15 years – the Sloth Club.
I can never forget the day I met the Sloth.
Bound and trussed like some living pot roast and left in a concrete laundry tub, awaiting the day it would be dispatched and it’s scrawny flesh become part of a meal for a family living in north-west Ecuador. Leaving it alive was a way of keeping the meat fresh I suppose, its suffering silent, unnoticed and irrelevant. And this is what initially brought my world crashing down, this defining tendency of human beings - this disconnection to suffering.
I was inconsolable. But somehow, with as much cultural sensitivity as possible, we managed to buy the creature in order to win its freedom. With this beautiful animal laying in my lap, touching its green-tinged, insect-riddled fur, gazing into its permanently smiling face, I started to realize just how amazing Sloths were – gentle, unequivocally unthreatening and so extremely slow. As it determinedly inched it’s way up the tree, little was it to know it had sparked a movement in a country where the ideal character was the antithesis of Sloth.
15 years later and the Sloth Club continues. A family of caring, openhearted and non-judgmental humans of all ages and backgrounds - slightly bewildered that this movement has had such a profound impact – a non-religious, environmental, cultural movement that runs multitudes of ‘campaigns’ – but works primarily on the ‘soul’ level.
For me, watching from afar and continuously inspired by the latest ideas and campaigns - it seems like the most simple, most humble approach is having the deepest impact – simply Love.
It’s so inspiring to see these ideas and sentiments infuse many other ‘movements’, saving them from becoming strange parodies of the dominating, controlling system behind this nightmare of destruction.
And while of course we all still aspire to ‘become Sloth’ – lately I have seen our movement like those Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings classic. Knowing that our quest to protect Life is all but impossible, but never giving up - trying to find humour and humanity in all our activities, however small and seemingly insignificant. As Gandalf says as he describes the barefooted hobbits Bilbo and Frodo undertaking a seemingly impossible mission against impossible odds:
“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
With a big smile and proudly bare feet (usually!) - it is my honor and joy to be a member of the Sloth Club.