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Earth Day Reflections -2010

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Message Suzana Megles

I hit the jackpot last night! No, not the one that results in a monetary
windfall. I rarely try to win that one any more. I realize there are even
greater riches beyond comparison in every day life - especially if we live
those days well and work for the good of humans AND animals.

The jackpot I'm referring to was TV viewing last night. This week we are
celebrating Earth Day's beginning some 40 years ago. The 3 TV programs
I watched reflected this wonderful anniversary. I was glad that early on in
the 70's it was special to me and the years have not diminished my gratitude
to its founder and to all the people who work to try to bring our earth back
to its pristine beauty and health.

Speaking of gratitude - I am grateful to Point of View (POV) which presented
the eye-opening film -Food,Inc. I watched it with sadness and horror. I was
forewarned though because it had been making its rounds in small movie
house venues last year. I had wanted to see it and finally last night I did.

It should be required "viewing" in all the high schools. Required reading is a
good thing and so is watching a film which only seeks to educate regarding the
sad place we Americans find ourselves re how our food is produced. I hope all
of us went away with the realization that huge corporations like Smithfield,
Tyson, Perdue, and Monsanto are running the country's food production. They-
not us, not Congress are deciding for most of us what we should eat and how
plants are grown and animals raised and slaughtered. How could we have allowed
some 5 or 6 giant corporations to get this control? What ever happened to the
notion of not allowing monopolies?

Food, Inc. made it a point to show how this could have happened. Congress was
infiltrated by enough elected people who formerly worked for these big corporations.
They made it their goal to promote and sell Congress on the notion that big is
better. Big is cheaper. Big is NOT better. It meant using tons of pesticides to keep
the thousands of newly planted acreage to be weed-free. What are some of the
results? Aside from our fruits and veggies being laden with pesticide residue,
when was the last time you ate a REAL tomatoe? Today's tomatoes are nothing
like the ones we grow ourselves.

Big is not better when the concept of using very little land and space to crowd
together our poor farm animals is employed. Now these poor animals are
crated and caged. Now these poor animals have no life of their own. They are
indeed treated as commodities - not living, breathing beings like ourselves -
denied the basic rights we selfishly "hoard" for ourselves but cruelly deny them.

These former corporate people did a heck of a job to promote the idea that big
is better and cheaper. And there is some truth in the cheaper aspect of this
argument because as regarding meat - it showed a family who were reduced
to buying fast food because it was cheaper then the price of healthier fruits
and vegetables. It's time we charged more for the foods which are less healthy
for us and make available organic fruits and vegetables at an affordable price
which will help keep unhealthy weight gain off our kids. Even a general
recently spoke about the seriousness of overweight young people who are not
even fit for army life. What will happen if we need them to fight in another

Aside from that - our young people are fast becoming candidates for diabetes and
heart problems. Cheap fast food? - no way to raise children and no way to raise
farm animals in confined animal farm factories either. I think Food, Inc. made
this notion abundantly clear - at least to anyone searching for the truth.

Thank you - producers, writers, and commentators. You did a superb job. It is a
classic and should be viewed by anyone who truly wants to be educated re food
in the U.S.

This same evening I was thrilled that an hour would be devoted to a series of
dramatized "interviews" with Rachel Carson in her last year on earth before
she succumbed to breast cancer and died in 1964. "She" spoke about how life
dramatically changed for her when she was required to take a biology course
in college. She didn't see how this would further her writing ambitions. Well,
of course, it did, and she consequently changed her major and became an astute
student and observer of nature whose reflections also really changed at how many
of us would now view our world as well. We learned that it is ours to preserve or
destroy. Sadly, it seems to me we are doing a pretty good job for the latter.

Her story is riveting and this beautiful, gifted woman was able to absorb the
criticisms of supercilious "scientists" who claimed her observations in "Silent
Spring" re the deleterious effects of DDT and other pesticides were bogus and
untrue. I was delighted that President Kennedy and his scientific advisors
came to realize the truth she had written and commended her for it. Kennedy
had not been a favorite of mine before but this news has made me re-evaluate
his worth. Even though both are dead I wish God's blessing on both of them. I
do believe in the afterlife and my beloved dead are remembered each day.

Rachel's book -Silent Spring was well received in the U.S. and was also read in
many other countries the world over as well. She remarked that she was getting
a number of all-expenses paid offers to speak in different parts of the world, but
sadly she had to decline them all because of ill health.

And last night I even saw the ending of Law and Order whose background story
involved a meat-packing plant and a woman who was killed trying to document
the dirty conditions in which the meat was being processed. If anyone watching
this episode wants to dismiss it as just a story plot, I think they should do some
more research in this area of meat production. But I am glad though for those
who watched it with an open mind and came away with the realization that there
was probably more than an element of truth in this fictionalized account and
hopefully benefited from this knowledge. I am always surprised and disappointed
when I meet people who either just don't want to know or who don't care.

TV viewing this night of April 21 was superb and probably never to be duplicated
for me again - unless next year's Earth Day celebration trumps it. I hope so- with
good news for our environment, for the animals, as well as for the poor people
who can't afford healthy meals.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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