Saturday, November 15, 2008

Living Green, a Lesson from Obama

My husband always chides me about the "Green Movement." He says that the regular person can't afford to "go green" and that it is mostly for the wealthy people who what to ease their own conscience for their extravagant lifestyles. I obviously don't believe that. I find that there are many ways to live green that are no more difficult or expensive than the lives we already live.

The story called “A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission she Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere” (Fireside, an imprint of Simon & Schuster) is a good example of a simple thing that people can do to live green. Why is this green you might ask? Because living green means seeing the big picture. It asks us to stop and consider where a pet comes from for example.

Many of the pets that we buy come from "puppy mills." "Puppy Mills" are known as legal houses-of-horror for the animals that are bred there. They are locked in cages 24 hours a day. Undercover video shows them spinning endlessly in circles, biting on cages to where their mouths bleed, trying to get out. They are never allowed to go outside, they are covered in feces because the cages are stacked one on top of the other until they are sold to pet stores who sell them for hundreds of dollars.

Puppies are churned out by the millions each year by dog breeders who find it a lucrative business. Many of these puppies are later given up and left at an Animal Shelter run by the county government within a few years of purchase. People find that raising the dog is too time consuming or costly. A few of the lucky ones are rescued by the one of the various breed-specific rescue groups, but the majority are “put down” which is paid for by our tax dollars. The last statistic that I read said that over 5 million animals are euthanized each year.

My husband is a volunteer for Lab Rescue. He has to goes to these Animals Shelters to find the Labrador Retrievers who are scheduled to be euthanized. Lab Rescue finds foster homes for the animals and volunteers actively pursue permanent homes for these animals. The story is the same for all the rescue groups. The number of animals saved, thanks to the compassion of the volunteers, is small in comparrison to the millions of animals that are euthanized each year who were not as lucky. All five of our pets are animals that have been rescued.

Living Green simply means seeing the big picture. There are millions of dogs who need a home. Making the choice to adopt a pet instead of buying one from a breeder is a perfect example of living green. It cuts down on the waste, the neglect, the suffering and cruelty that is propagated by the “puppy mills” system. It promotes responsible pet ownership. It teaches young children that animals are to be valued, not treated like last year's Christmas toy that is tossed into the trash and forgotten. It opens the door for so many lessons about biodiversity and the need to respect all life on this planet.

Kudos to the Obama family; I hear they might adopt one of the 5 million dogs in need of a loving family. The book about Baby is titled, " A Rare Breed of Love."

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