From The Mouths Of Children

October 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I read last week that four major cattle producers had agreed on a series of measures to insure that none of their beef was coming from cattle raised in the newly deforested areas of Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. Adding that to the recent announcement by McDonald’s and Wal-Mart that they wouldn’t buy beef from these areas and Adidas, Nike, and Timberland adding their guarantees to cancel contracts from cattle raisers in this area, it seems that some of the big companies are starting to listen. After all, it is estimated that 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases are coming from these deforested areas and if someone doesn’t wake up, the Pacific Ocean will be lapping up against shores on the coastline of Las Vegas.

Now I hope the Big Mac eaters won’t panic. There will still be plenty of beef around to clog up their arteries.

More than a decade ago it came to light that an elementary school girl student whose father was the CEO of one of the two major canned tuna producers, heard in school about the fishing practices of the commercial trawlers that net tuna for the big producers. It seems that the tuna nets came up with lots of dolphins tangled in the nets and the fisherman didn’t have the time to separate the tuna from the dolphins, and dolphins were dying uselessly and unnecessarily. The story went that she asked her father whether he was buying tuna from these fishermen and when he somewhat sheepishly replied that he was, she said simply, “Well, you shouldn’t”. And so, he stopped. He offset the increased costs by advertising his pledge to save the dolphins and putting a note on his labels that indicated his company’s policy. His sales grew, and within months his major competitor had no choice but to agree to the same policy. Now, we believe, dolphins are untangled from the nets and saved by the tuna fishermen.

If the dangers of exploiting the weaknesses in our environment and our economically disadvantaged people are exposed and explained and if we follow that little girl’s wisdom and simply say, “Well, you shouldn’t.” to those who continue to exploit, things will change.

Here, we talk about love. One of the mainstays of love is accepting responsibility for things and people we care about. Love doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There has to be someone to receive it. If the love you share reaches many people and if its effects are felt reverberating for years, then it is cosmic. That doesn’t depreciate the value of giving love to one person, but, how glorious if it could bounce off a satellite and reach millions.

How did I get here from the Brazilian rainforest? Easy. The amount of love each person has isn’t rationed. We can care about our “loved ones” and at the same time we can care about how we are part of a planet filled with people and things that need to be loved and protected. Just as one of us can preserve the joy in another of us, many of us can help preserve the joy in all of us.  

When we see someone commit injustice, when we see someone damage our habitat-our planet, when we see someone ignoring someone else in need, we can get on our soapbox, or email our friends, or boycott a company, or in some similar way scream out, “Well, you shouldn’t.” If we do that, I think we can make ourselves be heard.

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