Help Farmed Animals

With less than a week to go until the election, most people are focused on the presidential race. (I know my stomach is clenched tighter than a clam, and I wince and peek with only one eye when I check the latest polls and speculations.) But the Proposition 2 race in California will have an equally significant impact for millions of farmed animals. As you may know, if passed, the California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act would phase out the use of gestation and veal crates, as well as battery cages.

There have been an enormous number of people and organizations working on behalf of farmed animals and Proposition 2. But every campaign needs a spokesperson, and one of the most visible and vocal advocates of Prop 2 has been Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. (Pacelle and HSUS are responsible for initiating the ballot initiative.) Recently there has been a bit of press about and by him, which I though was worth sharing. The New York Times recently ran a great feature story about Pacelle, Prop 2 and the animal protection movement, and the LA Times ran an op-ed from Pacelle about Prop 2 in Sunday’s paper. The Huffington Post also recently ran a story about Pacelle and Proposition 2. A columnist at Examiner.com talks about Prop 2 and mentions that, although he’s a proud meat eater, he’s impressed with Pacelle’s strategies and that Pacelle “seems to be a voice of sanity from animal rights groups.

If you haven’t checked out Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation, be sure to do so. It’s on my RSS feeds.

~ Marsha

MOGO Movie Vault: Call + Response

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” ~ Dr. Cornel West, scholar/philosopher

27 million. That’s the estimate for how many slaves there are in the world today. That’s more than at any other time in history. Many of those slaves are children. Many of those slaves are used for sex, or for war. People have been working to abolish slavery almost since slavery began, but it still persists, and is growing. Organizations such as Free the Slaves and Not For Sale have been working hard to bring awareness to this issue and to abolish slavery around the world. Call + Response is a new tactic in the campaign to rid the world of human slavery, a “rockumentary” in which activists, educators, celebrities and musicians each take a part in sharing the story of slavery in the 21st century. One thing that’s unique about this documentary is that 100% of the profits will be used to fund projects to help end slavery.

The website offers a variety of ways to get involved, from contacting companies to let them know you want slavefree products, to submitting ideas for ending slavery, to connecting with other abolitionists in your area.

The film opened October 10 and is playing in selected theaters around the country. Here in Portland, the film is playing at the Living Room Theater, 341 SW 10th Avenue, through October 16.

~ Marsha

MOGO Movie Vault: Flow

What would it be like if you had to drink, wash, bathe — any tasks that needed water — with only a small amount of water each day?
What if you had to walk miles and miles to get your water each day?
Water if the water coming out of your tap was a strange color and gave off a terrible smell?
What if a private company came into your community to manage your water supply, and charged you more than you could afford?
What if you had rocket fuel in your water?

Many of us take clean, plentiful water for granted, but a large number of people around the world don’t have that luxury. More than a billion people don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water.  Many people use the same water for drinking, bathing, washing and sanitation.

There are significant water issues in the U.S., as well. The EPA just announced that rocket fuel in water isn’t of sufficient concern to do anything about it. There are water shortages everywhere. Some communities are turning their sewage into drinking water.

Many of us have read articles or books advocating water conservation: take shorter showers; turn off the tap when you brush your teeth; wash only full loads of laundry and dishes, etc. Books like Bottlemania, Blue Gold, Blue Covenant, and Water Wars have brought attention to the commodification and privatization of water, and the importance of providing clean, safe water for all.

Flow is a film that investigates what has been called the “most important political and economic issue of the 21st century – the world water crisis.” Filmmaker Irena Salinas interviews scientists and activists about the crisis, examining issues such the impact of the privatization of a shrinking water supply, the expansion of “water cartels,” the effect of a lack of water on people around the world, and how people are developing creative solutions to deal with the water crisis.

Flow will be opening in Portland this weekend (October 3) at Cinema 21.

Water is an incredibly precious resource that no one can live without. It affects every part of our daily lives. Check out Flow and learn more about who’s trying to own your water.

~ Marsha

Connect Others With “A Life Connected”: A Simple Tool for Vegan Awareness

Sometimes simplicity is a most powerful tool.

In our culture deeply marinated in the habit and tradition of eating animals and their products, it can be challenging to find a voice to counter all those other voices repeating the meat mantra. And it’s often hard to find a way to share the passion and power of a commitment to veganism in a way that won’t make omnivores feel defensive or pressured or cause them to shut down and turn away (like they often do when presented with graphic videos).

The people at Nonviolence United have created a beautiful and compelling 11 minute video called “A Life Connected.” It focuses on the increased awareness that people have about the power of their choices to help create a peaceful, sustainable, compassionate world and calls on those making these new choices (sustainability, fair trade, etc.) to look to their food choices for another way to make a better world. Through unfolding the three primary “legs” of veganism (people, planet, animals) in a way that reveals their interconnectedness to our food choices, the film emphasizes veganism as a positive and powerful tool for a humane world.

The film uses images, a few statistics, occasional humor and insightful observations to increase awareness and call for positive action, such as:

“How can it be that over 95% of Americans feel it is wrong to unnecessarily kill and hurt helpless animals, yet 95% of Americans continue to unnecessarily hurt and kill helpless animals so they can eat them? Why the disconnection? It’s time to connect.”

Check out the film, and forward it to everyone who needs to hear this message.

~ Marsha

Target: Media — InfoMania Pokes a Little Fun

In today’s U.S. culture, it’s easy to become obese from gorging on all the media shoved down our throats every day, whether we choose it or not. (Can you think of many places where we’re not exposed to some kind of media? Not even bathrooms are safe anymore!) I try to limit my media consumption to that which I really need to know about or am truly interested in, but sometimes I like to snack on a little media trashing.

I recently discovered InfoMania, a weekly, half hour Current TV show which is available for viewing online. InfoMania’s tagline is “Chewing up the week’s media so we can regurgitate it, half-digested, into your mouth.”

The gist of the show consists of the different segment hosts “analyzing” (read: usually dissing or making fun of) news, pop culture and entertainment media. For example, some of last week’s segments included:

  • A look at Shark Week, and how the scientists on the shark shows are trying to emphasize that sharks aren’t bad and are an important part of our ecological systems, while the network continues to offer show after show about shark attacks and shark scares.
  • Viral videos of people doing stupid stuff with bears (like trying to feed them or hug them).
  • A look at the top 5 videos from different sources (in this case, MySpace).
  • A segment about birth control commercials.

And, there’s always a look at what’s on the cover of this week’s magazines, as well as just some strange stuff.

My favorite segments are the “Target: Women” segments, hosted by Sarah Haskins. She looks at how the media portrays and targets (thus the title) women. In addition to the birth control ads [which, she points out, focus much more on fun and shorter periods (and sometimes smooth, sexy skin!) than they do on birth control], Sarah has analyzed wedding shows, yogurt (“the official food of women” ), voting, botox, and “feeding your f—ing family” (which is, after all, a woman’s job).

The tone of the show is irreverent, witty, occasionally profane, and, as I said, sometimes just strange. And the hosts are a little on the pale side. But, you will find some good observations mixed in with the snark. And, there’s always something that makes me laugh. (I’m not sure if that reflects well on the show, or poorly on me; you’ll have to watch for yourself and decide.)

~ Marsha

All the News That’s Fit to Print…That You Probably Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media

Several years ago I gave up on mainstream local and national newspapers and TV news. It had become completely depressing and mostly irrelevant. I’m really sorry that there was a fire at an apartment building in a state 2,000 miles away. And that yet someone else died at the hands of another. I feel compassion and empathy for people around the world who are suffering, but hearing about each little individual act — this fire, that shooting, this attack, that disappearance, this robbery, that close call — can give me compassion fatigue and hurl me into a depression. And I can’t tell you how much I don’t care about what’s happening in celebrityland, or how much and what kind of stuff people are buying, or who’s winning or losing what sport (sorry sports fans; I respect your enthusiasm, but I don’t share it), and, hard as they try, the weather folks seem to have less than stellar accuracy.

So, I stopped reading and watching. Now most of the mainstream news that I ingest comes from the occasional skim of Google or Yahoo! headlines, and the alerts and RSS feeds I peruse as part of my work.

But, news continues to happen, and some of it is actually relevant to my life and interests. So, I turn to the outlets** that address the issues I care about. Here are a few of them:

AlterNet – news & commentary you won’t get from the mainstream media.

Common Dreams – “breaking news & views for the progressive community.”

Independent Media Center – “A collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage.”

One World – daily news that focuses attention on hidden voices and issues around the world.

Project Censored – “The news that didn’t make the news.”

Truth Out – A reader-supported news agency that covers issues from labor and politics to environment, health and women’s issues.

Of course, there are plenty of “issue-specific” news sources out there, as well as some great news-focused blogs, podcasts and radio shows.

And, when you need a break from “real” news you can always turn to sources like The Onion, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

It’s important, though, to keep your news diet balanced with the rest of your life, and to always verify the accuracy of the information you’re digesting.

What news sources are your favorites?

~ Marsha

**(Actually, many of the stories from these alternative and independent outlets do come from mainstream media; they’re often the stories that just don’t get as much coverage or attention as what Paris Hilton did this week or how much Brad and Angie got paid for pics of their babies or the stupid thing some shock jock or pundit said or why we should buy the new iPod.)

MOGO in the Media

AREA NEWS:

West coast states to cooperate on ocean action planEnvironment News Service – 7/29/08
”The three states will work together on 26 actions. They promised to advocate for stricter ocean going vessel emission standards, prevent the introduction of invasive species, explore the feasibility of offshore alternative ocean energy development, improve ocean research, increase ocean education and prevent and respond to offshore oil spills, among other efforts.”

Oregonians prefer their cars greenOregonian – 7/29/08
”Nine of every 10 Oregonians say that even if gas prices drop, leaders must act now to avoid a future crisis, and eight of every 10 say car manufacturers should be required to make more efficient cars that pollute less and use less gasoline.”

Sherwood middle school girls learn to stop bullyingPortland Tribune – 7/29/08
”By the end of the two weeks, many of the girls said the training had helped them realize they often played the aggressor and the victim, alternately being mean to other girls and being the target of such abuse.”

Oregon wind farm to be largest in worldPortland Business Journal – 7/28/08
”The Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm, which would span Gilliam and Morrow counties in north-central Oregon, is proposed to have 303 wind turbines with a peak capacity of 909 megawatts — instantly doubling the state’s current wind-generated capacity of 889 megawatts, making it one of the largest wind farms in the country.”

So. Oregon getting first biodiesel plantKTVZ.com – 7/28/08
”Three entrepreneurial young graduates of Southern Oregon University have started the Rogue Valley’s first biodiesel manufacturing plant.”

West coast climate convergence to take place near EugeneOregon Daily Emerald – 7/28/08
“In a nutshell, it’s an opportunity for locals to participate and live in an environment that concentrates on sustainable living through both practice and learning.”

Wolves have returned to OregonSan Francisco Chronicle – 7/27/08
”The announcement triggered celebrations among conservation groups, who have been hoping to see wolves re-established in Oregon to restore a balance of nature broken a century ago when a major predator was eliminated.”

Proposal to charge fees for disposable bags exploredOregonian – 7/26/08
”Love it or hate it? There was no shortage of opinion Friday on the idea to charge up to 20 cents to get a plastic or paper bag at Portland stores.”

Couple works for clean water in Southeast AsiaEugene Register Guard – 7/25/08
”The Bradners were some of the first aid workers allowed into Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis killed 84,000 people in the country in May. They were allowed in thanks to Thirst-Aid, their nonprofit program based in Eugene. Thirst-Aid has been providing jobs in Myanmar making water purification filters for nearly two years.”

Walkable PortlandPortland Tribune – 7/17/08
”Under the catchy title, ‘Walk There! 50 Treks In and Around Portland and Vancouver,’ the free guidebook outlines an impressive variety of local routes, ranging from pastoral strolls to gritty urban sorties, each with a map, description, difficulty rating and even GPS coordinates.”

For an annotated list of recent national/international stories, check out a recent post from Humane Connection.