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Santa Cruz Mountains, California
The Activist’s Heart
I painted this piece a few years ago as a tribute to all the amazing animal activists who work to change the world for animals. I don’t know that there’s ever been a study on this, but from my experience most vegans and animal activists I know are empaths, and feeling deeply for the emotional and physical suffering of animals combined with the indifference of most people is really hard on us. I decided to post this because I’ve been really overwhelmed lately – even more than I usually am – with the reality of the extinction crisis. From animals dying en masse in wildfires and floods as a result of the climate catastrophe, to government agencies killing wild animals for cattle ranchers, to the billions of animals killed every year in slaughterhouses and laboratories, it all has been feeling unbearable. I think those who have been active for decades trying to save the planet and her creatures are now collectively thinking “we told you so”, as we’ve been ignored and mocked instead of listened to. The root cause of both climate emergency and extinction crises is speciesism and the idea that humans are the most important species on Earth and can and should control nature. This hubris is now proving to be our undoing. And unless we change the paradigm of believing we have the right to use nature and animals however we want to, no technological fixes will get us out of the crisis we are now in.
- Michelle Waters
Here’s an oldie that I painted almost 20 years ago, and of course the situation has only gotten worse since then. Though my painting practice has changed a lot in the years since I made this, my thoughts regarding what we’re doing to the animals and nature are the same.
- Michelle Waters