Our beautiful planet.

It is the only lovely planet that we all have.

That ‘we’ being all the animals, plants, insects and humans there are.

I’m not saying anything new and not making this plea for the first time in this place.

But just take a few minutes out of your busy day to reflect that for you, for me, for everyone wherever they are in the world, physically and culturally, doing nothing is not an option.

More of that in a minute.

First I want to share with you a few autumnal photographs of our home here in Oregon.

Below was taken at 9am on October 24th showing the  mountain mist right down to the tops of our trees that mark the edge of our driveway from the house to our Hugo Road entrance.

Next, a sunrise photograph with the camera pointing to the East. The tree line follows the ridge of some hills the other side of Hugo Road. The picture taken on the 19th October at 07:20.
Now a close-up of the remains of a very old tree trunk with the trees that border Bummer Creek, that runs through our land, just showing through the morning mist. Taken on the 24th October at 09:05.

Final photograph I wanted to share with you is this beautiful sight of the moon taken from our property at 16:05 on the 25th. October.

Regular readers will know that Jean and I are not believers in any religion; we are atheists. But to my way of thinking that puts even more pressure on me and Jean to try to make a difference. We do all that we can but there’s no doubt that we can do more.

Yesterday, I referred to Bill Ripple, or to give him his full signature: William J. Ripple, Distinguished Professor of Ecology, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

I sent Bill an email:

Dear Bill (and forgive the over familiarity if that offends),
I am a Brit, just turned 73, living with my beautiful wife, Jean, London-born as I was, down in Merlin, Oregon.

We live on 13 wonderful acres of rural property with 6 dogs (down from 12 when we moved here 5 years ago) and 4 horses, the majority of whom are ex-rescues.

I am the author of the blog Learning from Dogs and want to publish a post highlighting that viewpoint article. Because I believe with every neuron left in my ageing brain that the political changes that this world so urgently needs can only come when 99.9% of the public are screaming out “enough is enough”!

But there’s another saying that comes to mind, the one about being the change you want to see or something like that.

Is there information anywhere online that spells out, almost in words of one syllable, what lifestyle changes each of us can and need to commit to today? Changes that are as appropriate for elderly authors living in the country as young people seeking their first job or those up to their necks in working and raising families?

For that is what I want to publish on my blog!

If it would be easier for me to make an appointment to call you and take notes over the phone then I am just as happy to do that.


Paul Handover
Hugo Road, Merlin,

Bill promptly replied:

Hi Paul, how long of a list of lifestyle changes do you want to make? Would three or four be enough? Bill

then followed that up with another email:

Paul, Consider suggesting that if people want to help, they could have fewer children, reduce energy consumption such as driving autos and flying, avoid meat and eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid wasting food. Below are quotes from our paper. Bill

“It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources ….

… reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure; promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods

Now watch this video

I will close this post by listing out all the things that you and I can do now!

  • Set a target for reducing your car mileage next year compared to 2017,
  • If you are a regular aircraft passenger, then set a target for flying fewer hours in 2018 compared to 2017,
  • reduce or stop eating meat,
  • do not waste food,
  • reduce the use of heating and cooling in your home/s for next year,
  • commit to a dietary change away from meats and processed foods to a plant-based diet.

Then for younger couples who want a family around them, limit the number of children to a “replacement level” at most. Adopt??

19 thoughts on “Our beautiful planet.

  1. Lovely photographs and I liked the YouTube video too.
    The list is great…how about a couple of additions.

    * Walk instead of using the car for short trips where possible.

    * Car share with co workers where possible

    * At work, turn off any computer monitors if you are not actually using them (the screen takes a lot more energy than the rest of the computer.

    *Buy and use only what you need. All goods take a lot of energy to manufacture

    * Replace the chemicals (cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) in your home with bio friendly stuff.

    * Teach your kids to share… especially with other kids… saves a lot of peer pressure buying of goods.


      1. But all crucial. You will appreciate that Bill Ripple’s recommendations were his top ones, the things that all of us should both commit to and promote to others. By no means an exhaustive list.

        Great additions, Colette.


  2. I haven’t left many comments lately as I’m on chronic overwhelm right now and don’t want to waste your time. Why do people believe that atheists are not good people? I don’t get that. I’m not a religion person either but you and I and many do at least as much good work as those who profess strong religious beliefs.
    Second. when my husband and I were talking about children back in the late 60’s we agreed that 2 was our limit biologically. I had a son and daughter 5 years apart. When I married the second time, I finished raising the second husband’s 4 children. I have no biological grand children though plenty from the second marriage. 😦 Those of us making intelligent choices know these things. Those that don’t want things as they always were. I can’t function as a vegetarian but would really like it if I could but have cut down on just enough to keep my brain working. Waste. not around here and it takes very little intelligence (I’m testament to that) to find ways to recycle, reuse or re-purpose so much. Many weeks my tiny garbage can doesn’t even need to go out My truck sits unused most of the time but when it does go out, it’s a working truck. If I’m going anywhere, I offer rides to those that no longer drive. Where is our common sense? Some still have it and so many seem to have lost the gene. The professor had good, basic fixes. How do we wake up those closed minds? Wishing you and yours a happy thanksgiving. Mine will be pizza and a beer with family. 🙂 No turkey here.


    1. Marlene, as Jean pointed out after I had read out your response, there are many more good people ‘out there’ than we realize, quietly getting on with their lives and doing their best to make a positive difference. That was a very lovely contribution from you. Thank you! Interesting times!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Guess my point was we were already talking zero population in the 60’s. My parents had 4 of us and it was 3 too many for them. I had options they didn’t. There are some we will never convince that less people is a good idea. Makes me sad. Keep up the good work trying to educate.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post Paul, Loved all the Pictures you have taken. And our Magnificent Earth is so precious, this small blue dot in space, just perfectly balanced with the Sun.. too near and we would scorch, too far and we would freeze.. And Life.. Well just miraculous..
    Have you seen Planet Earth 2 on BBC Paul the new series? just awesome.. 😀


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