As a lifelong vegetarian, animals have always been close to my heart. I was brought up this way and this remains an integral part of who I am; someone who loves animals. My childhood years were spent with cats, hamsters and rabbits and for that, I am grateful. This appreciation for animals has made me, in some ways, more empathetic and understanding of this great, wide world. The problem, I realised, when I was about twelve years old, is that our animals and indeed our planet, are in grave danger. From human excesses, misunderstanding, cruelty, harm and our species' general feeling that this is our planet to stomp all over. Of course, this isn't everyone - but large countries like the US and even our smaller UK - are damaging our planet at a rate that our children and their children, will not see certain species of animal - because we will have wiped them out.
I've often petitioned online. I do spread animal activism all over my Facebook page, in an effort to get people to notice what is happening to our world, to get them to care - and if they do care, to get them to act! Our government's environment minister is completely blind - he has little regard for environmentalism and saving our planet - and even questions climate change as to whether it is actually a negative process! My online petitioning can only go so far, so after years of sitting back and doing nothing - I'm now acting!
The term 'hippy' is bandied about my generation a lot. My parents were the generation to go on CND marches and shout their voices loud about causes they were passionate for. However, as my sociology teacher told me when I was 16, there is something about younger generations today that is sometimes apathetic. I sometimes feel that way, I'm just one person, what difference could I possibly make? However, I did take part in the student protests in London in March 2011, and the sense of unity and desire for that cause was almost palpable - people do care, you've just got to find others with similar views and passion to band together and fight for something. This is completely true for me. I don't often socialise with other animal activists. I'm sure my friends care, but this only goes so far. Would they go on marches to support a cause? I've never really asked. But the crux of my situation reached a precupice the other night: I might not have friends who care to such an extreme extent like me - I just have to act, to do something to make a difference.
Two causes that have been very well publicised on animal social media pages are the UK's badger cull and the elephant Ivory Trade. Both causes are wholly worth looking at. You can read all about the cull, its objectives, its flaws and cruelty in the following links: Brian May's Save ME site and the Badger Trust and Team Badger (a coalition of wildlife charities against the cull). You can sign the petition at Team Badger too.
You can read here about the barbaric Ivory trade. Both species are under threat. The badger cull relates to the issue of bovine TB, which some badgers can carry and transmit to cattle. It is in its pilot stages and began in Gloucester area a few days ago (the pilot cull seeks to test whether badgers can be culled humanely in a specific way, not to actually control TB at this point, they are only testing a small proportion of these badgers- so how can they know whether this is humane?) and furthermore, a widespread cull could spread TB even further. Not to mention, they do not know how many badgers are in this area and there could be little more than the number they want to kill. They risk wiping them out in that area.
The elephant Ivory Trade is a cruel and barbaric slaughter of elephants for ivory. Every fifteen minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory and they risk African elephants potential extinction by 2025. That's twelve, 12, years from now. If somebody had told me that elephants would be made extinct in my lifetime, I would not have believed them - now, it's imperative that myself and anyone who believes in this cause - fights and marches for our elephants. We have to stop this cruel and barbaric murdering!
So, with both campaigns in mind - I've decided to take action! I'm not sitting behind a screen campaigning for these causes anymore (well, at least not just doing that). Firstly, on 4th October in London, it is International March for Elephants day in London. Several other protests are taking place all over the world, this is an international campaign! It is organised by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (a charity for wildlife in Africa).
The website (iWorry) has fantastic props for dressing up as an elephant, and the Sheldrick site has shirts you can buy to support the elephants and march.
On the Saturday, myself and my mum will be going out with badger activists to patrol cull areas, looking for bait and injured badgers. I've signed the petition and donated money to the patrol and bought the single and t shirt! Now it's time to ACT!