Author: Paul Handover

Changing the world.

The problem is not plastic. It is consumerism.

I closed yesterday’s Letter to the Moon with the last sentence from a recent essay from George Monbiot: “Defending the planet means changing the world.

Shortly, I will be republishing, with Mr. Monbiot’s generous permission, the whole of that essay.

But first I am going to reproduce in full what arrived via email from George in the early hours of yesterday morning.

If you are within reach of London please go, or if not do leave a comment on the wall.

Hi Paul,

I’m contacting you because you’re one of the people who emailed me as part of the overwhelming response to my columns In Memoriam, and Incompetence By Design, where I mentioned that ‘some of us are now mobilising to turn the great enthusiasm for wildlife and natural beauty in this country into political action, and to fight the dismantling of the laws that protect our precious wild places’.

Many of you asked what I meant by ‘Watch this space’. The mobilisation starts next Saturday, in London, with The People’s Walk for Wildlife. It’s not a demonstration, nor a rally – it’s a gentle, family-friendly day. The only kind of strength we need is strength in numbers – to show that many thousands of us care deeply about the vanishing of wild mammals, butterflies, mayflies, songbirds and fish, and that we want the Government to commit properly to protecting those that remain.

On Saturday 22nd September, we’ll gather at Reformers Tree, Hyde Park at 10.00am; entertainment will start at 12 noon. At 1pm we’ll walk from Hyde Park Corner, via Piccadilly, St James, Pall Mall, and Cockspur St, to Whitehall. Please come along if you can. Download the birdsong app to play as we go. Bring friends, dress up as your favourite plant or animal or just come as yourself!

I’m looking forward to walking for the missing millions – I hope you can join me!

George
P.S. If you can’t make it, you can still contribute by adding your message of support to the Walk’s Wonder Wall – every post is valuable proof that you care.

Now on to that post.

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Plastic Soup

The problem is not plastic. It is consumerism.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 5th September 2018

Do you believe in miracles? If so, please form an orderly queue. Plenty of people imagine we can carry on as we are, as long as we substitute one material for another. Last month, a request to Starbucks and Costa to replace their plastic coffee cups with cups made from corn starch was retweeted 60,000 times, before it was deleted.

Those who supported this call failed to ask themselves where the corn starch would come from, how much land is needed to grow it or how much food production it will displace. They overlooked the damage this cultivation would inflict: growing corn (maize) is notorious for causing soil erosion, and often requires heavy doses of pesticides and fertilisers.

The problem is not just plastic. The problem is mass disposability. Or, to put it another way, the problem is pursuing, on the one planet known to harbour life, a four-planet lifestyle. Regardless of what we consume, the sheer volume of consumption is overwhelming the Earth’s living systems.

Don’t get me wrong. Our greed for plastic is a major environmental blight, and the campaigns to limit its use are well-motivated and sometimes effective. But we cannot address our environmental crisis by swapping one over-used resource for another. When I challenged that call, some people asked me, “so what should we use instead?”. The right question is “how should we live?”. But systemic thinking is an endangered species.

Part of the problem is the source of the plastic campaigns: David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series. The first six episodes had strong, coherent narratives. But the seventh episode, which sought to explain the threats facing the wonderful creatures the series revealed, darted from one issue to another. We were told we could “do something” about the destruction of ocean life. We were not told what. There was no explanation of why the problems are happening, what forces are responsible and how they can be engaged.

Amid the general incoherence, one contributor stated “It comes down, I think, to us each taking responsibility for the personal choices in our everyday lives. That’s all any of us can be expected to do.” This perfectly represents the mistaken belief that a better form of consumerism will save the planet. The problems we face are structural: a political system captured by commercial interests and an economic system that seeks endless growth. Of course we should try to minimise our own impacts, but we cannot confront these forces merely by “taking responsibility” for what we consume.

Unfortunately, these are issues that the BBC in general, and David Attenborough in particular, avoid. I admire Attenborough in many ways, but I am no fan of his environmentalism. For many years, it was almost undetectable. When he did at last speak out, he consistently avoided challenging power, either speaking in vague terms or focusing on problems for which powerful interests are not responsible. I believe this tendency may explain Blue Planet’s skirting of the obvious issues.

The most obvious is the fishing industry, that turns the astonishing lifeforms the rest of the series depicted into seafood. Throughout the oceans, this industry, driven by our appetites and protected by governments, is causing cascading ecological collapse. Yet the only fishery the programme featured was among the 1% that are in recovery. It was charming to see how Norwegian herring boats seek to avoid killing orcas, but we were given no idea of how unusual it is.

Even marine plastics is in large part a fishing issue. It turns out that 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that has come to symbolise our throwaway society, is composed of discarded nets, and much of the rest consists of other kinds of fishing gear. Abandoned fishing materials tend to be far more dangerous to marine life than other forms of waste. As for the bags and bottles contributing to the disaster, the great majority arise in poorer nations, without good disposal systems. But because this point was not made, we look to the wrong places for solutions.

From this misdirection arise a thousand perversities. One prominent environmentalist posted a picture of the king prawns she had just bought, celebrating the fact that she had persuaded the supermarket to put them in her own container, rather than a plastic bag, and linking this to the protection of the seas. But buying prawns causes many times more damage to marine life than any plastic in which they are wrapped. Prawn fishing has the highest rates of bycatch of any fishery: scooping up vast numbers of turtles and other threatened species. Prawn farming is just as bad, eliminating great tracts of mangrove forests, crucial nurseries for thousands of species.

We are kept remarkably ignorant of such issues. As consumers, we are confused, bamboozled and almost powerless. This is why corporate power has gone to such lengths to persuade us to see ourselves this way. The BBC’s approach to environmental issues is highly partisan, siding with a system that has sought to transfer responsibility for structural forces to individual shoppers. It is only as citizens, taking political action, that we can promote meaningful change.

The answer to the question “how should we live?” is “simply”. But living simply is highly complicated. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the government massacred the Simple Lifers. This is generally unnecessary: today they can be safely marginalised, insulted and dismissed. The ideology of consumption is so prevalent that it has become invisible: it is the plastic soup in which we swim.

One-planet living means not only seeking to reduce our own consumption, but also mobilising against the system that promotes the great tide of junk. This means fighting corporate power, changing political outcomes and challenging the growth-based, world-consuming system we call capitalism.

As the famous Hothouse Earth paper published last month, that warned of the danger of flipping the planet into a new, irreversible climatic state, concluded, “incremental linear changes … are not enough to stabilize the Earth system. Widespread, rapid, and fundamental transformations will likely be required to reduce the risk of crossing the threshold”. Disposable coffee cups made from new materials are not just a non-solution. They are a perpetuation of the problem. Defending the planet means changing the world.

http://www.monbiot.com

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Share this! Please!

A Letter to the Moon

We live on such a fragile planet!

The idea of writing a letter to the moon is not a new one and it came to me when listening to an item yesterday morning, Pacific Time, broadcast by the BBC on Radio 4. The item was the news that Elon Musk has announced that:

Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has unveiled the first private passenger it plans to fly around the Moon.

Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: “I choose to go to the Moon.”

The mission is planned for 2023, and would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972.

So here is that letter!

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Dear Mr Moon,

I cannot believe how quickly the years roll by!

Who would have thought that yesterday, the 18th of September, 2018, was the anniversary of the day in September, 1977 when:

On September 18, 1977, as it headed toward the outer solar system, Voyager 1 looked back and acquired a stunning image of our Earth and moon.

You will surely remember that first image taken of the Planet Earth and your good self in the same frame.

Here is the 1st-ever photo of the Earth and moon in a single frame. Voyager 1 took the photo on September 18, 1977, when it was 7.25 million miles (11.66 million km) from Earth. Image Number: PIA00013 via NASA/JPL.

Now here we are some 41 years later and, my, how things have changed.

But something, dear Mr. Moon, has never changed for you. That is the sight of our most beautiful planet. Plus, I would go so far as to venture that what makes our planet such a beautiful sight, one that has captivated us humans when we have gone into space and looked back at home, is the magic of our atmosphere.

It is so thin!

Picture taken by a NASA satellite orbiting the earth some 200 miles above the planet’s surface.

So, so thin …. and so, so fragile.

It is akin to the thinness of the skin of an onion.

In fact, Mr. Moon, that layer that we earthlings call the troposphere, the layer closest to Earth’s surface varies from just 4 miles to 12 miles (7 to 20 km) thick. It contains half of our planet’s atmosphere!

Everything that sustains the life of air-breathing creatures, human and otherwise, depends on the health of this narrow layer of atmosphere above our heads. Now the thickness of that layer varies depending on the season and the temperature of the air. But let’s use an average thickness of 8 miles (say, 13 km) because I want to explore in my letter to you some comparisons.

In your infinite gaze down upon your mother planet you will have seen the arrival  of H. sapiens, out of ancestral H. erectus, that took place roughly 315,000 years ago.

You will also have seen from your lofty vantage point the growth of both CO2 levels in the planet’s atmosphere and the average land-ocean temperature. Forgive me quoting something at you, but:

OBSERVABLE CHANGES IN THE EARTH

SINCE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

While politicians have been busy debating the merits of climate science, the physical symptoms of climate change have become increasingly apparent: since the industrial revolution, sea level has grown by 0.9 inches, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has risen to unprecedented levels, average global temperatures have increased by about 1.0 degree Celsius and, to top it off, the global population has jumped by nearly 600 percent; 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurred in the 21st century, and 2016 is likely to be the warmest year ever recorded.

Now the Industrial Revolution was all but over back in 1840 and the last 178 years have seen an explosion in the way we use energy, in all its forms. Plus we have to accept that back then the global population was around 1 billion persons. It is now over 7 billion.

Between 1900 and 2000, the increase in world population was three times greater than during the entire previous history of humanity—an increase from 1.5 to 6.1 billion in just 100 years.

So on to my comparisons.

The radius of our beautiful planet is about 3,959 miles (6,371 km). The average thickness of the troposphere is 8 miles (13 km).

Thus the ratio of thickness of our liveable atmosphere to the radius of the planet is 8 divided by 3,959. That is a figure of 0.002! Our atmosphere is 1/1000th of the size of the radius of our planet.

Hang on that figure for a moment.

In the last 178 years humanity has transformed our consumption of energy and especially carbon-based fuels. H. sapiens has been around for 315,000 years.

Thus the ratio of these present ‘modern’ times (the last 178 years) to the arrival of us back then (315,000 years ago) is 178 divided by 315,000. That is a (rounded) figure of 0.0006. Our modern times are just 1/10,000th of the time that so-called modern man has been on this planet.

So, dear Mr. Moon, you must despair that in so short a number of years, proportionally ten times smaller than the ratio of the troposphere to the radius of our planet, we funny creatures have done so much damage to what we all depend on to stay alive – clean air!

Or maybe, my dear companion of the night sky, because you are celebrating your 4.1 billionth year of existence, what we humans are doing is all a bit of a yawn.

Sincerely,

This old Brit living in Oregon.

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My dear friends (and I’m now speaking to you dear reader, not the moon!) when you reflect on the fragility of our atmosphere, well the layer we depend on for life, you realise without doubt that each and every one of us must make this pledge.

“I promise to do everything possible to reduce my own personal CO2 output and to ensure that both to my near friends and my political representatives I make it clear that we must turn back – and turn back now!”

Or, as George Monbiot writes in closing a recent essay (that I am republishing tomorrow): “Defending the planet means changing the world.”

For the next ‘Florence’!

A very timely article from Mother Nature News (MNN).

Hurricane Florence was not one isolated weather event. Across many continents extreme weather events are, regrettably, part of normal life.

The following article was published on MNN some six days ago.

I thought it should be shared with you all.

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How to evacuate your pet for a hurricane

Not all evacuation centers accept pets, so be prepared.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

MARY JO DILONARDO

September 12, 2018.
Residents deal with flooding after Hurricane Joaquin in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Johnson/North Charleston/Flickr)

When you’re in the path of a hurricane, you pack up what you need and get out as quickly as you can to get out of harm’s way. But do your evacuation plans include everything you need for keeping your pets safe too?

“It is crucial that residents are prepared to keep their pets inside if they are able to stay at home or to take pets with them if asked to evacuate in the face of this potentially destructive storm,” said Niki Dawson, director of disaster services for The Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”
Finding shelter

National Guardsmen patrol near Vidor, Texas, rescuing people and pets trapped after Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: California National Guard/Flickr)

One of the most important things is knowing where you can find shelter with your pets.

During the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many rescuers and shelters refused to take animals, so many people either refused to evacuate without their pets or were forced to leave their pets behind. Dogs and cats were left to starve or die of dehydration or countless pets were sent to shelters, never to be reunited again with their families.

In response, the Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 was created to make sure state and local governments factor pets into emergency evacuation plans. It authorizes the use of funds for rescue workers including “the procurement, construction, leasing, or renovating of emergency shelter facilities and materials that will accommodate people with pets and service animals.”

The PETS Act is critical during an emergency, such as a hurricane, but can be misunderstood. There are posts circulating on social media, for example, insisting that all hotels, motels and shelters are required to accept pets during a hurricane.

The law mandates that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) take into account the needs of pet owners when developing disaster plans and setting up emergency shelters. It does not mention hotels and motels.

In most cases, this means there will be pet-friendly shelters. It doesn’t mean hotels and motels are required to accept pets if they weren’t pet-friendly before the storm. Many hotels and motels sometimes lift “no pet” restrictions in emergencies, but it’s smart to call ahead and ask.

Create an emergency kit for the road

Pet owners should have an emergency supply kit for their pets. Keep all records in a waterproof container. According to the Humane Society, this kit should include:

  • At least three days of food and water in airtight, waterproof containers
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Current photos and physical descriptions of your pets
  • Veterinary records, medications and first aid supplies
  • Comfort items like toys and blankets
  • For dogs: Leash, harness, pet waste bags and a pet carrier that can double as a sleeping area
  • For cats: Litter, litter box and a carrier

Other Key Emergency Plans

Invest in sturdy pet carriers and get your pets accustomed to them before you have to use them. (Photo: photo_master2000/Shutterstock)

Preparation is critical for any disaster. Taking these steps can make a big difference when you’re trying to get you and your pet to safety.

ID your pet. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and an up-to-date identification tag with your cellphone number and maybe even the number of a friend or relative outside of the area. Make sure your pet is microchipped and the registration is in your name.

Create an emergency contact list. Start with friends or family members who live nearby and can reach you or your pets quickly. Make sure they have keys, necessary codes or other information to access your home, grab the pets and evacuate.

Invest in sturdy pet carriers. Whether your pet goes to a relative or an emergency shelter, the animal will need a safe place to stay, says Toni McNulty, team lead for animals in disaster with HumanityRoad.org, a nonprofit organization that uses social media to fill the communications gap between those affected by disaster and those responding to disaster.

Try a pet carrier that’s large enough to hold food and water bowls and allows your pet to stand and turn around. Also, make sure it’s comfortable as your pet will likely be inside it for hours at a time during an emergency.

“Get it ahead of time and let your pet get used to it. Mark with contact information. If your pet winds up in an emergency shelter, that contact information is necessary,” McNulty says.

Carry photos that show you with your pet. To alleviate any confusion when it’s time to recover your pet from an emergency facility, be sure to carry photos that show you and your pet together. Attach those photos as proof of ownership on your pet’s crate. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have photos uploaded to the cloud, in case physical copies are lost.

Don’t wait for the second or third evacuation warning. If you live in an area that’s known for weather emergencies, act as soon as you hear a warning.

“When pets sense urgency, they hide and you lose valuable time trying to find them,” McNulty says. Keep leashes, collars and crates ready at a moment’s notice.

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Trust you agree that this is a very useful reminder of all the things we pet lovers should plan for. Indeed, there are some things that Jeannie and I should actively consider ahead of the next fire season.

Nonetheless, we sincerely hope it never comes to the emergency that this MNN article has in mind!

Examining one’s navel!

Venturing into strange lands.

A collection of items has been crossing my ‘in-box’ in recent weeks and while many of the topics are, on the face it, not connected, for reasons I am not entirely sure about they seem to fall under the same umbrella; as in being of the same coherent theme.

Let me list some of these topics: the age of the universe; climate change; CO2 levels; the certainty of death; the history of the last half-million years; what our dogs teach us; and more!

Naturally, Jeannie and I have been kicking around these topics, aided and abetted by Dan Gomez, my Californian friend of some 40 years (and my ‘Best Man’ when Jean and I were married in 2010 and, more or less directly, the catalyst of me and Jean meeting in 2007!)

But I get the sense that many of you wonderful people that follow this place also scratch your head not infrequently and ponder on these ‘interesting’ times.

I don’t have any answers. But I do want to share how, over the last few weeks, I have been seeking some meaning, some peace, to the big issues that have the potential to make these times pretty uncomfortable if not a tad scary.

I shall not be extending this introspection each day but probably ( and I’m guessing) a couple of times a week I shall be dipping into the barrel!

Starting off with climate change, maybe tomorrow or Wednesday.

But what of today!

Today I am publishing another Dog Food Recall alert that came out late last week!

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Performance Dog Pet Food Recall

September 12, 2018 — Bravo Packing, Inc. of Carneys Point, New Jersey, is recalling all Performance Dog products, a frozen raw pet food, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

What’s Recalled?

The following products are affected by the recall:

  • Performance Dog
    Package Size: 2-pound plastic sleeve
    Mfg Date Code: 071418
  • Performance Dog
    Package Size: 5-pound plastic sleeve
    Mfg Date Code: 071418

Performance Dog comes frozen in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic sleeves.

The recalled product has manufacture date code 071418.

The manufacture date codes are printed on the boxes that contain the plastic sleeves, but not on the individual plastic sleeves.

Therefore, if the cardboard box has been discarded, there are no unique identification numbers on the individual sleeves that allow customers to determine that they possess the recalled products.

If you purchased this product since July 14, 2018 and cannot determine whether it is affected by the recall, the FDA recommends that you exercise caution and throw the product away.

About Salmonella

Salmonella can cause illness in animals eating the products, as well as people who handle contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products, infected animals or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis (an infection of the heart muscle), arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms.

People who have these symptoms after having contact with this product or an animal that has eaten this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Pets exposed to contaminated food can be infected without showing symptoms.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Infected animals can also shed Salmonella through their feces and saliva, spreading pathogens into the home environment and to humans and other animals in the household.

No human or animal illnesses have been reported to date.

What Caused the Recall?

Bravo Packing, Inc. is voluntarily recalling this product after a sample of Performance Dog, collected during an FDA inspection, tested positive for Salmonella.

Performance Dog generally works with the distributor Tefco, located in Brooklyn , New York, that fills orders to brick-and-mortar retail stores or to consumers directly.

What to Do?

Consumers with questions should contact Bravo Packing, Inc. at 856-299-1044 (Monday thru Friday, 6 AM to 2 PM, Saturday 4 AM to 9 AM ET) or through the company’s website at http://www.bravopacking.com.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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So there we are!

Wonder if I get the prize for the most weird of topics brought together in the same post!

Helping those shelters

Helping us all help others.

In yesterday’s post there were a number of links to charities that are working so hard to help the dogs and cats in the face of Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence will bring tropical storm conditions to North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday and hurricane conditions on Friday. This satellite image was captured around 1:45 p.m. ET Wednesday.
NOAA/STAR

Here are the details if any of you wish to support them.

Grenville Humane Society

Their website is here: https://www.greenvillehumane.com

Pender County Animal Shelter

Their Facebook page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Animal-Shelter/Pender-County-Animal-Shelter-Pender-Pets-1431469803817297/

Atlanta Humane Society

Their website is here: https://atlantahumane.org

Best Friends Animal Society

Their Facebook page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety/

Please, dear people, if you know of others that should be on this list then please add it as a comment. I will update the post with those details and leave this post up for both today, Friday, and tomorrow.

Finally here is the website address for The Humane Society of the United States. I know that they are also active in the area.

http://www.humanesociety.org

Let’s not forget our animals!

Hurricane Florence is no picnic.

Here’s the latest headline regarding this significant hurricane taken from the BBC News website at 14:30 yesterday afternoon.

US East Coast residents are running out of time to flee before Hurricane Florence hits the region as soon as Thursday evening, officials warn.
The storm was downgraded to category three with maximum sustained winds of 120mph (195km/h), but officials say it is still “extremely dangerous”.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

All our thoughts are especially extended for the thousands of cats and dogs, and many other species I don’t doubt.

So it seemed especially timely and appropriate to republish a recent item that appeared on Mother Nature News.

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Helping pets in Hurricane Florence’s path

How rescue groups and shelters are staying ahead of the big storm.

Mary Jo DiLonardo
MARY JO DILONARDO
September 11, 2018
Button is one of dozens of animals rescued by the Greenville Humane Society from shelters along the South Carolina coast. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

When people are in the path of a massive storm, they prepare their homes as best they can and get out of its way. For pets and strays, the situation is more complicated.

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, many in the animal community are already helping get these animals out of harm’s way. Shelters and rescue groups hundreds of miles away are taking in animals from shelters that are directly in the storm’s path. Fosters and adopters are stepping up to take local animals so there’s room for more dogs and cats affected by the hurricane. Others are sending donations.

As of early Tuesday, the Greenville Humane Society in South Carolina had already accepted 40 dogs and cats from coastal Carolina shelters and they are expecting another transport of 20 to 30 more by the end of the day, Julia Brunelle, social media and marketing manager for the humane society, tells MNN.

“We don’t know, in the coming weeks, how many more we’ll be taking in; it depends on the path of storm,” she says. “We expect a heavy influx at the end of the weekend and early next week.”

All three of the humane society’s buildings are at capacity with about 15 overflow animals housed in wire crates. They’ve lowered adoption rates, hoping to encourage people to take home current residents to free up room for animals that will be displaced by the storm.

“A lot of people are always waiting for the right time to adopt,” Brunelle says. “Now is the right time for the animals and when it is the most needed and when you’re going to do the most good.”

A van filled with animals arrives in Greenville from coastal Carolina shelters. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

At the Pender County Animal Shelter in Burgaw, North Carolina, they’re hoping to empty the shelter to make room for animals in need. As a result, all adoptions are free.

“After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we took in over 100 animals at this shelter. We only have 100 kennels total, so being empty pre-storm helps us have space for the post-event response because we cannot turn animals away,” shelter manager Jewell Horton tells MNN. “If we hit capacity we have to euthanize for space, which we do not want to do!”

The shelter has already had calls for more than 50 dogs and cats that they are trying to help get out of the hurricane’s path; they’ve also taken in three miniature horses already. Shelter workers are picking up a pony and goats that were flooded out during Hurricane Matthew, knowing they won’t make it through this storm either.

Making Long-term plans

The Atlanta Humane Society took in 35 dogs and cats from Carolina shelters. (Photo: Atlanta Humane Society)

So far, some animals have traveled as far away as Atlanta. The Atlanta Humane Society has already picked up 35 dogs and cats that were in shelters in the path of Hurricane Florence. A week ago, they took in 35 animals that were in the path of Tropical Storm Gordon. If past storm history is any indication, they’ll likely take in many more.

Teams from Best Friends Animal Society are also on the ground, working to move animals from shelters in harm’s way to less-crowded facilities that are out of the hurricane’s expected reach. The group is also looking at the long-term picture, realizing what rescue efforts will be needed long after the storm is passed, says Kenny Lamberti, Best Friends Southeastern regional director.

“We learned a lot post (Hurricane) Irma and Harvey and even as far back as Katrina,” Lamberti tells MNN. “A lot of people and a lot of animals get stuck. We’re creating temporary shelter situations, hoping we don’t need them, but you never know.”

These shelters will house dogs and cats for an extended period of time until they hopefully can be reunited with their families.

How you can help!

A Best Friends team transports animals during Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Erica Danger/Best Friends Animal Society)

If you want to assist animals displaced by the storm, there are plenty of things you can do. Rescue groups and shelters suggest monetary donations, first and foremost. That way they can buy what they need and don’t have to worry about storage, especially if shelters are damaged by the storm. Many shelters and rescue groups also have online wish lists.

There is at least one Facebook group where people can post what they need or the specific ways they are able to help, with offers of transport, fostering, supplies or anything else that might come up once the storm hits.

If your local shelter is making room for hurricane-displaced animals, you may want to consider adopting or fostering so they can make space in their kennels for more animals in need.

Pender County’s Horton points out that all sorts of help is needed, from adoptions to donations.

“We need animals out,” she says. “Donations will be hugely needed for post event care, especially for caring for the animals after the storm.”

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I know that all of you will side with Jeannie and me when we say that our hearts go out to these animals.

If any of you come across rescue groups and shelters who are seeking donations then do let me know. For I will publish the details here on Learning from Dogs.

Trees and drought.

The scientific findings of how the height of trees affects their ability to cope with drought.

I subscribe to the online Physics World website and a recent article tickled my fancy. Because it was supported by what we see here at home.

That is that shorter and taller trees do not handle drought conditions as well as medium-height trees.

First the article and then some supporting evidence from home.

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ECOSYSTEMS
RESEARCH UPDATE

Medium-height trees survive drought best

04 Sep 2018

Courtesy iStock_MilosJokic.jpg

Forests with canopy heights of around 18 metres are more resistant to the effects of severe drought than those with shorter and taller trees, according to researchers in China and the US.

In the past, studies have disagreed on whether forests with lower or higher canopies will be more likely to make it through prolonged spells of hot, dry weather. The discrepancy has made it difficult for forest managers, who need to know which tree heights to encourage to ensure the highest growth and survival rates during extreme drought.

Study leader Peipei Xu at Beijing Normal University in China and her colleagues believe the issue is increasingly pressing. “Climate data indicate that warm areas of land are increasing, and the warmed areas are also drying,” says Chuixiang Yi at the City University of New York, US. “Hot-dry-induced forest mortality poses a significant global concern for the future as carbon dioxide continues to rise and the climate continues to warm.”

Xu, Yi and the rest of the team aimed to quantify the relationships between canopy height, growth and survival rates during drought accurately for the first time. They analysed data gathered during a severe drought in the southwestern US in 2002 that showed the effect on the ring widths of tree trunks, a useful indicator of their yearly growth. In addition, satellite data revealed how the density of vegetation changed over the course of the drought; the team used this to calculate both leaf growth and tree mortality rates.

The results revealed that trunk and leaf growth under drought conditions increased with canopy height for trees shorter than 18 metres but decreased with height for trees taller than 18 metres. “Our results indicate that both high and small trees have relatively low drought resistance,” says Yi.

After establishing these relationships, the researchers could determine the biological mechanisms governing tree growth and survival during drought.

“All organic matter in a tree is formed on the leaves at the top of the tree by photosynthesis,” Yi explains. “Tall trees have a longer water transport path from roots to leaves and [it’s] more difficult to overcome tissue resistance and … gravity, particularly under dry conditions. The roots of small trees are short, and their abilities to access water and nutrient supplies unavailable to the surface soil layer are extremely limited.”

The researchers believe that using their results to inform the active management of canopy structure could safeguard vulnerable forests. As climate models predict hotter, drier droughts becoming more commonplace, this could be essential to combat forest dieback – a phenomenon that will also drive climate change.

“Our findings provide insights into how to manage forests or plant what trees to increase forest drought resistance in facing hot-dry climate conditions to mitigate climate change,” says Yi.

The team reported the findings in Environmental Research Letters (ERL).

ooOOoo

So turning to home.

Here are a couple of photographs of tall trees to the Northern side of the house that are clearly showing some stress.

A tall fir tree that is due for removal because it is clearly dead.

oooo

Another tall tree, this time a pine, showing signs of stress.

oooo

Now in stark contrast look at the trees in the photo below. (Oh, that’s the smoky summit of Mount Sexton, elevation 3,829 ft., in the distance.)

Medium-height trees that border the Northern side of our driveway from the road to the house.

As our taller trees are felled each year we are planting new young trees, two for every tree felled, in one of our grass fields.

Because it is not just Jeannie and me, and all the wild birds, who love our trees!

Do you know, I feel the need to pee!

oooo

This seems to have a good smell about it!

oooo

Ah! That’s so much better!

Will close with another photo with a tree in it taken a few nights ago.

We must never, ever lose our trees!

Dog and Cat food recall

Steve’s Real Food Recalls Dog and Cat Foods

This came in yesterday and is shared with you as per normal.

Steve’s Real Food Recalls Dog and Cat Foods

September 7, 2018 — Steve’s Real Food of Salt Lake City, Utah is voluntarily recalling limited quantities of its raw frozen dog and cat foods due to possible contamination with Salmonella and Listeria bacteria.

What’s Recalled?

The affected products were nationally distributed and are identified with the following UPC codes and “Best by” dates located on the front of the bag.

  • Steve’s Real Food Turducken Recipe
    Package size: 5-pounds
    Lot number: J155
    Best By Date: 6/4/19
    UPC: 6-91730-15304-5
  • Quest Emu Diet
    Package size: 2-pounds
    Lot number: B138
    Best By Date: 5/18/19
    UPC: 6-91730-17103-2
  • Quest Beef Diet
    Package size: 2-pounds
    Lot number: A138
    Best By Date: 5/18/19
    UPC: 6-91730-17101-8

About Salmonella and Listeria

Salmonella and L. mono can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.

Symptoms of infection in people include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella and/or L. mono infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What Caused the Recall?

This recall is being initiated after the firm was notified by the Washington Department of Agriculture when sample was collected and tested positive for Salmonella and/or Listeria.

The firm did conduct its own test which produced a negative result for both Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

However, because of the company’s commitment to overall safety and quality, Steve’s Real Food is conducting a voluntary recall of these products.

Consumers should also follow the safe handling tips published on the Steve’s Real Food packaging, when disposing of the affected product.

No pet or human illnesses from this product have been reported to date.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What to Do?

Consumers are encouraged to check the lot code and best buy date of the affected pet foods.

Any product with the noted lot code and best buy dates should be returned to the specialty retailer where product was purchased for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Steve’s Real Food at 888-526-1900, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm MT.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

Again, as I usually say, do share this with all the dog and cat lovers you know/

Thanks.