Monday, November 18, 2019

Plant Trees, Yes! But four things to STOP doing too

Less obvious abuse

There is an abuse cycle that people may not have thought of. We all grasp the idea that someone having been abused may justify abusing another. But it’s usually in a 1sthand domestic and violent context. I have noticed there is an illness abuse cycle. This is where we think we need something or are told we do and our physical pain justifies an ocean of 3rdhand abuse.

Justifying Pills? 

I had this example in the last couple of days as my back stiffened up again in an extreme way. Twenty minutes to navigate the logistics of getting out of bed kind of a way. My Mum said, take an aspirin for the journey. I know you don’t usually take anything but it’s ‘an emergency’. Does my no doubt self-inflicted pain justify a dairy casein, whey-coated concoction of pharmaceutical chemicals (as all pills are) tested on countless innocent animals? Probably not. We create our problems , we should deal with them.  

Justifying Animal Testing?

Although aspirins are not tested on animals; and we’re a) talking a continuum, not just one trial. B) And, of course, a lab animal has no way of letting us know if pain has eased and would certainly not assume that their experimenters care if the pain is eased (a carer’s attention and intention is well understood to be the main powerful component in a recovery situation. C) With medicines they test lethal doses, fatal accumulation levels by literally increasing how much they administer.

Justify Toxicity Testing? 

Take Lyrica for example, a nerve pain drug. If you have lived with someone who takes that, you will know that their pain has not receded but a zombified stupor of discomfort replaced it. Neither awake nor asleep. No longer able to exercise ‘mind over matter’ or constructive exercises or bring any conscious awareness to the painful area.

Mind over matter

d) Animals in laboratories and most animals do not have cognitive reasoning. They have plenty of levels of consciousness and sentience but none that can take them outside the physical experience of being captive, experimented on and deliberately hurt.

Product testing

This isn’t just medicines, as people well know. I had thought for a while that women are slightly more considerate than men and that men sometimes fall back on the argument ‘a man has to do what a man has to do’ which is a philosophical argument model which doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. However, every time I go to the airport, I realize that it’s the women’s mere need to be, look and smell ‘nice’ or sexy or rich or floral or natural or alluring that justify the continued abuse of thousands of animals every year in testing cosmetics and perfumes. 

I spend my hour or two every flight, going from brand to brand. Saying, ‘could you point me in the direction of your cruelty free products, so sort of definitely not tested on animals but also preferably no animal ingredients’. I make it sound like an obvious consideration. I am relaxed, implying that there’s bound to be some somewhere but they know their way around their stock better than I do. We stay on the same side, with me saying, that’s mad isn’t it that companies are still testing.  Dreadful to think of it isn’t it.

Is wanting to be more attractive good justification?

Everyone agrees and then they say ‘Estee Lauder (insert whoever) have always had a strong cruelty-free policy but obviously our products are tested in China since we entered that market. They insist.’

Is wanting to sell your stuff in China good enough justification? 

How about not entering that market then? Europe not big enough for you? The States not big enough. What about saying no, testing is not necessary – look at all the products we’ve sold over 2 or more decades and no casualties apart from a couple of irritated scalps?

Should we look at the China's other practices?

So there’s another abuse cycle. If there’s money in it, or a market compliance request, well that justifies a multitude too doesn’t it? And since we’ve seen the dog pinned to a board as art in China and we know of the dog meat all-year-round festival and preparations and maybe you were privy to the living chimpanzee with the top of its head cut off in a restaurant so that diners could serve the brains up. ..Well, we can have a stab and concluding that the testing facilities there are cold-hearted affairs.

Or look first at our own?

But, back to Ireland, the testing capital of Europe. Countless American companies are here as we don’t tax and happily overlook systemic cruelty. Not much of an accolade. Give me humanity above innovation any day of the week. And, what’s more important, is that we don’t have to choose. I find it totally straightforward to be innovative and not abandon my moral compass instantly. 

So this is another thing we need to close down
Close all slaughter houses and close all slow torture houses. Laboratories have to go. They can’t be justified, not when you look within – them or yourself.

We create our own reality

Back to my back. It is not in the nature of other vertebrates to ‘overdo’ it. While I was filling the pentagon raised bed with manure with a broken head off a shovel, digging it in and wrestling the grass roots up. When I was planting the onions and garlic and winter beans. When I was dragging the roof of my geodome – all that remains really apart from the bed frames – what were the dog and cat doing? Sunbathing. Keeping me company. What were the pigs doing? Aerating the soil for next year but taking their time, nibbling the grasses, taking regular lie-downs. What were the mice doing? Hiding from the other mammals. We’re the only species to press on regardless. Really regardless, of ourselves and or anyone and anything else..

That is why I’m adding a new political approach to my re-wilding. Absolutely do not be passive but don’t just switch course either and tear in a new direction. 

We need to stop first, pause. Remember when the organic soil association said that we couldn’t have certification until chemical free animal and land management practices had been in place for 6 years? That is because research shows that is all the time it takes for the soil’s integrity, balance, pH, bio profile to return and with it the beneficial insects to manage the less beneficial ones! 

I watched a programme recently about how it was just one or two ‘keystones’ that brought life, fertility and a working ecosystem back to the Serengeti. Even there on that grand scale it was only 4 years for regeneration of species to balance. Wilderbeest…yes herbivores like our cows, pigs and sheep fertilized the planes and trees and shrubs colonized the barren miles once again.

I asked my intuition, what are the key stones for Ireland and the UK. Is there top predator or consumer or decomposer etc to bring in or take out? There are 5. Planting trees is the only action-packed one. The other four are things that we simply need to STOP doing. 1) Stop the production and use of agri-chemicals – including pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. 2) Re-purpose animals in agriculture – no more exploitation for their flesh or dairy but instead to build the healthy soil crust with manure to support crops. 3) We need to stop the geo-engineering – the deliberate degradation of air and water, through the dropping of waste chemicals from planes. The majority of airlines are involved in this lucrative work. 4) We need to stop giving our individual time, imagination, responsibility, wellbeing and dignity to employers and leaders that keep us in a mere survival mode. We need our hearts and energy intact, not depleted and our frequency high.

This is what I added for those town dwellers who have a garden but mustn't lose the light into their windows:

 Frances MicklemDon't forget that if you only have a small garden you can still plant a tree or three but snip their apex (central stem) after a year so they grow outwards like a shrub or a hedge - fuller rather than higher and yet still ding the good work and happy to be planted xxx

Rachel That's a really useful tip to share- thank you. Do you have any links for pruning in different ways for small gardens? :)

 Frances Micklem Thanks. I went looking for links but really the things are 1) to cut stems at an angle so the rainwater doesn't gather and 2) Do it in autumn or winter when it's not busy with sap surging. 3) Leave them a few years so they're established. My first lot werecrabapple, the fruit of which can make a savoury mint jelly or sweet jelly. Now they're a real windbreak for the pony and pet pigs, rather than all trunk and canopy up high. Everything here is an experiment but I know for definite that root systems like company so always plant at least 2 I reckon, even different species relate well! Here's a crab apple link in case there's any gems in it!

Rachel Thank you! :) What are good companions for fruit trees, in your opinion?x

Frances   My main guiding light is my black walnut that only goes with oaks and cherries and other walnuts and will toxify the fruit of other trees. Also, they're a big tree so smaller ones suited to a mini forest garden - top canopy: mini apple trees, hazels and sweet chestnut, then around them raspberries, gooseberry bush, then some herbs, any beds circumnavigated with garlic and onions to protect the tastier spring veg and camomile and sorrel and calendula, colourful edible lawns or areas instead of grass.

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