In the mid 1990’s, I moved to the community of Ancient Oak, in Darnestown, MD. I was so charmed by the meadows, old trees, and wildlife that I wrote my first book (yet to be published) Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak based on stories there. The 1990’s were a major turning point in the loss of green space, loss of wildlife habitat and over all decline in quality of life in the suburbs. This is when the violence to the deer and the hatred of the deer became very alarming. So much emotional volatility was projected on to these animals.
What we were really witnessing, was the beginning of what I have come to call A World Of Human Conveniences. We are all in that constant insane rush. Our attitudes became all about us, our agenda and what was convenient for people. We totally left wildlife and their needs out of the picture. I truly believe that this is a very disturbing trend. Within this trend of creating roads, housing etc. without the needs of wildlife in mind, we have stampeded over living communities.
I fear that many people have no idea of the importance of the lives of deer or any other wild animal. Many people have come to associate deer with only negative ideas. And many of the civic and environmental groups whose meetings I attended were obsessed with putting out negative, fear based ideas about deer. We need to return to honoring what wildlife have to endure to live among humans.
I want anyone reading this blog column to go home and start making observations of what wild animals are going through to live among human chaos. I want you to find ways to learn from the deer and other wildlife. Find out what they have to teach you. We need to build a world that has more concern and compassion for other species. I think we have become too self consumed and need to feel more for the plight of other living beings.
In my next column I will speak about the issue of Powers of Observation. We as a species have to re awaken these great powers. This is key in living with other species in a more humane way.
In my first post I talked about the pressure the human population is putting around the Washington, DC suburbs, and I am sure this is going on in other cities and suburbs as well. I received an email from In Defense of Animals, and they are suing the National Park Service for the decision to kill deer in Rock Creek Park. The NPS is hiring people to shoot deer at night with fire arms and cross bows. Can you imagine, that people near the park would support this massacre? I grew up around Rock Creek Park and cannot believe the level of violence to the deer has escalated to this degree. Imagine, if someone invaded your home and began shooting you! Well that is exactly what we are doing to the animals that inhabit Rock Creek Park. No matter what damage the deer are accused of causing, it is our moral imperative that we find humane, non violent ways of protecting young trees etc. I find it alarming that so many environmental and conservation groups are so quick to blame the deer for environmental damage. But they fail to put this in perspective to the damage that people are doing. I have been a major environmentalist for decades, but I don’t support the use of cruelty to stop tree damage. Bow hunting is particularly disturbing because the deer bleed to death from one or more arrows. The fact that people around the park would support the use of bow hunting to any sentient being is shocking. What is wrong with the people in our suburbs? Why do they support this violence to the deer? What are they emotionally projecting on to the deer? This hatred of deer and violence to the deer has become epidemic in suburban communities. Now that I live near the Blue Ridge Mountains I know I was not crazy when I thought this violence to the deer had grown to outrageous levels. But stepping back from the madness – I believe more then ever that we are going to pay in one way or another for all this tragic oppression and violence to deer. There is no way this is providing any healing for the environment. It only can bring back negativity to communities to shed blood and violence. I’ll always be an environmentalist, but I won’t support those who hate deer and want more violence. And unfortunately in way too many environemntal and conservation meetings that I sat in on, all I ever heard was unilateral hatred of the deer.