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Unschooler Community Activism about Animals and the Environment

Caring About Animals and the Environment
By Karen Lee

I was formerly involved in a social justice group for adults, but left the group to focus on being more available to my kids on their unschooling journey. I strew before my children the various opportunities I am aware of, without any expectation that they participate. Any time a suggestion has had anything to do with social justice or animal welfare, my youngest, Molly, now twelve, has taken me up on the offer without hesitation. She shares my passion for social justice and the environment and often zealously leads the way, with me running to keep up!

Molly’s primary passion is for animal welfare, although she also cares deeply about the state of the planet and social justice for the poor and underprivileged, including asylum seekers. She loves to go in street marches and has so far participated in marches against coal seam gas, against the establishment of a fourth coal terminal in the city we used to live in, and for the better treatment of refugees in Australia. She is always very disappointed if she discovers that we have missed an opportunity to participate in a march, so I try to keep up to date with opportunities for her.

She has also done the 40 Hour Famine twice, and undertaken fundraising for the RSPCA (Australia's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) through their Cupcake Day and Million Paws Walk. Molly gets very upset about animal slaughter or mistreatment, so driving past a truck laden with animals on their way to the abattoir causes her much anguish. She is contemplating making some signs to leave in the car, saying “Friend not Food” or “Be Kind to Animals” that she can hold up to the window as we drive past!

Her passion for animal welfare started a long time ago. When she was nine, she started a Weebly site about helping animals. She is now a member of Animal Liberation Victoria. We were privileged to be able to meet the founder at a screening of the new documentary, Cowspiracy.
The purpose of our activities is to make a difference in the world, to serve the community, to put our compassion and empathy into action. There is a wealth of learning that happens as a wonderful byproduct, though! I think the most amazing benefit of all is that Molly is realizing she has a voice and really can make a difference in the world. She is realizing that she doesn't have to stay silent and do nothing, that she can turn her passion into action. She continues to learn so much about this planet, its people and animals, and about the value of her place on this earth. She is learning that frustration builds when nothing is done about things that anger her, and that a sense of accomplishment and value build when she takes action. She has also been privileged to meet some amazingly inspirational people.

My advice to other families is: Do it! Life is richer and more wonderful when shared with others.

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