Both of these men did not carry bear pepper spray, and if they would have, they would likely still be alive. This summer in Yellowstone National Park, on two separate occasions, two men sadly lost their lives from deadly encounters with grizzly bears. In the wake of the latest deaths in Yellowstone National Park, I propose an imperfect solution. As autumn approaches and the leaves begin to change, its time to look at some other changes that will prevent the brutal loss of life that Yellowstone has experienced this year. Every time a bear approaches within our comfort bubble, we let them have it. We have the potential like no other animal to adapt and change, invent and utilize tools, and we have the perfect tool already in our arsenal, bear pepper spray. A dead bear can not pass on this learned behavior, but in the case of the bear pepper spray, the idea of attacking a human will seem like a bad choice, and that behavior can be passed on. It will take a simple adaptation from the human side of the equation, and the end result will be a dramatic change on the behalf of the bears’ behavior.
If we ALL carried this into bear country, knew how to use it and when, we could cause a behavioral evolution between human and bear that will last forever. I’ve carried many good friends with me, who sometimes know me better than I know myself. In a matter of months, I sold that house, bought a beautiful new home, went on a life-changing trip to Rwanda, started blogging on The Huffington Post, and made many new friends that have become family. Those friends won’t do! If we move too fast and don’t appreciate them, we miss out on that joy, but when we take time to be thankful for those daily moments, the joy adds up and makes for one extraordinary year. 4: It’s the small things that bring joy to daily life. If we want to share this earth with the wild things we love, we must change. Simple conditioning is easy for them, and I have watched wild grizzly bears make decisions and behavioral changes that transition into new day-to-day habits, simply in order to survive. How can you make 2016 your best year ever? Looking back, 2015 was my best year ever — even if it started as the worst.
However, I promise that making proactive choices for what you want, staying aware and open to opportunity, keeping close those who accept and love you, and counting your blessings each day will definitely make this new year better than last and may set you on the path to having the best year ever. So I decided to make new choices. We have forced most animals in the world to adapt to their threshold. The argument that fear needs to be placed back into these animals by hunting them with firearms loses its validity here. If it was mandatory for everyone to carry bear pepper spray while hiking in bear country, the likelihood of fatal bear maulings would decrease drastically. Like a can of mace on steroids, bear pepper spray can shoot a potent pepper cloud 35 feet. On top of the annual beginning-of-the-year slog of being single and alone after the holidays, I was drowning from the veritable wave of house issues and didn’t have enough hands or feet to plug the gaps of the dam that was about to break.
I was still living in the house I had stayed in after a no-notice separation followed by speedy divorce and was scraping the bottom of the energy barrel as a single, working mom, when new tenants decided to move in — a family of skunks. But I’ve also had to step away from those who were taking more energy than they gave. After the skunk situation, a good friend asked why I would want to remain in a house that gave me so much grief. Next time that bear sees a human, it will look at that 2-legged creature much the way we look at the black and white creature. Much smarter than a dog, they follow only primates and delphinidae (dolphins and orcas) when it comes to brainpower. I will call it the skunk effect. But for the bear, you have made a deep impression on the inside, the skunk effect. After about an hour, the bear has recovered fully on the outside, and you have safely exited the area. The skunks sprayed in this area five times during their two-month stay. 3: Maintaining relationships is hard work, so put your effort where it counts, and surround yourself with those who get you, accept you and unconditionally love you.