Definition of UTOPIA

  1. an imaginary and indefinitely remote place
  2. often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions
  3. an impractical scheme for social improvement

I remember when I was young, my grandmother gave me a little wooden box. She told me how precious it was. It had a small cream-colored knob atop the lid and matching legs to stand on. These were pure ivory, she told me. Ivory is what made this box so very special.

I had seen a movie where men on safari came across an elephant graveyard. It was a stretch of barren land where hundreds of elephants’ skeletons stood high. It was  a sacred place, for this is where the magnificent beasts went to die. Naturally, I assumed that this is where ivory was obtained and should therefore be regarded as precious. This must be why my grandmother had so much respect for the little wooden box.

Raised in a world of plastics and polyesters, everything around me was made. From furniture and jewelry to meatloaf and pasta, everything comes from somewhere else. In time, I discovered how ivory was made. These glorious creatures were savagely brought down for their tusks. These great sentient beings were murdered for Ivory. To say, “What a waste!” is an understatement. So much was lost to make these cream-colored trinkets. This was far from sacred.

In my twenties, I learned how veal was made. A calf is imprisoned in a box so that it cannot move, sometimes in total darkness. It remains in this makeshift coffin for the duration of its short life. Then it is killed. How could anyone conceive such a thing? Where did this all start? Who even came up with this? Nazis? As a native of Louisiana, I see even a baby alligator as cute and adorable. It’s helpless and harmless. It’s just a baby! How could anyone be okay with the torture that is imposed on a baby cow?

Needless to say, I quit eating veal.

I saw a piece on my local news station about how birds were slowly being strangled to death. It showed ducks, seagulls and other winged souls with plastic rings around their necks. As the bird grew, the plastic would become tighter and eat into their flesh. Soon, they would not be able to swallow and they would perish. These rings of death are what man made to keep a six-pack of drinks together. Armed with a pair of scissors, I immediately went to my trash bin to see if I had any so that I could cut each ring open. When on the job, I would tell my coworkers to give me their plastic so that I could discard of it properly.

With each bit of knowledge that I have attained throughout my life, I have altered my daily routines. In effect, I have change my way of living. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been what I am today. Vegan.

Every time we do something good for the animals, we are doing something good for ourselves. Every time we do something to make this planet a better place, we become better people. We are striving toward the same goal.

Whether you are a fanatic for recycling or a crusader for the Animal Liberation Front, on some level you are just like me. You also seek a better place to call home. You also wish to save this place we call Earth. You want, as I do, to reach out an touch the intangible dream of a New World. Do not despair. It is not impossible. It is slightly within our grasp. See it with your mind’s eye and feel it with your heart of hearts. We will persevere. We will save this planet one way or another. For as long as we work together to make it happen, we are becoming better people. And as long as I have you on my side, I believe. I have faith that a brighter future is eventually in store. Whatever obstacles may come, no matter how bad things may get, we will emerge victorious!

Whether we rally against fur or campaign to save the whales, we are all working together to make that imaginary and remote place very real and very tangible. In the process, we have begun a social order that is very practical. We have appointed ourselves, as a whole, to undertake this revolution: thus, we have defined ourselves as Utopians.