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Animals and Us: Help Us Hatch Our Next Issue

The YES! editorial team is hard at work on our spring issue about animals. Here's an advance look at what we’re planning—and a chance to share your ideas.

YES! online readers will soon have a chance to read what YES! magazine subscribers are already enjoying – our special winter issue on families. (Click here to find out how you can join them by subscribing to YES!).

Hippo photo by Bill Gracey

Photo by Bill Gracey

Meanwhile, we are looking ahead to spring when the magazine will focus on “animals among us.” For each issue of YES!, our team of editors looks for opportunities to reframe a crisis as an opportunity for breakthroughs. That’s what we’re doing now with the spring issue.

People have always lived with animals. But our relationships with animals have gotten a bit bizarre.

On the one hand, much of our diet comes from feedlots, gigantic warehouses where fryer chickens live out short lives in small cages, egg and dairy production facilities, and giant indoor hog-raising operations, all functioning more like factories than farms, much less like natural ecosystems. Conditions for the animals and the workers in these facilities can be downright inhumane.

On the other hand we believe ourselves to be animal-loving people. We buy sweaters for our pets, feed them expensive food, give them health care that can be better than an uninsured neighbor gets, and even buy them luxury cemetery plots. And we react with righteous indignation when public figures like Michael Vick get caught abusing animals.

So what gives?

Globally, hundreds, maybe thousands of species are going extinct each year. Humans are encroaching on the habitats of wild creatures in all parts of the world, changing the climate, polluting rivers, soil, and air. Scientists say we are causing the greatest wave of species extinction since the human species emerged. In spite of our high-tech ways, we rely on the health of ecosystems, and for that reason, if for no other, extreme extinction should worry us. A lot.

The spring issue of YES! reframes our relationship with animals. Instead of exploiting them for any purpose that makes us money or sentimentalizing them, this issue is about building relationships with the animal world based on respect and our long-term interest in a diverse and life-filled planet.

Among the questions we’re asking:
•    Should we eat animals?
•    What do animals teach us about ourselves?
•    What can we learn from some of the extraordinary abilities animals have?
•    What can we learn from indigenous societies about relationships of respect and reciprocity with animals?
•    What will it take to stop this wave of extinctions?


Your thoughts ...

What questions would you like us to address in this issue?
What do you think we should call this issue?
What do you think is the one most important thing we can do to save animals, and save all of us?

We'll check the comments fields below for your ideas.

Thanks!


Sarah van Gelder new photoSarah van Gelder is co-founder and executive editor of YES! Magazine, an independent media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions for a just and sustainable world.

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