Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Around 3 billion years ago a wondrous thing happened. The Earth had been cooling for a couple of billion years and conditions conspired to create something incredible. The first simple life-form was produced.

img_3161

The chances of that happening are so slight that it is possible that out of all the planets circling the 400 billion stars in our own galaxy this is the only instance where life has spontaneously formed. It could be that we are the only life in any of the two trillion galaxies that we know of.

Life is something special.

From that one single cell of life the whole spectrum of life on this planet has evolved – from the simplest to the most complex.

What we have all around us comes from that first cell. We are all its children.

p1120125-3

No plant or animal is more evolved than any other. We have all been around for exactly the same time.

Only humans would apply a value system to life. We try to create a hierarchy of importance.

We place plants at the bottom of the scale, then bacteria, then we work our way up through worms, slugs, insects to fish, then through amphibian, reptiles and birds to mammals – through mammals to monkeys then apes and finally us – human beings – the crown of creation. Some people don’t even accept that we are animals and related to everything else. Somehow we were uniquely created by a deity. We are not part of this at all.

Featured Image -- 15108P1120364 (2)p1130158

Except this is nonsense. Nothing is more important than anything else. We humans are just animals. We have merely organised living things according to their similarity to ourselves. In a biological sense plants are the highest form of life. Their cellular complexities is hundreds of times more complex than that of any human cell. We place a premium on intelligence. Consciousness and intelligence are merely survival characteristics evolved by organisms – nothing more.

I don’t mean to belittle the wonder of consciousness and intelligence – they are phenomenal. I merely point out that they are one of many equally fabulous wonders that life possesses. They are no more special.

Likewise we cannot know the level of consciousness of other creatures or even plants. We can only surmise.

Personally I believe we will soon discover that plants have a consciousness that is quite as good as ours. We will see.

The argument that I am making is that life is too fabulous to treat with the disdain that we have been treating it. We should be worshipping all of it for the wonder it is and protecting it with all our might.

I am a big advocate of human rights – but I am a bigger advocate of the rights of the rest of the spectrum of life. I think it is foolish to make distinction.

The message I would send is – protect nature, protect the plants and animals around us, conserve the wilderness and diversity. They all have as much importance and rights as we do.

This is what I have to say about the destruction we are doing to nature and a way forward.

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of genius – knowledge

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of genius – knowledge

 

There are no facts. Every moment is new. We experience everything for the first time. No two moments are identical.

I used this cartoon on the front of school documents prepared for Ofsted. As with the previous drawing on the education sausage machine the cartoon was never commented on.

Too often the teaching of science has been the transmission of ‘facts’ and the learning of knowledge. Science should be the investigation of the wonders of the universe to find out how it operates and celebrate it, learn from it and utilise it.

The more we investigate the greater the mysteries we unfurl. We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge but underlying it all is an even greater mystery.

Science progresses by scientists disbelieving the theories they are presented with, challenging them and coming up with superior theories to test.

Science is creative.

Science is thought-provoking.

Science is fun.

Science is illuminating, expansive and exhilarating.

There are no truths.

Poetry – Miracles and Wonders – A poem about science and technology.

Poetry – Miracles and Wonders – A poem about science and technology.

IMG_0628

Presenting science to people who have not seen it before would be the same as presenting magic.

Technology harnesses the knowledge of science to create pragmatic solutions. It makes the impossible an everyday event.

How quickly we accept the wonders given to us by science and technology. They transform our lives but we no longer accept them as miracles.

Yet every day is a miracle. The universe is a wonder.

Science is unlocking understanding on an ever widening front. Its rate is incredible. The world we live in has no comparison with the world of a mere hundred years ago. That is not due to prayer it is due to science and technology.

Yet the wonders we work with are only beginning to be understood. The densest solid has a billion times more space than matter. The forces that make the world solid are still barely understood. We have learn to harness them and are beginning to unlock their secrets.

Science is only at the beginning. It thrives on secrets and mystery. Soon we will know the secrets of forever.

Miracles and Wonders

 

Walking on water –

It’s easy;

Just a question of temperature.

Performing miracles –

Simple;

Merely a case of nomenclature.

 

Everything an issue of perspective,

For all new science is wondrous.

Where religion is reprehensive,

The universe is simply lustrous.

 

Each day a miracle;

On the bridge

Over the river.

We walk on water

With wonders

To deliver.

 

Technology has a metre;

A poem of substance.

Science reveals mystery

Its understanding to enhance.

 

For the world is real,

An orgy of Quark,

Gathered in clans,

Holding hands

In atoms

In the dark.

 

We mould them,

Bolt them,

And quietly

Jolt them.

 

Linking them in bricks

In struts and girder,

Nails and wood,

Cement and solder.

 

Constructing all around us

Out of forces

We have not yet found

The sources.

 

Science adores the mystery

It is the basis of our history.

 

Opher 4.8.2015

Poetry – Solstice 2 – Our ancestors used to hold ceremonies to celebrate this. Mine’s just a little late.

Poetry – Solstice 2 – Our ancestors used to hold ceremonies to celebrate this. Mine’s just a little late.

We’re tried worshipping most things. The sun makes more sense that most. We live within its atmosphere and it gives us the light and heat that gives us life.

The Green Man and the sun gods Helios, Ra, Kehpri, Atum, Inti, Lugh, Hepa, Garuda, Huitzilopocthli, Apollo, Surya, Sol, Sol Invictus, Shemesh, Sunnya, and a host more, were all widely worshipped.

The longest and shortest days are good reasons for having a great festival and celebration. Nature is what supports us. We should respect it and celebrate its bounty.

I wrote this poem after seeing Nazca Nine on the Summer Solstice. It was a great gig. They were definitely waxing lyrical and many of the monarchs of yore were thought to be incarnations of Sun Gods.

Then there’s the Moon. It’s been a long time since we walked on it. I think some ancient cultures would have shuddered at the very thought.

Solstices are like a rebirth. I like the idea.

Solstice 2

Waxing on the lyrical

Beneath the sacred sun

Getting quite satirical

When God and Queen are one

 

Verging on the mystical

Beneath the sister moon

Leaning metaphysical

Hope we get there soon

 

Nineteen Nazca nine

Is looming from the dawn

Me and thee and thine

Are going to be reborn

 

Opher 31.12.98

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of Genius – The idyll

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of Genius – The idyll

 

That’s Liz peering out from this surrealist dream – an idyll of birds and flowers in which the cogs and time of the industrial nightmare of drudgery and boredom. There’s a world of life and colour out there.

Pete did some watercolours. A beauty to behold.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish you all a fantastic year! Let’s make 2020 a special year!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish you all a fantastic year! Let’s make 2020 a special year!!

IMG_1229

Well as 2019 draws to a close I think we can all say GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!

A year of populist fear, Brexit chaos, right-wing extremism, environmental catastrophe and nationalistic isolationism.

GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

Here’s to a world of outward looking cooperation, love, bridges, compassion, environmental sanity, tolerance and hope!!

I WISH YOU ALL A YEAR OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP!!!

I thought I’d share the wisdom of the Christmas crackers we have just pulled!!

 

Why does Santa have three gardens?

So he can ‘Ho Ho Ho’.

 

What do mice do in the daytime?

Mousework.

 

What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?

Frostbite

 

Where do you take sick horses?

The horsepital.

 

OK – that sums up the frivolity – the kids loved them!

Have a great New Year!

 

All the best

Much Love

Opher

Let’s change the world for the better!!

Anecdote – The Real Meaning of Christmas

Anecdote – The Real Meaning of Christmas

IMG_0904

A nice tree with a gnarled spirit!

Another nice tree to worship.

IMG_6506

Doesn’t look like a shaman to me – high on some hallucinatory drug!

The Real Meaning of Christmas

The real meaning of Christmas is locked away in pagan mythology. Most religions that usurp other religions take over the ceremonies of previous religions and modify and adopt them. Christianity did this with both Christmas and Easter.

What we now have as a Christmas celebration – the birth of Jesus with all the nativity scenes – is actually a celebration of the winter solstice.

The winter solstice was celebrated by ancient tribes all over the world. It is, in the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year. The days are drawing out, though, because of the way the earth cools, the coldest winter months are still all ahead. This celebration was accompanied by ritual and feasting.

We see a number of the Nordic traditions surviving.

The Christmas tree is a throw-back to the animism of old where spirits were thought to inhabit trees, streams, rivers and rocks. Tree worship was a world-wide religion; we still touch wood for luck. In Scandinavia it was prevalent in the shamanistic tradition.

Santa Claus is another throwback to Scandinavian lore. The shaman used magic potions of hallucinogenic mushrooms to fly through the sky on a sled with his reindeer to converse with the gods. The mushrooms were Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric, and had bright red caps flecked with white. Nowadays Santa Claus (Father Christmas) decked in his bright red and white costume flies through the sky magically to bring gifts to people. These used to be the gifts of insight and wisdom. Now they are usually plastic goods of dubious durability.

So mixed up with our story of Jesus we have tree worship and hallucinatory acid trips.

It’s a heady mix for a small kid to take in!

Hope – I thought it was worth circulating this. We all need a bit of hope.

Hope – I thought it was worth circulating this. We all need a bit of hope.

Dear amazing Avaazers,If you ever doubt that our efforts together are worth it, or if you’re just needing a bit of hope and light in your day, read on.

Bet you won’t be able to stop :).

Avaaz Movement Wins 2016 (So Far!!)

Fin whales swim free

For years, Icelandic millionaire badboy Kristjan Loftsson has massacred hundreds of endangered giant fin whales. But no more!! Working with allies, a million of us pressed the Dutch government to close their ports to him, then German Avaazers helped to block ports there too. Then we caused a media and political storm in the Caribbean where Loftsson’s ship was registered. After years of pressure, he’s called off the hunt!

“The global pressure brought by the Avaaz community has no doubt played a big role in Loftsson’s welcome decision.”
– Vanessa Williams-Grey, Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
Saudi Arabia: No More Weapons For You

Saudi Arabia is a human rights nightmare, but after they bombed schools and hospitals in Yemen, calls rose in Europe for an arms embargo. When EU politicians started to waver under the pressure of powerful Saudi lobbyists, 740,000 Avaazers weighed in, flooding members of parliament with messages and calls. And we won — for the first time in history, a Western parliament voted to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia! Now the pressure is on for governments to follow the European lead.

“We’ve received calls from Scotland to France to Yemen calling for action, Avaaz played a major role to bring this message to the European Parliament.”
– Alyn Smith, Member of European Parliament
Blocking Monsanto's most profitable poison

Monsanto’s glyphosate weedkiller is everywhere, providing much of the mega-corporation’s revenue. So when UN experts said it likely causes cancer, 1.5 million of us called to ban it! With Europe set to re-approve its licence for 15 years, Avaaz delivered our petition and thousands of us sent urgent messages to our governments. In the final hour, support collapsed, and the EU commission was forced to postpone the vote! We’ll keep the pressure up until we get the ban our planet needs.

“The Avaaz campaign helped to raise awareness and concern of the general public about glyphosate. This helped me as a parliamentarian to work on this issue… Stay with us in this fight”
– Pavel Poc, MEP and Vice Chair of the Environment, Health and Food Safety Committee for the European Parliament.
Winning for Palestine

After horrendous civilian death in Gaza, almost 2 million of us called on 6 major companies to stop profiting from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. Our movement sent messages to CEOs, held rallies from London to Ramallah, met with government and corporate officials, and lobbied other countries to cut ties with those companies. And as of last month, 3 of the 6 have pulled out!! It’s a tactic that’s having impact in the struggle for freedom and peace.

“The 1.8 million signature Avaaz petition was powerful, and we hope that Avaaz members will continue campaigning.”
– Mahmoud Nawajaa, BDS Civil Society Coordinator in Palestine
Saving the lost Refugee Children

Thousands of Syrian children seeking refuge are lost in Europe, without their parents and preyed upon by child traffickers. That’s why 40,000 of us donated to fund lawyers to find them, provide legal support, and get them to safety. Dozens of children are already being helped. And just this week, three boys arrived in London and were reunited with their families for the first time in months!

“Nothing I could say could convey how grateful I truly am to all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
– One of the boys on arriving in the UK
Somalia ban FGM

The Prime Minister of Somalia just joined over a million of us by signing our petition to support a full ban on female genital mutilation! Somali women’s rights experts told us that global pressure could help them outlaw female genital mutilation — but we never imagined that the Somali Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and dynamic Minister for Women and Human Rights would respond by signing the petition, too! Working with these leaders, UNICEF and survivors, it’s now likely that FGM, done to 98% of Somali women, will become illegal!

“I am committed to outlaw FGM in Somalia through legislation, advocacy, education, and community engagement.”
– Somali Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmark, as he signed our petition.

Shining Our Light in 2016

These battles are part of deeper struggles — between forces of love and fear, hope and despair, ignorance and understanding. Sometimes Avaaz campaigns are about shining our movement’s light into these struggles, to help shift our culture and politics. Here’s some awesome light-shining examples from the last few months:

Celebrating Greek Heros

Inspired by Greek fishermen and pensioners who have saved and cared for thousands of desperate refugee families, Avaaz member, Alkmini, started a petition to nominate these unsung heroes for the Nobel Peace Prize. Then more than 600,000 of us backed the request, and Desmond Tutu endorsed an official submission by 230 academics to the Nobel Committee.This moving story of humanity triumphing over fear captured the world’s media from CNN to the BBC.

“In times when fear and racism are threatening our societies and Europe is raising fences, the big mobilisation of Avaaz members made the voice of humanity echo loudly around the world.”
– Co-Founder of the Leros Solidarity Network, Matina Katsiveli
Guatemala Slavery

After decades of silence, 14 brave women just went to court to confront the Guatemalan generals who kept them as sex slaves. As they entered the courtroom we surrounded them with love, delivering messages from over 40,000 Avaaz members across Latin America. The women’s courage prevailed and for the first time ever these generals were convicted of crimes against humanity!

“I was happy to hear the messages of support. I know I’m not alone, and I wanted to uncover my face when I heard that there are people all around the world that support me.”
– One of the women, Doña Rosa
Cologne

After women were attacked on New Year’s Eve in Germany, a flood of racism and xenophobia spread. Refugee men responded by handing out flowers to women on the streets as a show of respect. To return the gesture and show solidarity and welcome, a hundred female Avaaz members went out to hand flowers back to refugees in Cologne, the site of the attacks. Their video went viral!

“Refugee men handed out flowers to women as a sign of peace. As Avaaz members we wanted to reciprocate this courageous gesture to show that we counter hate with humanity.”
– Maresa, Avaaz member

Achh, that stuff just lifts your heart doesn’t it?

The really crazy part is, those stories are a small fraction of our movement’s work together over the last few months!

What we’re doing matters, we’re winning, and we’re winning in a way that is building the kind of world we dream of for our children. There is much to do, but this is a moment for gratitude for the 43 million scrumptiously wonderful people in this beautiful movement. What a joy it is to do this together.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

With love and gratitude,

Ricken, Alice, Ben, Maria Paz, Emily, Risalat, Mike, Lisa, and the whole Avaaz team.

PS — a big reason Avaaz can do all this is we are 100% funded by small individual donations — no corporate, government, foundation, or large donor money. To keep it all going, click here:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/reportback_fr_16mar/?bCAwEjb&v=74381&cl=9707409141