Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

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Never lose sight of what’s really important.

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A wonderful message from Sue of Sue Dreamwalker.

Reders will recall that last Saturday, under the post title of And we’re back!, I offered a beautiful story told by the coal-mouse bird about the power of change.  It included this sentence: “You see, it takes just one snowflake to make a difference.

In a very real sense, an example of that power of one snowflake was perfectly conveyed in Sue’s post a few days previously.

Just read it, republished here with Sue’s blessings, and you will understand.

ooOOoo

illusion-2

Illusion.

What do you see in this Reality?

Do not your eyes view what is real to see?

Can you not touch the tangible fusion?

Or do we gaze into the ethers of illusion,

What trickery mocks us as we take in the lies

Binding our thoughts in roots of indoctrination

Following the herd, bleating like sheep
Held captive, half asleep.

What happened to the land of the Free?

Conform or suffer, or pay the penalty

What is your reality?

Come, let me walk you through the misty vale.

To where this illusion significantly pales

We are magnificent magicians whose thoughts cast their magic

Where all is possible, where to doubt is tragic

Seek and Find, let go of fear

Dance in joy as Light penetrates your sphere

For you have forgotten our Time’s lost spell

As into the abyss of darkness you dwell.

Open your eyes and open your hearts.

Let the Light dispel all dark

Fear nothing, hate less, and embrace ALL

Seek a new illusion before you fall.

Stop following blindly, grasp hold of Love today

Remember your tomorrows, forget your yesterdays

Reach for the memory held high up in the stars

And heal from within, let go of all your scars

Sit in the silence; begin to know who you are

As illusion drifts away revealing Ancient Stars

Your time is but a moment, live each moment well,

For soon the illusion shatters, broken like a spell.

© Sue Dreamwalker 2010-2014 All rights reserved.

I resurrected this poem which I published 4 years ago.. As it seems we are bombarded on all sides from the negative energies which are being put out..

Detach and spend some time in your Quiet zones of thought.. Bring in the Peace around you, and know that we are Magnificent BEings who have remarkable powers..

The Power of Thought!

What we Think we Create

We are the ones creating the chaos… So choose to create Peace.. Don’t allow yourselves to get caught up within the Fear being put out..

Know your time is but a moment, Live each moment well

For soon the Illusion shatters,

Broken like a Spell.

Enjoy your week

Blessings

Sue

ooOOoo

Whatever is going on in the world, whatever has the power to create fear in our minds, in the end it comes down to another power, the power of thought, and our choice of the behaviors that we offer the world.

That is why dogs are so important. Because they almost predominantly love sharing and living their lives in the company of humans.

Do you remember when puppy Oliver came to live with us?

Pharaoh, age 88 years in human equivalent, passing on his wisdom to Oliver, age 3 in human terms.

Pharaoh passing on his wisdom to young Oliver.

Another picture of Oliver sitting on the lap of yours truly taken in the last couple of days.

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!

How time passes by! For both of us in the picture!

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Written by Paul Handover

October 14, 2014 at 00:00

Embracing the poetry of nature.

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The beauty of poetry.

In yesterday’s post, where I wrote about how Jean and I had the wonderful privilege of feeding a wild deer from our hands, I closed it with a p.s. This is what I wrote: “P.S. It is at times like this that we need poetry.  So how about it: Sue? Kim? How would you describe in poetry what Jean and I experienced?

Well, Sue, of Sue Dreamwalker, replied with a link to a poem of hers that she published back in 2012. I will say no more than republish, with permission, Sue’s beautiful words and close with one of the photographs from yesterday.

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SDBeatOne

Be at One with yourself

Be at one with the world

Be at One with Nature

And see your life unfurl

Close your eyes and imagine

The beginnings of a New Earth,

And Open your eyes to your beauty

Breathe in and give Birth.

divider

For you are One and part of the Whole

Not a separate Unit , but a Beautiful Soul

United within the One Divine love

And part of that cosmic hub.

Share your love along with your Light

And Rejoice in Gratitude

Use your sight

To see a world in Beauty and Grace

divider

You are stronger than you think you know

Spread a little Love where ever you go

Shower your peace and sprinkle your heart

Into the rivers of life send a ripple a spark

Be Calm, knowing all is well

Keep breathing in Peace for inside it dwells

divider

Know you are where you are meant to be

Open your eyes

Come on now See

For we are ONE and it’s time to Unite

Stop all your hating, and judging and strife

Find your heart and clear out your mind

Seek out yourself

And Wisdom you’ll find

divider

Let go of torments and allow the Joy in

Come on now people

It’s time to begin

Be One with yourself

Be One with the world

Be One with nature

And Let the Universe Spin

For the Spiral is turning and

Peace will Win..

© Sue Dreamwalker – 2012 All rights reserved.

ooOOoo

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean's hand.

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean’s hand.

Written by Paul Handover

October 9, 2014 at 00:00

Utterly beyond words!

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A connection with a wild animal doesn’t get better than this.

You may wonder, dear reader, how I “square the circle” in terms of a post title, Utterly beyond words, and then reaching out to you with the use of words!  My answer to that legitimate question is that if I reflected for the rest of my life, I couldn’t verbalise adequately the feelings (but note p.s. at the end of the post) that went through me, and through Jean, when a mother deer and her young fawn, crossed the boundary between their wild, animal world and our human world.

This is what happened.

Last Sunday afternoon, around 4pm, I was pottering around the area of fruit trees just above our stables.  We were fully aware that deer were coming in to our property to eat fallen apples as many times we had caught a glimpse of them through a window.

Anyway, on this particular afternoon outside by the stables, I noticed a deer eating some fallen apples and, somehow, picked up the idea that this gorgeous, wild animal was not stressed-out by me standing there looking at her from some twenty feet away.

After a few minutes of just watching, I quietly went across to the garage where we keep a bag of cob, or cracked corn, that we use to feed the deer during tough winter times.  I collected a small amount in a round plastic tray and went back into the orchard area and sat with my back against the trunk of an old oak tree, spread my legs apart and placed the tray with the cob in between my knees.

The mother deer was still hunting around for fallen apples but within a couple of minutes looked across at me, clearly smelling the cob.

Slowly but steadily the beautiful creature came towards me and, miracle of miracles, trusted me sufficiently to eat from the tray.  Her head was well within arm’s reach of me!

I was totally mesmerised by this beautiful, fragile, wild animal, head down, eating cob less than three feet from my face!  I had the urge to touch her.

Slowly, I reached forward and took a small handful of the cob from the tray and with my other hand pulled the tray to one side.  My hand with the cob was fully outstretched; my heart was whispering to the deer that I would never, ever harm her.

Softly, gently the deer reached towards me and nibbled the cob from my left hand.

Later on, when I relayed this incredible event to Jean, I said that if it was at all possible we must try and take a photograph of a wild deer feeding from our hands.

Moving on to Monday afternoon, camera ready if necessary, we kept an eye out for the return of the deer.  There was no sign of her.  Looked as though it wasn’t going to happen.

Then just before 7pm, I looked up from my desk and there, just outside the window, was the deer.  But even better, this time the mother was accompanied by her young fawn.

I grabbed the camera and quickly told Jean to meet me outside with a refill of cob in the same plastic tray.  We both sat down on the flat concrete cover of the septic tank; me with the camera, Jean with the tray of cob.

Over to the photographs!  The daylight was fading fast and I was hand-holding the camera, thus these are not the sharpest of pictures.  But so what!

The mother deer not even startled by the sound of the camera shutter!

The mother deer not even startled by the sound of the camera shutter!

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Mother deer reaches down to feed; the tray is about three feet in front of Jean and me.

Mother deer reaches down to feed; the tray is about three feet in front of Jean and me.

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Jean reaches forward and gently draws the tray closer to us. Mother deer continues to feed.

Jean reaches forward and gently draws the tray closer to us. Mother deer continues to feed.

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Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer's ear.

Then, unbelievably, the wild deer continues feeding as Jean fondles the deer’s head and neck.

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The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean's hand.

The trust between the deer and Jean then enabled the deer to feed from Jean’s hand.

oooo

There was a rustle in the leaves some twenty feet away and we saw the fawn watching her mother feeding on the cob. Jean pushed the tray away, just by a few feet, and the fawn came right up to her mother.

There was a rustle in the leaves some twenty feet away and we saw the fawn watching her mother feeding on the cob. Jean pushed the tray away, just by a few feet, and the fawn came right up to her mother.

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The culmination of the most magical of experiences: mother deer and her fawn eating together some three feet in front of us.

The culmination of the most magical of experiences: mother deer and her fawn eating together some three feet in front of us.

When I published my post Space for Nature a little over a week ago, a post that included a photograph of two deer some thirty feet from Jean’s car, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what took place last Tuesday afternoon.

Words truly do seem inadequate.

P.S. It is at times like this that we need poetry.  So how about it: Sue? Kim? How would you describe in poetry what Jean and I experienced?

Men, Women and Memory!

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Are men’s brains the same as women’s?

The wonderful BBC science programme, BBC Horizon, recently showed a fascinating programme entitled: Is your Brain Male or Female?  The programme is introduced on the Horizon website:

Dr

Dr. Mosley and Prof. Roberts.

Dr Michael Mosley and Professor Alice Roberts investigate if male and female brains really are wired differently.

New research suggests that the connections in men and women’s brains follow different patterns, patterns which may explain typical forms of male and female behaviour. But are these patterns innate, or are they shaped by the world around us?

Using a team of human lab rats and a troop of barbary monkeys, Michael and Alice test the science and challenge old stereotypes. They ask whether this new scientific research will benefit both men and women – or whether it could drive the sexes even further apart.

Now I haven’t a clue as to how long this fascinating programme will remain on YouTube, but if you aren’t in the UK or don’t have access to the BBC iPlayer then don’t hesitate to watch it now.

Essentially, science shows that the ‘hard-wired’ differences are minute and the vast bulk of the preferences between the genders, trucks versus dolls, for example, is subtle conditioning from parents and the wider world; for instance, advertisements.

One thing that did jump ‘off the page’ at me was the evidence supporting how malleable or plastic is the brain.  In other words, we are never too old to learn.

As if to reinforce that aspect of the flexibility of our brain, just yesterday morning I read an item on the BBC News website about memory.

As someone whose memory is a long way from where it used to be, this item really caught my attention:

How to save your memory

By David Robson from Headsqueeze.

Are there ways to stop yourself losing your memory? The latest brain research suggests there’s hope for the forgetful…

Memory loss has to be one of our biggest fears. Names, words, facts and faces – nothing is spared.

As the latest video from the Head Squeeze team describes above, mental deterioration was once thought to be an inevitable consequence of ageing, thanks to the steady erosion of our brain matter: we lose about 0.5% of our brain volume every year. The hippocampus – the region responsible for memory and learning – was thought to weather particularly badly; by the time we are 90, many of us have lost around a third of its grey matter.

Fortunately, recent research has shown that the brain is not concrete, but certain regions can adapt and grow. In 2000, a study of London taxi drivers, for instance, showed that the 4-year training of London’s 25,000 streets showed a remarkable growth in the hippocampus compared to bus drivers who early learnt a fixed number of routes. The scientists think that, by memorising the maps of London, the brain had built many more of the “synaptic connections” that allow the brain cells to communicate with each other. In other words, it may be possible to train the brain to compensate for some of the neural decline that accompanies our expanding waistlines and receding hairlines.

Challenging your brain could be one way of preserving your recollections – though the value of commercial brain training apps is debatable; some experiments seem to show that while people may become a whizz at the games on their screen, the improvements fail to transfer to daily life. But other, more traditional activities – like learning a musical instrument or a second language – do seem to have some protective benefits, at least on short-term recall. Ideally, it is probably best to keep your brain active throughout your life, well before you begin to approach your dotage.

Exercise and a healthy diet are also thought to offer some protection against dementia. As can an active social life – since regular contact with other people is also thought to excite our neurons and preserve our synapses. Ensuring that you regularly get a good night’s sleep helps too.

Of course, nothing can guarantee health and vitality in old age. But these few simple measures might give you the best possible chances of preserving your wits against the ravages of time.

For more videos subscribe to the Head Squeeze channel on YouTube. This video is part of a series produced in partnership with the European Union’s Hello Brain project, which aims to provide easy-to-understand information about the brain and brain health.

If you would like to comment on this video or anything else you have seen on Future, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

So it’s clear now.

All I need to do is to learn a new language while in between my training to be the oldest trainee cabbie in London and applying for second violin position at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and I’ll never forget anything else in my life.

Oh, anyone seen where I left my car keys?

Or perhaps, harking back to the opening question of the differences between our sexes, I should be closing, thus:

Anyone seen where I left my dolls?

Picture parade sixty-four

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Change of plans!

In last week’s picture parade I mentioned that today would be the final set of glorious pictures, courtesy of Su Reeves.

But that was before I realised that Jean and I would be popping in to our local old school house on Friday to enjoy a couple of hours admiring the quilting work on show at this year’s Hugo Ladies Club Quilt Show.

The theme of community has never been far from the pages of this blog and despite the provincial nature of this gathering I wanted to share a selection of photographs with you for today’s picture parade.

P1150151

 

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The front entrance of what was once the school in Hugo.

The front entrance of what was once the school in Hugo.

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P1150161

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Now that's what I call a school bell!

Now that’s what I call a school bell!

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An amazing array and range of items.

An amazing array and range of items.

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P1150155

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Irresistible to Mrs H.!

Irresistible to Mrs H.!

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Including a rather fun woollen hat for grandson Morten back in England.

Including a rather fun woollen hat for grandson Morten back in England.

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P1150154

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Jean chatting to neighbour Janell; also a keen quilter.

Jean chatting to neighbour Janell who is also a keen quilter; as are so many North American women.

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One of Janell's exhibits at the show.

One of Janell’s exhibits at the show.

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Established quilters are also featured at the show.

Established quilters are also featured at the show.  Here’s a magnificent example from Jacque Sue Harvey.

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The quilt above the work of Jacque Sue Harvey.

 

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P1150165

Another quilt from Jacque.

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Final example of Jacque's work.

Final example of Jacque’s work.

Puts the phrase “needle and thread” into a whole new world of meaning!

P1150152

One last look as we drove away!

Maybe I’m becoming a soppy old fool but a couple of hours wandering around this event, just five minutes from where we live, made me feel, strongly so, that Jean and I and all our animals really do belong here!

Written by Paul Handover

October 5, 2014 at 00:00

The Nightingale.

with 4 comments

… and the Canary – Breathtakingly creative.

Australian artist Andy Thomas specializes in creating ‘audio life forms’: beautiful abstract shapes that react to sounds. In this animated short, he visualizes two recorded bird sounds from the archives of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum.

I was blown away when I came across that video.  Then a quick search found this place, from where one reads:

Australian multimedia artist Andy Thomas makes bird songs dance with 3D animations. It’s the latest in his line of “audio life forms.”

Using 3D visualization software and other programs, Thomas breaks down photos of insects, orchids, and birds into their composite parts. He then reassembles the images in a sort of collage and builds trippy animations that react, based on rules he’s set, to sound – in this case, archival bird song.

The resulting multimedia visualizations are stunning. They also suggest what you might see if you stood in the forest listening to the birds, while tripping on acid. The psychedelic feel is enhanced by the constant shape-shifting of the form, which in turn encourages you to be hyper-aware of the full range of tweets and trills.

Thomas has been painting and drawing since he was a child. In 1997 he began exploring the realm of digital art, and in recent years started experimenting with “creating a visual fusion between Nature and Technology.” But he also describes this work a bit moralistically “corrupting nature with technology.”

It was then a moment to go across to Andy’s website; which I strongly encourage you to do – the pictures are stunning: trust me!  Just try yesterday’s Insect Friday photograph!

Another of Andy's wonderful images.

Another of Andy’s wonderful images.

Golly, there are some very clever people out there!

Good news is never far away

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We all need a reminder of the many good things happening in our world!

It’s common knowledge that homo sapiens is wired to react to the threat of danger in a rapid manner.  But while the danger of a bear or a lion jumping on us from out of the trees is much diminished in the 21st century, our fear-response circuits are still alive and active.  One of the fundamental reasons why so much of the media ‘sells’ stories via alarmist headlines.

Thus it was a real delight to come across a magazine with the simple, yet powerful, brand name of YES!

Cover of the current issue of YES!

Cover of the current issue of YES!

Even better than coming across YES! was receiving a complimentary subscription for Jean and me!  (Thanks John H!)  Jean and I took to the magazine immediately.  Not only because of an active blog but also because of their support for sharing their content.  I quote:

Reprints & Reposts

We want you to pass along the work of YES! Magazine. All we ask is that you follow these easy steps:

Text

For all material designated Creative Commons (cc):

(as used herein, material means the text of the articles, and does not mean titles, images, or illustrations)

  • Use the same byline information that we have placed at the end of the article. For reposts, keep links intact.
  • Material is free except for commercial use.
  • Do not alter, change, or add to the material.
  • Please notify us that you are reprinting by sending an email to reprints [at] yesmagazine.org.

For full details, see the Creative Commons license.

Copyrighted © text:

We have adopted Creative Commons licensing beginning with our issue #44. We readily grant reprint permission for earlier copyrighted material, upon request. Just ask us at reprints [at] yesmagazine.org. We occasionally reprint or excerpt material that is copyrighted by others, and this material is NOT included in the Creative Commons license.

Moving on to the next good news item.

I forget how but recently came across the Buy Nothing Project.  As the ‘About’ page explains:

Buy Nothing. Give Freely. Share Creatively.

The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA; in just 8 months, it has become a social movement, growing to over 25,000 members in 150 groups, in 4 countries. Our local groups form gift economies that are complementary and parallel to local cash economies; whether people join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things that are cluttering their lives, or simply to save money by getting things for free, they quickly discover that our groups are not just another free recycling platform. A gift economy’s real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them. Time and again, members of our groups find themselves spending more and more time interacting in our groups, finding new ways to give back to the community that has brought humor, entertainment, and yes, free stuff into their lives. The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.

 

flowers

The gift of flowers. © Liesl Clark

How does the Buy Nothing Project work? Using the free platform provided by Facebook Groups, Buy Nothing Project members can easily participate with their local group. Our rules are simple: “Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” The transparency of Facebook groups’ design allows our members to see mutual friends they share with relative strangers, and to build trust based on real-life connections visible through personal profile information. This trust allows groups to grow quickly and encourages people to both give freely and ask for what they need; everything from toilet paper roll springs to rides home from the doctor; burial sites for beloved pets to freshly-baked bread and casseroles have been given freely; our members share things mundane and meaningful in equal measure, and throughout it all connect with each other by means of the shared personal stories and chatting encouraged by the platform. We rely on our co-founders’ daily guidance and direction for the development of our nascent culture, assisted by a team of volunteer local administrators who have on-the-ground knowledge of their communities.

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

Why the Buy Nothing Project? The Buy Nothing Project is brought to you by the creators of Trash Backwards (www.trashbackwards.com,) an app that helps you with the last of the 3 Rs, “Reusing” and “Recycling” the everyday things in your life. The Buy Nothing Project addresses the first of the 3 R’s, “Reduce” as well as the lesser-known Rs “Refuse” and “Rethink.” Participating in a local Buy Nothing Project group allows individuals and communities to reduce their own dependence on single-use and virgin materials by extending the life of existing items through gifting and sharing between group members. Rethinking consumption and refusing to buy new in favor of asking for an item from a neighbor may make an impact on the amount of goods manufactured in the first place, which in turn may put a dent in the overproduction of unnecessary goods that end up in our landfills, watersheds, and our seas. It most certainly creates connections between people who see each other in real life, not just online, leading to more robust communities that are better prepared to tackle both hard times and good by giving freely. The Trash Backwards app, blog articles, and Buy Nothing Project groups are diverting more materials from our landfills and oceans than we can possibly quantify as hundreds of items are rehomed each day.

The Buy Nothing Project Strengthens Communities.

The Buy Nothing Project Strengthens Communities.

Our Statistics:

With over 25,000 members and growing every day, we have a captive audience in each of our groups. Most members visit the group pages several times a day and many literally spend hours there, commenting, reading posts, while posting their own gifts and wants.

Our Trash Backwards blog, app, and the Buy Nothing Project website garner over 50,000 unique visitors per month. With 7,000 followers on Pinterest and 3,775 “likes” on our Facebook Pages, we have enough sway to bring significant traffic to our sites whenever we upload news or new blog posts.

Funding:

With funding to staff our core project, PR, legal help, design, and developers, the Buy Nothing movement will grow quickly, spreading the joys of gift economy giving and receiving. The world is ready for this experimental model of sharing our possessions and talents to help others, but the endeavor needs its basic operational costs covered to foster the movement even further.

Isn’t that a fabulous idea!

I’m determined to start a local group here in Merlin, Oregon.

My final item of good news, that I’m sure many others read about, was:

A declaration announced as part of a UN summit on climate change being held in New York also pledges to halve the rate of deforestation by the end of this decade and to restore hundreds of millions of acres of degraded land.

The Guardian newspaper released the news, as follows:

UN climate summit pledges to halt the loss of natural forests by 2030

New York declaration on forests could cut carbon emissions equivalent of taking all the world’s cars off the road

PEKANBARU, SUMATRA, INDONESIA - JULY 11:  A forest activist inspects land clearing and drainage of peat natural forest located on the concession of PT RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper), a subsidiary of APRIL group which is being developed for a pulp and paper plantation at Pulau Padang, Kepulauan Meranti district on July 11, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The Nature Climate Change journal has reported that Indonesia lost 840,000 hectares of natural forest in 2012 compared to 460,000 hectares in Brazil despite their forest being a quarter of the size of the Amazon rainforest. According to Greenpeace, the destruction of forests is driven by the expansion of palm oil and pulp & paper has increased the greenhouse gas emissions, pushing animals such as sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction, and local communities to lose their source of life. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

PEKANBARU, SUMATRA, INDONESIA – JULY 11: A forest activist inspects land clearing and drainage of peat natural forest located on the concession of PT RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper), a subsidiary of APRIL group which is being developed for a pulp and paper plantation at Pulau Padang, Kepulauan Meranti district on July 11, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The Nature Climate Change journal has reported that Indonesia lost 840,000 hectares of natural forest in 2012 compared to 460,000 hectares in Brazil despite their forest being a quarter of the size of the Amazon rainforest. According to Greenpeace, the destruction of forests is driven by the expansion of palm oil and pulp & paper has increased the greenhouse gas emissions, pushing animals such as sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction, and local communities to lose their source of life. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Governments, multinational companies and campaigners are pledging to halt the loss of the world’s natural forests by 2030.

A declaration announced as part of a UN summit on climate change being held in New York also pledges to halve the rate of deforestation by the end of this decade and to restore hundreds of millions of acres of degraded land.

Backers of the New York declaration on forests claim their efforts could save between 4.5bn and 8.8bn tonnes of carbon emissions per year by 2030 – the equivalent of taking all the world’s cars off the road.

The UK, Germany and Norway have pledged to enter into up to 20 programmes over the next couple of years to pay countries for reducing their deforestation, which could be worth more than £700m.

Companies such as Kellogg’s, Marks & Spencer, Barclays, Nestle, the palm oil giant Cargill, Asia Pulp and Paper and charities including the RSPB, WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have signed the declaration.

The declaration’s supporters say ending the loss of the world’s natural forests will be an important part of limiting global temperature rises to 2C, beyond which the worst impacts of climate change are expected to be felt.

It comes after analysis suggests that land use change such as deforestation accounts for around 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, with carbon dioxide released when trees are felled and burned to free up land for agriculture or development.

“Forests represent one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available today,” the declaration says.

“Action to conserve, sustainably manage and restore forests can contribute to economic growth, poverty alleviation, rule of law, food security, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.”

Signatories to the declaration are committing to a number of steps to halt forest loss, including backing a private sector goal of eliminating deforestation from producing agricultural products such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef by no later than 2020.

They are also seeking to support alternatives to deforestation which is caused by subsistence farming and the need for wood fuel for energy and reward countries that reduce forest emissions.

Read the full article here.

I first picked up on this news courtesy of the Grist blog:

rainforest-e1411587105860

Cargill promises to stop chopping down rainforests. This is huge.

By Nathanael Johnson

Everything I’ve been reading about the U.N. Climate Summit had been making me pretty gloomy, until I read about the New York Declaration on Forests.

The first notice was a press release from the Rainforest Action Network informing me that Cargill, the agribusiness giant, had pledged “to protect forests in all of Cargill’s agricultural supply chains and to endorse the New York Declaration on Forests.” Cargill has a big handprint — they have soy silos in Brazil and palm oil plants in Malaysia. So as of now, if you want to carve a farm out of the jungle, you’re going to get the cold shoulder from a company that is a prime connector to world markets.

And this isn’t limited to hot-button crops like soy and oil palm. Here’s what Cargill’s CEO Dave MacLennan said at the U.N.: “We understand that this sort of commitment cannot be limited to just select commodities or supply chains,” said MacLennan. “That’s why Cargill will take practical measures to protect forests across our agricultural supply chains around the world.”

It’s not just Cargill. Kellogg’s, Unilever, Nestle, Asia Pulp and Paper, General Mills, Danone, Walmart, McDonalds, and many other corporations have committed to the New York Declaration on Forests. But, here’s why Cargill is interesting: It’s making a concrete pledge, while the actual declaration is pretty mushy at this point. The declaration calls for ending forest loss by 2030. And, to quote a U.N. brief: “It also calls for restoring forests and croplands of an area larger than India. Meeting these goals would cut between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon pollution every year — about as much as the current emissions of the United States.” Or about as much as taking all the cars in the world off the roads — that’s another comparison I’ve seen. The details are supposed to be hammered out in time for the 2015 convention in Paris.

Again, read the rest of the article here.

So as much as you, I and hundreds of thousands of others get battered with ‘gloom and doom’ stories every single day, we do need to balance that out from time-to-time with the good things around us. Also every single day.

Now where’s a dog to hug!

AS18

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