Back to Nature (Published on - Jan. 4, 2007)
If it’s broken, fix it; if it’s injured, mend it
Photo by Rick Tremmel
This rare, white Bengal tiger would most likely not survive in the wild. He safely resides at Busch Gardens in Tampa.
Thoughts offered a decade ago by Robert Mulluk, an Inupiat Eskimo from Northwest Alaska:

“This is what we have to do. We have to look beyond the horizon because when you look into the horizon, you think that is the end – but it is not. You walk to that horizon again and there is another horizon. You can go all the way around the world in this manner. If we can look at it in that way, we will be better off. Otherwise, we will get too caught up in one simple thing, or one matter, or one problem. We have got to look at it from all angles.”

It is ultimately the intention of most human beings to do the right thing. Each new year we set out goals, good intentions and expectations for ourselves. Somewhere in between chauffeuring the soccer team, the oil change, the pizza party, aerobics classes, the roof repair, the teleconference, the music recital, the e-mails, the flat tire, the morning jog, the afternoon coffee, the traffic jam, the next episode of Lost; those well meant goals become buried within another year’s harried schedule. “I can’t save the world alone.” “There’s too much grief. What difference can one person make, anyway?” “I don’t have the time.” “It’s just too big!”

I’m just a home-grown girl from a cornfield scored valley at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee. Out of

necessity, we were do-it-yourselfers. We never knew any different. If it was broken, fix it. If it was injured, mend it. But the world beyond our land was vast and intimidating. What difference could one country girl make? “We have to look beyond the horizon …”

In 1979, my daughter Jennifer was killed by a drunk driver. After a grieving period, I became overwhelmed with daunting questions: How could this happen? Why wasn’t she protected? Who let this guy out: again and again and again … and why? Then came the bone chilling reality – safeguards were not in place to prevent this from happening plus the general public was genuinely unaware of the issue at hand.

If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s injured, mend it. Where to begin was the first step. After much research, interviews with agencies, lawmakers, politicians, police, victims and victims’ families, I founded an organization. To my surprise within months this organization grew by leaps and bounds to thousands of members. I realized so many others had been touched in the same way I had, but with one single difference … they had not learned.

If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s injured, mend it.

The point is not this particular tragedy or any other, but the real possibilities at hand for solutions and remedies. If one harmful act can change history forever, can’t the opposite also be true? It only takes one person to make a change, for good or bad. One action joining with thousands can become a persuasive force. Believe in yourself. You can be that one person who makes a difference; your one vote, your one letter, your one signature, your one voice. Some actions to consider in 2007:

• More than 90,000 horses were sent to U.S. slaughter plants in 2005, and another 20,000 were shipped to Canada and Mexico: Support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. National Horse Protection Coalition:

• Saving the Endangered Species Act: “It is natural for some species to become extinct. But today, the current rate of species extinctions is 100 to 1,000 times greater than normal!”

• “We are faced with a second ‘Inconvenient Truth’: wild tigers are slipping away from us,” Dinerstein said. “Tigers now survive in a mere 7 percent of their historic range and use 40 percent less area than was estimated in 1997. This is shocking news.” Eric Dinerstein speaks at the National Zoo on July 20, 2006 © Jill Hatzai WWF:

• Save Sharks, Whales, and Other Marine Life Action deadline: Jan. 5, 2007, U.S. activists: Call for strong protection for three marine sanctuaries that are home to sharks, whales, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles, octopus and many more marine creatures.

• “Bear No. 14 was a 120-pound male, 2 years old and just weaned from his mother’s protection when he tried to cross State Road 40 in the Ocala National Forest. He didn’t make it.” TBO News, Published: Dec 23, 2006, by Neil Johnson, The Tampa Tribune:

• Since 1972, 88 panthers have been killed by collisions with vehicles. Wildlife crossings and right of way fencing have been installed along more than 40 miles of roadways that cross public lands. No panthers have been killed where these structures are in place.

If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s injured, mend it ...

“We have to look beyond the horizon.” Sending you a New Year filled with hopeful solutions, Back to Nature.

Karen can be reached at

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