Leavening Agents

Best Friends logo

I watched Best Friends Animal Society‘s 25th Anniversary DVD last night. Their 33,000-acre animal sanctuary in Utah houses almost 2000 cats and dogs (also some rabbits, potbellied pigs, horses, goats, and birds). They’ve even got a television show, National Geographic Channel’s Dogtown. I’ve volunteered in Utah, and now I’m writing news stories for their web site. They’re amazing.

What always strikes me is their positive message. It’s never “thousands of animals like Fluffy are dying horrible deaths every day unless you help now.” Instead, it’s “Fluffy had a pretty rough past, but thanks to friends like you, she’s learning to trust again….” Their visuals are never PETA-style photos of starving, abused animals, but rather the “after” photos of those now-healthy animals in a clean, safe place (either the sanctuary itself or a new home). Not that Best Friends ever whitewashes the truth of homeless, neglected, and abused pets; occasionally there will be a “before” photo of an animal in a tragic situation, or more often a description of an animal’s sad history. But their emphasis is on the “after.”

It’s so smart. No one wants to contribute to a losing cause.

That’s what I’m struggling with on this blog. The topic of factory farming tends to bring out the Debbie Downer in me. Now, I know I can’t go to the opposite extreme and become a Pollyanna about it. But my goal is to enlarge my sphere of influence by informing and entertaining people, and I realize you catch more bees with honey. Not that you’re a bee. But you know what I mean. I’m trying to lighten up.

So here’s my question: how do you deal positively with rotten realities? How do you remain optimistic and pro-active and actually effect change, instead of bitching about how hopeless things are? How do you remember to focus on what does work, rather than what doesn’t?

I’m dying to know. Please post a comment and tell me all about it. I’ll be so heartened, I might even send you a donation.