Regular readers know that helping animals is important to me and pretty much the mission of this blog. I have always loved animals and have been rescuing dogs, cats, mice, snakes, birds, etc., ever since I can remember. Growing up I spent several summers on farms and befriended pigs, goats, chickens and cows – including a cow I named Miss Lillian who remains one of my favorite animal friends of all time.
So, when Stephanie Feldstein asked if I would like to review her new book The Animal Lover’s Guide To Changing The World, Practical Advice and Everyday Actions for a More Sustainable, Humane, and Compassionate Planet, it was kind of a no brainer for me – and I immediately said yes!
The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World
The Animal Lover’s Guide To Changing The World will surely become the go-to guide for making compassionate choices and helping animals – domestic, farm, and wild. The book is based on the belief that ‘all species deserve compassion’ and connects social justice and animal welfare by illustrating the interconnectedness of all living things.
Whether you are a seasoned animal rights activist or an animal lover who just wants to make a difference, this book is an incredible resource for living kindly and responsibly. Chapters focus on issues such as food choices; rescue and adoption; factory farms; cruelty free cosmetics, fashion, and cleaning supplies; habitat and restoration as well as legislation and online petitions. Each section begins with an inspirational story about a specific species and ends with action steps and ways to make an impact
This book is dense and at times overwhelming (because these are serious issues and many animals are in crisis because of human action and inaction). Although I read it straight through, I might suggest newbies begin with the sections that most interest them and use the book as a starting point. Maybe you want to start by replacing toxic cleaning products that poison the water and harm wildlife and then next month focus on reducing your meat consumption.
Keep in mind that small steps matter and not every choice is right for everyone.
My Take Away and Personal Action Plan – Help Local Wildlife
Prior to reading this book I felt pretty good about my life choices. I have been a vegetarian (almost vegan) for 30 years and I am very careful about the personal care and household products I use, choosing cruelty-free whenever possible. If an animal crosses my path that needs help, I try to help. I am active in local shelters and all of my past and present pets have been rescues that were out of options for one reason or another.
After reading this book, I realized that I could definitely do more to help local wildlife. Up to this point, my efforts and donations in support of wildlife have been for polar bears, whales, manatee, and tigers. But newsflash, none of these animals actually live in the midwest. Going forward, I want to focus on efforts that benefit local wildlife and my family has just joined a volunteer wildlife monitoring program (see turtle photo below). I also plan on making my yard more welcoming to birds, butterflies, and bees and get more involved in community gardening and local habitat restoration.
Bottom line: there’s always more than we can do and The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World is full of ways to make an impact for animals everywhere.
“Elephants take care of each other, and not just when everything is rosy for the herd. They’ll surround vulnerable family members to keep them safe. They’ll slow down if one is injured or sick. They’ll try to lift each other up—sometimes literally if a herd member is ailing. Their mourning rituals are complex and well documented, and they’re known to weep in times of distress. They try to console each other, and they try to save each other. They’ve also been known to save other animals in trouble, such as a baby rhinoceros or a dog. Elephants live in a world rich with emotion and empathy, where they know their actions affect those around them. We should all be more like elephants.”
This lovely passage from the final chapter of The Animal’s Lovers Guide to Changing the World pretty much sums up everything for me. I want to be more like an elephant. How about you?
Please leave a comment about the ways you help animals between today and May 28 for a chance to win an advanced copy of the book. Stay tuned for some exciting news about my blog in the coming weeks!