Part Two of Avoiding Hitting Wildife
In my continuing discussion of the importance of compassionate and safe driving ,we are going to look at “taking responsibility” when driving. I continue to be shocked and dismayed at the flagrant abuse of cell phone, texting and general distractions that people have when driving. Just today a good friend of mine posted on her Facebook Page that she had almost been hit yesterday by a man driving a pick up truck and speeding through a red light. She was almost broadsided by him and was saved by seeing him at the last minute.
Focusing and avoiding distractions is the best way to keep your eyes on the road and avoid hitting wildlife. On a drive up Route 29 in Madison County Virginia yesterday, I was horrified to see many deer hit on the side of the road. Who knows how long they laid there dying on the hot summer pavement. One deer had a piece of metal, maybe a car side view mirror jarred right into his skull.
The spiritual message that I get is that we need to have accountability when we hit animals or people. This idea that we can hit and run other sentient beings is sick and making for no ethics in driving. Where did we ever get this idea that if we hit an animal, we can just keep going and be so apathetic?
I think the issue of animal deaths on the roads is one of the most under estimated issues in our personal ethics of driving. Just slowing down and taking the time to focus and intend to avoid hitting animals is a highly effective way of reducing animal and of course human fatalities on the road.
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.