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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Uplifting Isn't Enough

 I love wildlife. I love wildlife so much, I gave my pet-niche-only blog a complete reboot, summed up in the new tag line, "loving life, inside [pets] and out [wildlife].

So why did it feel like such a chore today to sit down and type a post? 

This question dominated my thoughts as Toby and I took another (freezing) walk. It bothered me at my doctor appointment and when I stared, overwhelmed, at my blog reading list, emails, and Facebook news feed. 

From recent emails:
-Idaho wants to kill 450 wolves!
-Protect endangered Florida panthers!
-Protect polar bears from oil drilling!
-Say no to Keystone XL!

My Facebook news feed has sad stuff about the orcas at Sea World, black-footed ferrets, migratory songbirds…oh my. 

While thinking of ordering a cool new book, The Sixth Extinction, a small voice in my head said, "Are you sure you want to know more about that than you already do?". 

It's no different on the domestic animal side of the house. Pets needing adoption to dogfighting to factory farming, there's a constant drumbeat of suffering. Man, it can be a real downer to care about animals. Like the song says, love hurts.

Wouldn't it be better if we stopped talking about all this misery? Couldn't we tell only the positive, uplifting, stories? Is that the direction my blog should take?

 Some people do a HUGE thing that shakes an issue like an earthquake, that gets shared 4 zillion times on social media, makes Google News, and goes viral on YouTube.

Meanwhile millions of us are doing tiny things, acts that no one will ever know about, that can be fit into busy lives; actions that won't bust the budget, cause a family argument, or land us in jail. Google News won't be headlining your $25 donation or your signature on that petition. You won't be on the front page of the paper throwing a can into a recycling bin or bringing a reusable water bottle to the gym. 

Big and small, all these actions, in the aggregate, have a positive effect. They have something else in common too.

Each action begins with someone who knows about a problem and does something about it. In the fifty years since Rachel Carson, the environment and our treatment of animals  has improved because heroes spoke out loudly about ugliness that no one wanted to see.

No. My blog can't be only about the day-brighteners. Sometimes an issue needs thousands of big bright lights shining on it so it can't  hide on dark fringes of society's awareness. And on some days, one of those lights can be mine.

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