Save the Humans

Michael Peter Blatt

"He came... he saw... he almost made a difference..."

Michael Music Causes Wisdom Friends Photos Memorial
Causes.... Intensity of purpose.

His passion was to change the world by changing people.

MICHAEL'S CAUSES
Michael was very passionate about his causes and issues. He wrote many sent and un-sent letters to Editors of various publications to express his concern. What follows is a sample of what he wrote and felt passionate about

ENVIRONMENT
Many people residing in Tahoe seem to think that the lake 'owes' them a living. It doesn't. The truth is exactly the opposite. We owe it. I want to see South Lake Tahoe declare itself as the 'environmental capital of the Sierras.' (addressing issues of pollution, refuse and waste, anti-litter campaign). The Washo Indians revered this lake as a sacred place. Our society is anything but sacred. There is little respect for the beauty around us. It is we who must be the guardians of what we took from the Indians - challenging pride and responsibility in each individual and the leaders of the community.

There is a spiritual sickness - it needs to be cleaned up. If the 'leaders' won't lead, then the 'followers' must lead until the leaders follow If South Lake Tahoe declares itself to be the 'environmental capital of the Sierras' it will be obligating itself to DO SOMETHING. We could set an example to the rest of the USA which sorely needs one. Why does it always have to be 'the other guy' - why can't be be us?

Life is not just about the 'bottom line' it's also about love, decency and beauty. We humans have desecrated our beautiful planet. It's time to show an example and lead the way back.

Our planet is dying on every continent, forests are being destroyed forever. We are losing. Somewhere we have to take a stand, take responsibility. The Forest Service's real mandate is to preserve and nurture what we have left .

POLITICS
Michael wrote endlessly on the illegal and immoral actions/inactions and conspiracies of previous US administrations - he even began a couple of pages of a book. He addressed issues surrounding:

o the Iran hostage crisis
o the US betrayal of the Kurdish people
o the bombing of Cambodia
o Chile and the ascent of General Pinochet
o national debt manipulation
o HUD scandals n Savings and Loan disaster
o continual destruction of the environment
o shifting of wealth from the poor to the rich
o fiscal mismanagement that has bankrupted the US
o Oliver North and the Iran scam scandal cover-up
o CIA and drugs
o Desert Storm and foreign policy
o bankrupt social policies
o nuclear power stations
o oil industry profiteers

He said that if the truth of any one of these was known to the American people in detail, it would probably lead to a near revolution and believed that the great American public had never been allowed to know the truth.

* We seem to have learned nothing of all the western industrial nations, the USA is the only one that lags behind deliberately when it comes to protecting the ozone-layer, the Arctic and Antarctic continent, the destruction of the forests by acid rain and logging, corporation profits come before common-sense, let alone morality.

* No-one has as yet correctly identified the huge epidemic of drug use as being caused by the hopelessness of millions upon millions of people, within and without the decaying city centers as they somehow, correctly, by instinct realised that this country's leaders do not care for what they say and what they do are completely contradictory.

* The planet is dying because of our greed and selfishness and our so-called 'leaders' ignorance.

* The nuclear industry and its billionaire government would have us believe that they have the answer - they have the monopoly and they have the poison.

HEALTH CARE

There's a special department in hell reserved for the CEO's of American corporations who while getting 1000% medical coverage and benefits for life plus stock options and fifty times the salary of their workers - would deny decent health benefits to their workers - who do they think they are, kings?

* Fight America - Why did the top republicans do nothing to reform America's disgraceful health system? It was because they are protected by private health insurance that many Americans could never afford. The USA is the only developed western country where normal hard working citizens are completely bankrupted by failing health. The profit-mongering pharmaceuticals companies sell their products at a premium forcing many Americans to travel to Mexico for the same medicine at a quarter of the cost.

HUMAN RIGHTS

- civil rights and his own non-profit organisation 'Save the Humans Ltd' - he wrote to the Editor of the Tahoe Tribune to help protect the rights of cyclists and also wrote about the Air Traffic Controllers strike. He was inspired by Martin Luther King and supported Amnesty International.

DOLPHINS AND WHALES

- loved by Michael and used in part for his 'Save the Humans Ltd' logo.

SMOKING

Michael's most passionate campaign on both an individual level with all smokers he came in contact with and group campaigns - in Tahoe and more recently, in London.

About himself
I began smoking at age 16, influenced by ads and my father's habit. I 'practised' on the underground to school. Nauseous, giddy, even retching. I ignored all the physical warning signals. In 1958, 'image' was everything.

Forty years later, I deeply regret that; youth is easily led astray. I simply didn't believe that the Tobacco Industry and Government would purvey a truly lethal product. Now I know better. In 1978, I felt stabbing pains in my upper-right bronchial. I smoked less but later, only one cigarette induced this same pain. Heavily addicted, but scared, I stopped buying cigarettes, shamfacedly 'bumming' fags from friends and strangers alike in my desperation to avoid buying and inevitably consuming an entire fresh pack. So far I was winning - consumption was down as was my reputation.

As a performance artist, I was also constantly subjected to 'second-hand' smoke. I began to reflect upon the insanity of inhaling smoke. The Tobacco Industry steadfastly denied that nicotine was addictive. Why then couldn't I quit? I gathered information - $5,000,000,000 profit coincided with 430,000 smokers' deaths in America annually. Different cancers were occuring in smokers. The bloodstream carries smoke tar to every body organ. Frightening pictures of smokers' lungs convinced me that something was wrong.

With a persistent hoarse cough, chest pains and stained fingers, I realised I just had to quit. Angry and perplexed, gradually reducing my intake by throwing away half smoked cigarettes, I lowered my blood nicotine level thereby lessening the 'heroin-like' dependency.

I observed at close hand the damage done my smoking. I saw a woman with a huge oxygen cylinder attached to her face mask with a cigarette in her hand. This was plainly not just a harmless, social activity.

I overhead a Tobacco Industry executive say, 'Hell, we don't use that shit, we just sell it!' The insight came to me that cigarettes were not my 'friends' but my 'deadliest enemies.'

These days I watch others smoke. My lungs are ruined. The pains still haunt me. I would do anything to return my lungs to their former health, to breathe again effortlessly.

Grief stricken, bereaved families of smokers, who suffer unnecessary deaths, in agony, impel me to describe the impact of this unscrupulous highly profitable business with its glib lies and slick advertising which for so many years seduced me with its false glamour. At least that's my view. If British Airways were to kill 130,000 passengers per year, the Government would close it down.

Smoking nearly killed me and I am angry at the continuing charade. Some quit smoking 'cold turkey.' It took me about 20 years. We need legislation to protect the public, especially the kids whom the Tobacco Industry advertising targets so successfully. Smokers don't have rights. Non-smokers do. This is uniquely a health issue. We all have a right to clean, healthy, unpolluted air. If you smoke, quite while you're still ahead or you may become the 'butt' of the Tobacco Industry's joke.

To the Smoker
There are a thousand reasons for smoking - you, the smoker know them all. There is only one reason to quite - your physical and mental health. You don't care about your health then why should anyone else? Your health is all you have - without it you are nothing, if you believe that smoking is not going to seriously hurt you, you are deluding yourself.

I am writing this because I speak from experience. My health over the long run was seriously damaged by the use of cigarettes and the passive inhalation of other people's smoke - in their cars, their homes, restaurants and bars. I literally did not know the seriousness of the consequences to the health of my mind and body. I was in a sense 'innocent'. I had no idea that the Government would deliberately market and sell a product they knew was a serious danger to my personal health. In my innocence, I thought that they cared about me. I did not see that in our society greed in business was paramount. That lies are 'par for the course'.

I'm writing this so that you have an opportunity to learn from my experience to avoid making my grievous mistakes. With the money I contributed to the Tobacco Industry, if I had saved it, I could have bought myself a Mercedes Luxury Sedan. Now they have my money and my body is full of damaged tissue and life threatening illness.

For those cigarette smokers who repeat that tired old refrain, 'Well you've got to die of something anyway' my advice would be - in that case, why don't you step in front of the next truck that passes by. That way, you will have died of something without burdening yourself and society with the enormous cost of keeping you, when you eventually die of lung cancer, throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, emphysema, etc.

You see, I smoked for thirty years because I didn't know better, because I refused to use my common sense and because in a strange way, I was 'innocent'.

When you have finished reading this information, you will be 'innocent' no longer.

One of the secrets of giving up is information. With some real knowledge, you will begin to understand.