Next Saturday I am giving a talk to our local Freethinkers and Humanists group on climate change. As a result of this I was doing some research on the subject and I thought that I would share what I found with you.
But first may I say that the new King of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, may not have ages and ages on the throne but he is a committed environmentalist. In a recent VoA article the Prince of Wales, as he was then, reported that when Charles opened the COP26 climate summit, held in Scotland last year, and gave the opening speech, urging world leaders seated in front of him to redouble their efforts to confront global warming, he warned: “Time has quite literally run out.”
It is us!
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicked off its 2021 report with the following statement: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.”
A little later the article says: It took a while, but climate modelling is now refined enough to predict how things would go without human influence, within a margin of error. What we are observing today, however, is beyond that margin of error, therefore proving that we have driven the change.
It is getting hot
The last decade was the hottest in 125,000 years. There are a number of graphs to support this. Here is one:
One of the facts of having a water world, 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water, is that a 2019 study found that oceans had sucked up 90% of the heat gained by the planet between 1971 and 2010. Another found that it absorbed 20 sextillion joules of heat in 2020 – equivalent to two Hiroshima bombs per second.
In fact CO2 levels are now the highest that they have been in 2 million years. Today, they stand at close to 420 parts per million (ppm). To put that into context pre-industrial levels, before 1750, had CO2 levels around 280 parts per million.
We are losing ice big time
I can do no better than to quote from Earth.org: Since the mid-1990s, we’ve lost around 28 trillion tons of ice, with today’s melt rate standing at 1.2 trillion tons a year. To help put that into perspective, the combined weight of all human-made things is 1.1 trillion tons. That’s about the same weight as all living things on earth.
I repeat: Every single year we are losing 1,200,000,000,000 tons of ice!
We can now attribute natural disasters to human-driven climate change with certainty. We can now say with precision how much likelier we made things like the North American summer 2021 heatwave, which the World Weather Attribution says was “virtually impossible” without climate change as well as the Indian heatwave, which experts believe it was made 30 times more likely because of climate change.
Climate change mitigation
There is a long and comprehensive article on the above subject on WikiPedia. I will quote from the paragraph Needed emissions cuts.
If emissions remain on the current level of 42 GtCO2, the carbon budget for 1.5 °C could be exhausted in 2028. (That’s 42 gigatones, as in 1 gigaton is a unit of explosive force equal to one billion (109) tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT).
In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report on climate change, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030, in order to likely limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F). Secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, clarified that for this “Main emitters must drastically cut emissions starting this year”.
Then just before that paragraph WikiPedia reports that: The UNFCCC aims to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems can adapt naturally to climate change, food production is not threatened, and economic development can proceed in a sustainable fashion. Currently human activities are adding CO2 to the atmosphere faster than natural processes can remove it.
We need to act now, otherwise…
… it will be too late for billions of us.
This may be the most catastrophic of our climate change facts. As of now, only 0.8% of the planet’s land surface has mean annual temperatures above 29°C, mostly in the Sahara desert and Saudi Arabia (solid black in the map below).
A study by Xu et al. (2020) called “Future of the Human Niche” found that by 2070, under a high emissions scenario, these unbearable temperatures could expand to affect up to 3 billion people (dark brown areas).
Doing nothing is much worse than doing something
On the current path, climate change could end up costing us 11 to 14% of the global GDP by mid-century. Regression into a high emissions scenario would mean an 18% loss, while staying below 2°C would reduce the damage to only 4%.
It has been proposed that ending climate change would take between $300 billion and $50 trillion over the next two decades. Even if $50 trillion is the price tag, that comes down to $2.5 trillion a year, or just over 3% of the global GDP.
Climate change is an incredibly complex phenomenon, and there are many other things happening that were not covered above.
These are the facts. There is no disputing them. Jean and I are relatively immune from the effects, because of our ages, but not entirely so. The last few weeks with the imminent risk of our property being damaged by wildfires is one example. The last three winters being below average rainfall is another. But it is the youngsters I fear most for. On a personal note, my daughter and husband have a son and he is now 12. What sort of world is he growing up in?
So here is a view of the global population of young people.
Just before I close let me show you my final chart. It goes to show our attitudes.
I am not a political animal. However I recognise that it is our leaders, globally, but especially in the top 10 countries in the world, who have to be leaders! Here are the top 10 countries.
So, please, dear leader, make this the number one priority for your country and for the world (areas of their country in square kilometres): Russia. 17,098,242, Canada. 9,984,670, United States. 9,826,675, China. 9,596,961, Brazil. 8,514,877, Australia. 7,741,220, India. 3,287,263 and Argentina. 2,780,400.
There are not many who achieve so much, but Sir David most definately has!
This is our planet. It is the only one we have (stating the obvious!).
This beautiful photograph taken from the Apollo 11 mission says it all. That Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969 changed everything.
But one thing that was not on anyone’s mind then; the state of the planet!
How that has changed since 1969.
David Attenborough is a giant of a man, and I say this out of humility and respect for what he has done in his long life, he was born in May, 1926, and he is still fighting hard to get us humans to wake up to the crisis that is upon us.
Please take 45 minutes and watch this film. It is so important.
But before you do please read this extract taken from this site about the film:
For decades David Attenborough delighted millions of people with tales of life on Earth, exploring wild places and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Now, for the first time he reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime as a naturalist and the devastating changes he has seen.
Honest, revealing and urgent, the film serves as a witness statement for the natural world – a first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the jungles of central Africa, the North Pole and Antarctica. It also aims to provide a message of hope for future generations.
“I’ve had a most extraordinary life. It’s only now I appreciate how extraordinary,” Sir David says in the film’s trailer, in which he also promises to tell audiences how we can “work with nature rather than against it”.
The film retraces Sir David’s career, his life stages and natural history films, within the context of human population growth and the loss of wilderness areas. “I don’t think that the theoretical basis for the reason why biodiversity is important is a widely understood one,” he told the Guardian in September.
This autumn, a series of publications warned that “humanity is at a crossroads” in its relationship with nature, culminating in a UN report that the world has failed to meet a single target to stop the destruction of nature in the past decade.
Sir David has been vocal about the threat of climate change in recent years, calling on politicians to take their “last chance” to act rather than continue to “neglect long-term problems”.
“We need to learn how to work with nature, rather than against it”, according to Sir David. In the film, he is going to tell us how.
Now watch the film. Please!
As you can see, in the film Sir David states that the only way out of this mess is a massive focus on rewilding.
Coincidentally, Patrice Ayme last Sunday wrote about rewilding: California Grizzly: Rewilding Is A Moral Duty. In the latter half of that essay, he wrote: “One should strive to reintroduce American megafauna, starting with the more innocuous species (and that includes the grizzly). By the way, I have run and hiked in grizzly country (Alaska), with a huge bear pepper spray cannister at the ready. I nearly used the cannister on a charging moose (with her calf which was as big as a horse). The calf slipped off, and I eluded the mom through a thicket of very closely spaced tough trees. But I had my finger on the trigger, safety off. Moose attack more humans than grizzlies and wolves combined (although a bear attack is more dangerous). In any case, in the US, stinging insects kill around 100, deer around 200 (mostly through car collisions), and lightning around three dozen people, per year.
As it is, I run and hike a lot in California wilderness, out of rescue range. I generally try to stay aware of where and when I could come across bears, lions and rattlers. My last close call with a large rattlesnake, up a mountain slope, was partly due to hubris and not realizing I was moving in dangerous terrain. Fortunately I heard the slithering just in time. Dangerous animals make us aware of nature in its full glory, and the real nature of the human condition. They keep us more honest with what is real, what humanity is all about.
And that should be the primordial sense.“
I will close by offering you this photograph. May it inspire you to rewild, in small ways and also, if you can, in bigger ways. All of us must be involved. Otherwise…
Penny writes about starting your own business but in my experience any person who is devoted to their job, be it self-employed or not, should read what Penny has to say.
(Apologies for forgetting a post last Tuesday)
Five Recommendations for Balancing Time With a New Pet While Starting a Business
Whether your new pet purrs, barks, neighs, squawks or something in between, welcoming a new animal into your home brings a little more love into your life. However, extra chores come hand-in-hand with a new pet. Add in the fact that you are starting a business and all the to-do lists can feel daunting. To ensure you have time to grow your company and bond with your pet, follow these five tips.
1. Stock Up on Supplies
Time is extremely valuable when getting a company off the ground; the last thing you want chipping away at your precious time is numerous trips to the stores for your animal. To prevent this, set aside time each week to make a list of the food, toys, treats, bedding, and any other items your pet requires.
Note which stores you need to visit for all the supplies. Take a few hours to go to each shop to make sure your pet has everything he or she needs for the week.
2. Revamp Your Space
Starting a company comes with lots of stress; turning your home into a fresh and vibrant space helps relieve this tension. A clean home makes it easier to be effective at work and relax during off-hours. Plus, revamping your rooms gives you the opportunity to create a special space for your animal to feel safe and cozy.
Create a productive and positive atmosphere by cleaning and decluttering your house. Open windows to let in fresh air and sunlight. According to one study, nearly every participant felt less anxiety and depression and had better focus when exposed to sunlight. So scrub those windows and let in some light!
3. Remove Distractions
During your room makeovers, remove as many distractions from your office space as possible. TVs, video games, social media, and music can all be distracting when trying to work and waste valuable time that could be spent bonding with your new pet.
Do not put a TV or game console in the office. If you like background noise but find it tends to interrupt your workflow, put on a calming playlist, such as instrumental songs or sounds of nature.
While you probably need your phone during office hours, do your best to resist games and social media during this time. Update your phone’s layout so the tempting apps are not visible, or download an app, such as Forest, that encourages you to focus during work hours.
4. Save Time With Invoicing Software
Invoicing software can be a lifesaver for busy small business owners. Rather than spending hours creating invoices by hand, by choosing invoicing software, you can simply enter your customers’ information into the software and let it do the rest. The software will generate professional-looking invoices that you can send to your customers electronically. Not only does this save you time, but it also allows you to get paid faster. In addition, most invoicing software comes with built-in accounting features that make it easy to track your expenses and keep tabs on your profitability. If you’re not using invoicing software, you’re needlessly wasting valuable time that could be better spent growing your business and spending more time with your new pet.
5. Schedule Time for Important Tasks
Having important tasks scheduled in your planner makes certain you have time to get them done. Perhaps your fuzzy, furry, or fluffy friend needs weekly grooming. Instead of doing it “when you have time,” schedule a specific period during the week to wash and clean your pet.
When it comes to your company and your pet, you do not have to choose one over the other. Make time for both by grabbing all the supplies you need, refreshing your home, removing distractions, utilizing invoicing software, and making time for crucial tasks.
This is good advice from Penny and I would applaud her.
If I was to pick out one piece of advice above all others it has to be the one about scheduling, or planning as I prefer to call it. When you are really busy the only way to stay on top of everything, and that includes time with your dog, is to plan.
Finally, I asked Penny to tell me a little more about herself. This is what she said:“Penny Martin is an advocate for rescue dogs. Her goal is to inform people of what to expect and how to react to their dog so that the relationship always retains love. She created fureverfriend.info to help new owners prepare themselves for new furry friends“
Well I am preparing this post on Saturday, the 14th. The operation for the hernia on the 10th went smoothly enough but I did not reckon on the discomfort that would follow. Indeed, I was talking to a good friend on Thursday and he said that the pain would more or less last for two weeks. My son gave me the good advice to take regular doses of an over-the-shelf painkiller rather than the stronger tablets the hospital gave me because those prohibited driving! I returned to a small amount of driving last Friday.
Now on with the show!
Penny Martin first wrote a guest post for me in February, Fostering or adopting a dog, and I am delighted to present her second post. Over to her!
Why Now Is a Great Time for a Pet Business and How to Start Your Own
By Penny Martin.
If you are an animal lover who wants to spend your days scrolling through cute dog pictures and surrounded by furry clients, now is a great time to consider starting your own pet business. Here, you can learn more about which relevant business areas experiencing growth and tips to get started on the right foot.
Reasons Why It’s a Great Time for Pet Businesses
A growing number of families include animals. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association data, more than half of American households have a pet. That number appears to be growing, too, representing an increased need for care services.
Pets are not just more abundant; they are also becoming full-fledged family members. As a result, spending on them is also increasing. Despite rapid growth in many care service areas, there are not enough providers to meet this increased demand.
Animal-Related Businesses That Are Thriving
If you are curious about what type of business to start, look no further than pet care providers. There are several types of jobs you can get involved in:
Training and behavioral services: Training isn’t just for puppies. Dogs of all ages can benefit from learning household rules and appropriate behaviors when they are out and about.
Dog walking and pet sitting: This is usually based out of the client’s home, where you pick them up for a walk or provide companionship for short periods.
Boarding: This is an excellent option for individuals who would rather welcome dogs and cats to their own home or care facility. Many boarding companies also provide daycare services.
Grooming: You will need to learn how to groom different types of pets to master the skills for a successful grooming career. However, if you enjoy helping dogs look their best, this is an excellent high-demand field.
Business Strategies to Help You Succeed
Economic conditions are excellent for small pet-focused companies to thrive. However, as an entrepreneur, you need to follow some basic business principles to succeed.
Start by choosing an appropriate legal structure. Research the most popular setup for businesses like yours to find one that fits your needs. Then, file with the appropriate offices to make it official. Next, take time to develop a comprehensive business plan. This document will do more than get you up and running; it will also serve as a reference as you continue to grow. Be sure to conduct market research to identify your target customers.
Implement a structured invoicing process to set clear payment terms for clients and ensure you get paid on time, especially if you send invoices immediately after performing a service. Accepting several forms of payment is also helpful for clients. Use an invoice maker, free online usually, to streamline the process. Simply add your logo and business information, and you are ready to go.
Use bookkeeping software to track your income and expenses and gain insight into your cash flow. This is a great way to organize and store receipts, ensuring compliance with regulatory agencies. It also makes tax filing easier at the end of the year and helps you find the most deductions.
A growing number of households with pets and increased spending make now a great time to start an animal-related business. Care and service providers are excellent fields to consider, with high demand for groomers, trainers, and dog walkers. However, no matter what type of company you start, sound business strategies can keep it running smoothly.
As an ex-entrepreneur, who fundamentally was a salesman, I can also add the following to that post.
It starts and ends with the customer. A business plan is vital and so too is market research. But unless you have a clear vision of how you are to sell your services and what’s the difference that makes the difference you must not proceed. Selling is all about: Need; Feature; Benefit.
Open-ended questions to establish the need. (Those are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a no.)
Keep on asking, and establishing a relationship, until you and the potential customer are clear that there is a need.
Then speak about the features of what you are selling that matches the need/s. Do not progress until the prospective customer understands and agrees.
For every agreed feature be clear what the benefit is for the customer; of that particular feature.
Try closing the deal. If there is hesitation then understand why. Resolve it. Try closing the deal again.
The very best of luck to those that want to run with this.
Some weeks ago we heard animals, probably squirrels, in the crawl space underneath our singe-storey home. After some thinking about the problem we got a company to come out and take a look. They said that the original insulation was poorly installed, that would have been around 1977, and that it had to be removed and a more modern type installed.
The area, some 2,400 square feet, apparently is larger than the team usually work in and it may be five of more days before they are finished.
I do not envy the crew who spend long hours in the crawl space. The firm that was selected were TerraFirma.
I am very grateful to the Free Inquiry for permission to republish this article!
I am a subscriber to the print edition of Free Inquiry. Have been for quite a while. In the last issue, the April/May magazine, there was an article by Ophelia Benson that just seemed to ‘speak’ to me. I was sure that I was not alone. It was an OP-ED.
I emailed Julia Lavarnway, the Permissions Editor, to enquire what the chances were of me being granted permission to share the story. Frankly, I was not hopeful!
So imagine my surprise when Julia wrote back to say that she had contacted the author, Ophelia, and she had said ‘Yes’.
Cruising over the Edge
By Ophelia Benson
The trouble with humans is that we never know when to stop. We know how to invent things, but we seem to be completely unable to figure out how to uninvent them—or even just stop using them once we’ve invented them. We can commission like crazy but we can’t decommission.
Like, for instance, cruise ships the size of condo towers. They’re feats of engineering and ship building no doubt, but as examples of sustainable tourism, a small carbon footprint, a sensible approach to global warning, not so much. How many gallons of fuel do you suppose they burn while cruising? Eighty thousand a day, for one ship.
We can’t uninvent, we can’t let go, we can’t stop. We can as individuals, but that’s useless when most people are doing the opposite. It’s useless when cruise ships keep cruising, SUVs keep getting bigger, container ships are so massive they get stuck in canals, more people move to Phoenix as the Colorado River dries up, more people build houses in the Sierras just in time for more wildfires, air travel is almost back to “normal,” and Christmas lights stay up until spring.
So heads of state go to meetings on climate change and sign agreements and pretend they’ve achieved something, but how can they have? Have any of them promised to shut down nonessential enterprises such as the cruise industry? Will they ever? The CEOs and lobbyists and legislatures would eat their lunch if they did. They can’t mess with profitable industries like that unless they’re autocrats like Putin or Xi … and of course Putin and Xi and other autocrats have zero inclination to act in the interests of the planet.
Janos Pasztor wrote in Foreign Policy after COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow this past November:
Even if all Glasgow pledges are fulfilled, we are still facing a temperature overshoot of approximately 2 degrees Celsius. In the more likely scenario of not all pledges being fulfilled, warming will be more: perhaps 3 degrees Celsius. This would be catastrophic in nearly every sense for large parts of humanity, especially the poorest and most vulnerable who are suffering first and worst from escalating climate impacts.
Ironically, the technologies we can’t uninvent aren’t just the material luxuries such as huge cars, they’re also intangibles like democracy and freedom and individual rights. It may be our very best inventions along these lines that are the biggest obstacles to doing anything about the destruction we’ve wrought. We believe in democracy, and a downside of democracy is that governments that do unpopular things, no matter how necessary, are seldom governments for long. Biden and Macron and Trudeau and Johnson probably can’t do anything really serious about global warming and still stay in office to carry the work through.
Pasztor went on to ask a pressing question:
So how do we avoid temperature overshoot? The most urgent and important task is to slash emissions, including in the hard-to-abate sectors (such as air transport, agriculture, and industry), which will require substantial lifestyle changes.
Yes, those substantial lifestyle changes—the ones we show absolutely no sign of making. Maybe the biggest luxury we have, and the one we can least afford to sustain, is democracy.
Democracy at this point is thoroughly entangled with consumerism or, to put it less harshly, with standards of living. We’re used to what we’re used to, and anybody who tries to take it away from us would be stripped of power before the signature dried.
This is why beach condos in Florida aren’t the only kind of luxury we have to give up; we also have to give up the “consent” part of the “consent of the governed” idea when it comes to this issue. Not that I have the faintest idea how that would happen, but it seems all too obvious that democratic governance as we know it can’t do what needs to be done to avoid catastrophe.
We don’t usually think of democracy as a luxury alongside skiing in Gstaad or quick trips into space, but it is. It relies on enough peace and prosperity to be able to afford a few mistakes.
We take it for granted because we’ve always had it, at least notionally (some of us were excluded from it until recently), but it’s not universal in either time or place. To some it’s far more intuitive and natural to have “the best” people in charge, because they are the best. It’s a luxury of time and location to have grown up in a moment when non-aristocrats got a say.
The British experience in the Second World War is an interesting exception to the “take people’s pleasures away and lose the next election” pattern. Hitler’s blockade on shipping created a very real threat of starvation, and the Churchill government had to take almost all remaining pleasures away in pursuit of defeating the Nazis. Rationing, the blackouts, conscription, censorship, evacuation, commandeering of houses and extra bedrooms were all commonplace. Much of the dismal impoverished atmosphere of George Orwell’s 1984 is a picture not of Stalin’s Russia but of Churchill’s Britain. Life was grim and difficult, but Hitler was worse, so people drank their weak tea without sugar and planted root vegetables where the roses had been.
It’s disastrous but not surprising that it doesn’t work that way with a threat that’s unfolding swiftly but not so swiftly that everyone can see how bad it’s going to get. We can see what’s in front of us but not what’s too far down the road, especially if our contemporary pleasures depend on our failure to see. We’re default optimists until we’re forced to be otherwise, Micawbers assuring ourselves that “something will turn up”—until the wildfires or crop failures or mass migrations appear over our horizons.
I do not know what the answer is? But I do know that we have to change our ways and change in the relatively near future; say, ten years maximum.
Because as Janos wrote, quoted in part above: “This would be catastrophic in nearly every sense for large parts of humanity…”
We are in a war. Not a military one but a war with the reality of where we are, all of us, heading. We have to stop ducking and weaving and come out fighting. Fighting for the very survival of our species. Do I think it will happen? I am afraid I do not. Not soon enough anyway: not without the backing of every government in the free world.
Many years ago I found myself teaching at a unit attached to Exeter University. I was teaching sales and marketing. I can’t remember clearly the events that produced the meeting between myself and Chris Snuggs. But I recall the outcome.
Chris was the director of studies at a French institute named ISUGA. Let me borrow from their website:
The ISUGA Europe-Asia International BBA Bachelor’s degree is a 4-year cursus following the Baccalaureate or High School diploma which combines studying International Business and Marketing with learning an Asian or English language and comprising university exchange stays, as well as internships in French and International businesses.
ISUGA is located in Quimper, Western Brittany relatively close to Devon in England where I was living.
In Chris’ words: “It must have been through them that we got your name when we needed someone to teach Selling. Now I come to think of it, we HAD someone lined up for a whole week and he CANCELLED on us, so you were a last-minute replacement.”
For quite a few years I went across to Quimper to teach for Chris. Mainly by ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff. During the summer months I flew to Quimper from Exeter in our group-owned TB20. (The picture below is of the type only not our aircraft.)
Since that day we have remained in reasonable contact and I regard Chris as good friend.
A few days ago Chris published on his blog his account of his journey from Quimper back to Ramsgate, in east Kent. It was hilarious and I asked Chris if I could publish it and share with everyone.
Chris not only said yes but insisted on improving it (his words) including expanding it to what it is below.
So with no further ado, here is Chris’ post.
“A DOG’s Travel Across Northern France” … as in “Doddering Old Git”
I am officially a “Senior Citizen”, but as such prefer much of what passes for “The Good Old Days” when in this case we were called “Old Age Pensioners” – MUCH less PC and wokeish AND more realistic – but DOGS sounds much better (and more informative) than OAPs.
A simple trip to Blighty to see the family for XMAS was not supposed to be a saga, but it turned out to be one:
Like ET, I was going home, though not quite as far – though it probably seemed like it.
I got about 3 hours sleep max Thursday night/Friday morning; worried about oversleeping even though I had THREE electronic wake-up devices.
I got up at 04:30 to finalize packing and clean up (the worst of) my mess.
I went out into the street in front of the house at 06:45 to await the taxi – it was raining, albeit not heavily.
The taxi was 5 minutes late, but the driver didn’t apologize. (I was going to say “woman driver” but I believe that sex differentiation is no longer allowed.)
I tried to help her (it, hir, shim?) load my heavy suitcase into *** boot (car, not footwear).
I lightly touched the car with the suitcase, and shim said: “Mind my car. Your suitcase is too heavy.”
I nearly said: “So are you, but it’s probably your hormones or your genes.” but decided that discretion was the better part of insult as I had to catch a train ……
We got to the station in plenty of time, only for me then to find that the train was due to go from platform C (usually it’s A as you leave the entrance hall).
I then found out/remembered that there is no lift at Quimper station. “This is not going to be my day,” I thought …
As I approached the stairs down to the access tunnel, I pretended to be a Doddery Old Git on the point of collapse (no comments please) and a nice young man helped me with the case.
Same procedure with a different bloke to go up to platform C. I actually tried this ploy with a pretty young lady first, but just got a funny look ….
Eventually got onto the right and very crowded train; my “This is not a gasmask” COVID mask was very reassuring as the virus probably had a field day circulating the carriage. I got some more funny looks, but two people asked me where I got my mask, so I am thinking of merchandising them ….
Got to Paris 4 hours later – showed a railway worker my little map where the taxi was supposed to be waiting and he pointed me in direction X saying authoritatively: “Tout au bout.” (“right at the end” for those who left school at 14).
Seemed a bit iffy to me (I vaguely remembered having gone somewhere else the last time I had done the journey, but couldn’t remember where. Does that happen to you?), but I followed his directions in the obviously-idiotic belief that someone actually working in a place would know where the taxis would be.
Of course, there was no sign of a taxi area at the distant far end of the HUGE Montparnasse Station, so I asked another railway bod.
He pointed in the 180° opposite direction and said the same as the first bloke, so I had to retrace my steps and go another 200 metres past where I had started to one of the no doubt multiple exits.
On exiting I was surrounded by some Middle Eastern gentlemen (without beards as it happens) who were desperate to take me somewhere.
I told them I had booked a taxi already and they suddenly lost interest.
I then got a call on my posh new mobile, but as with every other mobile I have ever owned it is specifically designed so that one cannot easily answer a call – first there is always some other leftover screen on the thing which by the time you have got rid of the caller has given up, and second you have to SWIPE to even see a green button which you then press – and I don’t know who invented SWIPE but hanging, drawing and quartering while being burned alive in oil over a period of several hours would be a suitable punishment.
This was all way beyond me, so I missed the call.
Miraculously, however, I did manage to call back and it was in fact the driver.
After two or three calls in each direction we managed to find each other physically as well as phonally.
We set off for La Gare du Nord, which should be about 15 minutes max by road – but it took us an hour and a quarter … (This was Paris in the rain on Friday at lunchtime – but I did learn a few new French swearwords from the driver.)
Fortunately, I had plenty of time between trains and so managed to find and embark on my TER to Calais.
This was an uneventful trip except that I was opposite a young mother with an inquisitive baby who kept looking at me for some reason (the baby not the woman ….).
I thought about playing with the baby but did not want to be arrested as a paedophile. I did plonk a small orange on the little table between us thinking she might want to play with it, but I got a funny look from her mother …. so I picked it up (the orange not the baby) and ate it – getting more funny looks. Strange … I get that all the time.
There was no internet on the TER so I tried to doze, but dozing with a high-decibel baby one metre away is a skill I have not yet mastered – and probably never will.
Arrived at Calais station – it took me 10 minutes to find the lift to get to the exit: in fact, one has to be led across an actual line by a railway bod and then take the lift – which is conveniently hidden.
But once outside the station I got a taxi right away. (a rare plus chalked up!)
I was dropped at the port outside a little hut marked “Billets”: (“tickets” for the linguistically-challenged).
This was weird – there used to be a big hall full of foot-passengers, but it has all changed – there IS a big hall, but it is empty except for two WWI biplanes. “Perhaps they want to fly us over?” I thought.
Went into the ticket office to be told my boat was cancelled (no explanation was offered) and they would try to get me on the next one. I never did understand why they would “try” (there was hardly anyone else there), but it seems they had to wait for a phone call.
It was a very small cabin with four guichets (Would you like a French dictionary for XMAS?) and three simple chairs, on one of which – after having my particulars scrutinized and recorded – I was invited to sit – which I did, not sure whether I should show appreciation or keep going with the scowl I could feel coming on ….
Behind the desks several women came and went, but spent all the time yacking to one another about women stuff while three of us sat waiting in stony and in my case exhausted silence (it was by now 18:00 and I had been up since 04:30).
I eventually got up and complained, something that comes naturally to we DOGs. I said I did not understand the delay, that I needed a coffee and a toilet break and that the least they could do was install some beds in their little office for those in my situation (and condition) who had to wait overnight for information about getting on a replacement ferry. I wanted to add a question about whether they had been trained in defibrillation techniques but by then I had run out of breath.
The charming young lady smiled and said they had none of the things that might alleviate my stress (adding the word “understandable” would have been nice) but that the large hall opposite might be open, and if not she could lend me a key to open it and visit the convenience.
I couldn’t be bothered to try to work out why she wouldn’t know whether the hall was open or not and that what I in fact most urgently needed was to get out of there without bothering with keys I would probably lose – which I did.
I then walked round the large hall three or four times admiring the WWI planes and wondering if the Red Baron had ever flown one of them. The fresh air and exercise refill renewed the oxygen supply to my needy brain.
I eventually staggered back to the ticket office and sat down on my hard chair again. I was tempted to feign a loud snore but as with the taxi driver in the morning decided that discretion was the better part of valour.
15 minutes later a phone call came and I was summoned to the guichet and given my ticket.
“Great,” I thought. “At last we can get outta here.”
THEN she told us that in 40 minutes someone would come to drive us to the boat.
I was fast losing the will to live, but thought that another dose of circling the large airplane hall might at least get my blood circulating again.
I told her where I was going and mentioned the hall and the planes (to be fair she did laugh at my joke about flying us across the Channel), but said: “That’s all run by the Chamber of Commerce.”, and of course we all know that no lunacy is beyond THAT organization.
I left after asking if she could send out a rescue party if I did not return – and she smiled again …. Smiles don’t of course achieve anything practical but they do at least make the pain somewhat more tolerable.
I came back half an hour later, having admired the bi-planes once again and wondered whether the Red Baron had ever flown one – and indeed a lady driver soon turned up as predicted to drive us to the boat. (another rare plus chalked up …)
We had to go up and down two or three kerbs (nowhere lowered for people to wheel their too-heavy suitcases) and eventually got onto a bus.
Had to go up a multiply-zig-zagged ramp to get onto the boat, but I played the Doddery Old Git card again and someone helped with my case.
I had thought of taking my walking-stick on this trip to boost the DOG sympathy factor, but could not work out how I could possibly carry it simultaneously with the rest of my baggage.
I asked a boatbod what time we would be leaving and then arrive in Dover, and he said: “in 15 minutes and 20:00.”
40 minutes later we still had not left, so I asked someone else when we would be leaving and was told in 15 minutes.
We actually left 30 minutes later, and I decided that being 100% wrong in a prediction was not actually that bad as these things go.
When I asked yet anOTHER bod WHY there had been another delay he just rolled his eyes and said something about the Captain which I didn’t understand – but was past caring.
Ten minutes later I asked the next available bod what time we would arrive in Dover and was told 20:30.
This was well past the time my taxi was booked, so I called to inform Eddy, the driver.
Fortunately, making calls on mobiles is easier than receiving them, so that was OK.
On the boat I got talking to a foot-passenger couple (there were only EIGHT of us!).
They were very nice and I gave them Taxi Supremo Andy’s phone number as they had nothing arranged for their arrival.
When we eventually got to Dover, there were no more checks (even though they made us walk through a maze of corridors in the totally empty border-control and customs instead of going straight to the taxi area – maybe they were filming us secretly?) and we eventually got to where I hoped to find Eddy the Driver.
However, there are huge roadworks going on just inside the port entrance and all the usual roads are blocked off and/or rerouted.
There was of course no sign of Eddy – OR any other taxis. Foot-passengers have a VERY low priority …..
Grateful for my phone once again, I called Eddy who said he was ALREADY in the port but had got lost.
Taxi-drivers getting lost is a bit ominous, so I assumed he was even more of a DOG than I am. Still, we DOGs have to stick together …..
I told him where we were ….. right near the entrance just past the roundabout at the bottom of the long clifftop descent to the port. For those who know Dover this is the easiest part of the entire port (or indeed of England) to find …..
Three exchanged calls later we finally met up physically as well as phonally – which was a reminder of Paris. In future, I am going to fix a GPS signal to myself and ensure my driver has military-standard tracking equipment. Perhaps Nathalie can arrange that?
Eddy was as suspected a bit of a DOG – but like me, very nice …… I asked if he could drop off my friends from the boat at Dover railway station before taking me back to Ramsgate – which he agreed to.
So we took them up the road to the station, where they unloaded their stuff from the boot.
I did think about getting out to check they didn’t take any of my four bits of luggage, but I was very tired and also thought that it would be impossible to confuse the grotty things I was carrying with any of their posh stuff from Parisian shops.
They gave Eddy an extra £8 for the slight detour. As I said they were very nice even if the lady’s perception and memory banks were highly undeveloped.
We then at last set off for Ramsgate, but Eddy took a wrong turn and we ended up driving towards Canterbury.
It takes a really advanced stage of dodderation to get lost driving from Dover to Ramsgate, so I will be contacting “The Guinness Book of Records”.
I decided against advising Eddy to do a U-turn in the pitch dark, and after driving four miles up a dual-carriageway we eventually got to a roundabout, retraced our wheels and made our way back to Dover.
Miraculously finding the right road to Ramsgate this time, we set off on the last lap. By now I was desperately hanging onto life by a thread.
Halfway to Ramsgate Eddy got a call from Taxiboss Andy’s Missus:
“The couple you dropped off at the station just rang; it seems they have got a package belonging to one of the other passengers.” ME! NO, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP …..
…. but they were nice people and apparently said they would wait at the station for us to come and pick up the bag.
I tried to keep calm, but remembered Einstein’s famous dictum. (SEE BELOW)
We stopped to check the boot and I saw that they had taken a plastic bag with two boxes of wine for my sister Maggie and another box of boiled eggs and fishsticks essential for my diet.
I asked Eddy if he minded going back, and he agreed to instantly – even without being promised any more dosh.
So back we went to the station, picked up the bag and Eddy collected another £10 for his trouble. (As I said, nice people …)
Off we set for Ramsgate again, and this time Eddy did not get lost ……. even we DOGs are capable of learning.
I eventually got to Ramsgate around 22:30 instead of the anticipated 20:00 – and of course I felt obliged to give Eddy a generous tip even though he DID get lost twice. Actually, everything in France had gone pretty smoothly as planned; it only went really tits-up when we got to Dover. I of course blame BREXIT ……
How was your day?
PS No insult to real dogs is intended in this account. As we know, if the world were ruled by dogs we would all be safer and happier, though the absence of tv and the internet would be a shame.
PPS I was fortunate to be able to employ Paul for brief periods over a number of years to teach business students about Selling and Marketing during my time as Director of Studies of a business school in France. His teaching was highly impressive, but even more so his habit of flying his own plane to Quimper. In this and many other ways he was and remains unique. As I told the students: “Listen to Paul’s advice and one day you will fly your own plane.”
What is happening to Earth’s climate needs attention NOW!
Two charts recently from the BBC News.
The 10 years to the end of 2019 have been confirmed as the warmest decade on record by three global agencies.
According to Nasa, Noaa and the UK Met Office, last year was the second warmest in a record dating back to 1850. The past five years were the hottest in the 170-year series, with the average of each one more than 1C warmer than pre-industrial.
The Met Office says that 2020 is likely to continue this warming trend.2016 remains the warmest year on record, when temperatures were boosted by the El Niño weather phenomenon.
This is the reality.
It affects every part of the world and it affects everyone. BUT! We, as in you and me, and everyone else, still haven’t got it.
The recent COP26 was progress and, especially, the next convention being held in a year’s time is important. But it is a long way from where we need to be. A very long way.
Patrice Ayme is someone that I follow and there have been times when I have gladly republished his posts. With his permission I should add.
Abstract: Expected rise of temperature in mountains correspond to a seven degree C rise. This informs global heating: in the long run, it will also be 7C. Large systems (Antarctica, Greenland) have greater thermal inertia, so their temperatures rise slower… But they will rise as much. In other words the so-called “forcing” by man-made greenhouse gases (which corresponds to 600 ppm of CO2) is universal, but the smaller the system, the faster the temperature rise…
Geographical systems with little thermal inertia (mountain glaciers) show an accelerated rate of heating of these parts which is only compatible with a seven (7) degrees rise in Celsius by 2100… A rise the IPCC of the UN considers impossible… But INERTIA says that it IS happening. The first thing this implies is that most forests will burn… worldwide. Then the ice shelves in Antarctica will follow.
TEMPS RISING ULTRA FAST IN MOUNTAINS
Anybody familiar with mountains worldwide know that temperatures are rising extremely fast: large glaciers I used to know have completely disappeared.. As in Chacaltaya, Bolivia. Or Portage, Alaska. The closest glacier to an Alpine village I went to as a child has been replaced by a larch forest (melezes)… One reason for this is that mountains are smaller in frozen mass than immense ensembles like Greenland and Antarctica. Moreover, the mountains’ permafrost is not as cold.
From 1984 to 2017, the upper reaches of the fires in the Sierra Nevada of California rose more than 1,400 feet. Now the temperature in the lower atmosphere decreases by 7C every 1,000 meters. There are many potential factors to explain why fires go higher (although some contradict each other). To avoid paralysis by analysis, I will assume the rise in fires is all due to temperature rise. So what we have here is a 2.5C rise in 33 years.
….FROM SMALLER THERMAL INERTIA:
Mountain thermal capacity is accordingly reduced relative to those of Greenland and Antarctica. The proportionality factors are gigantic. Say the permafrost of a mountain range is of the order of 10^4 square kilometers, at a depth of one kilometer (typical of the Sierra Nevada of California or the Alps at a temp of -3C. By comparison, Antarctica is 14x 10^6 sq km at a depth of 4 kilometers of permafrost at a temp of -30C. Thinking in greater depth reveals the proportions to be even greater: individual mountains are of the order of square kilometers. This means that (using massively simplified lower bounds), Antarctica has a mass of cold which is at least 4 orders of magnitude higher than a mountain range: to bring Antarctica to seriously melt, as mountain ranges are right now, would require at least 10,000, ten thousand times, as much heat (or maybe even a million, or more, when considering individual mountains).
As it is, mountains are exposed to a heat bath which makes their permafrost unsustainable. From their small thermal inertia, mountains warm up quickly. Greenland and Antarctica, overall, are exposed to the same bath, the same “forcing”, but because they are gigantic and gigantically cold, they resist more: they warm up, but much slower (moreover as warmer air carries more snow, it snows more while Antarctica warms up).
I have looked, in details at glaciologists records, from the US to Europe… Everywhere glaciologists say the same thing: expect a rise of the permafrost line of 1,000 meters… That corresponds to a SEVEN DEGREE CENTIGRADE RISE. Basically, while glaciers were found down to 2,500 meters in the Alps (some can still be seen in caves)… Expect that, in a few decades, none will occur below 3,500 meters… Thus speak the specialists, the glaciologists…
What is happening then, when most climate scientists speak of holding the 1.5 C line (obviously completely impossible, even if humanity stopped emitting CO2 immediately)???… Or when they admit that we are on a 2.7C future in 2100? Well, those scientists have been captured by the establishment… They say what ensure their prosperous careers… At a global rise of 2.7 C, we get a migration of the permafrost line of around 500 kilometers towards the poles… Catastrophic, yes, but still, Antarctica will not obviously start to melt, big time.
If it came to light that a seven degree centigrade rise is a real possibility, authorities would turn around and really do some things, which may destabilize the worldwide plutocratic establishment: carbon tariffs are an obvious example. Carbon tariffs could be imposed next week… and they would have a big impact of the CO2 production. So why are carbon tariffs not imposed? Carbon tariffs would destabilize the deindustrialization gravy train: by employing who are basically slaves in poor countries, plutocrats make themselves ever wealthier, while making sure there would be no insurrection at home… A trick already used in imperial Rome, by the Senatorial aristocracy/plutocracy. That would be highly effective… By the way, without saying so, of course, and maybe even unwittingly, this is basically what Trump had started to do…
The devil has these ways which the commons do not possess…
That would stop the crafty, dissembling nonsense that countries such as France are at 4.6 tons per capita of CO2 emissions per year… That’s only true when all the CO2 emitted to produce the goods the French need is NOT counted.. including deforestation in Brazil to grow soybean. With them counted, one gets to 11 tons or so, more than double… The wonderful graph of CO2 emissions collapsing in Europe is the same graph as collapsing industrial production…
The devil has these ways the commons have not even detected…
Carbon tariffs would be a way to solve two wrongs in one shot: the wrong of deindustrialization, of corrupt pseudo-leaders not putting the most advanced countries, their own countries, first… And the wrong of producing too much CO2.
Little fixes will go a long way, as long as they incorporate hefty financing fundamentally researching new energy (it does not really matter which type, as long as it is fundamental…)
Now this isn’t some academic treatise that doesn’t affect the likes of you and me. This is, as I have said, the harsh reality of NOW!
Here’s a photo of me and Jeannie together with Andy and Trish taken in March, 2018. On the edge of Crater Lake.
Then this is a stock photograph of Crater Lake taken in March, 2020.
Not a great deal of difference but the trees in the photo above aren’t encased in snow as is the tree in the 2018 photo.
Now there is important news to bring you from COP 26. On Sunday Boris Johnson said:
Scientists say this would limit the worst impacts of climate change.
During a Downing Street news conference, Mr Johnson said:
“We can lobby, we can cajole, we can encourage, but we cannot force sovereign nations to do what they do not wish to do”
“For all our disagreements, the world is undeniably heading in the right direction”
The “tipping point has been reached in people’s attitudes” – with leaders “galvanised and propelled by their electorates”
But “the fatal mistake now would be to think that we in any way cracked this thing”
Mr Johnson said that despite the achievements of the summit, his reaction was “tinged with disappointment”.
He said there had been a high level of ambition – especially from countries where climate change was already “a matter of life and death”.
And “while many of us were willing to go there, that wasn’t true of everybody”, he admitted.But he added the UK could not compel nations to act. “It’s ultimately their decision to make and they must stand by it.”
That point about attitudes is interesting. Who would have thought, say, five years ago, that attitudes had changed so dramatically by late-2021.
One hopes that we will come to our collective senses but I can’t see the CO2 index being returned to its normal range without machines taking the excessive CO2 out of the atmosphere. Because, as was quoted on The Conversation nearly a year ago:
On Wednesday this week, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was measured at at 415 parts per million (ppm). The level is the highest in human history, and is growing each year.
Finally, my daughter, Maija, and my son-in-law, Marius, had a child some ten years ago. He is my grandson and I left England before he was born. He is Morten and he is a bright young spark.
Morten and all the hundreds of thousands of young persons like him are going to have to deal with the world as they find it!
August 13, 2021 — Wet Noses Natural Dog Treat Company of Monroe, Washington, is recalling approximately 51,000 packages of Simply Nourish frozen dog food due to it elevated levels of Vitamin D.
What’s Being Recalled?
Recalled products are marketed in 2-pound and 4.5-pound packages across specific “Best By” dates.
A full list of affected products is included below:
Affected Simply Nourish frozen food products were distributed at select PetSmart stores nationwide.
No illnesses have been reported to date. No other products have been affected.
About Vitamin D Toxicity in Dogs
Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.
Vitamin D when consumed at very high levels or over a long period of time can lead to serious health issues in dogs… including kidney failure and death.
Consumers who have dogs that have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.
What Caused the Recall?
The recall was initiated after a routine nutrition test confirmed elevated Vitamin D levels on certain Simply Nourish frozen food products.
Subsequent investigation indicates the problem arose as a result of the vitamin mix dosage being significantly reduced by the vitamin mix manufacturer, and this change was not detected or properly communicated.
As a result, the dosage was not reduced.
We care deeply about our customers and their pets, and have put corrective actions into place to ensure this issue does not reoccur.
This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
What to Do?
Consumers should immediately stop feeding the above products to their dogs.
Consumers who have purchased Simply Nourish Frozen Food are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-938-6673 Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm PST.
Once more I do not know what to say. Except, of course, to be careful and if the slightest doubt crosses your mind in terms of what you are feeding your dog(s) then please check the Dog Food Reviews and Ratings by Brand list.
The following came in on the 30th July and I made the decision to wait until today to share it with you all.
Six Dog Food Brands Recalled Due to Dangerous Mold Toxin
July 29, 2021 — Sunshine Mills is recalling six dog food brands due to dangerouslevels of aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin is a potentially deadly toxin produced by Aspergillus mold (typically found on corn)… and which can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant amounts.
To date, no illnesses have been reported in association with the related products. No other Sunshine Mills pet foods are affected by this announcement.
The affected products were distributed in retail stores nationally.
Retailers who received the recalled lots have been contacted and asked to pull these lots from their inventory and shelves.
There are no other Triumph®, Evolve®, Wild Harvest®, Nurture Farms®, Pure Being®, or Elm products or other lot codes of these products affected by this recall.
Message from the Company
“While no adverse health effects related to these products have been reported, Sunshine Mills, Inc. has chosen to issue a voluntary recall of the above-referenced products as a precautionary measure in furtherance of its commitment to the safety and quality of its products.”
What to Do?
Pets that have consumed any of the above recalled products and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.
Consumers who have purchased the recalled dog food should discontinue use of the product… and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service at 800-705-2111 from 7 am to 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.
Or by email at email@example.com for additional information.
This is a voluntary recall being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.