October 2016: A Month of Compassion

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I come across so many snippets of information that are interesting, inspiring or simply worth noting that I’ve decided to start sharing some of the stories or insights that had the biggest impact on me each month.   October seemed to center around compassion, which I’m sure we can all agree is something the world could use a little more of these days.

Animals Showing Compassion for Another Species.

I’m bending the rules right away here by posting something from August, but this article about humpback whales really blew my mind.  I first heard about the phenomenon of humpback whales defending other species from Orca attacks in the prestigious Hakai magazine.   Here is another article, this time from National Geographic, that gives a little bit more explanation as to why we could be seeing this type of behavior in the whales.

Why Humpback Whales Protect Other Animals From Killer Whales

In May 2012, researchers observed a pod of killer whales attacking a gray whale and its calf in Monterey Bay, California. After a struggle, the calf was killed. What happened next defies easy explanation. Two humpback whales were already on the scene as the killer whales, or orcas, attacked the grays.

Humans Showing Compassion for Another Species

This instagram from the feed of my favourite photographer, Paul Nicklen, really gave me the warm fuzzies.  Paul is an award winning photographer for National Geographic, a marine biologist and active conservationist.  So often people in the scientific community have a strict policy of not intervening when it comes to wildlife in distress.  Let nature take it’s course, they always say.   Another day I’ll write a post explaining why I think that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, but this month I was pleased as punch to read Paul’s account of rescuing a bald eagle.  In a post later in the month, Paul explained his actions saying he does “try and stay out of the natural process of life and death” although he will “rescue wild animals from time to time.”   As you should – as we all should, in my opinion.

Compassion and Controversy

Water for elephants is okay, but water for suffering pigs will get you arrested.  On October 3rd, a packed courthouse in Burlington heard the testimony of accused animal rights activist Anita Krajnk as she explained what happened the day she gave water to pigs suffering from heat exhaustion on their way to the slaughterhouse.  Krajnk is the founder of an organization called Toronto Pig Save, who bears witness to the suffering of world’s fourth smartest animal in its last moments.

From what I understand, the issue is that the pigs are technically a product for human consumption and Krajnk broke the law by giving them liquid.  Which is ironic, considering they probably have at least some levels of antibiotics and hormones in them that the consumer will never be informed of.   If you didn’t fall in love with pigs after watching Babe or Charolotte’s web you might be interested to know some amazing facts about pigs:  They are smart, playful, clean, social and of course… compassionate.

Judging Compassion: the Criminal Trial of Toronto Pig Save’s Anita Krajnc

The young pig at the outer edge of the immobile transport truck bearing him to slaughter was so terrified and parched that his mouth was foaming.

Animals Showing Compassion for Humans

You’ll see why I’m such a fan of Paul Nicklen if you watch my favourite Ted Talk of all time.  It’s an extraordinary and humorous tale of what happened when Paul was doing a story on leopard seals, who have a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous sea creatures.  Find out what happens to Paul when he comes face to face with one in Antarctica.  My six year old nephew loved this story and if you like uplifting and inspiring stories you’ll probably love it too.

Paul Nicklen: Animal tales from icy wonderlands

Diving under the Antarctic ice to get close to the much-feared leopard seal, photographer Paul Nicklen found an extraordinary new friend. Share his hilarious, passionate stories of the polar wonderlands, illustrated by glorious images of the animals who live on and under the ice.

A Compassionate Tree ?

I was ecstatic earlier this year when I discovered that my favourite tree in my Mom’s garden was highly revered for it’s medicinal properties in improving emotional well-being.   After reading the article below and doing a major prune to protect it from the coming wind storm, I decided to try and make a tincture myself.  I currently have enough strips of bark drying in my living room to fill a small mason jar.  If anyone wants to try some in a month or two, let me know 🙂

Mimosa- The Happiness Tree

Early this summer I realized my beautiful Mimosa tree was growing kind of out of control. This is an extremely fast growing tree that had risen to about 50 feet high and was intermingling its branches amongst the power lines. Time to prune.

One of the first posts I wrote centered around the idea that small acts of kindness, love, or compassion can make a big difference… if you haven’t read it already, please check it out here!




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