by Ellie Sarty
Earth Day is a time when we make a conscious note to celebrate the earth and the life on it (including animals) for whom it is home. For me, Earth Day is a time to reflect on love for life. Love for life and the earth is not specific to humans. It is inherent in all individuals (non-human and human) and it roots us together as kindred family on our shared planet. This year, I choose to honor Earth Day by celebrating this love in sharing about the work of The Culture and Animals Foundation.
For a heartfelt and thought provoking re-awakening into the meaning of compassion and what kind of world we want to create, I recommend visiting the Lantern Books Youtube channel to view “Honoring and Celebrating Tom and Nancy Regan: The Culture and Animals Foundation”. This compilation of videos by former CAF grant recipients was organized by Martin Rowe and is not only a moving tribute but is also an informative reference. The tribute shares both personal stories of gratitude for Tom and Nancy Regan’s work as well as the ways that The Culture and Animals Foundation has supported positive work for animals. Compassion Arts contributed a video montage for this tribute, Culture and Animals: Love in Action, beautifully crafted by Laurie Johnston of Two Trick Pony. We used a song of mine from a project that was funded by a CAF grant years ago, instrumental in seeding what is now Compassion Arts today.
Culture and Animals Foundation
For those unfamiliar with The Culture and Animals Foundation (CAF) , I urge you to explore their website and the many endeavors that CAF has helped support over the last 30 years. Founded in 1985 by Tom and Nancy Regan, CAF is “a cultural organization expanding understanding and appreciation of animals — improving the ways in which they are treated and their standing in human society. CAF believes that through the arts we can awaken people to the plight and grandeur of kindred animals–and ultimately build a deeper understanding of human-animal relationships and a greater respect for animals. In seeing and understanding kindred animals, we see and understand a part of ourselves.”
If you wish to take a deeper journey into the work of CAF co-founder philosopher Tom Regan, his writings span 40 years in books such as The Case for Animal Rights, Empty Cages and other thought provoking essays and articles. A founding pioneer on the moral rights and inherent value of all “subjects-of-a-life”, (human or non-human), Mr. Regan reasons in his work that respect for basic rights of sentient beings includes the right not to be treated merely as a means to the ends of others. He shows in his writings that this philosophy is not founded on any radical new fringe theory of ethics, but rather that it follows from an existing and “consistent application of moral principles and insights” that humans already hold. Click here to read more.
I once saw a quote that read, “Love is an action. Love, the feeling, is meaningless without love, the verb.” I think of people like Tom and Nancy Regan when I consider this thought and I thank them for having courage to live their truth. Tom Regan has been a transformative voice for animals long before there was a movement or support for such work. I reflect on how walking the talk of “love in action” can seem difficult in the real world but how The Culture and Animals Foundation has always remained consistent as a peaceful organization nourishing respect for life through awareness and nurturing creative positive thought.
This Earth Day I thank the individuals (human and non-human) who have helped show various paths in the journey to our true nature of compassion. I thank the Earth for her patience and forgiveness as we work to remember and rekindle our shared and inherent love for life. And I thank The Culture and Animals Foundation for being a vessel for this love in action.
“The earth is what we all have in common” (Wendell Berry, poet)
Photo at www.onegreenplanet.org
About this blogger: Ellie is an animal advocate, singer, songwriter, and Compassion Arts creator and founding member volunteer.