I have been feeling especially helpless and hopeless here at Our Little House lately and after speaking with many of my friends, they are feeling the same way.

A lot of it has to do with the oil spill – I call it the gusher- in the Gulf.

Although part of my job as an environmental writer is keeping abreast on what’s happening to our planet, I declared last week on Facebook that I couldn’t take one more story or see one more photo of tar balls washing ashore, birds covered in oil or dead turtles rotting on the beach (and many of my connections agreed).

However, as with most deep funks, this one isn’t just caused by one huge disaster.

I think I’m on information overload.

Besides trying to protect what’s left of our earth, one of my other passions is animal welfare.

Just as I must to keep work flowing in my green/sustainable living portion of my writing, I must also keep up on animal/pet welfare and the issues surrounding shelters, rescues and the pet overpopulation problem.  I’ve “hidden” some of the posts, which are just too graphic and too depressing. Yet, shying away from the news on both the environmental and animal fronts hasn’t helped my business either.

So, although I tried to ignore the news, when I signed on to Facebook yesterday, I was met with at least three R.I.P.’s; these are notices that dogs formerly listed for possible rescue didn’t make it out of the shelter. Usually it is due to lack of funds to pull the pets from the kill shelters, but in one especially sad case, it was because of a miscommunication between the rescue and the shelter, which kills 100% of the pets they have unless they are pulled by an approved non-profit rescue organization.

Additionally, I learned that one person I profiled on Rescue Me, who rescued a dog and declared the dog saved her life during a time of crisis, had gotten rid of the dog. Another person I profiled, who did a noble thing and rescued a special needs dog, subsequently did a really irresponsible thing and allowed it to breed with her boyfriend’s dog. I’m worried for another six puppies of a breed so terribly exploited and mishandled.

I had a headache by the time I finished reading.

Thanks to Emily, over at Little House on the Southern Prairie and Tammy, over at Rowdy Kittens, who both posted about what we can all do to help curb our dependence on oil (and in Tammy’s post, diversifying our income), I was able to make a little more peace with the state of our world, the gusher in the Gulf and my work (or lack thereof).

Thanks also to my handy debit card, I was also able to contribute to Robert, a dog at a high kill Georgia shelter who is scheduled to be killed this morning. A rescue needed $$ to pull him and I’m hoping all the right things happened and he is saved.

That’s how I went to sleep last night.

Living Large readers are generally very environmentally conscious and aware of social issues. How has the gusher in the Gulf affected your outlook and helped you change your habits?

You may also like...

18 Responses

  1. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    Info overload and animal rescue: sounds like my week here too! Sometimes it’s funny how I read your posts and they seem to describe a parallel version of my life. My info. overload comes in part from the soccer world cup series. My parents have come to stay and my step father will have the TV on from the afternoon till late at night for all the matches with news in between. I am used to peace and quiet and the constant noise is driving me nuts…

    Animal rescue: just sent Tia our rescued hound off to Germany for adoption, it was a tearful goodbye and we’d declared ” no more fostering” and already another little dog has been abandoned in our area and OF COURSE our dogs brought him home (It’s like they say, “come on by, these people are suckers, they’ll even give you a pillow to lie on”). Now starting the whole adoption process again: vaccinations, microchips, emails, posters, looking for escorts to Germany, booking flights, looking for flight box etc etc.

    Sorry, just letting off steam here, so sympathize with you because I know just what you are going through. Can’t say how outraged and sad we are here about the oil spill, although we don’t get the horrible images unless we look for them over internet news.

    Bravo for helping save Robert! For the rest, deep breathe: ommmmmmm

    • It is funny, Vida, being literally worlds apart and it does sound our lives are running a parallel course! Those soccer matches would drive me nuts as well, especially from what I’ve heard of those awful horns! (I do have the news on in the morning while getting Dale off to work, which doesn’t seem so depressing than the nightly news for some reason, maybe they plan it that way).
      Anyway, kudos to you for taking in another foster. 🙂 I’m glad there are people like you. And yes, Robert’s picture was labeled “safe” Monday night, meaning he made it out of the shelter and into a rescue!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out about my Gulf post. It was the most productive thing I could think of — finding ways to ACTIVELY screw the oil companies by lessening my need for their products and encouraging others to do the same. Activity, even small ones, help me when I too am very sad.

    I am so sorry (and sad! And angry!) about the person who gave away their dog, and the person who let that dog breed. ARGH! Incredibly frustrating! What can we do to get more people to spay and neuter, and understand a pet is a life long commitment?
    OK, well I will tell you what I do when I’m angry about needless pet over breeding and abandonment. I have an anonymous email address. I go to my local craigslist and read the pet notices. And the people who are CLEARLY exploitative backyard breeders get emails from me about the millions of dogs without homes, and links to low-cost spay-neuter clinics. The people who say they have to get rid of their dog because they “can’t potty train it” get a lecture about keeping an animal for life, links to low-cost training classes/books/websites, and info on their pets’ chances at the shelter for adoption — less than 5 percent. And when I see someone posting an ad for pit bulls I know are being driven into our local dog fighting rings, i flag the posts so craigslist will delete them.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Every day I ask my husband if they have figured out a way to stop the oil spill. The answer is always no. The Gulf crisis has made me mad. Toxic chemicals in the environment are such a big issue and people do not seem to connect the dots, so I understand your ire. The Toxic Chemical Act is in Congress now. Please tell your Congressional reps. how you want them to vote. Do a post on this, Kerri, please. It’s so important. I urge everyone to read Slow Death by Rubber Duck. Reserve it at the library. I understand, oh, I understand!

    And, regarding dogs, I have a friend who is doing her utmost. She rescued Maggie, a dog who survived Katrina. My friend is very involved with the Sampson Fund and is organizing a fundraiser here in our town. So, I feel more optimistic about pets than about the environment. But I am with you totally on this one. The environment is so important and the dispersant, necessary for the “gusher,” is so awful. What kind of world have we created??

  4. Conny says:

    When I suffer information overload, the kind that causes me to lose sleep at night, I’ll sometimes choose a news blackout for one week. I can only worry about so many topics at one time ~ gotta stay healthy. Self-imposed silence has been a good remedy, at least for me.

    I really appreciate your blog, Kerri. Cheers ~

    • Thank you, Conny. I think you’re right. I need to get through this week with work, which means I have to be in tune on both the Internet and other news sources. I think Friday-Sunday will be a good time for me to have a total information blackout!

  5. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I can’t handle the oil spill pictures. They make me feel physically ill. Easier to escape the bulk of them thousands of miles away, but I’m definitely not able to escape them all unless I never see the news either on TV or online.

  6. Phillis Godwin says:

    Can’t stand too see anymore pictures on the oil spill. I just can’t deal with it, but I’m praying that God will help it. The animal situation I also can’t deal with. I pray for children and animals everyday. I need help praying.

  7. Kathleen Winn says:

    Kerri- I don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed. Like Allie, I relate so much to your thoughts on this environmental disaster, as well as the plight of thousands of helpless animals who are put to death each day. It’s just very depressing and heart wrenching to see so much destruction, so much grief and needless suffering. But- I hope you know that your work as a writer does make a difference, does bring to light important issues related to animal welfare and the environment, and does help people understand the importance of protecting our planet and showing mercy to the most vulnerable creatures among us.

    It might not seem like much to blog about these issues, and sometimes probably feels like a small thing to bring notice to another dog about to be euthanized or start a thread about ways to save energy and live more simply. But- these are not small things. Your message is powerful and your words resonate with people- you are helping in the best possible way, by using your talent and skill to effect change. I hope you take some comfort in that.

    I certainly don’t want anyone to become depressed and sick at heart over tragic situations but frankly, I worry more about people becoming de-sensitized and numb to all the photos and news coming out of the oil disaster. I actually think the information overload can create a feeling of hopelessness that for some, will turn to indifference. Indifference to suffering leads to apathy. God help us if we become apathetic to the need for preventing the kind of tragedy we are witnessing. Like I said, I don’t wish depression and anxiety on anyone, but some level of anger and emotion is necessary in order for America to wake up and demand change and accountability, from our government and from the businesses who care only about profit.

    I appreciate all you do to bring attention and thoughtful discourse to important issues. Thank you!

    • There’s a quote that says something like, “If you’re feeling hopeless, at least you’re still feeling.” I guess that describes what all of us are feeling over what’s happening in the gulf. But you’re right, we need to take those feelings and put them into action – if it isn’t too late.

  8. Allie Johnson says:

    Good post. I can relate to everything your wrote. I’m also heartsick about this “gusher” and every time I see another photo of an oil-covered bird, I just want to cry. If it had “just” been an accident that was dealt with reasonably and in a reasonable time frame, that would still be horrible, but the fact that this seems to have been caused by multiple sociopathically reckless cost-cutting measures and that we are now learning that a company was allowed to drill in the ocean without having any clue how to deal with a disaster like this and then that, on top of it, their answer is to dump millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the ocean … it’s just too much to handle.

    On top of that, we have been dealing with animal issues of our own … you know we found this un-neutered black Lab … while we were out putting up signs for him, we saw a little dog that belongs to another neighbor that always lets him run loose … he was in the middle of the busiest street in our neighborhood and almost got hit twice by cars that didn’t even bother to slow down … Joe and I were waving our hands and screaming at the cars and I almost had a meltdown right there. We finally corralled the little dog and got him headed toward his home and when we got there, the people weren’t home! It’s a skittish little dog and there was no way we could catch him and animal control was closed, so we had to leave him sitting on his front yard.
    Anyway, sorry to ramble on, and I’m sorry to hear that some of the people you interviewed for the blog have gone flaky. It’s impossible to know what people will do, Kerri. Just keep doing your best and know that you are doing great work by profiling rescues and helping save animals and by living a green lifestyle.

    • Really, Allie, I can see you and Joe trying to get that little guy back to his yard. I know a lot of your neighbors are irresponsible with their pets and I know it drives you nuts. You do a world of good too. I don’t think there’s been many times since I’ve known you that you haven’t had a stray you were trying to find a home for. 🙂 We just keep on doing what we can. What else can we do?

  9. V Schoenwald says:

    I too, am on extremly high info overload. I really can’t seem to get away from it, in any direction, no matter what anyone can do. We also are dealing with extreme pet problems here, and I have had a on again/off again migraine for over a week.
    I, to be truthful, have shut off the TV, and I do play the radio, but that has news on it too, the station I listen to plays music from the 40’s to the 70’s, like Frank Sinatra, Billy Holliday, etc, and that takes me to a happier time with my grand parents and the garden and canning. I really do not have answers to such overwhelming issues, problems so great, that I have cried over all, and then left with the headache. I generally go out to my budding,(but extremly wet)garden, 7 inches of rain in less that a week, and I cut herbs for drying, get plants and herbs planted and ready for farmers market on Sat am’s, and try to just concentrate with my week ahead, Kerri, please try to calm down, it worries me that all of us are overwhelmed with info, and I am afaid all of us will pop, some more than others, so I urge all of the readers here to please shut off the news, Kerri, can you shut down one day and please remain just still, and enjoy your beautiful Eden, I know your job as a journalist is important, but YOU are important too, so please, tea, quiet, Chocolate, cookie…

    • I do get away from it at least one day a week, V, which is usually Sunday. However, yesterday I had some work on deadline I had to finish. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even learn of the terrible flooding here in Arkansas and all of the deaths until someone called to make sure we were alright. I had kept the nightly news off for two days. You take some time too and enjoy that music. I like the oldies as well!