The other day I was chatting with a friend, Sarah. “My kids are doing a project on global warming, and my son said he was worried there wouldn’t be any elephants left for his children to see. I’m so angry…but what can I do?”
Sarah’s not alone. Many parents feel concerned about their children’s future. There’s a lot you can do to help the elephants, get fitter…and even save money. Sounds impossible? Start here…
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU EAT (it’s not what you think)…
Imagine you’re sitting down to a delicious and exotic meal with a friend from another country.
The table is piled high with dishes and wonderful aromas drift up from the food. Your friend is beaming. “It’s a traditional feast from my country,” she says. “The meat is very special and healthy for you.”
Intrigued, you peer into a bowl, your stomach grumbling slightly…it’s been a while since breakfast. You take a mouthful, biting hungrily into the chunks of meat…”What is it?” you ask, puzzled by a slightly unfamiliar flavour.
Your host beams. “We got it specially for you. You said you love dogs. It’s dog meat.”
DELICIOUS FOOD AND DEAD DOGS
Your stomach churns. You attempt to spit the meat into your napkin and feel yourself retching. Your friend looks upset. “Did I do something wrong? You’re not veggie, are you?”
Sarah seemed a little confused…”But dogs are different,” she said. “They’re more intelligent.”
“Pigs are actually highly intelligent and people eat them,” I replied. “All animals feel pain. All animals deserve respect and kindness. For an adult to say “I like meat, it tastes good’ as a justification to torturing and killing animals is really quite strange.”
POISONING YOUR BODY AND THE PLANET
“Vast amounts of forest and wild animal habitat are destroyed for the cruel meat and dairy industry. Toxic chemicals are fed to farmed animals to make them grow. Most live lives of misery. Imagine your dog or cat kept in a tiny cage all their life…then killed because someone ‘likes the taste”.
Sarah looked uncomfortable. She’s not a bad person and she really does care about animals…”I see what you’re saying…”
“Meat and dairy kill YOU too, contributing to health issues like cancer, heart disease and obesity. Give your body a chance and get rid of toxins, cruelty and poor health from your life. Stop eating meat and dairy. You’ll be fitter, healthier and more peaceful…saving the planet, one elephant at a time. And I’ve got a great recipe for chickpea tagine.”
SAVING THE PLANET, ONE ELEPHANT AT A TIME
“You’re on,” said Sarah, smiling. “‘Chickpea tagine AND saving the planet, one elephant at a time. I like that. But then if everyone else is eating meat, and cutting down rainforests…”
“You’re right. On your own it can feel difficult…which is why you need to link up with others who have similar concerns and start to work on changes which will make a difference.
“Things like climate change, over consumption, and the emphasis on work and money at the cost of quality of life and environmental destruction, are not going to melt away.
“If you’re worried about there being no elephants for your grandchildren to see, YOU need to do something”.
“Yeah, but it’s not that easy,” said Sarah. “I’ve got the school run, catching up with friends, shopping, cooking, taking care of the family…”
GET HEALTHY, SAVE MONEY, SAVE ELEPHANTS
“You’re right. We all have a lot going on with our lives…and sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it takes an effort…lots of worthwhile things take an effort. Remember when you decided to do something about your weight and fitness issues? Was that easy?”
Sarah shook her head. “No way!”
“But it was really important to you. You knew you HAD to make changes, easy or not. And how did you do it?”
“I joined a group. I got support,” said Sarah. “It was hard, yes, but fun. We had a laugh. And the sense of achievement…Wow!”
“So how do you feel about yourself now? You’re fitter, healthier…”
“I’ve done well. Really well. It was tough, but good tough. And worth it. I feel great about myself, too. More confident.”
“So maybe doing something about climate change and the elephants will be like that? Tough, fun, but worth it?”
Sarah nodded. “I can find out more. Watch some documentaries, go to a talk…find a group.”
“You’re not the only one who feels like this. It’s a huge concern, especially for parents. There’s so much you can do…Walk more, cycle, take public transport instead of driving.”
Sarah smiled. “You know what? I can get fitter, save money AND save elephants…What’s not to like?”
To find out more on getting healthier, fitter, saving elephants and the planet, follow Pamela’s Facebook group Go Green Penang. She’ll be starting her own blog too, with lots of helpful hints, tips, events and much more…LIKE GO GREEN PENANG ON FACEBOOK, SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT.
c Pamela Nowicka 2014