Since February 2012, I have not accepted any "friend requests", sent any "green stars", or sent any birthday e-cards and I apologize for that.
I am receiving so many messages from Care2 and Facebook friends and e-mails in general that I am not managing to keep up. The volume of messages has gradually increased until it became "too much". I also watch a lot of television and read daily Croatian newspapers since that also helps me with my activism.
About 1 year ago I used to exchange good quality messages with many Care2 friends. But then, starting in November 2011, this "trend" started, in which people send very short messages with no real content. I notice that people often send a "green star" where it is not possible to see what it relates to. This does not only apply to Care2, but to all kinds of friends. I had old friends from school and relatives discover me on Facebook or they somehow found my e-mail. They would send me a very short message, such as "How are you?" or "Remember me?". I was delighted and sent them a reply, consisting of a few paragraphs (but not too long, because a long message might "frighten them away"). None of them replied.
I will reply to introductions and personal messages and accept those "friend requests" with an introduction or if you have "signed" the 2nd petition regarding kangaroos. (I cannot see who has "signed" the 1st petition. I did not create those petitions but they are just two that I decided to promote). I will "sign" as many forwarded petitions as possible but will often give up on long lists, espacially if I am at work and get interrupted or if I go off on some link and end up "bogged" reading hundreds of comments.
Since I have a negative attitude towards my life (especially since my mother demanded that I buy an apartment during the 2003 stockmarket fall, which meant no more investing or big donations from me;and because I never have enough time in the day) please do not feel obliged to send me an e-card for my birthday in future years, a Christmas e-card, etc. I apologise if I do not manage to reply to those that I do receive.
Please do not feel obliged to read my very long Share. The only reason that I do not delete it is because some people have commented it and I do not want to come across as manipulative by deleting things.
IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE "SIGN" THE 2 PETITIONS AGAINST THE KILLING OF KANGAROOS IN MY SHARE AND ALSO REPEATED ON MY PAGE BILLBOARD.
(My name also sometimes displays as "Sime Validzic" because that is how I spell it in petitions to non-English countries).
Since nobody seems to notice the PETITIONS on MY PAGE BILLBOARD, I am also putting them here.
The largest massacre of native wild land animals is taking place every night in the Australian outback. 4 million kangaroos and their babies are killed each year. Unlike the seal massacre of Canada, no large professional animal rights organizations are working to protect kangaroos. Kangaroos are killed in the remote outback where it is impossible to monitor.
PLEASE "SIGN" THESE 2 PETITIONS:
1. To the European Union - Stop imports of kangaroo meat and skin
These are not petitions that I created but two that I decided to promote. It is better to promote existing petitions than to create endless similar petitions. The author of the second petition decided to go anonymous due to concerns for her safety.
This share is not important and the only reason that I do not delete it is that some people have left comments. I edited my other 2 shares on March 3, 2013 but they are not immediately visible when one clicks on my profile. Maybe that changes after I add this.
I will take the opportunity to elaborate some points that were raised due to a comment I made on "Care2 Causes" regarding hamburgers. I am putting it here since it would be off topic and is way too long.
NOTE: these are just some comments about myself. My "share" regarding PETITIONS to SAVE KANGAROOS is much more important than this and please do not let this redirect you away from the petitions.
Regarding Bill Gates - I am aware that he is involved with introducing GMOs into Africa. I condemn that and have taken online action. The reason I listed him as a role model is that 50 billion US Dollars made from software causes a much smaller ecological footprint than if it came from killing animals, logging forests, drilling oil, mining coal or any industry with a lower value-added content.
I bought a Mac (Performa 5200) and laser printer in 1995 but never used it since my desk is cluttered with unread newspapers and other junk, and I kept putting off setting it up. I was making some gains on the Croatian stockmarket and was planning to buy a bigger apartment (flat). Before there was an animal rights organization in Croatia, I was active in Green Action. They use Macs. In 2000, a "friend" from Green Action asked if he could have my Mac and I gave it to him. Animal Friends Croatia was formed in 2001. They use Microsoft Windows-based PCs. They told me that I cannot function without a computer and that I should get a laptop (which I can use at my dining table). That "friend" from Green Action was coordinating the campaign against GMOs for Croatia. I hope my Mac helped! European countries are largely opposed to GMOs. My opposition is not local but I hoped that pressure from Europe would lead American farmers to stop sowing GMOs and protect their environment.
Oh no(!), most of the Microsoft Office in Croatia are illegal copies! I wonder if Bill Gates knows that, since there are reports that he occasionally likes to come here with his yacht! There is a legal copy of Windows 7 on my new HP Probook 6555b but the demo version of Microsoft Office expired after 60 days. (Maybe I should have got a laptop with Linux).
When I oppose coal-fired power stations, I do not oppose them just because combustion pollutes the environment locally, but I am also concerned about the country where the coal is mined. In 1998, there was a newspaper article about importing coal from Malaysia (from under rainforests, I guess). I wrote a long letter to a Croatian daily newspaper but the part against Malaysia got cut off! I have written later letters against tropical timber and they did include Malaysia. In 1999, there were attempts by the United States of America to impose GMOs and coal-fired power plants upon Croatia and USAID cut off its funding for Green Action.
Although I advocate veganism, not all vegans are necessarily better than non-vegans (regarding other issues). Most activists in Croatia are students, unemployed or low-income earners. My desire to help them achieve their goals financially somewhat backfired as I often felt that they did not regard me as one of them. Sometimes they would totally disregard my ideas for campaigns (especially those at Green Action) but then I would discover some of them working on that very campaign a few years later (such as the ratification of CITES by Croatia). The reason that I focus on the Campaign to stop the killing of kangaroos is that I started it when interpersonal relations amongst activists were at an all time high and after 2 great years on the Croatian stockmarket, so I funded it all myself. Some of the organizations in Australia were impressed when I sent them my campaign materials and they listed me as their representative in Croatia. They were not offended by me using the Aboriginal flag, but VIVA-UK did ask why I did not just use their campaign materials. Although I have collected information and photographs to produce an identical-looking campaign against hunting in Croatia, Animal Friends Croatia were not interested, so I have just been writing some of my own letters against hunting and commercial fishing to relevant Croatian and European ministers and going to protests organized by other activists. Although Aboriginals are not a vegan culture, in 2008, 8 Aboriginal protesters were jailed for protesting a kangaroo kill in Canberra. I have also come across articles by both Aboriginals and Native Americans advocating veganism.
In 2003, after 2 terrible years on the stockmarket, my Mother, who is living in Australia, demanded that I buy a new apartment so that she can visit me. The activists at Animal Friends Croatia were delighted to see me humiliated like that. No more investing, no more big donations! My rented apartment is cluttered and almost impossible to clean and I sleep on the couch since there is no separate bedroom. (I used to be a perfectionist and it would take me 2 months to clean everything; I last did that in 1999, when I sold my first apartment). I offered to rent a second apartment for my Mother, but both the activists and my Mother told me that "Everyone will think you are crazy if you do that". I did not want to risk losing another 10% or so on the stockmarket so I just gave in to my Mother. It took me over a year to find an apartment that I liked (I am against low-density housing due to urban sprawl). I did not like the brand new ones, so I bought a 25 year old one. It ended up needing some renovating. I hoped to pay someone to do that, and I did. However, nothing turned out quite as expected. In Europe, new houses and apartments do not come with fitted kitchens and built-in robes. Attractive kitchens can be found at showrooms, but they rarely fit properly; and the outlet for the range-hood (cooker-top), and the water, gas and electricity are all in the wrong place. So, I did a lot of the work myself, by trial and error. That has been going on since 2004, and I am still not finished. I have been paying both rent where I am staying and a home-loan for my "new" apartment. I am gradually starting to move in smaller items (that I can carry on public transport). My Mother has been delaying her visit ever since, one year at a time. She insists on coming over the Christmas period even though she knows I hate those family gatherings. Since I missed out on the opportunity to make a 400% gain on the Croatian stockmarket (from 2004 to 2007) "thanks" to my Mother, I demand that she respect the fact that I live in a meat-free household, or there will be problems! If she cannot go without meat, she has plenty of redneck relatives all over Croatia where she can stay. (By "redneck", I mean conservative people with a traditional house and family). I do not know what I would have done if my Mother did not give me time to complete my apartment but just said something along the lines of "I do not care what stage you are at, I am arriving at Zagreb Airport at 7 am next Wednesday". (This negative attitude of mine towards food started with this ordeal with my Mother and apartment. I also had a negative attitude in Australia, but in those days somebody else did the cooking and cleaning).
A "letter to the editor" of a printed Croatian newspaper, once or twice a year, can have a much bigger impact than all these endless comments on Care2 (or under Croatian online news articles). Unfortunately, Care2 has turned into an end in itself, and I once ended up not going to a protest because I spent the whole previous night on Care2. (And I often get nothing done in my "new" apartment or the housework in my rented one).
My employment as Operator at the Preflight briefing office of Air Traffic Control was arranged by my Uncle. My annual salary (about 24,000 Dollars nett/after tax; the Australian Dollar is almost equal the US Dollar at present) is about 80% above the Croatian average and in the top 5%. Finding another job is not an attractive option. However, the radar air traffic controllers earn 2.2 times my salary. My deadline for a promotion expired in 1996, and at that time I had conflicts at work. (I put the mobbing to an end by leaving the newspaper open at the finance section and would offer colleagues vegan chocolate wafers and let them know that I made a 100% gain in a month on the stock of the company that manufactures them!) My job is not labor-intensive, so I take newspapers and my laptop to work and do ecological, animal rights and human-related activism and also watch about 12 hours of TV daily, since there are a lot of good programs on Croatian Television and even the American movies are "based on a true story" and I find them useful. In the "good times" when I invested in the stockmarket, that went well with activism since both require that I follow the media (newspapers, TV, internet) a lot and I have become really addicted. In 2001, I made 6 times the average Croatian income (about 20,000 Dollars salary and 40,000 Dollars on the stockmarket). I used to love it when I was at an animal rights protest or handing out leaflets and someone would say "Get a job!" ("If only" I could return to Australia in 1989 and "work my guts off" at McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken for 4 Dollars per hour! But I did not get that job!)
When I was living with my Uncle in 1992, he kept chickens in a small wire cage. One of his sons screamed as they slaughtered "his" pet chickens. The adults were all rubbing it in his face and saying "let's kill another one". I was not a vegetarian at the time but I did make it clear that I was intending to do so as soon as I start living on my own. In those days, I was not aware of the reasons against milk. I once overheard a Bosnian refugee saying that his children will not let him slaughter the chickens. (In 1980, my parents took "our" chickens to a family friend for slaughter whilst my sisters and I were in Church preparing for our Confirmation).
I am not against war if it is for self-defense of a country and I did serve 9 months in the Croatian Army in 1993-4 and was mobilized for 6 months again in 1995. I decided to eat meat in that first period in the Army "to be like everybody else" but that did not stop the people from calling me names for all kinds of other reasons and many would say "Go back to Australia". That just made me even more determined to stay. I did not end up going to war. My commander did not like it when I said that I was actually hoping to get killed because I went from being a top student at school in Australia to being one of the bottom ones at university and was thinking of suicide. The other physics students at the University of Melbourne would not let me borrow lecture notes if I would come late due to a train delay. On the other hand, I made Croatian friends without really trying. (In those days I was still considering moving to the USA due to the space program. Voyager2 left the orbit of Neptune in August 1989). I became really interested in Croatia when I discovered that apartments were much cheaper than in Melbourne. The newspapers that my Father used to read were just anti-communist texts written by emigrants and there was no useful information on returning to Croatia (then still part of Yugoslavia) in them. (I often wish that the Serbian Chetniks had slaughtered my ancestors in World War 2 and that I never existed, or that the plane had crashed when we emigrated to Australia).
I am somewhat torn between advocating apartment living and returning to my origins. Even though I have considered it, advocating that humans return to Africa to live with the chimpanzees cannot be applied to 6.9 billion humans. Sometimes I would eat only figs all day but only recently took a closer look at a wildlife documentary and saw that wild African figs are not the same as these Mediterranean figs! The fig season is very short and fresh figs can rarely be bought at fruit shops because they ferment easily. I am against bananas since they come from Ecuador - and possibly destroy rainforest. It is not possible to live chimpanzee-style in winter in Croatia, so I have to accept food produced by humans and live indoors. I would like to return to my ancestral land (inland Dalmatia/Southern Croatia) but my relatives living there would never reply to my letters, and if I were to quit my job at air traffic control, I would have to put up with people calling me crazy. It is a stone house (only the walls remain) and it reminds me of a magazine ad for a "fine olde Scotch Whisky" but it is not in Scotland! In Dalmatia they use hydro-electricity whereas in Zagreb we use fossil fuels (methane and/or heating oil) and there is a nuclear plant on the border with Slovenia.
I actually wish that my salary was not above average, because then I could just find any old job near my ancestral home. It is about 6 hours away by bus, so travelling there every second day is not an option. (On average, I work 12 hours every second day and have every second day off, but sometimes have 3 days off in a row. I have just under 6 weeks annual holidays). People that had there house destroyed by war are entitled to have it rebuilt by the Government but they have to prove that they were living there on 16 September 1991 (whereas I was firmly stuck in Australiarunning a carpet steam cleaning business, making a loss. The adin the Yellow Pages cost almost as much as my first apartment! My Mother demanded that I give up a well paying door-to-door 84 hours, 1,000 Dollars per week, Market research interviewing job in 1990 and renovate her house, but when she saw how long I was taking for just 1 window frame, she demanded that I quit. So, out of spite, I started a business. That ordeal delayed my return to Croatia for 2 years).
The idea of returning to Croatia to reduce my impact on indigenous people, native animals, forests and the environment is my own thinking. Most other emigrants that have returned do it for family or nationalistic reasons. I am disappointed that only about 1% of emigrants have returned and there are 2.5 million people of Croatian origin living in the USA, 250 thousand in Australia, 250 thousand in Canada, about 8 thousand in South Africa, and hundreds of thousands in many European and South American countries. There are very few individuals in Asia. I have nieces and nephews in Australia and they love McDonalds!
Since I live in an apartment by myself, my ecological impact or "footprint"is still high (because it is divided by only 1 person in the household). According to some online quizzes on the WWF website, it is between 2.3 and 3.4 planets (if all humans lived as I do).
At the time of writing, I am trying to watch "Fruits of the land" ("Plodovi zemlje") on Croatian Television. It is intended for farmers. That is followed by "Sea" ("More") which is about fishing, boating, marine ecology and the sea in general.
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