I am a little upset at the status of the world. I know thats a little bit vague but there are SO many things wrong right now that its hard to make that sentence more specific. So, feel free to continue reading and dive into my mind’s eye real quick!!
A Little Background about me (Maria Campagna, owner of Grow Eco Baby) : I studied agriculture science and animal science at The University of Baltimore and NC State, no I did not finish college, I do not have a college degree, but I did go to college for 5 years and I’d say I’m pretty impressed with my transcripts (lol)! In college I learned about ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable farming and hydroponics, solar power and renewable energy, medicinal plants and alternative plant uses, animal welfare vs. animal rights, proper animal care and enrichment, companion and farm animal care, exotic animal care and captive animal care AND so much more!! I have worked on an alpaca farm (in Monroe,NC) , an olive farm(in Italy), an elephant sanctuary (in Thailand), a goat farm (Raleigh,NC) , a dairy farm (Raleigh, NC), a hydroponic installation business (Charlotte, NC), a plant nursery (Logan’s in Raleigh NC), a small farm-animal rescue (Raleigh, NC) and I worked at the SPCA of Wake County (Garner, NC) companion animal rescue for 5 years! I feel genuinely sad (I cry about it sometimes) that animal habitats are becoming scarce in the wild due to the over population of Humans, and animals are becoming critically endangered due to lack of room and food for them. Another thing is that SOME people do not treat animals properly (in the wild or in captive environments)- and its upsetting. Its actually quite depressing.
Animals found in wildlife can be wild, or they can be captive. There are many animals that are captive, which means they live in containment in a zoo, in an enclosure, or cage, and they live seperately from wildlife/ their natural habitat. Most the time animals end up at a Zoo or sanctuary if they have been rescued from black market animal sales, or they were found hurt and then rehabilitated, or they were born in captivity. Captive animals live a different life than animals in the wild, but it doesnt have to be a bad thing and sometimes (depending on the facility) animals can be re-introduced to the wild if that is what is best for the animal. There are teams of people in charge of animal enclosures and cage setups and its their job to create an environment fit for that animal. Their enclosure is suppose to mimic their natural environment. We, as humans, have the ability to create a very natural, very large, perfect enclosure for animals with everything they need to survive and live a stress-free life. < Does this always happen? Absolutely not. Zoos, santuaries and rescues are in-need of funding to make this happen, and they lack people who CARE enough to donate or make it happen. >
Part of a captive animal’s happiness is having a perfect enclosure that mimics their natural environment, but it is also having ample area to move, graze, and explore. Some animals need more room to move around and explore than others- which can depend on their size, eating habits and other various details about that species behavior. I think that THE most important thing captive animals need (from their caretakers) for their phychological wellbeing and overall happiness is ENRICHMENT. Enrichment can be in the form of food, or how the animal gets the food (in a treat ball, a box, up in a tree, a puzzle ect.), or in the form of an activity (a game, playing, running, an excersize, a puzzle ect.), or in the form of companionship, or social interaction for that animal (whether its with an animal of the same gender, opposite gender, a human, or another species that gets along together)! Enrichment that is provided properly can improve the wellbeing of the animal and the quality of life for the animal by a lot!!
I wanted to talk about animals in captivity because I don’t want you to feel like animals in enclosures are not happy. OR on the flip side- if the zoo or the enclosures are not fit for the animal and there is not enough room, or the animal looks sickly, hurt or unhappy, I would like you to be able to observe that and know that something is off!! <I’ve seen some cruel zoo setups before in Asia and life is like a nightmare for those animals.>
Most the time (assuming the enclosure is good, or even excellent) the animal could be living a relatively stress-free life. There are no predators, food is abundant, and the caretakers and zoo keepers are watching out for signs of illness or unhappiness and fixing the problems accordingly! Animals can also live longer lives in captivity since they are given medicine when needed, fed properly and cared for by humans. Some animals ONLY live in captivity like many birds, frogs and other mammals that have been hunted to extinction, or ran out of habitat space IN THE WILD but have been saved by zoos, research and sanctuaries. So, people have gone out of their way to make their enclosures outstanding, care for them with expertise, and breed them properly so that they could continue to EXIST otherwise they would be extinct. WOW, that makes my heart so full. THAT gives me some peace, some hope!
I have so many opinons, as do most people, on vegetarianism, veganism and meat-eating. I won’t go into all that, but what I beleive is most important is being educated and CARING. Anyone can be educated- but does that person also care? Someone can be vegan but care less about animals but does it for the health benefits. Someone can be a meat-eater but have a passion for animals (like me) and choose to support sustaianable farms and farms that ethically care for and kill their animals properly and humanely. So if YOU CARE, care about animals, their lives, their souls, how they are treated, their quality of life, the environment, our earth, our ocean, our planet, our air, our mass consciousness as living creatures- Then you are already ahead of the game!! If you care, then we can be friends, we can talk, we need to band together to help make a change. No one can make a change that can reverse the damage already done to the ecosystems, to the ocean, to the air by our fellow humans- BUT we can all make small changes that will have a butterfly effect of changes for our planet and mankind!
Some small, simple changes that can be made. They start with free, small changes you can make in the house just by making a conscious decision to do those things. Turn off the lights when you are not in that room anymore (some family homes worldwide do not have electricity), turning on the faucet at 30% instead of cranking the nobs to full power (most countries don’t provide fresh tap water), refilling water bottles with tap water (again be thankful our tap water is fresh water), using water from the kid’s bath- to water house plants (instead of wasting fresh water use your grey water), seperating trash from recycled materials and actually recycling, turn air off and open windows in the fall and spring (before it gets too hot or too cold- open some windows up). It sounds simple, and basic- but are you doing ALL those things?
Next, spend some money to save some money: if you have kids, cloth diaper your kids (buy reusable diapers and save thousands of dollars and help reduce waste), buy reusable bags for grocery shopping, lunch bags, freezer bags, etc. There are even reusable trash pail bags OR biodegradable plastic (made from plants) trash bags. If you are buying anything plastic (dog poop bags, tuberwares, straws, bottles, jars, utensils, plates- find an alternative!!! There are so many bamboo or plant based items for the household, for storage and so much more- even on amazon and at walmart!! Also, use hashtags on your posts with your items and make others aware of what you are doing so they see that they can easily do it too!! By using hastags you can reach a wider audience. We need people talking and posting all about eco-living. Hashtags like #ecomom #naturalmom #gogreen #green #compost #savethefishes #biodiversity #naturalbaby #recycle #reuse #clothy THIS gets people reading, talking, seeing others on social media will make a huge impact. Also, be sure to support small businesses, give your money to families that are running earth-friendly businesses instead of giving your money to BIG NAMES that have huge factories that MASS produce products with chemicals and toxics. Those chemicals are in the products your family are buying and using (toys, clothes, cups, shampoos, etc) and the factories themselves are creating so much pollution from the production of the products into the air, rivers, streams etc. When you buy from local, or small businesses be SURE to tag them in your posts, share with your friends the name of the store so they can shop their too! If you like a product, go LIKE that businesses Facebook Page! As a business gains more tags and likes, it begins to reach a larger audience of people!
PLEASE Care Less about the big picture and More about your own life and your family’s choices day-to-day. THIS will help you can feel confident that the big picture is working itself out as WE ALL tend to our own lives by making ethical decisions with our money and where we spend it, and our choices when it comes to the resources we are given and how we use them.
Thanks for reading my thoughts and ideas. I hope to continue to share on here and see what happens! I would LOVE your input and your comments. I appreciate ALL of YOU. ALL of you are special, amazing, creative, kind, thoughtful people and I am lucky to know you.