by Theresa Krupa-Aiken
Being a vegan, one faces many obvious challenges on a daily basis. One issue that I personally had many a sleepless night over was what to do with all of the animal clothing items that I had accumulated prior to becoming vegan. While most of us are not financially able to replace all of our items at once, the question is when you can replace something what do you do with the animal product that you once wore? There are many different opinions on this subject, such as selling the items and donating the money to an animal sanctuary, donating the item to the poor, and some people want to continue to wear the item as a reminder of the animal that they are now fighting for daily. Well, I thought about each of these choices and I didn't agree with any of them for my own personal reasons. I didn't want to sell the item to have someone wear it and cause another person to go and buy one just like it. This applied to giving it to the poor as well. As far as wearing the item? Well, I just could not do that. One item in particular that was part of my wardrobe was a jacket. A leather jacket. A leather jacket made of lambskin. Those of you that know me are saying “What???” I did not purchase the jacket, it was a gift for my graduation from my Grandmother, but yes, I owned a lambskin leather jacket.
So after thinking and thinking about what I should do I came up with this resolution: I was going to bury it. Yes, I said bury it. I wanted this poor creature that died a terrible death for its skin to finally be put to rest. So the decision was made. The first thing that I had to do was give my friend a name. While I owned the jacket it was just that....a jacket, nothing more. My friend who died to make this jacket deserved a name. Now many of you are saying “This is nuts!” Growing up, my father's best friend was Cherokee. He taught me many things and one thing he used to say to me was "Every animal deserves a name." You can call it whatever you want to call it but it will then be known to you and you to it. I have never forgotten this. I decided to name my jacket Baba.
Baba was a beloved lamb in one of my favorite Christmas stories and I always wished I could hug him as a child. I didn't personally know Baba but he gave his life, a life that I had no right to. The least I could do was give him a name.
Now, how and where do I do it? I did a lot of research on this because I didn't want Baba’s remains to harm any other creature. Too much pain had already been in this poor animal’s life and his remains should be at peace. I found that I could make a home for other creatures and they would help in the decomposition of my dear friend (there are many specifics to consider when choosing the right site, especially concerning local regulations about burying animals around water locations both private and public, so if you make this choice you will have to research on your own for the perfect spot).
I removed the things that he was not born with and put them aside (buttons, zippers, etc.). I gathered the things I wanted to bury him with and we headed off to his final resting place. Once we arrived I let him lie in the grass, something he probably never got to do. I let the sunshine warm his skin, even if it was just for the briefest of moments. I dug his grave about 3 feet down, gathered some dead sticks and logs from the forest floor, put them in the grave, and laid a cotton pillow case on top of them. Then I placed him in the hole and laid flowers on him. I sat there with him for a moment. I thanked him and made a promise to him that I would fight for the rest of my life for him and his sisters and brothers to be free.
Finally, I told him to run and be free and that if someday he sees me I will gladly give him cuddles and kisses. Oh, and as many treats as he would want! I then dumped the potting soil that I brought with me on top of him, and plenty of water too. I wanted to encourage other animals to come and live there and be happy. I made a compost site out of Baba's grave. I gave Baba back all of the dirt that I took out when I placed him inside, and on the top I planted wild flowers.
In concluding, giving Baba his name, returning him back to the earth and acknowledging what he died for, and finally knowing that he was now at peace, I felt a little bit better. I felt stronger. I will continue to fight for him and all of the animals that die simply for our pleasure and vanity. I will not allow his death and so many others be forgotten. I wish you all well and hope that maybe this will help you make a decision on what you want to do with your items. Thank you for reading.
by The Girls Gone Green
The Girls Gone Green's New Logo
The Girls Gone Green had to go in for some very important surgery! We are currently in recovery mode, but certainly excited to show off our new look. It wasn't because we were insecure with our physical appearance, no. But, since our new word for 2013 is simplicity, we needed to make sure our outside reflected how we felt on the inside.
You may remember that The Girls Gone Green founder, Julie Watkins was much younger when this organization was established (*cough cough). She's more mature these days and the image of two girls with the motto, "It's Time To Get Dirty," just didn't reflect her growth and the growth of the organization.
Julie recalls, "Also, a lot of people kept asking if our organization was an all-girls club. No way! We are very inclusive and I believe the new logo really reflects The Girls Gone Green's mission of devoting ourselves to environmental, animal and health issues, not just the environment as signified by our last logo."
The new logo showcases all the causes near and dear to the hearts of its core group. It symbolizes the connectivity between animals, people, food choices and the health of the planet. The heart in the center represents the love and compassion needed towards each in order to achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle. "People will try to live their lives separately from nature and the planet - very disconnected. We are seeing the harm that it's creating to all that sustains us and fills us positively emotionally and mentally," Julie says, "We hope our logo can be an inspiration to find balance in yourself by finding happiness in everything that shares this planet with you."
Along with the logo, the facelift also includes a new website, a new monthly event called A G3 Affair and an expansion of the organization to other cities across the country - all in which will be unveiled in the following weeks.
A big thanks to Michael Barnhart from The Shepherd Agency and Kristin Jackson for lending their expertise in designing such a well-crafted logo. It's a great representation of The Girls Gone Green as we embrace our roots of simplicity.
We still have a lot of work to do and could always use some financial help allowing us to continue to grow The Girls Gone Green. Our goal is to build healthy and humane communities and we would love for you to be a part of that mission. Please consider a tax-deductible donation. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
by The Girls Gone Green
WTEV/WAWS Meteorologist and President of the local nonprofit - The Girls Gone Green, Julie Watkins is encouraging people to get healthy and take the No Meat March challenge during the month of March.
According to Julie Watkins, “March is National Nutrition Month and what better way to celebrate than by participating in a community-supported initiative developed to help you feel and look better.” No Meat March is a Jacksonville-based campaign presented by The Girls Gone Green
. It invites those curious about exploring a plant-based diet to sign a pledge and become part of a growing population seeking healthier alternatives to animal protein.
Watkins explains, “We just want you to use the 31 days of going meat-free as a way to explore your body and health. Try giving your body a break from foods high in fat and cholesterol to see if you like the way it makes you feel. We are here to offer support and encouragement.”
During the month, there will be a number of events and gatherings for participants to get together and enjoy community-related activities. Participants will receive daily emails sharing nutritional information and recipes to support their commitment to NMM. Plenty of resources are available to foster community, allowing participants to communicate, ask questions and get feedback.
For more information please visit www.NoMeatMarch.com
by The Girls Gone Green
Vegjax.com Promotes a Healthier, More Humane Lifestyle
The Girls Gone Green, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting environmental, animal and health issues, announces the launch of www.vegjax.com
, Jacksonville’s Veg-Friendly Dining Guide. This is the first-of-its-kind local website dedicated to making it easy for residents and travelers to find healthier, more humane options at restaurants in Jacksonville and surrounding areas.
More than 50 restaurants are listed and broken down by area including St. Augustine, Riverside, Fernandina Beach, San Marco, Southside, Beaches and more. Every suggestion details what items on menus are free from any animal products or by-products, which have been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer. The guide makes it extremely easy for people who have health concerns or special food requirements to eat out.
In addition to listing veg-friendly menu items in an easy to navigate format, the site includes recommendations from The Girls Gone Green, photos and local special event listings. The website is designed to make it easy to enjoy a healthier, more humane lifestyle while dining at local restaurants. Visitors to the site are welcome to submit new menu items for review.
Men’s Health magazine ranked Jacksonville as the 12th fattest city in America a few years ago and The Girls Gone Green would like to see the River City fall off that list by equipping people with healthier food options in a place full of fast food restaurants. They feel if the demand is there, then selections on menus will begin to grow.
According to Dr. Jon Repole of Jacksonville Health and Wellness Center, “The Girls Gone Green’s new veg-dining guide is an invaluable resource for our community and anyone visiting or traveling through our great city who seek optimal health and longevity.”
The Girls Gone Green feels that the website helps to promote a healthier, happier First Coast. Also, the restaurant guide will not list businesses that serve two of society’s cruelest foods – Veal and Foie Gras. Once restaurants remove these menu items, they can then qualify to be featured on the site.The Girls Gone Green
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2007 and devoted to heightening people’s awareness about how to improve the quality of our lives by improving the world around us. More information can be found at www.thegirlsgonegreen.com