2017-07-13 / Letters

Forgo fireworks for the good of animals

I dread the Fourth of July every year. It’s not a day of celebration for me. Rather, it’s a long day of counting down the hours, waiting for the explosions to begin and end.

It’s a day filled with anxious thoughts about the wildlife that will fly or run off in terror at the sound of fireworks, many striking buildings or abandoning their young in the process.

Most animals have a much more acute sense of hearing than humans. The noise and light fireworks produce are certainly enough to cause hearing damage and disorientation. And they do.

And what about our companion animals, cowering under beds or anxiously pacing the house or yard? Or the dogs that run away in terror from the noise every year, some never to be found again? Or the clouds of toxic chemicals that rain down over the city afterward? Or the war veterans whose PTSD is triggered by the sound of explosions?

It’s so much more than our actions on this one day of the year, though. It’s what’s at the heart of a tradition of mindlessly using explosives in celebration: the idea of human dominion over nature. The notion of separateness and supremacy—that the consequences of our actions to every other living being on this planet simply don’t matter.

Cities and towns need to end the tradition of setting off these destructive explosives—on the Fourth of July, on New Year’s Eve, at graduation ceremonies— on all occasions. Twenty or 30 minutes of pleasure means trauma and even death for an untold number of birds and mammals every year.

We’re not the center of the universe. It’s about time we started behaving with a little more compassion and humility before nature.

Alexandra Riggle
Thousand Oaks

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