Friday, January 15, 2010

Environmental Beauty

I have this belief that living an environmentally-friendly life means not just protecting the earth but also protecting every living thing on the earth. While I personally try never to kill anything .. plant, animal or otherwise ... that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how and what humans take from nature ... that desire to be excessive ... the idea that if one thing is good, then a billion things is better ... with no thought to sustainability.

If one studies nature, it is apparent that there is balance ... and if left alone, nature seems to check itself. When food is available, a species thrives and typically becomes food for another species, higher on the food chain. Or, if predators don't control populations, the species will grow until the food source can no longer sustain it ... and starvation will check population growth.

At one time in human history, people were part of that balance. We took what we needed to survive but nothing more. Then, man got greedy and decided that more was better. And that had an impact on every species on the earth.

Even at that point, man could almost be forgiven his gluttony ... after all, he was taking plants and animals which would be sold for food and clothing. Necessities! But then, man got preoccupied with status and wealth and looking good. Exotic animal populations were devastated because man (and woman) wanted unusual boots, furs, beautiful feathers in their hats, and trophies on their wall. And "balance" became a thing of the past.

And that's the part I have a problem with ... taking so much from nature that species become extinct. Let's face it ... we don't exactly know what will happen to us as various species forever disappear. We don't know what it will do to the quality of our life ... or to our very existence. I'm guessing that it could be devastating.

While I wandered around the Internet last month, I came upon a disturbing trend ... ornamental feathers. I started to see posts and ads about jewelry made with feathers ... about boas and headbands and dusters and shawls ... all made with beautiful, exotic feathers. They were, indeed, beautiful! But I began to wonder how those feathers were obtained. I'd like to say that feathers were collected as birds molted. But, that's just not the case. They are obtained in ways that I won't mention here ... it's too ugly.

In the US, laws state that feathers can only be obtained from domesticated birds. So, the majority of them are a by-product of the poultry industry. But are we simply using every part of the bird, as advertisers would tell us ... or are birds being raised specifically for their feathers? We've talked about the environmental cost of raising animals ... it's extremely high. Additionally, if the demand for ornamental feathers increases, does anyone believe that it won't be met ... and met with more and more exotic species? That opens us up for the reduction and/or elimination of bird species because of their beauty. It happened in the 1800s ... it could happen today.

We've talked about meatless meals ... because they are environmentally friendly. Let's expand that to include meatless, or animal free products ... because they are also environmentally friendly.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. I believe we need to be better stewards, more thoughtful consumers. Since commerce is our balancing act, we need to speak out with our purchasing acts. We also need to continue keeping stewardship on the table at all times.

  2. I too believe that we as a people could do a lot better job taking care of gods green earth.i always enjoy visiting your site.. excellent article

  3. lots of great things said in this post. if you haven't read these, check them out: 1) ecopsychology, 2) deep ecology, 3) the population bomb.

    the issue of population is rarely addressed because people are too afraid to tell each other they should have less (or no) children. the world 'celebrates' big families and the medical 'miracles' to create octuplets and such. even insurance often covers fertility treatments, yet few cover adoption fees. something is wrong...

    and on a lighter note, if you haven't rented 'idiocracy' i think you'd appreciate it :))))

  4. I love your site and visit when I can and click the rainforest link .
    However I will never donate or put much thought into any foundation with bill clintons name on it.
    I just cant.
    But I want to thank you for all your efforts. :)

  5. I couldn't agree with you more! I love reading your insights. It definately makes us all wonder how much more we could/should be doing as a collective society.

    I'm here covering the Olympic torch relay as it makes its way to Vancouver and I keep hearing that it will be the "greenest" games in history. I'd like to pick your brain: Do you think it's feasable to have a green Olympics--or is it just a slogan or gimmic to make people believe it's green? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    I hope you're well.

  6. So very true. I particularly agree with the 3rd paragraph and was discussing it recently in regards to what is happening in Haiti. Many people around me are feeling the same way that they are not getting the help they need because of greed... and also if we were living in harmony with our planet the devastation would not be nearly as much. I hope that we continue to learn from these situations. Anyway... time to get off my soapbox ;)

    Sending love and light,


  7. Hi John,

    I appreciate your comments and have taken them to heart. The Bill Clinton site was more my effort to offer an easy way to support Haiti relief efforts and less about politics but ... I don't want anyone to be discouraged from helping simply because of my banner and link choice. So, I've changed the banner and the link ... it now points to a list of charities which have met the BBB's (Better Business Bureau) standards.

    Thank you for your comments!


  8. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for your question. I'm going to do a little research. My initial, off-the-top, thought is that any gathering ... festivals, fairs, Olympics ... can't by their very nature be "green". But I'm going to check my facts and then I'll write about it ... hopefully next Friday!

    Take Care!


  9. Hi SF,
    You are so right. I note with horror that animal fur is still on the shelves here in Europe. I almost bought rabbit fur myself once for two reasons: 1 because coming from Aussie I initially thought it was fake - until I read the label. 2) Then I got the speel that it was from rabbits that were food (bad enough as it is I know - but sold as an idea that all of the animal was 'used' if you like). So I rushed home and got on the internet to find out. Like you I was sickened by what I saw - and better comprehended how it could also be so cheap. NOTE - they sell this as warmth on children's clothes too. It has taken a good amount of effort to convince some of my wealthier friends that they are rich enough to buy other man-made products for warmth, and not to support the fur industry. Sometimes I think we just haven't evolved at all...

  10. Wanted to stop by and say Hi.. Always enjoy your commentary and insights...

  11. I know in myself that being a vegetarian would be a hard thing to do. But I have promised myself to eat less meat and more on vegetables.