The People Have Spoken: Global Warming, Real—Magic Underpants, Not

Well, the votes are in and counted; a decision has been made. The people have spoken: global warming is real—magic underpants are not. And bowhunters are not fit to hold higher office, much to the disappointment of Paul Ryan and his role model, Ted Nugent. By shunning the diehard deer hunter, the voters have made it clear that the animals of the Earth are not mere playthings for the rich and famous, the powerful and perverse.

Perhaps now that the election is over we can forget about magic underpants and begin to focus our attention on the real issue that affects all our lives—namely, how human actions are changing the planet’s climate.

According to Kevin Knobloch, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, “President Obama has won another four years in office. In the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, the country may have experienced its first election disrupted by global warming. What makes this even more troubling is that the urgent crisis of climate change was never meaningfully discussed in the debates or on the campaign trail. After a year of punishing droughts in our nation’s breadbasket, extreme heat across most of the country, and wildfires that devastated our forests and property, it is now time to turn up the heat on our political leaders. Even with the continued polarization in Washington D.C., there is much President Obama can do to adopt science-based solutions that permanently drive down our carbon emissions and more effectively prepare for the climate-related disasters that will continue to threaten our lives and livelihoods.”

The trick will be making sure our lives and livelihoods don’t compound the problems of global warming. For example, shipping freighter-loads of coal across the ocean to be burned in Chinese power plants might provide a few jobs here for some, but is it worth the trade-off of carbon emissions produced?  Is the hedonism of the Western diet worth the continued suffering of billions of animals and the methane they produce? “Real change” will take real commitment and real innovation, rather than business as usual.

Cartoon © Rob Tornoe, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Hunting Perverts Kids’ Natural Affinity for Animals

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the serial killer, Keith Hunter Jesperson, first got his taste for killing animals at the early age of six. I bring this up again because of the fact that our potential vice president-to-be intends for his 10 year-old daughter to get her first taste for killing deer this fall.

Candidate Paul Ryan said in a recent interview with the Safari Club International: “Lately, I’ve had the great pleasure of introducing my children to the hunt.  I have some two-seated ladder stands, so I take my kids with me for deer gun season (one at a time of course).  I also take my kids pheasant and duck hunting.”

Children are impressionable and easily influenced in their pre-teens. What kind of person wants his daughter to imprint on the killing, death and dismemberment of a creature as beautiful as a deer, duck or pheasant before she’s even old enough to date—let alone drive a car? And what kind of society encourages its children to learn to blast living beings out of existence? Are we trying to send a message to our youngsters that non-human life has no value and that an animal’s death is meaningless? Or are we purposefully trying to recruit more serial killers like Keith Hunter Jesperson, Jeffry Dahmer, Zodiak or Alaskan trophy hunter, Robert Hansen, who began their fledgling murder careers by killing animals?

The media has largely joked-off Paul Ryan’s plan to corrupt his little girl with killing, but when there are innocent lives at stake, it’s no laughing matter. In some cases it’s the hunting industry and their state game department puppets that are to blame for pushing kids into the killing fields earlier and earlier. Although no state issues a driver’s license to anyone less than 16 years old, most states don’t even have a minimum age for shooting at an animal with a gun.

In direct answer to the drop in sportsmen’s numbers over the years, meddlesome state game departments are encouraging grade-schoolers to get a taste for killing (thereby perverting their natural affinity for animals). For example, Alabama opens deer season two days early for children under the age of 16 (so they’ll have a better crack at “bagging” one), and Maine holds a “Youth Deer Day,” allowing pre-season bow hunting for children ages 10 to 16.

Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf and A Whale for the Killing, wrote the following about his indoctrination to hunting in his foreword to Captain Paul Watson’s Ocean Warrior:

“Almost all young children have a natural affinity for other animals, an attitude which seems to be endemic in young creatures of whatever species. I was no exception. As a child I fearlessly and happily consorted with frogs, snakes, chickens, squirrels and whatever else came my way.

“When I was a boy growing up on the Saskatchewan prairies, that feeling of affinity persisted—but it became perverted. Under my father’s tutelage I was taught to be a hunter; taught that “communion with nature” could be achieved over the barrel of a gun; taught that killing wild animals for sport establishes a mystic bond, “an ancient pact” between them and us.

“I learned first how to handle a BB gun, then a .22 rifle and finally a shotgun. With these I killed “vermin”—sparrows, gophers, crows and hawks. Having served that bloody apprenticeship, I began killing “game”—prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, and ducks. By the time I was fourteen, I had been fully indoctrinated with the sportsman’s view of wildlife as objects to be exploited for pleasure.

“Then I experienced a revelation.

“On a November day in 1935, my father and I were crouched in a muddy pit at the edge of a prairie slough, waiting for daybreak.

“The dawn, when it came at last, was grey and sombre. The sky lightened so imperceptibly that we could hardly detect the coming of the morning. We strained out eyes into swirling snow squalls. We flexed numb fingers in our shooting gloves.

“And then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that cam drifting, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. The sound of the shots seemed puny, and was lost at once in the immensity of wind and wings.

“One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiralled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstreched, calling…calling…calling after the fast-disappearing flock.

“Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt, although I could not then have expressed it in words, as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world—a world of oneness—and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity.

“I never hunted for sport again.”

There is a 50-50 chance that an avid (and possibly rabid) bow hunter, who is taking “great pleasure” in perverting his young children’s natural affinity for animals, could become our next vice president. Let’s hope Mitt Romney doesn’t lend Ryan his magic underpants for the upcoming debate with Vice President Biden. Our family values are really at stake this time.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

There Was Magic in the Underwear

There was magic in the air last night—magic underpants, that is. Mitt Romney must have been wearing a crisp new pair for the debate. It’s not likely he would have beaten an intelligent, popular incumbent president without them.

Special skivvies aside, Mitt’s disregard for the environment showed through in the first few minutes with the line, “I like coal” and his promise to approve the Keystone pipeline. It was if he was saying, “Bring it on!” to the disastrous impacts of global warming. And by boasting about having five sons, he was clearly thumbing his nose at the problem of over-population.

For the sake of the natural world, Mr. Romney should trade in his magic undies for a crystal ball—or a dose of reality. Maybe then he’ll be able to see what rampant coal and shale oil extraction and burning are doing to the Earth and the atmosphere and how unbridled breeding is threatening this, the one and only planet we’ll ever know.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson