Environmental Empowerment

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“It is empowering to believe we can stay in good health by making the right choices in lifestyle. It is equally empowering, however, to realize that these choices also extend to the natural world, the environment.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Burden of Convenience

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“It’s not that I abhor convenience. It’s that I feel slathered in it. It no longer feels like a privilege, but like a burden…”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

We Need What We Fear

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“If the lion, in all its dark, nocturnal otherness, in all its light, internal sameness, does not exist for future generations, if we destroy its habitat, or call open season on it, what could we possibly find to replace it? It is precisely because we fear large predators that we need them. They hold within them so many things we have lost, or are on the verge of losing, personally and collectively, permanently and forever. If we sacrifice the fear, we also sacrifice the strength, the wildness, the beauty, the awe.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Community Defined

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If diversity’s what it’s all about, then our neighborhood is all that and a bag of chips. But without a shared sense of purpose, diversity spells conflict and isolation, not opportunity. I figure that tract of land is what brought us together. None of us is about to give that up.

Before I stepped out of my house that cold morning three years ago, I might have told you “community” was some kind of Up with People fantasy—like-minded folks sharing a Norman Rockwell moment. Now I think community has little to do with like minds. It has to do with very differently minded people finding a way to get along because we all live in, are connected to, and share a sense of place.

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Nowhere To Go

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“By now, I was familiar with every curve and outline of a coyote. But I didn’t expect to find one here, and I don’t think he expected to find himself here, either…To the north, those houses were breeding like humans. To the south, the city was installing a golf course. I know a wild animal is wild and anything suggesting otherwise is a fairy tale. When the gates of Eden finally swung open, the animals made a firm decision. They fled, never again to befriend the creature responsible for destroying paradise…He didn’t move, but shifted his eyes again. Then he looked back at me and tilted his head. One of us had to move, and I think he wanted it to be him. But he didn’t know where to go.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Fools, Dirt and Living the Moment

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“I would like to wash my hands in dirt, feel the cool, brown earth cleanse me of my sorrows, my pride, my arrogance, and of the belief that cleanliness is next to godliness, when god is most likely dirt, the gritty transformation, my hands like a seed I might fill it with the knowledge of what has come before. Living in the present is overrated. It is walking with the rhythm of the past in your bones that matters. The fool lives in the past and is forever in the moment, a Zen mistake, a clock without a battery, its hands spread open on either side of noon.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Karmic Hunting

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“None of my college friends had ever hunted; that alone made Roy romantically cool in their eyes. They may have been living some version of the American Dream, but Roy was living the American Myth—the one of cowboys and guns, of a lot of action and not a lot of talk.”

“I told a friend about you, and he’s taken up hunting,” I said to Roy once, grappling for some common ground. “There’s this trend going on right now. People want to pay their karmic debt for eating meat, and this guy’s into it. Cool, huh?”

“Guy wants to hunt he should hunt,” said Roy. “Guy wants to pay his karmic debt he should take on a few long shifts at a slaughterhouse.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Richness of Silence

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“We didn’t say anything for the next four hours. Time passed like time should pass—rich and quiet and all your own.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

The Good Fight

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“Then I remember that I know what it takes to fight a good fight. It know that rage must fade away and give itself up to a steady, constant compassion, a focus not on what I choose to fight against, but what I choose to fight for, to cling to, to love. Because sparring, doing forms, meditating, they all share in common the incredible strength it takes to move from one point to the next with as much clarity, integrity, compassion, and unmitigated intention as possible.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Cycle of Destruction

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“We—our bodies—are an integral part of a system that is being destroyed from the outside in by the same forces that have sold us the idea that our illnesses are “our gifts.” If we can be convinced of that, we will spend our time and money analyzing every minuscule aspect of our diet and lifestyle, which leaves very little time to look at the problem as a whole: the environment is being devastated and we (our bodies) are the environment.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren