Authors: Ingrid Newkirk
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Original stories by
His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Paul McCartney,
Willie Nelson , Dennis Kucinich, Russell Simmons ,
Brigitte Bardot , Martina Navratilova , Stella McCartney,
Ravi Shankar, Oliver Stone , Helen Thomas...
and Dozens of Other Extraordinary Individuals
HOW SIMPLE ACTIONS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
Ingrid E. Newkirk
with Jane Ratcliffe
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
âJohn Anster in a loose interpretation of Goethe's
Copyright Â© 2008 by Ingrid E. Newkirk
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For their help in reaching busy people, thanks go to Marjorie Fields-Harris, Simone Reyes, Alexi Tavel, Ina Behrend, Suzie Gilbert, Mandi Warrren, Claudine Erlandson, Holly Dearden, Stephane Jasper, Annaig Lamoureux, Paul Margolin, Mia McDonald, Mandi Warren, Katie Annen, Betty Oyugi, P. Gay Harrah, Lavinia Browne, Brenda Young, Chhime R. Chhoekyapaa and Karla Waples; for her most valuable practical assistance, Starza Kolman with help from Sara Chenoweth, Laura Brown, and Philip Schein; for their patience, Tony LaRussa, Mickey Rourke, Peter Barss, Robert Thurman, Marc Bekoff, Olav Heyerdahl, Robin Janiszeufski-Hesson, Jennifer Lauck, Jonathan F. P. Rose, and Steph Davis; for much more than suggesting this book in the first place, Mary Ann Naples; for helping make the work come together at Adams Media, Beth Gissinger and Katrina Schroeder; and, of course, to the essayists, Barbara Adams, Sean Astin, Kevin Bacon, Brigitte Bardot, Dr. Neal Barnard, Carol Buckley, Lady Bunny, Sue Coe, Susan Cohn, The Dalai Lama, Pierre Dulaine, Dr. Armida Fernandez, Kathy Freston, Sharon Gannon, John Gardner, Andy Grannatelli,Temple Grandin, Peter Hammarstedt, Ru Hartwell, Larry Harvey, Dr. Henry Heimlich, Dana Hork, Rebecca Hosking, Robin Kevan, Representative Dennis Kucinich, Heidi Kuhn, Raymond Kurzweil, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, Wangari Maathai, Lily Mazahery, Sir Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Mark McGowan, Keith McHenry, John McLaughlin, Arthur Mintz, Moby, Aimee Mullins, Martina Navratilova, Willie Nelson, Petra Nemcova, Wade Rathke, Doris Richards, Rachel Rosenthal, Dave Seegar, Ravi Shankar, Reverend Al Sharpton, Russell Simmons, Anita Smith, Oliver Stone, Helen Thomas, Cheryl Ward-Kaiser, Robert Young, and Benjamin Zephaniah, all of whom have contributed to a better world.
Head in the Stars, Feet on the Ground
On Being a Good Son
Saving the World by Degrees
Sex Kitten and Matriarch of Mice
A Healthy Outlook
DR. NEAL BARNARD
When Life Gives You Elephants, Make Orange Juice
I Just Want to Be Me
Illuminating the Truth
A Focused Lens on Life
Don't Worry, Be Happy
HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
Helping Children Find Their Feet
Banking for Babies
DR. ARMIDA FERNANDEZ
Becoming the Architect of Your Own Good Fortune
Practicing Harmony and Connectedness
A Vision of Physical Loveliness
Just Pick Yourself Up . . . and Start All Over Again
Thinking in Pictures
DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN
Defending Whales and Seals
Global Flight Control
A Burning Desire to Connect
Sitting, Thinking, Creating, Saving
DR. HENRY HEIMLICH
Change Is Healthy, Change Is Good!
Helping Bag the Plastic Plague
No Point in Grumbling!
Planning the U.S. Department of Peace
REPRESENTATIVE DENNIS KUCINICH
From Mines to Vines
The Future Is Fantastic!
From Pom-Poms to Playbook
When Life Calls, Be Packed and Ready!
Throwing Out a Lifeline
All You Need Is Passion, Passion Is All You Need
SIR PAUL McCARTNEY
Creating with a Conscience
Making Purposeful Laughter
You May Say I'm a Dreamer
The Soul with the Soles
Running on Cheetah Legs
Champion of Fair Play
Greasing the Wheels to American Self-Reliance
Put a Little Love in Your Heart
Powerful Communities from Little ACORNs Grow
Fighting for a Dog Park
When the Chips Are Down, Do It Yourself
Everyone Needs to Eat
Plucking Music from Your Heart
Born to Be a Rabble-Rouser
REVEREND AL SHARPTON
The Importance of Delivering Respect
The Potholed Road from Shy to Shining
Guided by Ghosts
Keeping Presidents Honest
The Strongest of Victims
Building Tribal Dreams
Verses with Purpose
You cannot teach a man anything;
you can only help him find it within himself.
âGalileo (1564â1642, Italian astronomer and mathematician)
ohn O'Farrell, the English political writer and humorist, once noted how often people begin, “If I won the lottery, I would . . . .” Meaning that they would give more money to charity, feed the poor, go out and climb a mountain. He reminds us that, actually, we have won the lottery. That we scratched off our ticket on the day we were born and discovered that we were, say, a middle-class able-bodied person living in a Western country. (Rather than scratching it off, like most of the ticket holders, and finding we have been born a desperately poor child in a Third World slum or, God forbid, a despised cockroach.) He suggests that we count our blessings, our wealth, our health, our abilities. Count them a whole lot, and then set out to share them.
The wonderful thing is that the world is open to us, especially if we want to do positive things. We are surrounded by individuals, past and present, some stars, most not, who have followed their dreams, started programs, written books, invented useful gadgets, educated others, and simply turned what moves them into the magic of their lives. This book gathers the thoughts and insights of fifty such people whose sole wish is to help inspire similar changes in you.
Had Albert Schweitzer been alive, he would have been the first person on my list of essayists. I recently narrated an introduction to the remake of a 1957 documentary about this man who never wished to waste a moment of his life. Well into his eighties, he was tending to the sick in equatorial Africa, living in one room, working late into the evening, then playing his beloved organ music before going to sleep, satisfied with another day of service.
By and large, Dr. Schweitzer had a happy childhood (although he was teased by other boys at school for being overly serious), but it always troubled him that he had more than so many in the world. Cruelty upset him, and once, when he was asked to take up a slingshot and aim at birds who were happily singing their songs in the trees on the hillside, he sprang up and ran to shoo them away instead. From that moment on, he realized he could stop suffering. That is what motivated him to learn how to build a hospital in the jungle and to spend the time it took to get a medical degree so that he could serve in it.The phrase he coined, after much deliberation, was “Reverence for Life.” He extended that reverence to all animals: cats, goats, and the pelicans he had treated for illness that were always the first to greet incoming human patients who traveled to his hospital by canoe.
Watching out for others, fighting for their right to be treated with dignity and respect no matter where they are from, what their language, how many legs or arms they have, or whether you know them personally, is a great way for us to share our riches. Helping others translates into helping ourselves. And the better we feel, the more delight and energy we have to channel into helping others.What a wonderful cycle of change and joy our lives can be!
As the president of the largest animal rights organization in the world, PETA, I have spent the last twenty-five years traveling constantly and attending everything from community workshops to corporate board meetings, speaking on college campuses and to legislators, meeting people from all walks of life, including the rich and poor, foreign dignitaries, Hollywood stars, and private citizens. My most cherished encounters are with people who have social concerns, caring people who want to contribute to a better world.
Surprisingly, whether I'm in Mumbai or Missouri, Manchester, England, or Manchester, New Hampshire, people ask me the same question, over and over again: “How can I, living here, doing what I do, possibly make any difference?” They'll say, “Oh, it's easy for you to make an impact. But I'm no one of importance. No one would listen to me.” If I have learned anything, it is that they are wrong. Dead wrong. The world is waiting to hear from them, just as it is waiting to hear from you.