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Tag: animals

Do you see the bear in ARCTIC?

Did you know that the word ARCTIC is an animalogy? It comes from the root word for “BEAR.”

OTHER BEAR-BASED ANIMALOGIES:

*the constellation Ursa Major — it means “Great Bear

*the constellation Ursa Major — it means “Little Bear

*the constellation Arcturus — it means “Guardian of the Bear

*the names Ursula and Orsa 

*the names Orson and Arthur

*the word ursine pertaining to the characteristics of bears 

For more, listen to Animalogy Podcast, which is all about the animal-related words and expressions we use every day. 

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The Fate of a Tragic Figure

Traditionally, a tragedy was characterized by a protagonist whose flaw in character leads to a series of events that cause his downfall, a trope that began with the Greek dramatists, reached an apotheosis in the plays of Shakespeare, and prevails in both our contemporary literary realm as well as in the real world of power and politics. The fate of the tragic figure is predestined because fate is the manifestation of one’s character. Listen to today’s commentary for KQED Radio

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Interested in a longer episode about the word tragedy and the goats in its history? Listen to Tragedy: A Goat’s Lament.

Animals in the Alphabet

Animalogy is all about the animal-related words and phrases in the English language, but did you know there are animals in the very letters that make up our words? If I haven’t blown your mind yet, check out this episode to learn more about this fascinating history.

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Are You Writing the Future for Animals?

I recently returned from a dream trip to Rwanda seeing mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and chimpanzees — all of whom are threatened due to human activity. But still I have hope.

Afterwards, we saw lions, giraffes, impalas, warthogs, ostriches, hippos, zebras, and elephants in Botswana, a country that banned trophy hunting but is still dealing with poaching. But still I have hope. In fact, we were in Botswana when we heard the news that China is banning the legal trade in ivory, which is a thing to celebrate although the work is not done. It never is.

Even as I stood awe-struck looking at the animals characterized as “exotic,” I thought of the animals in my Oakland backyard—the ones considered mundane—the deer, the squirrels, the foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks, crows, and jays. Rather than pay to view them, people pay to eradicate them, but nonetheless, they’re valuable to me, to themselves, to the entire ecosystem.

I thought of our state’s coyotes, mountain lions, and wolves—all of whom are demonized by private ranchers who use public land to graze their livestock, then blame the predators for being who they are.

I thought of our nation’s animals, who will be negatively impacted if the current administration makes good on its promises to support fossil fuels, curtail plans to cut carbon emissions, withdraw from the Paris Agreement, construct oil pipelines, dismantle the Endangered Species Act, and build a wall that will impact the lives and migratory habits of native species.

And still I have hope. While I daily urge our federal congresswomen and congressmen to pass legislation that protects animals and reject legislation that harms them, we have much work to do on a state and local level, both of which can get neglected when our fears are focused on an animal-, environment-, and human-hostile White House.

I have hope because possibility dwells in uncertainty. The darkness that lies before us is not inevitably bleak; it’s just unwritten. And we are its authors. We have a future to write—for the animals near and the animals far. For the human and the non-human animals. And I intend to write it.

Will you join me?

Tragedy: A Goat’s Lament

Tragedy n. “goat song” Named for the dramatic plays of the ancient Greeks, characterized by a protagonist whose flaw or error in judgment leads to a series of events that cause his downfall. How it relates to goats, you’ll have to listen.

You’ll also discover yet another bit of our anatomy named after an animal (in this case a goat) and another Greek word for goat, aig, which gives us even more English words. Without being under the aegis of this episode, you might otherwise be tempted to jump into the Aegean sea. 

The Semantics of Meat (with Paul Shapiro)

Semantics play a significant role in shaping public perception about animals and animal welfare. The meat, dairy, and egg industries go to great lengths to remove harsh terminology and replace it with euphemisms that conceal the truth and sanitize violence. In today’s episode, I talk to someone who knows this all too well: Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Policy at The Humane Society of the United States. Join us as we discuss euphemisms and doublespeak used by animal agriculture and the best terms for plant-based and cultured meat. 

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Political Action Guide for Animal Issues

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Something Wayne Pacelle (CEO of the Humane Society of the United States) said in a talk I saw him give many years ago stuck with me. And he’s said it many times since. About the political arm of his organization, he said he envisions “a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.” Here’s the gist (excerpted from an interview in Satya Magazine):

“The way things work in Washington and in state capitols across the country is that logic and humane sensibilities can only go so far. You need them in order to be effective, but you also need to amass political power and that comes from working the political system in a way that achieves results. There’s no substitute for being able to deliver votes and having an informed constituency.

I find the NRA’s views on hunting and other issues to be really at odds with my own, but I admire the fact that they train thousands of activists across the country to achieve so much working through the system. I do think that is a model for us, because we have the potential to activate many more people than the NRA does. There are a lot of people in this country who care about guns, but I think many more people are passionate about protecting animals. If we organize them, we can achieve enormous gains and victories for animals.”

As an activist myself and a politically engaged citizen, I couldn’t agree more. There is no question that conservatives are much better organizers / organized when it comes to the issues they care about—especially at the grassroots level. Don’t underestimate the ambition of your local representatives who can not only pass effective animal-friendly legislation in your town or county but who may one day be state senator, governor, federal representative, or president. That’s how it works. 

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We need to act. Now. We need to organize. Now. We need to be a resounding voice for animals. Now. I recoil from the phrase “now more than ever,” because our voices and votes for animals are needed all the time—not just when we’re in crisis. But I do think Americans are eager, anxious, and desperate to have their voices heard—now more than ever, so let’s do it.

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Here’s how you—we—can get started, stay engaged, make a huge difference, and help our voice for animals be as strong as the NRA’s voice is for guns. 

GENERAL

  1. The Humane Legislative Fund is dedicated to “educating elected officials and the public on animal welfare issues and electing humane candidates to public office.” Get on their mailing list, contact your representatives about the issues they highlight, make a financial contribution to give animals a voice is congress. 
  2. Use their Humane Scorecard to help you decide who to vote for in elections based on their history of animal-friendly or animal-unfriendly legislation. 
  3. Fellow dedicated and engaged activists and I are in the process of forming a political action committee called East Bay Animal PAC that will be dedicated to electing animal-friendly legislators, passing animal-friendly legislation, opposing anti-animal legislation, and educating legislators and the public on local animal issues. Join our mailing list for more, and consider creating something similar in your own city/county!
  4.  Know who your representatives are—on the federal, state, and local level. I’ve provided a guide below to help you find yours. Take a few minutes to add their phone numbers to your phone!
  5. Don’t be afraid to contact your representatives. They represent YOU! They work for YOU
  6. Read Don’t Think of an Elephant to learn how to frame your issue effectively. 
  7. Follow the cues of the Indivisible folks. Former congressional staffers wrote this guide that is meant to empower compassionate people to effectively engage politically. (One of the things they remind us of is that representatives rely on making their constituents happy so they can keep their job; i.e. get reelected. If you don’t think your voice matters, YOU’RE WRONG!)
  8. Stay hopeful. Despair is paralyzing. Cynicism is ugly. One of my favorite take-aways from the book Hope in the Dark is that the darkness doesn’t mean the future is inevitably evil. The darkness means that the future is inscrutable because it’s not yet written. It’s up to us to WRITE THE FUTURE!  

So, go write it!

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LOCAL

  1. Type “find my local city council member” into a search engine. 
  2. Add their phone numbers to your phone and their address to your address book. 
  3. Call them. Write to them. Get to Know Them. Let Them Get to Know YOU. Find out their positions on animal-related legislation and policies. Educate them about issues they’re most likely unaware of. Thank them for passing animal-friendly legislation. 
  4. Show up at city council meetings. 
  5. Visit them at city hall. 
  6. Donate to their campaign when it’s clear they are animal-friendly. Talk to them about animal-unfriendly positions they may have. They might just need information you have! If they stick with animal-harmful positions, tell them that’s why you’re not supporting them. 
  7. Vote for them when it’s clear they are animal-friendly. Tell them why you voted for them. 

STATE

  1. Know who your state legislators are — both in the Senate and the Assembly. Find yours here
  2. Add their phone numbers to your phone and their address to your address book. 
  3. Call them. Write to them. Find out their positions on animal-related legislation and policies. Educate them about issues they’re most likely unaware of. Thank them for passing animal-friendly legislation. 
  4. Make a date to meet with them in their district office or state capitol.  
  5. Show up at the capitol when animal-related legislation is on the agenda. Let your voice for animals be heard. 
  6. Donate to their campaign when it’s clear they are animal-friendly. Talk to them about animal-unfriendly positions they may have. They might just need information you have! If they stick with animal-harmful positions, tell them that’s why you’re not supporting them. 
  7. Vote for them when it’s clear they are animal-friendly. Tell them why you voted for them. 

FEDERAL

  1. Know who your federal members of Congress are — both in the House of Representatives as well as in the Senate. Find yours here
  2. Add their phone numbers to your phone — for both their DC office and district office.
  3. Add their email address and mailing address to your address book. 
  4. The two best ways to contact your reps are to call and write a  postcard—not an email. Buy .34-cent stamps for your postcards.
  5. Tell them what you care about. Encourage them to support animal-friendly legislation and oppose legislation that will harm animals. ASK THEM WHAT THEIR POSITION IS on a particular bill or policy. 

Animalogy Loves Your Shares!

Many of you fabulous people have asked the best way to share Animalogy Podcast on social media, so here is a page chock-full of shareables, both graphics and content for tweets and posts. NOTE: This page is continually updated as new episodes are released, so check back for more shareables.

Click on any of the graphics you want to share, then “right-mouse-click,” and save. Direct your followers to animalogypodcast.com or to  iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play to listen to Animalogy. 

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Don’t Get My Goat – I’m Not Kidding

In this episode of Animalogy, we explore the goat-related words and expressions in our everyday language — particularly those formed by the Old English words goat, buck, and kid (such as butcher, “kidding around,” and goatee). You’re going to love it. I kid you not. (Get it?)  

11-Year Anniversary: Another Amazing Love Fest!

Help celebrate the ELEVEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the Food for Thought podcast by sitting back and taking in some of the love letters I’ve received from listeners and supporters this past year. The stories are as diverse as the listeners and reflect varied ages and backgrounds, but they all share common threads of hope, transformation, and compassion. 

I hope you are as moved by the letters as I am humbled by them. If you ever once thought that “people don’t change,” then you’re in for quite a treat. And grab some tea or a glass of wine. 

Thank you for all your support and love these last 11 years!