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Janice Stanger, PhD
Founder and Executive Director
I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. - Leonardo da Vinci
The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different. - Hippocrates
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. - Albert Einstein
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Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We do not weave the web of life;
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves...
- Chief Seattle
When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world. - John Muir
The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable. - Thomas More
Robert and Lin
Occasionally we would like to share our own perspectives on various topics which you can find in this section.
What is Missing?
by Robert Jacobucci
Have you ever wondered why so many of us in our society make choices that are bad for our health, the environment, for society, and definitely for the animals? How could so many of us be so wrong?! Is there one ingredient, one quality, that could pull it all together for us?
If we look closely, we see the missing ingredient is compassion. Certainly, most people claim to possess it. We all may talk about it. However, with any scrutiny at all, we see that, as a society, our values, our actions, and our everyday lives belie our claim.
How could true compassion cheer for war and the killing of innocent women and children? How could true compassion routinely slaughter and torture the defenseless animals? How could compassion poison and destroy our environment? How could it use all the world's resources in our own lifetime so that our children and grandchildren will have nothing left but a barren shell of planet?
Compassion is the right hand of Love. Why are these sacred values missing in our society and our hearts? Is it because we have been conditioned since birth to put our own wants, desires, pleasures and bank accounts ahead of what is good for others, and unquestionably what is good for Earth and the animals? Our lives are completely centered on the "Me".
Love and Compassion, on the other hand, think outside the self. Their focus is on what we can give---not what we can get. Self-centeredness is always looking to get as much as it can and to give as little as possible. "What's in it for me?" is what it is always ready to ask. How can such a person form a lasting relationship with anything... or anyone? True Love, on the other hand, finds joy in giving and, in any relationship, thinks nothing of giving more than it gets.
As human beings, we have choice. We have free will. We have the ability to choose Love over personal gain. Thankfully, every day gives us a new opportunity to try again, to start over, to do what is right. It is a Sacred Gift that the moment we choose Love over the "Me", we will find a whole new world of harmony and joy has opened to us.
If you want others to be happy,
If you want to be happy,
- Dalai Lama
Walk On The Wild Side
by Lin Silvan
Walking is close to being---if not actually is---the ideal exercise. Almost anyone can do it. No special equipment is required. You can do it almost anywhere. It's been popular for eons. It's free! It's walking!!
According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, walking as an exercise can help relieve tension and enhance a person's general attitude toward life. Walking is well known as an effective weight control exercise. A moderate pace of 4 miles per hour burns approximately 5 calories per minute, or 300-400 calories per hour. Taking a brisk walk before a meal may decrease your appetite. Walking keeps the body energized and promotes physical fitness. It's an exercise that benefits:
HEART - Allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently. During vigorous and prolonged exercises, such as walking, the heart beats more rapidly, helping to strengthen the heart muscle. A strong heart muscle can help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
LUNGS - Helps the lungs develop a greater capacity. Eases breathing and improves the entire respiratory system.
MUSCLES - Helps tone muscles in legs, thighs and abdomen.
BONES - Strengthens bones, enhances physical endurance, improves balance. Walking can help retard bone loss ---osteoporosis --- which is especially important for women and older adults.
BLOOD - Improves blood circulation. Walking causes calf muscles to contract, circulating more blood from feet to heart.
Does a leisurely stroll down the aisles of a supermarket count as walking exercise? No. Ambling is not aerobic walking. Walking is an effective exercise when you walk briskly for at least 20 minutes at a constant clip of 3 to 4 miles per hour. When you walk briskly, air is inhaled and exhaled into your lungs at a faster rate. This increase in the body's intake and use of oxygen is referred to as aerobic --- meaning with air.
The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all exercises, walking is the best. — Thomas Jefferson
Don't expect to walk 10 miles the first time out. Start slowly. Walking, like any vigorous exercise, requires moderation until the body has built up some stamina. You know you're walking at a good clip when you are taking about 120 steps per minute. Begin by walking at a relaxed pace for 10 minutes, working up to 20 minutes every other day at a brisk pace. After you have been walking briskly for 20 minutes three days a week for one month, increase your walking time to 30 minutes. Repeat 30-minute walks 4 or 5 times a week.
It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy. - Howard Murphy, MD
DO wear comfortable, lightweight and flexible shoes with sufficient arch support and cushioning for the bottom of your feet.
DO allow 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space between the longest toe and top of the shoe. This will give your feet room to expand while walking.
DON'T wear shoes made of material that prevents your feet from "breathing." The best shoe materials are leather, canvas or nylon mesh.
DON'T ignore the elements when walking outdoors. In summer, wear a hat or visor to protect your head and face from the sun. In winter wear several layers of clothing to trap heat between layers.
Walk as fast as you comfortably can,
For as long as you comfortably can! - David A. Rives
ATTENTION: Anyone over 40; pregnant women; and people who are overweight or have high blood pressure, respiratory or cardiovascular problems are advised to consult a physician before starting a walking program.
Is Change Possible?
by Robert Jacobucci
Change seems to be the most difficult thing. Countless New Year's resolutions go unfulfilled every year. We cannot lose weight or exercise. New commitments do not hold.
As a society we fare no better. Elected politicians still cheat, steal, and lie. We go to war. There is prejudice at home. The numbers of homeless increase. Apathy and ill-health are on the rise. And... our children are evermore abused and neglected.
So what is the problem? Is it possible for us to change and become better human beings? Unless we agree that it is possible, we are essentially saying that change is hopeless, that we are all just "trolls" who will never be better than we are. Why then become irate over cheating politicians if we ourselves would do the same thing in his place? If our nature is such, then any talk of morality or kindness would only be hypocritical.
If, on the other hand, we feel in our hearts that change is possible, then how can we know if this is really true for human beings when so much around us says we don't change?
We must first make the distinction between people not changing... and people being unable to change. The first is a matter of choice... while the second is a death sentence for our species.
The only way to convince ourselves that human beings do have the potential, and the power, to change is for us to change! As a representative of mankind, if I can change, then it is possible for mankind to change. See how empowering this is! Mankind's hope rests with me!!
If I can change, all men can change. So it matters not that men have murdered down through the ages. All that matters is that I do not murder. If I can live without murdering, then so could the rest of men.
Others may be violent, but what matters most is that I end violence within myself. In this way, my life then becomes a living experiment with the fate of the world in the balance! World Peace is in my hands.
What else could I change? Could I end Greed and Selfishness within myself? Then our children would still have a chance in this world!
Human beings have Free Will. Choice is always in our hands. I always have the choice to help you or harm you. I always have the choice to make the Intelligent or destructive choice. I can always choose the apple over the doughnut, the veggie burger over the steak. And every Intelligent choice that I make—reverberates throughout the entire Universe.
Making a Difference
by Robert Jacobucci
"The world is going to hell in a hand basket!"
This is the pervasive feeling many of us are left with these days. Listening to the nightly news often leaves us with a lingering feeling of helplessness. When we look to our leaders in Washington, and even at the state level, they somehow always seem to be voting against our wishes. Furthermore, getting involved in politics often seems to be draining of our precious energy and, in the end, appears futile. All of this can leave us very depressed. Upon inspection, this feeling of dejection is mostly brought about by an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.
However, nothing is further from the truth!
We can impact the world around us in very meaningful ways---with or without the backing of our illustrious leaders. The one thing, and perhaps the only thing, over which we have complete control are our own choices. Our daily life is put together with choices that we make and that we can change.
On a daily basis, we choose what we eat, where we eat, where we shop, what we purchase, whether we recycle, reduce, or reuse, how to and how often we transport ourselves, how much energy we consume, how much waste we produce, and perhaps most important of all: how much kindness or violence we add to all that we touch. These choices have tremendous impact on the world around us. It becomes our personal mark--our legacy to future generations.
So when hopelessness overtakes us with the happenings in the world, it helps to remember that we do have complete control over the choices that we make every day. We are not powerless. We do have the power to change ourselves. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
What can we do? We can change jobs. We can live more simply. We can patronize the local businesses and organizations that are helping the world to be a better place. We can bicycle more, or travel less. We can reorganize our whole way of living to be in harmony with all that is right in the world.
Although we cannot tell others what to do, our example, like a ripple in a pond, will touch everything around us. Without our even knowing it, our example and our kindness will touch even distant shores.
We must never doubt the importance and the impact of our own choices. The freedom to choose is a special gift bestowed upon us at birth. What we do with it is up to us.
In the larger picture, we are all most certainly responsible and accountable for the choices that we make. Using our extraordinary gift of Free Will, our daily life becomes our own individual creation and represents our personal contribution to the harmony (or destruction) of the interconnected Whole. In this way, our sacred daily life reflects the sum of all our choices and remains an unrelenting and faithful mirror into our very soul.
Cree Indian Prophecy