Part Two – Powers of Observation

I will continue to discuss the subject of Powers of Observation. Our tendency to accept animal  fatalities on our roads as a normal by product of our daily, busy lives, is truly sad. This is something that gets so little attention, but we need to take responsibility for taking time to learn how to avoid hitting wildlife, and of course human pedestrians. I believe that most of this could be avoided by making it a priority to slow down and concentrate on driving. We are way too distracted and anxious today. I have attended many civic organization and environmental meetings over the last two decades. Listening to most of the people who come to these meetings you would think that deer are being singled out as being all wrong, way too many of them, and they need to be eradicated. If these groups adhered to the concept of Powers of Observation – these people and organizations would honor what the deer have to go through in order to live among the human chaos. Instead, most of what I have heard over the year’s when attending meetings is that the deer are nothing but a nuisance. I differ with that, and believe they might think we are a nuisance to them. What I would suggest, is that if we had developed our cities and suburbs with a far more holistic, humane, compassionate and ecologically balanced view, all the wildlife, including deer, would have their travel ways, their habitat and their way of life honored. Instead, what we have ended up with is severe loss of forest habitat, massive forest fragmentation, killing off of large predators such as mountain lions, severely degraded watersheds, way too much impervious surface etc. Furthermore, we totally forgot to included wildlife in our traffic plans. Can you imagine being a deer or other wild animal and ending up having your habitat totally paved over, and then have to cross a mega highway? Well, that is the mess our wildlife face. So when I hear about all the outrage about deer, I say well what the heck did we ever do to honor them to begin with? We absolutely must get back to a far more compassionate and responsible way of living on the planet. I believe that much of what is blamed on the deer is just a severe reflection of what humanity is doing to the ecosystem. I have a homework assignment for anyone reading this blog. The next time you get angry at a deer or some other wild animal – walk in their shoes! Start a journal and see what it would be like to become that animal for a day or a week. Keep a list of all the things you see that animal having to go through to manage around traffic, people etc. As I have written in previous journal entries – I have been a long time member of both the civic, and environmental movement, but I hold very different views about deer and other wildlife issues. And I strongly believe we way over persecute deer instead of honoring them. I always see the environmental and civic groups holding “deer forums”. In all these cases there is usually nothing but a forum for people to continue blaming deer and not seeing what the deeper ills are. Deer don’t always cause car  accidents. We cause an enormous amount of these deer auto collisions. And I have written a paper based on my own experiences and this paper teaches people how to avoid hitting wildlife. I am 53 years old and have never hit a deer. and that folks is not an accident. It is entirely due to SLOWING DOWN and honoring life. Folks, it works. SLOW DOWN and RESPECT LIFE. In my next blog entry I will discuss many of the things that are typically blamed on deer and how we need to re-frame this view. We will discuss the concept of promoting and using non violence to deal with deer issues.

We Have Forgotten Our Powers of Observation

Over the last several decades, as technology has engulfed us, we have totally forgotten about Powers of Observation. What are powers of observation? The powers of observation begin with the realization that our one agenda for the day – is not the only agenda. Other people, and animals also have their daily agendas.

I believe that this loss of honoring one another, in our daily rush and crazy driving, is largely behind the enormous amount of animals and people killed on our nation’s roads. We must begin with honoring life again. Every time we get in our car, we need to SLOW down. Instead of driving as fast and furious as we can, we need to always look around and pull ourselves into sync with the natural world.

I encourage people to slow down, always think about the terrain where you drive. If there are woods, there is bound to be an animal that jumps out. Drive with your peripheral vision. Never take your mind off the realization that another car, a pedestrian, or an animal will suddenly appear. The way we drive today, we are incredibly self absorbed and hooked into cell phones etc. This electronic fascination, does not belong on when we are in the car driving. Every day make it a priority to avoid hitting wildlife when you drive. I guarantee it will reduce the amount of animals killed on our roads.

At night, look for the glow and red of eyes on or right off the road. Anticipate animals will always jump out at night, and be prepared to yield to them. I see many animals run right over at night, and the driver did nothing to avoid hitting them!! This is all too regular of an occurrence on our roads.

Another power of observation exercise is to look for animals every day that are in your home, work or travel environment. What is that animal’s important mission for the day? Learn about the activities of the animals and nature around you. Another important power of observation is to know when you hear a person or animal in distress! If you ever wonder if an animal or person is in distress, go by your gut, and call for help.

A few years ago there was a terrible crime at a store in Bethesda, MD. A woman was being bludgeoned to death, and workers in an adjoining store, heard someone calling out for help, and yet they did nothing about it. This is simply inexcusable. When you hear an animal or person in distress – do not ignore them – do  something and call for help. This woman in the retail store might be alive today, if the workers in the adjoining store had banged on the wall and said we are calling the police. The same thing applies to animals in distress. Use your powers of observation. If you see an animal hit on the road, call for help. Do not just leave the animal to die a slow death. Call the local animal control and tell them there is an emergency and an animal has been hit and needs immediate help.

In my next entry, I will continue writing about this very important issue of powers of observation.