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Thread: Mermaids and Armchair Activism

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    Mermaids and Armchair Activism

    Mermaids and environmentalism! What is being done in our community? What CAN be done? Are sequins really the devil-fish? How can we empower each other toward better change and accountability? Are those pretty instagram pictures doing anything to help the ocean? We chat about these and more in my latest rant!


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    Senior Member Pod of The South MerFantasy's Avatar
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    I want to do more for my environment, but finding the time to do the impact I want isn't easy...

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    I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MerFantasy View Post
    I want to do more for my environment, but finding the time to do the impact I want isn't easy...

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    That can be a big challenge, especially since so many volunteer opportunities want consistent schedules and long term commitment. I was at a volunteer recruiting event at a high school and all of the organizations were pushing that and Iím just thinking ďHow many high schoolers can commit to that, even if they really want to?Ē, lol.

    I find that cleanups are a good way for many people to help! Many parks and organizations host them and allow anyone to come. You can also just go to a place and start picking up trash, lol. Right now I work at a Texas state park and if you call saying you want to pick up trash, weíll provide you with gloves and bags, and park staff take the full bags for you. You should see if parks in your area do something similar.

    If there were more mermaids in my area Iíd try to organize a mermaid beach cleanup, lol. Maybe if the Dallas area mers ever decide they want a beach trip Iíll bring it up.

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Mermaids and Armchair Activism

    Just finished the video... Yeah, itís pretty annoying when people say theyíre promoting a good cause with their hobby but donít actually do anything real to help. I donít complain about it much because as far as Iím aware, itís not harmful for a mermaid to attach a generic conservation message to an Instagram photo (though I am concerned that some people might see a purchase from a ďgreen/good causesĒ organization as ďwell Iíve done my part, I donít need to do moreĒ but thatís a separate rant) but itís certainly not very helpful. I think most of these mers really do mean well, they just overestimate the power of a pretty, ďinspiringĒ photo of themselves at the beach.

    In marketing, the term is ďgreenwashingĒ. It appeals to consumers because it makes activism convenient, and thatís why a lot of mers end up doing this sort of thing. Again, I really think they mean well, they just donít realize that ďraising awarenessĒ usually isnít very helpful. (might be okay for causes that legitimately donít have much publicity but thatís about it. Vaquitas, anyone?)

    I agree with your recommendation about doing research! If you really want to be an activist, research will help you to learn not only what the important causes are, but the best ways to help those causes. Otherwise you may end up doing things that are unhelpful at best or actively harmful at worst.

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    GREENWASHING I wish I had heard that term before I would have included it. I just see it being used to manipulate and bully others. What prompted my rant was someone posting in a pro mermaid group - someone I know for a fact doesn't give a care about the environment in the slightest or do anything - shaming someone who had a mythic. The ironic thing is some of the people commenting on and liking the post, had mythics lol. It was 100% just a shade throwing post. I am just so tired of seeing that stuff.

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    GREENWASHING I wish I had heard that term before I would have included it. I just see it being used to manipulate and bully others. What prompted my rant was someone posting in a pro mermaid group - someone I know for a fact doesn't give a care about the environment in the slightest or do anything - shaming someone who had a mythic. The ironic thing is some of the people commenting on and liking the post, had mythics lol. It was 100% just a shade throwing post. I am just so tired of seeing that stuff.
    Oh, totally. A lot of people like to use good causes as an excuse to bully others, itís a really crappy thing to do. If youíre familiar with the person itís easy to tell when theyíre doing that, but other people listening might not realize that itís bad faith criticism.

    It reminds me of something Iíve read where researchers found out that talking about doing something can sometimes make you feel as good as actually doing it, so you end up not doing it. (Have you or someone you know ever talked about writing a book but never got around to it? Iím not judging or anything, I think everyone is guilty of this sometimes, lol) I think thatís where a lot of armchair activism comes from.

    Thereís a book you might like called Spectacular Nature. Itís about SeaWorld specifically, and how they use environmentalism and education as a selling point even though their efforts in those areas are actually pretty lacking, but it gives you a general idea of this phenomenon and you can see many companies doing similar things. It also touches on how that kind of marketing can have a negative impact. I wish I could find more books on the subjects of greenwashing and bad faith activism, anyone here happen to know any?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MerFantasy View Post
    I want to do more for my environment, but finding the time to do the impact I want isn't easy...
    There is nothing wrong with starting small. It doesn't have to be a big commitment. Figure out what you can do, and do it!

    Reducing or even eliminating the use of plastic bags takes little to no time commitment, yet it has a big impact of the state of the oceans. Let's not make the Garbage Patches worse while we work out the best way to clean things up.

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tealmermaid View Post
    There is nothing wrong with starting small. It doesn't have to be a big commitment. Figure out what you can do, and do it!

    Reducing or even eliminating the use of plastic bags takes little to no time commitment, yet it has a big impact of the state of the oceans. Let's not make the Garbage Patches worse while we work out the best way to clean things up.
    Good advice. I also want to add, support government policies that work to improve things. Thatís the biggest thing you can do and itís not tons and tons of effort. Donít just vote with your wallet, vote with your vote.


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    One year, we decided as our new years resolution we would donate to every store that we shopped at that year that was doing a donation. Even if it was just rounding up to the next dollar or donating $1 and $5 or more.

    We also signed up for Amazon smile. If you dont have that, and use amazon a lot...omg do it You just put smile.amazon.com into the search bar, and it will redirect you do amazon but a percent of proceeds go to an organization you pick. They have a zillion causes, and you can suggest they add YOUR local charity! Easy, small, and not a hard commitment for something you may already do a lot (or, cough cough, constantly like m) LOL.

    We went crunchy before it was cool because we have a lot of allergies and we are tired of watching people who febreeze the jesus out of themselves dying of cancer around us! Trying to live by example. Plus, its better for the environment and typically cheaper!

    Voting with your wallet absolutely works. I do sure miss chicken nuggets though :/ (The chicken industry is horrendous to both the animals AND the farmers.)
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    There’s a book you might like called Spectacular Nature. It’s about SeaWorld specifically, and how they use environmentalism and education as a selling point even though their efforts in those areas are actually pretty lacking,


    Oh yes they love that argument when in reality they have participated in very few things. great point.

    There is nothing wrong with starting small. It doesn't have to be a big commitment. Figure out what you can do, and do it!


    Exactly
    Any personal change you can do is a good one! The problems we are facing are GIANT but if we face them together we can change them.

    support government policies that work to improve things


    Totally- that was my point about the petitions too and how few online petitions are actually legit and able to be considered.



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    The biggest thing is donate LOCALLY. If you get fliers... they are spending too much on advertising! (Probably)*

    If you can donate extra food, cool! If you have a lot of time, donate that! If you have any skill, it can be applied to help, it just takes extroversion in a lot of cases and creativity, although donating web design or media skills can be extremely helpful for educational programs.

    I've even donated animals school zoo programs when i stopped educating myself because i used to also do a lot of rescues and had great reptile fosters.
    -Siren Gita
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    ^ Not even just donating locally, but keeping everything as local as you can.

    Support local businesses instead of supporting big-box businesses who are trucking things across the country. It not only reduces fuel emissions from your vehicle, but it keeps your money where it belongs -- in your community. Less fuel emissions means healthier humans, plants, and animals.

    Even picking up trash to reuse and recycle what you can is helpful. Every bit counts.

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    Senior Member North Pacific Pod
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    Amen! Haha
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    Exactly. And you can still be a help online by educating others too. It's not to say the internet can't be used for change - it can! But there's a difference between throwing shade at someone, and then educating and empowering them.

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    Senior Member North Pacific Pod
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    Lord i love this forum. I feel less crazy for being the only one usually to think these things too
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    Senior Member Chesapeake Pod swordwhale's Avatar
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    Do whatever you can.

    It might be saying something positive about the environment when someone asks a question of you at the beach or pool. Something educating.

    It might be doing something at a library or local event.

    it might be making your own life a bit greener.

    You don't have to do it all at once.

    I've volunteered randomly for wildlife rehabbers, parks, dive club cleanups, beach plantings etc.

    Do what you can.

    And don't hold yourself to such a high standard you do nothing.

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    Senior Member Chesapeake Pod swordwhale's Avatar
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    the best line here is EMPOWER PEOPLE, NOT BULLY

    One simple thing to do is check out your local nature centers and parks. They basically run on volunteers.

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