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October 26, 2012: What the colors black and green symbolize for me

Originally posted on this blog.

I sometimes get asked whether the two bracelets I wear (one black and one green) symbolize anything. The colors are, in fact, symbolic, and serve as a reminder of two key ideas of Effaism.

Let's start with the black. The famous American country singer, Johnny Cash, was known as “the man in black”, because he wore black colors to remind people (and himself) about the injustices of the world. While my focus is a bit more narrow, I wear the black bracelet for a similar reason – as a reminder of the vast amount of suffering that animals around the world experience daily. Black is an appropriate color for the millions of animals killed for food every day, of the many abandoned animals who live on our streets, of the animals killed for our sports, clothes, and entertainment. Far from being pessimistic or negative, the wearing of the black bracelet simply means that I am aware that there is a problem, and must act to help these animals. Thus, the black symbolizes an awakening.

And this is where the green bracelet comes in. Green is the color of hope. Without hope, one can fall into the trap of complaining about how awful life is for other animals and how awful the world is, without actually doing anything to change this. The green bracelet is a reminder that complaining is not enough, that we must actively help other animals. It is a reminder to stay hopeful and that little by little we can, indeed, create a fairer relationship with the rest of the animal world. It is what led us to start the 10% Club, and other initiatives to help animals. It is what leads us to get involved with charities, and to try to improve existing laws. Every positive change in our society, every improvement to our lives, comes as a result of a combination of hope plus action. This is what the green bracelet is about, and why it complements the black one perfectly.

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