Tag: wildlife

Food Waste and Animals

Thanks for listening to my NPR commentary about how the food waste we generate affects not just our wallets but the animals we attract to it. Listen below, on KQED’s website, read the transcript below, and please share with friends and family. It’s a perspective that can change the world for animals. 

You’ve heard it before: of the edible food Americans buy and bring home, about 40% gets thrown in the garbage. That translates to between $1,300 and $2,200 per household per year. When we stop treating food as garbage, the benefits are manifold — most obviously: saving money. But removing food scraps from our garbage cans is also a benefit to our relationship with the natural world — especially wildlife.

The more food we throw away, the more wild animals come to rely on that food in our trash cans, leading to human-wildlife encounters that can be inconvenient and costly for us and dangerous — often fatal — for them.

Perceiving opportunistic visitors — from the largest bears to the smallest rodents — as a nuisance often ends badly for them, but rather than changing our behavior and removing the tasty buffets that lure them in the first place, we demonize the raccoons, opossums, mice, and rats who rummage through our garbage cans and pay companies to gas, poison, or glue-trap them.

Sadly, this isn’t the only price animals pay for our wastefulness. High mortality rates by vehicle collisions and consumption of toxic non-digestibles are also linked with animals’ attraction to our garbage.
Reducing food waste is essential and do-able, especially since we know the main causes of it in our homes:

  • Buying more food than we need
  • Being unwilling to consume leftovers
  • Improperly storing food
  • And misunderstanding the meaning of “sell-by dates.”

By seeing the food in our refrigerators as valuable rather than disposable means taking responsibility and being resourceful. There’s a reason humans have been canning, pickling, and fermenting foods for hundreds of years. But if that feels too advanced…at least consider:

  • Making a cobbler out of tired-looking fruit
  • Making stock from veggie scraps
  • Freezing chopped herbs before they wilt
    and so much more…

By literally turning lemons into lemonade, we save money, we save resources, and we save animals.

With a Perspective, I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Scary Movies with an Animal Theme

Don’t worry! I don’t recommend films in which animals are the victims of gruesome violence. So, grab some popcorn, get a pen and paper, and settle into this episode where I share my suggestions for films that are perfect for Halloween — for kids and adult alike. 

Animal-Friendly Gardens: Plants, Flowers, and Trees Named After Animals

The thousands of animal-related words and expressions we have in our English language illustrate how deeply connected we are to animals, and that’s never more apparent than in the names of plants — both the common names and the botanical names. Join me on this fun journey through gardens, fields, and forests as we discover plants, trees, flowers, and fungi named after animals.

How to Create an Intentional Daily Routine — During Quarantine or Anytime!

Creating a daily routine is essential even if we weren’t quarantined, sheltering in place, and physically distancing from one another. (Has anyone coined “Quar-routine” yet?) 

In a previous episode called “50 Ways to Create a Meaningful Life,” I promised I would break out some of the items into their own individual episodes, and so here we are. 

In this episode, I share 10 ways I organize my day so as to ensure that I have as joyful and meaningful a day as possible. (And when I falter…how a routine helps me re-set the day.) 

I can’t wait to hear about your routine! Take a listen, and drop me a line. 

?⁠ Captive Animals, Captive Humans ?⁠

(I wrote this letter to the Washington Post in response to their article about animals in zoos during Coronavirus a couple days before a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for Covid-19.)

In reading the end of your article about how “some zoos and aquariums … are streaming live-feeds of their exhibits to keep the public connected to their animals,” I couldn’t help but see the irony in live-streaming videos of captive animals to the homes of captive humans.

The fact that zoonotic diseases like Covid-19 pass from animals to humans is another irony that should also not be lost on your readers. While Covid-19 (and SARS before it) originated in a live market where wild animals are kept to be sold for human consumption, it is precisely confinement of wild animals and their proximity to humans that increase the chances of zoonotic diseases passing between human and non-human animals.

Perhaps a silver lining in all of this will be a heightened awareness that other animals’ desire for freedom, life, autonomy, and self-determination is as strong as our own. If we’re frustrated by our temporary lack of mobility and independence, imagine how they feel.

We can admire birds in our backyards; watch bees pollinate flowers; or spot wild turkeys, deer, and lizards while on a hiking trail.

We can be captivated by animals without holding them captive.

~Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

?Writing (thoughtful, respectful) letters to editors of newspapers — locally, regionally, and nationally — is a wonderful way to be a voice for animals and helps you articulate your thoughts about a given subject.

?For more on animals and coronavirus, check out my series on the Food for Thought podcast about how the virus affects and is affected by non-human animals.

?Please feel free to share any or all of this letter.

Some related essays you might be interested in:

Animals and Coronavirus: Poaching and Eating Wild Animals

Coronavirus and the Lethal Gifts of Livestock

Vaccines Are a Bunch of Bull: Animal-Related Words for Diseases and Cures

3 Tips for Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling

Animals and Coronavirus: Poaching and Eating Wild Animals

Join me for this Food for Thought podcast series that examines what the covid-19 / coronavirus virus means for non-human animals and the habits, laws, and policies that affect our treatment of them. The first episode in the series focuses on wild animals who are poached, farmed, and eaten.

The source for the recent coronavirus outbreak that has led to a devastating worldwide pandemic has been linked to a market in mainland China, where wild animals are sold and killed for human consumption. China has said it will permanently ban the consumption of animals, but many questions remain.

  • Will this virus put an end to the illegal wildlife trade in China and Southeast Asia?
  • Will the wildlife farms in China reopen once the pandemic is over?
  • Will this be the end to live animal markets and wet markets where wild and domesticated animals are sold and killed for meat?
  • Will China close the loopholes (such as exemptions for fur and Traditional Chinese Medicine) that exist in their bans on wildlife poaching and consumption?
  • Will good come out of this devastation?
  • Is there anything you can do to help make a difference?

Listen to this listener-supported episode as I attempt to answer these questions. (become a supporter at patreon.com/colleenpatrickgoudreau)

HOW TO LISTEN / SUBSCRIBE TO FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

  1. Click PLAY on the player below
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  3. Subscribe to the RSS feed

FOOD FOR THOUGHT IS A LISTENER SUPPORTED PODCAST. Please become a supporter today!

Issues addressed in this episode

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Illegal Wildlife Trade
  • Poaching
  • Wet Markets
  • Live Animal Markets
  • Bear Bile Farming / Farms
  • Wild Animal Farming 
  • Wildlife Protection Laws in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries
  • Covid-19 / Coronavirus Pandemic
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Zoonotic Diseases 

Why Vegan? Pick a Reason. Any Reason.

Some people choose to stop eating animal flesh and fluids to experience health benefits or to reverse a particular illness or ailment. Some people don’t want to contribute to violence against animals or pay people to work in an industry that desensitizes them to animal suffering and thus to their own compassion.

Aware of the devastating effects of animal agriculture on the environment, some people are moved to help prevent global warming. With precious rainforests disappearing in order to create grazing land for cattle, wild animals being killed at the behest of private ranchers, and precious resources being poured into what is an unsustainable system, eliminating the consumption of animal products is indeed a logical and sensible response. 

So, pick a reason — any reason, and it alone would be reason enough to justify eating an animal-free diet. Whether you care about human rights, food safety, wild animals, the environment, world hunger, farmed animals, or your own health, just a cursory look at these issues demonstrates how intricately linked they are to our consumption of animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs.

Which reason do you choose? 

3 Tips for Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling

We may not intend to, but there are so many ways we contribute to animal cruelty and exploitation while we’re traveling (domestically and abroad)! National Geographic published a hugely important article about the rise of attractions around the world that exploit animals for tourists. Three of the recommendations for travelers:

  1. avoid any kind of attraction where you pay to directly interact with wild animals (don’t pay to pet, bathe, get photos with, or touch wild animals). 
  2. make a point to see animals in national parks, protected habitats, refuges,  and ethical safaris that help generate income to protect wild animals and their homes.
  3. support genuine sanctuaries that provide refuge to rescued animals who can no longer survive in the wild. (Do your own research; just because they call themselves a “sanctuary,” it doesn’t mean they are. Always reach out to trusted sources if you’re unsure.)

I talked about exactly all of this in great detail in my podcast episode called Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling to Thailand and Everywhere. 

Sadly, one of the reasons we visited so many animal rescue groups in Thailand is because of how much animal cruelty, wildlife trafficking, and animal exploitation there is in that country, allowed by the government and deeply entrenched in the culture. For instance, elephants used in the tourism/riding and logging industries endure a lifetime of suffering and separation. 

Seeing wildlife in their natural habitat — like the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, lions in Botswana, bison in Yellowstone, or the deer in our own backyards — is heart-stopping, breath-taking, and supports the animals, their habitat, and the local residents. 

Of course, when we travel (either on our own or on the group Joyful Vegan Trips we host), we take care to avoid animal cruelty, and we visit true sanctuaries and protected habitat where the safety and well-being of the animals are the main priority. We take this very seriously and vet our partners very carefully. 

We hosted 54 travelers on two back-to-back trips to Rwanda and we have upcoming trips to … well, see for yourself! I hope you can join us one day to experience the trip of a lifetime—while supporting the care and conservation of the animals whose homes we visit.  

Don’t Poison the Animals

FREE EVENT! GET TICKETS HERE

Raccoons, coyotes, and rats, oh my! Whether you’re in the hills or the city, chances are you’ve encountered some of our abundant wildlife. How do we peacefully coexist, keep our pets safe, and keep wild animals wild?

Sadly, many people see wild animals as invaders, intruders, and pests. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Please join the East Bay Animal PAC to learn from Keli Hendricks, Project Coyote’s Ranching with Wildlife Coordinator, about the secret lives of our wild neighbors, their intelligence, resourcefulness, complex social lives, and how they manage to survive in the face of incredible odds. Whether you love them, hate them, or just want to learn more about them, this entertaining and informative talk will shed light on why we should not just coexist, but actually embrace, the wild animals who live amongst us.

When: Thursday, July 25th: 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: Temescal Works, 490 43rd St., Oakland, CA

Please spread the word! 

FREE EVENT! GET TICKETS HERE

How Wildlife is Recovering After Genocide

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsis devastated this beautiful country, its people, its wildlife, and its wild spaces. But with vigilance, persistence, vision, courage, and strength, they are recovering.⁠ When Akagera National Park was created in 1934, it was one of the best wildlife reserves in all of Africa. ⁠

⁠Once spanning almost 1,000 square miles, sadly, in 1997, it was reduced in size by almost 50%. A large portion of the land was reallocated to refugees to Rwanda after the genocide. Before 1997, many refugees returning to Rwanda settled in the area, and the conservation area was harmed by poaching and cultivation. ⁠

⁠I so look forward to telling you more about the work they’re doing, the animals they’ve reintroduced, the conservation measures they’re taking, and the rhinos (!) who have just safely arrived from zoos in three different countries who will now live out their natural lives in the wild. ⁠

⁠On our first trip to Rwanda, we didn’t have the chance to visit Akagera, but we were so thrilled to make it part of our CPG Vegan Rwanda Trips. We saw zebra, warthogs, impala, cape buffalo, waterbucks, and many more mammals and birds. The highlight of the day was probably seeing a ⁠pod of hippos emerge from the water to the beach. ⁠

⁠People can heal. Animals can recover. Land can be restored. Rwanda teaches this lesson better than any other country I’ve seen. ⁠

[envira-gallery id="8361"]

*Birds, waterbuck photos by Julie Morgan
*Hippos, zebra, impala, and alligator photos by Lynda Kluck
*Hippos, zebra, impala, and elephant photos by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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