Different Cultures’ Perspectives on Human-Animal Relationships

As a human, are you always thinking about animals? I believe humans cannot live without animals because we depend on them to eat and survive. However, the animals humans eat differ. Each person has his or her symbol animals, which are determined by the environment around the person. Japanese people live on an island, so they mainly eat fish. As many people know, the famous Japanese cuisine is sushi. Native American people live in the middle of a continent, so they eat animals, which live in the continent. Depending on the tribe, the animals they eat are different.

Buffalo and Lakota People:

I chose to write about the relationship between buffalo and Native Americans because I went to a Buffalo Harvest with the Native American Center. Before I went there, I have never seen the killing of animals except killing fish. When people eat the buffalo, they pray for him and express their appreciation for him. I felt how important buffalos are for Native people. “As the buffalo roamed the Plains, so did the Lakota. The entire existence of the people centered around the buffalo’s epic migration across the vast plains of North America – from Canada to Mexico; the Pacific Northwest to the Appalachian Mountains” (Prairie Edge June 16 2011).


Grazing buffalo

Photo used by Fair Use.

Fish and Japanese People:

Japanese people cannot separate from fish. For me, fish plays an important part in my food. I grew up in the countryside of Japan. When I went to my grandparents’ or relatives’ house, I always ate fresh raw fish with my family. I learned how to gut fish on a school field trip. I was always told by my mother to eat fish and not eat too much beef or pork for my health.

Since the past animals have supported the lives of humans. In the past, people knew how important the animals were. However, I think people have forgotten this and many people choose to eat unhealthy junk food. They are not eating “real food”. Real food is defined by the as local/community-based, fair trade, ecologically sound and humane. There is an organization, “Real Food Challenge”, which requires 20 % real food in our campus by 2020. Our sustainability team started working to educate students in Fort Lewis College. I want to teach students in Fort Lewis College how important the real food is.


By Hanae Miyabo

All Drains Lead to the Ocean

Seagull by Liz Grogan

Seagull by Liz Grogan

“We get into the habit of thinking, this is the world, but that’s not true at all. The real world is a much darker and deeper place than this, and much of it is occupied by jellyfish and things.”

– Haruki Murakami

My goldfish, Kurt and Dave, have requested I write an appeal for the fishes. They may be happy and healthy fish living in a tank on my desk, but they also know there are plenty of other fish in the sea who are not as lucky as they are and need help. You may be asking: what does Colorado, a landlocked state, have to do with the sea?

As any person who’s watched Finding Nemo should know, all drains lead to the ocean. It is surprising what an effect we can have on even the darkest depths of the ocean. Every time we take our cars somewhere, the friction of the road rubs tiny bits of rubber off your tires. Water samples from the oceanic middle-of-nowhere show that rubber particles have made their way through the streams and rivers and into oceans, thousands of miles from the nearest car. Who would’ve thought driving your car could impact the environment thousands of feet below the sea? Heavy metals from abandoned mines, hormones, fertilizers, even oil and waste pollute Colorado’s own rivers every day due to carelessness. If these pollutants go untreated, they eventually show up in the oceans. Colorado River and its tributaries, for example, drain into the Gulf of California, home to a wide range of fascinating and endangered animals, such as whales, sea turtles, rays, and whale sharks. A recent study has determined that due to a number of preventable factors, only jellyfish will remain in the oceans in 40 years. A “jellyfish bloom,” and can result from any number of changes in the environment, including warming waters, cooling waters, overfishing, increased nutrients, and pollution. I think jellyfish are pretty neat, but not nearly fascinating enough to be the only animals left in the oceans. With all those venomous tentacles, I can’t imagine they’d taste very good either.

There are some simple ways to reduce the pollutants in water. The most important thing you can do is make sure you dispose chemicals properly. People carelessly dump all sorts of chemicals down their drains, not giving a second thought to where they will end up. Anything from prescription drugs to pet waste can have devastating effects on the water quality. Even if we do not directly dump chemicals into drains, they can get washed into storm drains the next time it rains. In order to combat heavy metals in the rivers, Senator Mark Udall’s Good Samaritan legislation will amend the Clean Water Act and allow groups to clean up the mines without being legally responsible for the pollutants. You can read more about the Good Samaritan amendment on Senator Udall’s website.

Of course, it isn’t just the oceans we endanger by acting irresponsibly. Colorado’s native species of fish are even more directly impacted by our water quality. Trout can’t reproduce if they are bombarded by hormones. They can’t grow big and strong if all they eat is junk food (overly fertilized algae, as opposed to their traditional diet of insects). They won’t grow at all if poisoned by heavy metals (so far, no studies on the effect of heavy metal bands like AC/DC and Spinal Tap). We (should) already know that we need to protect our own fish – why not go the extra mile (or thousand) and protect the oceans as well?

If you still don’t think there’s enough reason to protect the oceans, fine. You can wait a couple of years for the oceans to rise enough for Colorado to become a coastal state. As for me, I’m not about to face the wrath of my goldfish for being too lazy to protect the oceans.

 Liz Grogan