Friday, June 5, 2015

A few thoughts on activism.

June 5. 2015

Wish I could say that being an activist has been, and continues to be, a wonderful, gratifying experience.
That would be untruthful though.

The downside is best described here, the author summed it up far better than I could.
Compassion Fatigue.

My thoughts run a bit more toward bewilderment, and a little anger.
Recently a friend of mine informed me that she and I had been targets of
criticism concerning our activism.
I did not bother to read what was said of us, as I assumed I would then be
tempted to respond. 
Not going to happen.
Been there, done that, and while I can’t change the past, I can choose not
to repeat it.

Working for our gray wolves concerning their protection under the Endangered Species Act
has been the primary thrust of my activism, starting in 2008 when Ken Salazaar delisted them.
I left for a while, and then returned for this round that began in 2011.

This go around bit me.
Pinched nerve from too much time typing.
14 hours a day was the norm. The day I realized that 22 hours had passed while
flailing away on the keyboard was the day I knew this had to stop.

So, bit by bit, withdrew from accounts and alliances.
Some folks got pissed at me, had one person on Twitter that I had not met prior tell me that if I “wasn’t FOR the animals, then I was AGAINST them.”
That struck me as one of the most audacious things I’d ever heard.

Much of the activism I see is based on rage.
It is difficult for some personalities to sustain that level of anger, have seen
quite a few activists basically break down, nerves shot, and sink into depression.

How do you help animals by destroying your health?

I’m not advocating that anyone stay in when they need a break.
For another activist to accuse someone of being ineffective, if the person accused needs time to regroup, is simply mean spirited.

My work continues, but it is different now.
I no longer write tweet storms to scream at politicians or government agencies.
No more angry tweets and posts.
Have also learned that the way to shut down an account that deals with something like poaching, is to post a good news article about a country claiming to ban ivory sales.
That was met with cynicism.
So much for working for the collective end result to stop poaching of ivory tusks.

I will always work for the wolves that I have come to know as family, my four legged kindred.
But activism can take many forms.
It’s time for me to work for our wolves through my art.
There are so many passionate, able folks online who will ensure that voices for wolves will continue to be heard, so I can share my story of wolves in the gallery realm now, hoping to engage a different group of people who are not G+, Twitter, or Facebook animal rights activists.
Many people offline have no clue as to what has transpired since the reintroduction of our gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park, and then parts of North America.

My wish is that activists could learn to work together, not divide one another with criticism and slander.


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