This is Porkchop, being held by Z, my 9-year-old housemate. Neither of them will be traveling with MPT to Palestine this Fall. As Porkchop's person, I will go in her stead.
I was fortunate to be able to travel with MPT several years ago. When I left for Palestine/Israel I showered everyday, but when I came back, days would go by without me taking a shower. Water is such a huge issue in the world, and particularly in the Middle East. According to the World Bank, some 1.1 billion people currently lack access to clean drinking water, and by 2025, 3.5 billion people will live in areas where water is scarce or becoming scarce. In Palestine/Israel, settlements often have lawns and swimming pools, while nearby Palestinian communities don't have adequate drinking water. I knew all this before I left, but being there changed my habits. I still use too much water, run too much to wash dishes, etc, but it's something I am much more conscious about.
In the context of a beautiful, crowded world of limited resources, I think people can learn a lot from cats, and not only because they very rarely shower. The United States and Israel, as well as much of Europe, use far more than our share of the world's resources because we can, and as peace activists we can work on that power differential. But I think we can also ask questions about the culture that leads us to always want more, more, bigger, more luxurious, etc. And I think that we can argue not only that the insatiability of capitalism is unsustainable and immoral, but that by truly savoring small pleasures, we can have more with less. I watch Porkchop, and she fills each day with luxurious experiences. She wakes up, and stretches and yawns extravagantly. She licks herself all over, including all four paws, and looks so pleased with herself. She purrs and purrs when I rub around her ears. And so many people in this country seem to have so much, and yet derive little pleasure from it.