Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good

A few months back I had the experience of a lifetime – I spent an entire week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  This trip is one that I had been wanting to do for 10 years.  I first heard of The Elephant Nature Park from a flight attendant who had gone there on her honeymoon.  Though I thought it an odd choice at the time, as my honeymoon was spent sipping rum punch on a beach in Jamaica,  I have since come around to realize her experience far outweighed my gluttonous week of all you can eat restaurants and sand in my crotch…as far as honeymoons are concerned, she won.

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The result of 800 lbs of food each day…times 71 elephants!

I arrived at ENP unsure of how the experience would shape me.  I knew the basics of what we would be doing – prepping food (Did you know elephants eat 800 lbs of food a day?), picking up shit (400lbs a day…each!), and cleaning the park of the discarded corn tusks the elephants deemed inedible (picky, picky, picky).   I had no idea there would also be 460 dogs there (most saved from the flood of Bangkok in 2011), herds of water buffalo, endless cats, goats, chickens, and any other type of animal that has needed rescuing in the past 25+ years.  I also had no idea what the tourism industry had done to these magnificent creatures including torture, mutilation, and murder of many of the mothers in order to take the young.  That week I learned a lot.  I saw more than what I thought my heart could handle.  That week, I became a voice for those who can’t speak…

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I won’t go into specifics on the industry – just know that it must be pretty bad for a large global company like Trip Advisor to stop offering tours to animal related attractions siting welfare and abuse – including elephant rides.  It is a small step in the right direction and one that will have me as a customer for life…provided the follow through is there.  But more importantly, I wondered what I could do to make a difference?  The answer – Educate.

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One of the older elephants – she is missing her ear as a result of “the hook”.  It was ripped then later was infected and had to be removed.

On our last night at the sanctuary I took an oath: Take what I learned and spread it to others.  Not a week or two later I saw my first opportunity.  My friend, Mr. Groovy, tweeted a post on his FOMO of FI experiences…the picture attached was another blogger on an elephant ride. UGH…  First off, I get it.  I can totally see why someone would want to ride the largest and most intelligent mammal in the world.  To see the world from above and to feel the mighty strength beneath you.  I get it.  I HAVE DONE IT.  But now I know better.  And so I wrote him.  I wrote a private email explaining that his FOMO was messing up my MOJO.  Seeing that image made me cringe inside and made me wonder if others might do the same.  I wrote him a note apologizing in advance for bursting his bubble but I needed to take a minute to explain the truth behind that image.  That promoting it hurts the very creature that we admire so much we want to climb on top and go for a ride.  When it was time to press send, I hesitated.  I am new to this community, love the Groovy’s, and didn’t want to overstep the boundaries of interfering with another mans written word.  But then I thought about it.  I remembered the night that I took the oath.  Sitting in that wood and grass hut surrounded by 35 other volunteers (and one HUGE spider), most with tears streaming down our faces, all shaking our heads in unison that we would do our best to end the images our eyes and hearts could never erase.  I had to take a stand for what, in my mind, is right.  I pushed send.

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Once it was sent I had a total freak out!  I called my boyfriend crying and told him I made a terrible mistake.  Who am I to tell another person what they should and shouldn’t do or promote in their spare time?  Why was I standing on a soap box when I myself had done the very same thing (and, gasp, I have swam with dolphins as well!)?  But, again, when you know better you do better.  My BF listened and then took a deep breath.  If there is any one person (besides my mom) who knows how much I love animals it is him.  He has seen me pull over to grab a dog on the side of the road (multiple times), bring lost bunnies to wildlife rescues, trap and release every kind of spider in our house, and guide misguided birds down the back staircase.  He has seen it all.  But on this point he agreed – perhaps interfering with another persons desires meant I had taken it too far.  He told me not to expect a positive response if there was any response at all.  But moments later it came.  Mr Groovy responded.  And he was as pleasant as can be.  And today…he responded again – my first clue was on Twitter:

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If you haven’t yet read his post you can do so HERE.  He talks about the correlation between personal finance and ethics.  Are they involved?  Should they be?  And what can we do to promote the two.  After reading the post, I wrote my response…it turned out much longer than I intended but I asked (and was granted) permission to share it here:

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Like I said, a much longer comment than I anticipated!  But even so, I held back. 🙂  What I wanted to mention was the best form of travel I have found has been to include some sort of volunteer activity with every trip I do…it makes my money have a greater impact on me and the world.  In addition to my time in Thailand at the ENP, I have volunteered to write compostela’s in Spain at the end of the Camino De Compostela, I walked the first European Peace Walk across 6 countries mapping the way and adding signs for future walkers, and I have plans to volunteer in both Cuba and Peru next year with a possible Cambodia trip to help stop human traffiking.  Besides the good juju factor, the financial bonus to these types of vacations (including the fact that one hour massages are only $6 in Thailand!!) is that they are usually far cheaper than a typical resort style trip…and, if you know me at all, you know I love a good bargain for a great cause!

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Still time for cocktails!

Rum and coconut water never taste so good!!  🙂  There are so many opportunities out there to use your money for good while also getting an education and a bit of a vacation…  so what will you choose?  What will you use your time and money for?  Can you align your travels to make a greater impact on your destination?  All food for thought!

Until next time…

PS – If you would like more information on the Elephant Nature Park and their mission you can read all about it HERE.  If you would like to visit, I HIGHLY encourage the $350 cost for one week of an incredible experience including AWESOME vegan food – you can learn more about visiting or volunteering HERE.  If you would like to see one of the many videos that have inspired me to speak out against the cruelty of these animals you can see that HERE…I warn you, it is graphic (with a few typos) and not for the faint of heart but seeing it will make you stronger to fight on their behalf.  Thank you for reading/watching!!

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36 thoughts on “Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good

  1. Sounds like a great experience. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Dare I ask about what’s involved with the dolphin swimming? I feel like that usually happens in the ocean?

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    1. Haha – yes, it was two separate trips – and unfortunately I loved every minute of it!! But the problem with the dolphins is they are incredibly intelligent captive creatures…have you ever seen Blackfish? Shocking…

      I know I can’t save the world (I am reminded by my BF every time I capture a spider!) but I can do my best to offset the madness by not participating in practices I know are cruel. And I struggle with certain dilemas – like, I eat fish but not meat. Why do I value a land animal more than a sea creature? I don’t know!! Insert awesome hands in the air gif here…

      As for the spiders, I am reminded of this story:

      Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

      Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

      The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

      The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

      The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

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  2. TheRetirementManifesto

    I loved the exchange between you and The Groovies (you’re both among my favorite blogger friends!!). Proud of you for speaking (er., emailing?) your mind, and for the Groovies for taking it in the spirit it was intended.

    Never be afraid to follow your convictions, you just may change the world.

    (BTW, a new Chimp Rescue facility is being opened in our N. Ga mountain town, excited to start volunteering there soon!!).

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    1. Awww – I wrote a post a month or so ago claiming the Groovy’s as my cool older cousins – this is my public proclamation that I am claiming you as well. 😉

      And – Are you serious?? Chimps?!!!! I may have to add that to my list! There was once a trip offered by Sierra Club that had you volunteer with orphaned and injured black bears. I only saw it offered once and I regret not jumping at the chance. You have to take these chances when they come!

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  3. ChooseBetterLife

    I love that you brought this up to start a very thoughtful dialogue. I left my own unintentionally novel-length comment on the Groovys’ post so I won’t reiterate it all here, but it is a complicated situation and I’m really glad that you had the courage to write that email.
    Hugs to you.

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    1. I read it! 🙂

      You bring up some valid points – not ALL animal tour companies are the problem. Rescue/rehab/sanctuaries are all valid places to visit. What to do with the older animals is to give them their freedom within safe confines. They are no longer able to be released into the wild, thankfully, this is what Lek does at ENP. One example of her tenacity and love for these animals is as follows:

      Lek heard of a senior female elephant that was being forced to work the beaches even though she was blind and injured. She knew the general area of the elephant but not the exact so she went beach to beach tracking down this specific elephant. When she got there and tried to buy the elephant the man refused. He said she had many more working years left in her. She harped on him so much that he eventually moved to a different beach 200 miles away. Lek was able to again track the elephant down and again tried to buy her. He refused and went to a different beach…this time, to get her off his back (he was running an illegal business) he sold the elephant to another buyer. When she got word a few months later she approached that buyer and attempted to make a deal. By the time Lek got there, the elephant had bonded with another. Because she was blind, this other elephant became her guide, leading her from morning to night. Lek knew she had to purchase both elephants. To purchase an old elephant is one thing – to purchase an old one plus a young one still very capable of work, it was going to cost. Lek was able to raise 2 million dollars to purchase and transport both back to ENP. This took place 2 days before we arrived.

      These animals were not born to be docile creatures. They were not born to work in the teak industry pulling 2000lb logs up mountainsides, and they weren’t born to be drugged and have pictures taken with them (like the tigers). They are wild creatures. Yes, they cause damage…mainly because we have taken their land as our own. Over cutting forests and clearing the jungles. Don’t get me wrong, I do not value a humans life any less than an animal, but I know the damage we have caused as humans. I also know the damage they have caused as animals. The difference is that we know better. We know what they are capable of. We can guard to some extent against that, or we can learn to live in unison. How to do that? I don’t have those answers, but not adding to the tourism factor is a step in the right direction. 🙂

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and adding more thought to the conversation. If only we had all the answers!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It makes me sad to know that I’ll never swim with dolphins, but I simply won’t. Every time we go to Vegas, we have this “discussion”: I won’t set foot in the shark reef that my husband would love to see. I do realize that my single decision isn’t going to have a huge impact, but I can also look myself in the mirror and feel good about how I spend my money.

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    1. Hi Penny – Good for you, girl! As I tell my boyfriend, I won’t stop him from eating meat but I won’t participate in it. I make vegetable soup and he can add his chicken at the end! It doesn’t save the whole farm but it saves my plate. 😉

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  5. Love these thoughts! We spent some time traveling through Thailand after we lived in China for a while and we visited a place where we intended to ride elephants. After being there for 30 minutes or so, it was very apparent that the animals (elephants, tigers, etc) were completely abused and mistreated. There was no way we were going to be a part of that. To hear our suspicions actually confirmed (in your post) breaks my heart! I love how you/Groovy’s tied this in to ethics v personal finance. I hope all the good karma comes your way from being good to creatures!

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    1. That’s so sad, Amber! When I got to Chiang Mai there were so many places advertising elephant rides and tiger walks. I honestly can’t blame people for wanting to go – they are such beautiful animals I want to kiss them all!!! Unfortunately, to get them to these docile creatures is such a gruesome process that you can’t ignore the whole process to get to the end result. Good for you guys for seeing it and not adding to the industry. ❤

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  6. Thanks for including us in your post, Miss M. — I mean “cuz”. We love your writing and are happy we’ve become friends. You’re email didn’t slight us in the least and I’m glad we were able to communicate with each other quickly so that you could stop worrying!

    Probably the only truthful thing in the original post was about Mr. G drinking moonshine. It’s hard to get when he’s being tongue in cheek but we agree that using elephant-riding is a bad example and we won’t do it again.

    I’m glad this has led to further discussion and posts. As people who are very in touch with our finances, we can use the power of the purse to back our beliefs.

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    1. You need to share that moonshine first chance we get…Especially if it will make us all good writers like you two! 🙂

      And now that Mr G has been properly informed of the woes to his elephant riding dreams, we can officially bury the hatchet. 😜 I am so grateful that we were able to have an open (and awesome) conversation because it led to great chats about the overall purpose for most of our FI goals which is to make the world a happier place.

      You line “the power of the purse” – it insights such great imagery which for some reason makes me picture my 75 year old grandma marching her way uptown with full makeup, heels, and purse in hand! She was badass and I aim to be just like her! 🙂

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  7. If only more people had your capacity for mercy and compassion, Miss Mazuna, this world would indeed be a better place. Thanks for such an eye opening post!

    If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
    – Francis of Assisi

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    1. Aww – thanks MMM! I love the quote you picked. That Frances of Assisi was a smart man. 🙂 In fact, there is a hike in Italy from Florence to Rome called the St. Francis Way that I am researching now. Similar to the Camino De Santiago which honors St. James the Apostle, this hike honors St Francis and his life. 517 km (321 miles) of awesome landscape and villages. Now to pick a date!!

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  8. I think it’s great that you kept your oath, and used your experience to help inform and educate others! It can be easy to not think about how the things we say and do have a real impact, on other people, animals, and the environment. By talking about your experience and sharing what it’s really like for those elephants, you’re helping to make a difference in their lives and their future

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  9. You’re so brave for hitting send! I’m constantly wondering where I should jump over that line and step in if I see something…questionable. That trip sounds like something I would do, although my animal poison is sloths and bats…yup, bats. I would really love to volunteer at a sanctuary for either one but haven’t found the right fit! Being a tourist is great, but there is something about being immersed into a goal, activity, or purpose that is appealing.

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    1. It’s funny, I see people take political stances everyday on issues that I completely disagree with but I don’t get involved. Animals – a whole other story. Mr. G meant no harm, of course. But if I see you hit your dog or throw rocks at a squirrel you best be able to run quickly!

      Bats may not be my thing (I’m a morning person so I find most nocturnal beings creepy;)) but the sloth I totally get. Slow, sad looking, and super predictable. Their nails leave a bit to be desired but their faces more than make up for it! Head on down to Costa Rica and you can volunteer with the Sloths!! SWA flies there now… 🙂

      https://frontiergap.com/projectview.aspx?id=362&title=Costa-Rica-Animal-Rescue-Project&setsite=1&gclid=CjwKEAiAvs7CBRC24rao6bGCoiASJABaCt5DqEHXfSH6s1R6iqk268fcQK-Idudyq7SLdwxTn2anMRoCVtjw_wcB

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    1. Isn’t it! I can not believe the amount of pain we as humans can dish out to animals AND other humans. It truly breaks my heart. The good news is awareness is only a conversation away. The more we talk the more people HEAR us. Fortunately, I inherited the gift of gab (with hand gestures) from my Italian family. When I speak up, I make sure others are listening. 😉

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  10. Nice post and really educational about those types of practices. I put money towards Trout Unlimited for the work they do preserving coldwater fisheries (i.e. spring creeks, and other smaller flowing bodies of water) and their conservation efforts for the fish, bugs, and plants that thrive in them. I haven’t volunteered yet, but plan to get more involved after my work life ends, lol.

    They also do great programs like hosting camps for men with cancer to have a “safe” place to come and talk about their disease (since you know, we’re so good at talking… about anything, lol) getting kids on the water, women only fly-fishing camps, and even working with wounded warriors to help those guys find something they can do and feel good about – fly fishing.

    I guess I like them because they do more than just trout and creek conservation, but they also tie it into education and outreach for people that need it whether they’re sick, underprivileged, recovering, or just need a quiet place where they can stand in a river waving a stick…

    I have been looking into more volunteer opportunities since joing the Guadaluepe River chapter last year since they’re closer to home. They host a LOT of those camps I mentioned above however, even in their latest Dec. update they mentioned how alst year was super low for volunteer opportunities, lol. Hopefully that will change this year and I can find something that aligns with my schedule.

    I also donate to the Sierra Club and will have to keep an eye out for some of their trips. I remember back in the college days, I used to look at them thinking, “Man, those are spendy but sound fun” and now I can afford it.

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    1. That sounds so cool!! Even though you dont have the time right now, you are giving what you can to support what sounds to be an awesome outlet for a lot of people. I love the idea of matching people in need (whether it be physical or emotional) with nature. There is a lot of healing that can be done outdoors. I have been keeping my eye on a club that supports Wounded Warriors through hiking the Appalachian Trail. A good long walk is sometimes what you need to process the thoughts that get jumbled up inside. The service men and women who fight for out freedom are very near and dear to my heart. I’m happy to see the organization you are supporting is supporting them as well. 🙂

      I too used to look at the Sierra Club trips and think the same way…then I looked at some of the REI based trips and they were twice as much if not more! This year I am aiming to do a Habitat for Humanity build – I see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill set (I’m dying to learn how to frame) and a way to give back to the less fortunate. I will definitely be reporting back!

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  11. This is a great follow on from Freedom is Groovy. I remember reading that earlier this week and thinking I know Miss Mazuma is going to share more on this when she gets a chance. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience as it is truly eye opening. It definitely had me thinking this week!!!

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    1. Haha – you know my MO! I love the fact we can all have an honest conversation without it turning ugly! I consider Mr. Groovy a good friend and I love the way we make each other think. The great part of this PF group is that we don’t only talk about money. This is about life and our influences…it’s great to see the flipped side of the coin sometimes (see what I did there? I brought it right back to money!). 🙂

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  12. drmoneytails

    Absolutely loved this post, Miss Mazuma, as well as the Groovy’s post.
    I am a huge animal lover myself, and like you, my wife and I rescue trapped spiders and other bugs we find into the “wild”. We stop our walks to move snails out of the busy sidewalk into the grassy areas so they don’t get stepped on. We have a rescue dog and two rescue cats.
    We have decreased the amount of meat we eat by around 90% – because the more we learn how badly the animals we eat are treated, it makes me nauseous to eat a burger or a chicken. I am not yet a vegetarian and far from being a vegan, but avoid contributing to this demand as much as possible.
    We are planning a trip to Thailand next June and I will definitely look into the ENP – perhaps a week of volunteering as well!
    I command you for bringing light to this subject, that is very dear to my heart.

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    1. Hi Dr!

      So glad to have a fellow animal lover here. 🙂 That’s awesome that your wife and you are on the same page – I too have stopped for the snails! As for the meat factor – it is a HARD habit to break. I still have dreams about burgers and steak! My mom likes to remind me often of how much i used to LOVE her meatballs…like it is a personal insult to her that I no longer eat meat. Haha – Italians!

      You will love Thailand! Please check into the ENP trip and repost back if you actually go. I have a specific dog there that I want to check on. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

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  13. We are planning an extended multi-month trip to Southeast Asia starting in January 2018. I definitely want to do this! I’m not a ‘sip rum on the beach’ kind of gal either. I went to Australia by myself and everyone asks me if I held a koala bear. I always respond by informing the person that it is not good for the animal and causes them a lot of stress. I will also never ride a camel or elephant. I won’t even horse back ride anymore because the industry causes unnecessary breeding and apparently, to horses, having people on their backs, is extremely frightening, until they get ‘broken in’.

    I was a vegetarian for awhile, but I do now eat humanely raised meat for the nutrition, but I don’t think animals should provide us with entertainment. I really struggle with zoos also. I know that they do conservation work, but they are still a business.

    But, like you said, where do we draw the line telling others what to do?

    I say this, because one of the worst things that we can do to animals, is drive. I gave up my car a couple of years ago. But our car culture is a major issue with destroying wildlife habitats. That is why a hybrid or electric vehicle really is not ‘green’ or sustainable, when you think beyond carbon.

    Lastly, what are your thoughts on safaris? That is another thing I won’t partake in.

    Anyway, great post!

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    1. Wow! You raise some great points! And when you mention holding a koala my first instinct is awwwww – I would love to do that! Then I realize this is exactly the problem. We all want to do things for our own benefit but we often forget the toll those things pay. I remember being at a conservation center and they showed us a variety of animals…a sloth, an eagle, a skunk. They took the time to teach the crowd about the animals and I specifically remember them talking about skunks and why you see so many dead on the road. Their eyesight is terrible but their noses are amazing. They can smell things from so far but can’t see threats when they are hunting. They said never throw food out the window even if it is biodegradable because the skunks will try to find it and often get killed. It had never occurred to me! Great lesson learned…even though we learned it from captive animals.

      So yes, we need to know what is important to us and where we can draw our own lines. Riding animals and zoos aren’t for me. Driving is a necessary evil I have to do for work but I try not to do when I’m home. Eating meat I don’t do but eating fish I do! It’s such an internal struggle but one you make peace with in time…or you’ll drive yourself crazy!!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment and for raising some great points! 🙂

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      1. So, I was born and raised in Chicago, and if there is any city to go car-free…. that is the one! You say you are a flight attendant…can’t you take the EL to work? I guess I don’t understand why you “need” to have a car and drive to work. Driving is the MOST destructive activity to animals, after rice growing and factory farming. And the sad thing is that we don’t need cars to survive. We do, however, need nutrition to survive. So, I suggest, change the vegan diet and swap it for driving. That will have the biggest impact on animals and the planet.

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      2. I am so glad that being carless works for you! Based on my job and location, my need for a car is a safety precaution as well as a lifestyle choice. As you said, you used to live in Chicago. I’m not sure what area, but I am sure from our nationwide coverage you are aware of the crime issues going on in our fine city. As a female, walking 6 blocks to the nearest train station at 3 in the morning is not an ideal situation. Take into affect the weather, the fact that EVERYONE knows we don’t carry weapons (can’t bring mace, knives, or guns through security), and the fact that some train lines don’t run all night, the train is no longer an option. The bus is awesome, I use it all the time, but again I still need to switch to the orange line on the south side. I know MANY flight attendants that have been mugged and beaten…again, we are obvious prey to criminals as we drags our roller bags behind us unarmed. Unfortunately, that is the city I live in.

        The other reason for my need is the fact I spend a lot of time in the suburbs at my BFs. Due to his divorce, he lives in one town and his ex in another. He has shared custody of his kids. They don’t yet drive and, if you have teens, you know a car is often necessary to get them back and forth…especially when we live 5 miles from their out of district (no bus) school. I also have a 93 year old grandma that lives 50 miles away that I visit monthly if not more + my 65lb 10 year old beast of a pup that comes with me most everywhere. To get her to and from anywhere more than 2 miles makes a car necessary. Car share programs do not allow dogs onboard. I looked into it years ago. That may have changed since then but regardless the other factors of my need have not.

        As a result of these factors, this is where MY need lies. I am sure some will have a retort for each factor – I get it, especially if you are passionate about your cause. I too am passionate about mine. But I have never condemned those who eat meat (or ride elephants) – that is their choice. I definitely wouldn’t change my diet based on another’s opinion so I totally get that! I believe educating is the best way to get others on board. As you pointed out, driving a car is one of the most harmful things to do to animals BEHIND factory farming. At least I am getting something right by not eating meat! 😉 Eating humanely raised meat doesn’t end the effects of carbon emissions…it still contributes. Regardless, my issue with factory farming in general is how the animals are slaughtered. Even if a cow is raised humanely eating grass and walking pastures, when it goes to slaughter it is usually in a similar process of the factory farms (unless you know your processor) and is a gruesome way to end your life. Have you seen the movie Temple Grandin? That was a big turning point for me.

        Anywho, while I appreciate your opinion on the driving matter, it isn’t one up for debate in my life. I often think of all the ins and outs and have made a conscious decision to keep my car and in the past few years I have drastically reduced the amount that I drive. Though I do feel my need is justified, I don’t believe it needs to be justified by others standards. Life is about choices that we make based on the knowledge we have. I have intimate knowledge of my need based on these and other considerations. The hope is that we make the best choices for us as well as the world around us. I know I am not perfect, by any standards, but I promise I am doing my best. 🙂

        Thanks for a good chat this morning. 🙂

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  14. That is a good point about being on the el at 3am in the morning. I totally agree… as a female, I would not do that either. I also totally agree about factory farming. It is an atrocity. I was a vegetarian for over 10 years, but I went back to eating small amounts of meat at the urging of my doctor. I will definitely check out the movie you referenced. I also have read a couple of books from vegans who went back to eating meat after getting health issues. The Vegetarian Myth and Death By Food Pyramid, are two that come to mind. Also, the vegan chef from the documentary Super Size Me, Alexa Jamieson, went back to eating meat, after 13 years as a vegan, for health reasons.

    The key is to support humanely raised animals and local farmers. Pay more and eat less meat.

    And yes, thanks for a great chat!

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  15. payingforprivateschool

    Love this and that you using your free time in this way. And I think it is great that you spoke out and am particularly pleased the message was recieved as intended – information, not an attack.

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. Desmond Tutu”

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    1. Yes – the Groovy’s are the best! They totally could have shut me down or gotten all pissy but they were super sweet and understanding. Love the quote you used – I always go to the story of the boy picking up starfish on the beach that I mentioned in the comments above…”It made all the difference to this one”. Sometimes that is all that matters – to make a difference to one whether it be a mouses tail or a single starfish. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I was desperate to ride an elephant until I saw a documentary about a year ago. It wasn’t about them being abused, but how they live naturally in the wild, and it made me look into it more. I’ve since learned about an elephant orphanage in South Africa that looks after orphaned elephants and attempts to release them back in the wild, and staying at a place like this and using my cash for good has replaced my urge to ride an elephant.

    It’s a tricky situation, because if everyone stopped riding elephants, I don’t know what would happen to those already in captivity. If they no longer earn money for their owners, how many would live?

    I’ve had a few really cool wildlife encounters that have been exactly that- wild! Sometimes, it means you don’t get the best view or might not even see what you were looking for, but better than something spending life in a glass box so that I can take photos for facebook!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, took the words out of my mouth. I hate seeing these people take pics with drugged animals just to post it on FB or Twitter…those tigers in Thailand come to mind. Or the truly reckless humans who take a baby dolphin out of the water to take pics so long that it dies and they leave it discarded like trash on the beach. It’s hard to see. But I also hear where you are coming from with releasing them. Elephants can do a lot of destruction to farm land…mostly because they are searching for food sources that we have taken from them. It is quite the quandary. I wish there were easier answers for all of it but it seems we have gotten this far and it is hard to reverse some of the bad. Solutions take time and not everyone has that. For now, I will do my part on education. If one less baby is stolen from its mother for the tourism business then that makes me a happy girl. Thanks for stopping by and invoking thought. 🙂

      Like

  17. Pingback: Three Awesome Things This Week & One Horrifying - Brooklyn Bread

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