1 March - Zero Discrimination Day [UNAIDS]
3 March - World Wildlife Day (A/RES/68/205)
About to enter March, we are observing 2 very important days - Zero Discrimination Day (March 1st) and World Wildlife Day (March 3rd). These events are organized to raise awareness to all about equality and respect to life.
This year, UNAIDS is hoping to ensure everyone, everywhere can access health care and safety and live life fully with dignity. This means regardless of your status in life, no one should be denied treatment and medicine as needed.
Many believe 1st world countries have it all, but 1st world countries also experience discrimination depending on their health care plan, while 3rd world countries and countries with war zones are denied proper healthcare as a whole. A dismal image for 2018.
While there is a new theme every year, #ZeroDiscrimination Day encourages everyone to challenge discrimination whenever it happens. You may be familiar with the #MeToo movement that has been chasing around the globe recently? Did you also post on Facebook the hashtag? Far too many women worldwide spoke up, and the sheer volume and momentum this has spurred, has brought a tear to the eye of many a man.
The #MeToo movement spreads awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault most especially in the workplace. It is racing all over the world pulling in female rights to equal treatment and pay, as well as just plain safety without harassment.
As a parent, you will likely be worried about the increase in bullying at schools. Have you ever thought about the kid that gets bullied every day, or gets called ugly along the corridors, or the one that gets laughed at because they don’t have enough money to keep up with what’s “trending” fashion or accessories wise?
I hope this situation is not happening to your family, but unfortunately, the amount of people now speaking up, with kids crying on videos seconds after the events have occurred, pleading to their bullies to think about what they are doing, is heartbreaking. There have also been far too many casualties as an effect of bullying, which is why Mental Health Awareness is now considered the Nr.1 Killer in our societies.
UNGA on the other hand will lead the world in observing World Wildlife Day. This year, they are focusing on “Big cats: predators under threat”. A few of these big cats are already endangered and some almost extinct.
You may be wondering why I’m bringing up both #ZeroDiscrimination Day and World Wildlife Day in the same breath.While #ZeroDiscrimination Day is generally thought of to apply to humans, we believe that this not only can but should also apply this wildlife and animals in general. We are all living breathing sentient beings, living side by side. Yet our actions are now seeing many species near the brink of extinction.
It is already alarming that the population of wildlife, not just cats but all species are disturbingly declining over the years. With the hopes of salvaging what remains and preserve their breeds for the next generations to see, UNGA is encouraging everyone not to patronize black market sales of endangered species and products produced by poachers.
Many of you are well aware of the cruel dog meat trade worldwide, especially as the campaigns and organizations fighting for man’s best friend have now vastly increased in numbers. An estimate of 10,000 dogs are killed every year for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, and up to a whopping, 7 million dogs are estimated to be killed annually in Indonesia due to the growing trends and meat sold on to unsuspecting tourists. South Korean dog eating traditions are also rife and big on the agenda. Are we not disgusted that this much has to be killed to keep up with tradition?
However, man’s best friend is only one animal of the many that are brutally tortured for our ‘pleasure’ of eating meat. Cows, chickens, pigs and sheep all suffer immensely through what is deemed as ‘normal’ procedures of putting food on our tables. Since when did torture and murder become normal? Thankfully we are now slowly uncovering the woeful inhumane treatment and procedures happening in slaughterhouses, and things are forced into change.
Veganism is growing rapidly due to many speaking up and not wanting to be part of this beastial tradition anymore. We have been raised to believe that animal protein is our only source of food, where vegetables and salads are side dishes only, however recent studies uncover how animals are in fact unable to produce protein themselves.
Plants are the only living beings on this planet that produce protein. When you consume animal protein, you are in fact consuming a derivative of the plant protein the animal has consumed. Why not go direct? I agree just vegetables and salads are not enough by far to sustain me, but plant protein most definitely is. A good mix is the way to go.
Here is an overview of plant protein sources, however this does not list some of the top ranking non-meat proteins such as tempeh, tofu and seitan. Here is an article outlining some of the most used plant-based proteins. Tempeh and tofu are soy based, while seitan is made from wheat gluten. The latter should therefore only be consumed in moderation by those with intolerances. These 3 proteins are often used to make yummy burgers, katsu schnitzels and more.
Leading back to wildlife, let’s talk illegal trading. Babies are ripped from their parents and shipped across the world to be an entertainment to us in zoos. When were we given the right to take little animals from their natural habitat, to domesticate and sell them for our lifestyle purposes? This also outlines the increase in pet semi-wild animals like the Lynx and other cats. While owning a tiger or lion looks cool, aren’t we violating their life just by taking them out of the wild?
Further if you have ooo’d and ahhh’d at the people taking selfies kneeling next to a tiger and thought they were brave, think again. These animals are the victims of abuse through beating, drugs and by instilling so much fear in them they have literally given up hope for life. Holding a koala, riding in a howdah (seat) on an elephants back, and many other similar activities - they are all severely damaging to the animals. Yet little to no thought goes towards this. Isn’t this discrimination of the highest level - where we are taking someone’s freedom for our own gain?
How about the shark fin soups or dimsum? Did you know that once sharks fins were cut off, they are tossed back to the ocean, and since their fins are vital for their survival, they eventually die? A cruel act indeed. Seal fur, tusks and bear bile, these are all cruel trades that need to cease.
All of the examples above are a form of discrimination because we didn’t give them an equal right to live. We believe animals deserve the same respect as humans, we are both on this planet for a reason.
If you would like to help stop discrimination and support wildlife preservation, here is a stunning project by Tim Flach, which took him 2 years to make. His purpose is hoping that the next generations will be able to look at these beautiful beings in real life instead of his photographs.
Every one of us is capable of change, and it starts with as little as a smile, helping someone up when they fall, thinking twice about laughing at someone if they do something you consider odd, we never know the background of someone’s actions until we engage and ask them if they are ok.
Showing empathy, compassion and consideration for others - putting yourself in their shoes and imagining what you would feel were you in their place, this is the most powerful form of action we can implement into our daily lives. It all starts with awareness. One step at a time we can together change the world into a place we really want to be in, and be proud of.
If you’d like to share your stories, we would love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org.