Ignorance Is Bliss

Photo Credit: peta.org

Sixty-six thousand dogs and twenty-one thousand cats are used for testing makeup, pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens, and much more. Within this testing, animals are burnt, abused, and even killed. Many pregnant animals are slaughtered so their fetuses can be used for testing.

Many ranchers use the cheapest ways to kill animals, such as electrocution or injecting them with insecticides, which take around three minutes of pain before the animal will die.

Footage of leading fur producing industries showed the animals being slammed against the floor to stun them and them being skinned alive.

A beef company in Texas was reported twenty-three times for cutting the hooves off of live cattle. No notifications to stop or police punishments where placed upon the company.

Videos of the slaughter house which supplies KFC with its chickens were released showing employees slamming the birds against walls, stomping on them, and kicking them. They twisted the chickens heads off, ripped of their beaks, and pulled them in half, all while the birds were still alive.

An employe from Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas was shown punching and stomping turkeys, slamming them against walls, crushing the bird’s skulls, and bashing them on metal handrails. All of this was done to the turkeys while they were still alive.

Animals in fur farms are kept in extremely small cages and are killed around the age of six months. The animals are kept in extremely cold conditions, so they will grow the thickest coats as possible. Many of them freeze to death, yet the industry couldn’t care less, because the fur can still be used.

The shark fin soup business kills over one hundred million sharks per year. When the sharks are caught, fishermen just cut of the fins and throw the shark back into the ocean. Without fins, the shark is unable to swim and will sink to the bottom of the sea, dying a slow, painful death.

The Humane Society of the United States discovered police officers in uniform betting on animal fighting in Kentucky.

Over 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the US due to the lack of space in shelters.

These are few of the many injustices and cruelties that animals face.

Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance won’t change anything.

In order to help, adopt animals from shelters instead of breeders or puppy mills, buy products that are not tested on animals, stay away from purchasing leather or fur.

There are many more ways to help end animal cruelty; for more, visit:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/facts/animal_cruelty_facts_statistics.html

https://www.animalsasia.org/us/facts-about-cruelty-to-animals-in-asia.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KZCr2oCxgNUj7XhQmn8xroDKnlohUCK38PPJ4XDk0DCFxX6MMbyIFxoCHvUQAvD_BwE

https://animalcharityevaluators.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KXf0N0RKoJSphilk09zRrHSow6C8UOjQV45mnPuvKqzvsLnZYG88_xoC12AQAvD_BwE

https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty

http://forallanimals.org/animal-cruelty-law-enforcement-and-prosecution-faqs/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6Kfc5QuEipsthLi8k1ToZC613n_wm1-JmY15kJObRYF-JpVYqGu3EsxoCJBcQAvD_BwE

https://www.peta.org/about-peta/learn-about-peta/ingrid-newkirk/

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A Senior Rant

So, just a thought: when you know that the first semester of senior year is already ultimate hell as it is, don’t try and stuff more work into it by moving the Senior Seminar into the first semester!

I know that there is probably some reason behind it that makes some kind of sense, but I just don’t know it. Just saying, it wasn’t the smartest move.

Photo Credit: kmox.radio.com

In these upcoming months, we now not only have to apply to colleges, perfect out SAT and ACT scores, and  try and boost our grades as much as possible, but we’re also going to have to try and get our entire senior project done by March. I know that, essentially, it doesn’t make a huge difference time-wise for most people, because, let’s be honest, we’ll most likely all procrastinate anyways. But, I know that there are also some people that have already planned on having an entire school year to finish their projects because that’s simply how much time they need.

I know that I should probably be writing college essays right now instead of ranting about something I can’t change anyways, but this is just one of those things that make me want to bury myself six feet underground. Gotta love being a senior!

13 Years

Thirteen years is a long time for a seventeen year old – and I have been here for thirteen years.

I’ll be honest there is certainly a dissociative sense of gladness that I’ll finally be seeing a change of scenery, a change in pace. It is easy to say, “God am I glad to be moving on,” it is easy to think that I’m ready and really don’t care all that much. It is easy to look at these past thirteen years and think of only the things I’m ready and willing to give up.

It is not easy however to look back on the past four years, the past seven, all the years and think of all that I’m leaving behind. It is not easy to leave with honesty, with neither hell nor rose tint. I won’t say that the past years, high school in particular were perfect – I have nothing to compare them to, I won’t say they were terrible either – they weren’t.

It’s odd to think about, even odder to try to put into words the sort of feelings I have about moving onto the next part of whatever future awaits me, because in part there is a sort of cold readiness to just leave but in equal part there is a desperate need to hold on, to dig my heals in, to continue to put my nose to the grindstone so I don’t feel the inevitable sense of loss.

It is undeniable that who I am is inescapably tied to these past years and I wonder everyday if I have the strength to untether myself from that. All my heart strings are tangled up and confused as to what to do in these last days – run as fast as I can home where I can rest and pretend like I’m already gone or stick around and grow melancholy realizing that it is the last time that I will be as I am where I am – realizing that these are the last moments for me to see my teachers as the teachers whose classes I used to know I would inevitably show up in again next year, sleep deprived and more than a little black-mooded.

Photo Credit: napavalleynow.com

Is it strange that I feel so much and nothing at all? Is it weird that I can’t find it in myself to reminisce like a bad made for TV movie with an even worse soundtrack? Is it weird that I can’t find the strength to tell my friends that I love them now in case we naturally fall into radio silence? Is it weird that I can’t find the ability to say thank you to the teachers who have built me?

I’m not sure how to put it all together. How to show the the people who deserve my thanks and love just how thankful I am and how much love I have for them. I’m not sure how to say goodbye to the place and people who have been my entire world for 76% of my life. Thirteen years is a lot of “stuff” and people to say goodbye to and I don’t think I’ll ever really be ready for that, but in three days I will have to anyway.

It is not a goodbye forever but it is a forever goodbye to the safety and essence of what those years have been.

I almost inevitably will cry June 1, I’m not ready for that. On June 1, even if I don’t say it outright, I hope that everyone from the past thirteen years understands that I am eternally thankful and that, selfishly, it may hurt me too much to try to say it to their faces.

So let me say it now, in the likely event that I can’t say it later:

Thank you for all the years, for the good, the mediocre, the not so good, for everything.

Summer feels

I can’t wait for this summer. You know, in the past, people have always told me that junior year is gonna be harder than all the other years. But I had no idea that they were actually right about that!

I’m mentally and now even physically so exhausted that I don’t want to do anything but sleep. But guess what! I can’t!

That’s why I can’t wait for summer. I can actually sleep then. I won’t have anything to do but read, ride horses, go for runs with my dog, probably study for the SAT, go to my summer journalism program, and travel. I’m so excited to travel!

via static.tumblr.com

 

In the US everything seems to be so far apart. If you go on a two hour train ride here, you get to another city in the state. But if I go on a two hour train ride from my hometown, I end up in another country. I can’t wait to go to Paris, to Amsterdam, Berlin, to Greece.

I also really can’t wait to ride my horse again. I am so glad that I get to ride at my school here, I am so thankful for that, but it’s so different from my barn at home. I can go there whenever I want, I can stay there as long as I want, go on trail rides through the fields and forests, and I can actually get lessons. So, obviously, I can’t wait.

Of course I’ll miss all my friends here, as always. I’ll miss the amazing weather in California, and the amazing avocados and oranges, that simply don’t taste the same in Germany. But I can’t even tell you just how excited I am for this summer!

Refuse

Photo credit: zmescience.com

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

The three words we have all (hopefully) heard since our early childhoods. Anytime you go to throw something away, they spin in a constant loop in your mind reminding you what to do with plastic and waste.

Unfortunately, these words have lost their meaning. I like to think that we are starting to become more environmentally aware, but the truth is that not much is changing; or at least, change isn’t happening quickly enough.

Here’s the thing: while we might all be aware of our incredible impact on the environment, we’re not actually doing anything about it.

After watching a TEDx Talk about this subject, I learned some frightening facts.

  • It is predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish.
  • For many manufacturers in the world, the United States especially, it is less expensive to use new plastic to produce items than it is to use recycled plastic. In 2012, only 9 percent of post-consumer plastic was recycled. The remaining plastic was discarded.
  • “Without a profitable market in which to sell used plastic, many recyclers export it, in a process known as outsourcing waste. In 2011, America’s primary export to China was used plastic.”
  • Plastic does not biodegrade. Over time, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces called micro-plastic. These microscopic pieces of plastic are eaten by organisms, which are then eaten by tiny fish, which then are eaten by bigger fish, and so on. Eventually, the plastics that have been eaten by marine life will work their way up the food chain to humans. Even though we might not be physically eating it, the chemicals from plastic have been shown to be linked to obesity and cancer.

While it might not be our fault that the oceans are filling up with plastic, it is our responsibility as human beings to resolve this problem.

Photo credit: plasticsoupnews.blogspot.com

Oftentimes we are desensitized to the harsh reality of just how damaged the planet is becoming. Sure, we know that we’re not treating the environment as well as we could be, but maybe we think that it won’t really become a problem until we’re not around anymore. Maybe that’s right, maybe we won’t start seeing the real effects until our generation is long gone.

But if we don’t correct past mistakes, there will come a time when there is no land on Earth that is untouched by plastic. There will come a time when there is no more fresh water available, or when it is impossible to stay outside for longer than three minutes without being sunburned due to the ozone layer dissolving. There will come a time when our planet’s resources have all been used up so that it will no longer be able to sustain human life.

Photo credit: Ticotimes.net

So we have to start now. There are so many simple things that we can implement in our daily lives that can contribute to bettering the environment. The next time you get a drink at a restaurant, don’t take a plastic lid and spoon. Pack your lunch in a bandana or reusable containers instead of in a paper or plastic bag. Do everything in your power to end single-use and stop using unnecessary plastics.

Simply put, we need to stop teaching our children the words “reduce, reuse, recycle,” because they just aren’t working anymore.

We need only teach them one word: Refuse.

The Book Of Mormon

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to see The Book of Mormon live in New York City. To put it simply, the whole musical was pure genius. The whole show was hilarious, the choreography incredible, and the singing even more so.

However, despite how much I loved the show, I’m surprised that it’s even still on Broadway. I could easily say it’s one of the most controversial shows to exist, yet somehow, it’s not that controversial. In fact, according to some people I’ve talked to, Kinky Boots is more controversial simply because of the cross dressing, completely ignoring the fact that the Book of Mormon was offensive to just about every race, religion, and sexuality.

I could tell that the whole musical is basically satirical to the Mormon Religion, but in the progressive society we live in, I’m still trying to ponder how the Book of Mormon has not been shut down by Twitter and Instagram activists alike. Either people don’t watch Broadway shows enough, or it isn’t seen as a problem, even though one Tweet intended to be a joke could be interpreted wrong and ruin someone’s life.

Now, I’m going to dive into an overly, probably unnecessary, analysis of the whole musical and the music included.

For those who haven’t seen the musical yet, it follows the story of two young Mormons who travel to Uganda to convert the people there to the Mormon religion. The musical basically mocks the Mormon religion, but also uses offensive stereotypes of other races and sexualities to get their point across.

This whole analysis isn’t me criticizing the musical. In fact, it was probably one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen besides Hamilton or Aladdin, but I’m just genuinely trying to figure out how this musical hasn’t caused more controversy.

But then I realized the answer, and it’s because the entirety of the show is mocking the extremities of the Mormon faith and being entirely satirical of it. Maybe everyone who’s seen it and every critic who’s analyzed it has realized that that is the whole purpose of the show, and everyone who buys a ticket is ready to either be offended or be entertained on a whole new level.

First, let’s talk about the song “Hasa Diga Eebowa,” a song the citizens of Uganda sing when the two Mormons travel to the town for the first time.

To translate just the song title, it’s saying “F**K You God,” and that alone should’ve caused uproar to some of the people watching it, however it ended up just causing the whole audience to burst into laughter.

But the reason is that there were these people in Uganda suffering from hunger, a corrupt government, and many other issues (not to forget all the stereotypes of third world countries in Africa they mentioned), and there were these two guys trying to sugarcoat their troubles and convert them to their religion. That was saying that all their problems would go away if they followed the word of the book. Maybe that’s a flaw of all religions alike, that problems won’t just go away with a little bit of optimism. The song was criticizing that idea, but in a way that made it capturing and hilarious.

Photo Credit: popejoypresents.com

 

Next song, is “Turn It Off” which was basically a song about a little trick they had to turn off their emotions or “bad” thoughts, one of these, including homosexuality. Now that’s homophobic isn’t it? Was that the intention of the writers, or was it, yet again, being satirical about the faith? Were they criticizing the fact that the religion that preached to be good, was being bad to people who didn’t fit their standards? They weren’t necessarily being homophobic, but they were using examples of homophobia to shine light on the issues that came with the faith.

Next, was “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” which was my favorite song in the whole show. Basically, Elder Price broke rule seventy-two and was now having a nightmare where he was sent into Hell for eternity. There’s the fact that he was in Hell with Hitler, Genghis Khan, and Jeffrey Dahmer, but he thought he was the most evil of them all. Now, that’s being critical of the ridiculous expectations of Mormons and rules they have to follow. The fact that one little bad act was sinful, and left them believing that they were sinful at the same level as some of the most evil people in history, that’s ridiculous. Now, this example in the show is definitely hyperbole, but it’s still a real problem addressed even if it’s to a much lesser extreme.

Those are just a few examples, but how is this show that’s so insulting still so widely accepted as only comical?

Maybe it’s because it’s so hilarious that people don’t really care, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a musical meant to be mocking and not actually real life, but isn’t the point of the show to mock the actualities of the religion’s extremities?

I don’t know the definite answer, I’m still trying to figure it out, but for now I’ll keep listening to the songs and continue to analyze this show one too many times.

 

AP madness

Today my mom asked me if I have been feeling stressed lately, because I apparently looked a little tired. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I am so stressed. Ugh.

Since the beginning of the school year, most of my classes have been leading up to these two weeks: the AP weeks. So, naturally, I’ve put a bunch of pressure on myself for doing well, or at least pass my exams for God’s sake.

lol…    via theodysseyonline.com

If my grade depended on them, I’d probably not care as much, ironically. If they counted towards my grade, I could at least try to do well for the rest of the year to make up for it. But if I do badly on my APs, there is literally nothing I can do about it. So no pressure!

It’s not like doing well on those exams could determine whether or not my dream college finds me worthy of being admitted. It’s not like passing them could mean I wouldn’t have to take a bunch of classes in college, which could possibly save a ton of money AND nerves. No pressure at all!

Well, at least there are about 180,000 other students living this nightmare with me, and at least I still have time to watch The Great British Baking Show now and then, and at least I now have an excuse to wear sweatpants to school. This all is definitely a struggle, but it could be worse.

(That still doesn’t mean I’m not stressed though…)