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A Pledge for Earth

Here at Woodstock Sanctuary, we are celebrating Earth Day encircled by mountains and sky as we care for sheep, cows, and turkeys under the warming April sun. We are incredibly lucky and wish we could bring each of you here for a few minutes to experience the peace of the Sanctuary. 

The solitude grants a lot of time to think.  

How do we think about the concept of “Earth” on Earth Day, as it rapidly shrinks and changes due to globalization and climate change? We have made this planet incredibly small and have destroyed the animals, human cultures, and places that we found threatening. And that very destruction threatens us with pandemics and the climate crisis. 

Humans and mammals farmed by humans make up 96% of land mammals. Humans have extinguished 83% of wild mammal species and 50% of plant species. All that harm, while humans make up only .01% of all living things on the planet. We are inconsequential by numbers but catastrophically consequential by impact. 

Humans have moved further and further into the wild spaces – largely because of animal agriculture – but also the imperialist worldview that demands that we travel everywhere, see everything, and consume everything because we (us, singularly) deserve it. Our personal pleasure of seeing a rainforest where we have no ancestral home, of consuming animal bodies in hopes of some magical cure for our maladies, of eating them because we like the taste. Of moving in and out of their worlds because we enjoy the sounds of our voices and our machines and our being centered in all things, more than we can enjoy knowing that there is a place untouched by us, unseen by us, that is more alive thait ever would be if we were there. 

We can feel like our actions don’t matter, that things are beyond our control, but our actions directly impact the world around us and can spur collective action. 

On Earth Day, can we pledge to see less of the planet? To consume less of it.  

To fight against systems that profit off consumption and destruction. To continue to advocate for the living beings we will never meet. To tell the stories of those who are farmed and to exhort again and again, louder and louder, that we make collective, radical change. On Earth Day, can we look beyond our humanness and seek the power in that empathy. 

The planet is getting smaller and smaller. So should we. 

For the animals,




Rachel McCrystal
Executive Director