Category: Cats

The End of Ice – A review

Background

On January 21st this year I republished a post by Tom Engelhardt and called it The song this planet needs to hear. His post was essentially a piece written for Tom by Dahr Jamail. It was called A Planet in Crisis and it included reference to a recently published book The End of Ice.

Subsequently, I decided to order the book by Dahr Jamail, it arrived a week ago and I ended up finishing it last Saturday.

I was minded to publish a review of the book, and here it is:

The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail

This is a book that I wished I had not read.

Yet, this is a book that once started I wanted to finish, and finish quickly.

It’s a brilliant book. Very impressive and very readable.  But I speak of it from a technical point-of-view.

Now that I have finished it life will never be quite the same again. Nor, for that matter, for anyone else who chooses to read it.

Dahr Jamail has a background as a reporter, with some other books under his belt. But his reporting skills really come to the fore with The End Of Ice. For he has travelled the world speaking to experts in their own field and listening to what they say about the future prognosis of the planet that you and I, and everyone else lives on.

Earth has not seen current atmospheric CO2 levels since the Pliocene, some 3 million years ago. Three-quarters of that CO2 will still be here in five hundred years. Given that it takes a decade to experience the full warming effects of CO2 emissions, we are still that far away from experiencing  the impact of all the CO2 that we are currently emitting. (p.5)

And if you are below the age of 60 or thereabouts you are going to experience this changing world head on. To be honest, whatever age you are things are starting to change.

Take this:

We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into our oceans, nor the 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening, and far worse things are coming. (p.218)

It really is a grim read. A grim but necessary read.

The eight chapters in the book spell out what is already happening. The diminishing glaciers and rising snow levels, the loss of coral, the rise in sea level and the loss of vast tracts of land as a consequence. Then there is the future of forests around the world. As I said, it is a grim read but a necessary one.

Towards the end of the book Dahr Jamail quotes author and storyteller Stephen Jenkinson:

“Grief requires us to know the time we’re in,” Jenkinson continues. “The great enemy of grief is hope. Hope is a four-letter word for people who are willing to know things for what they are. Our time requires us to be hope-free. To burn through the false choice of being hopeful and hopeless. They are the two sides of the same con job. Grief is required to proceed.” (p. 218)

Upon finishing this superb book, that you really do need to read, the one emotion that I was left with was grief. For what we have done to this planet. For what we are doing to this one and only home of ours.

Grief.

P.S. Dogs would not have done this to our beautiful planet.

A good news story!

We welcome with open arms this change in the law!

From the BBC.

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Californian law change means pet shops can sell only rescued animals

December 30th, 2018.

It is hoped the law will encourage pet adoptions.

California is set to become the first state in the US to ban the sale of non-rescue animals in pet shops.

The new law, known as AB 485, takes effect on 1 January. Any businesses violating it face a $500 (£400) fine.

The change means cats, dogs and rabbits sold by retailers cannot be sourced from breeders, only from animal shelters.

Animal rights groups have heralded it as a step forward against so-called “kitten factories” and “puppy mills”.

They say the current “high-volume” industries, where pets are bred for profit, can lead to inhumane treatment and long-term emotional and physical health problems in some animals.

The new state-wide law, approved in late 2017, will now require shops to maintain sufficient records of where they sourced each animal, for periodic checks by authorities.

It does not, however, affect sales from private breeders or owner-to-owner sales.

Some Californian shop owners have raised concern the law could put them out of business. The measure has also seen resistance from the American Kennel Club, which said it limits pet owners.

According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates, more than 6.5 million pets enter shelters across the country every year, of which about 1.5 million are put down.

It is estimated that more than than 860,000 cats are euthanised in the US every year

The California assembly member who introduced the legislation, Patrick O’Donnell, has insisted the legislation is not just “a big win” for “four-legged friends”, but for California taxpayers too, as they spend hundreds of millions on sheltering animals across the state.

A couple hoping to adopt a cat from a San Diego shelter on Friday, told NBC News the move was a step forward for the state.

“It takes the emphasis off the profit of animals and puts the emphasis back on caring for and getting these cats and dogs a good home,” prospective owner Mitch Kentdotson said.

AB 485 is the first state-wide law of its kind, although other places have enacted similar regulations on pet sales on a local level.

Earlier this month, a similar ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales was confirmed in England.

Lucy’s law, named after a mistreated cavalier King Charles spaniel, also aims to combat low-welfare animal breeding.

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Slowly but surely we are recognising that these animals are more, much more, than ‘belongings‘.

Dogs and seasonal affective disorder.

Back to dogs!

After yesterday’s giant essay I return to something to do with dogs. Albeit, a subject that is in the range of controversial – seasonal affective disorder. As published by Mother Nature Network.

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Can pets get seasonal affective disorder?

Winter can be as hard on pets as it is on people.

SIDNEY STEVENS,  November 12, 2018

If your dog’s mood takes a nosedive when the days grow shorter, it may be a case of seasonal affective disorder. (Photo: Tim Dawson Photography/Wikimedia Commons)

During the shorter, darker days of winter many of us turn lethargic and gloomy. But seasonal affective disorder (SAD) isn’t just a human affliction. The animals we share our lives with may also suffer from something akin to the “winter blues.”

Here’s what experts know about SAD in pets and what you can do to alleviate it. (Hint: Some of the same things that counteract seasonal depression in people also work for our four-legged companions.)

SAD pets

Starting in fall as the days get shorter and sunlight levels decline, many people notice their mood begins to dip. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, SAD isn’t just a weather-related funk, but a type of depression that fluctuates with the seasons and causes unpleasant symptoms like sluggishness, increased appetite, depression, social withdrawal and even suicidal thoughts in the most severe cases. It’s believed that lower light levels prompt a decline in the feel-good brain hormone serotonin and boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

No surprise then that pets, with their similar brain chemistry, may also suffer from the same kind of seasonal hormonal havoc.

Not a lot of research has been done on pets, but a survey by a veterinary charity in the U.K. called the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) found that one in three dog owners noticed their pooch seemed down during the winter months. Symptoms ranged from aggressive behavior, inappropriate soiling and less interest in going for walks to lethargy, demand for more attention and increased sleep.

Like humans, cats may suffer from SAD during the winter months and require extra light and activity to head it off. (Photo: Bondesgaarde/Flickr)

Cats also apparently get the winter blues. One-third of cat owners in the same survey said their felines seemed glum in the winter and about one-quarter said their pet ate more.

Is it real?

There’s plenty of evidence that animals suffer from physical afflictions related to seasonal sun deprivation. One is called light responsive alopecia (fur loss that occurs in certain dog breeds during the winter months). But there’s not yet any hard science on whether pets actually experience SAD. Remember, the U.K. study was subjective, based on pet owners’ perceptions rather than rigorous research.

One alternate explanation for SAD-like symptoms in cats and dogs is that they’re picking up on the blue moods of their owners. Studies show that dogs, in particular, recognize human emotions and respond to them.

Or perhaps pets are merely bored during the winter months when they can’t get outside as much. Lack of physical and mental stimulation may push them into listlessness.

Remedies for winter doldrums

Getting pets outside for a regular dose of sunshine during shorter winter days can boost their mood and help ward off SAD. (Photo: Matthias Zirngibl/Wikimedia Commons)

Whether pets are prone to SAD like humans are or they slip into a seasonal slump for other reasons, there are ways to keep their spirits high during the chilly season. In fact, the same fixes that help people beat winter depression might also help their animal companions maintain a brighter mood. Here are some simple things you and your pet can try together.

More indoor light. Open your curtains and shades during the day to let in natural light. Position your pet’s bed near a sunny window and be sure to hang out there, too. Also consider light therapy that mimics sunlight. Buy a full-spectrum light box that covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near-ultraviolet and plant yourself and your pet in front of it for 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Providing pets with more love and indoor fun during SAD season is good for their well-being — and yours. (Photo: pandabearphotography/Flickr)

Spend quality indoor time together. Engage your pet more when you’re inside during the winter months with new toys, extra play and increased cuddle time. Multitask by enjoying these activities in front of the light box.

Enjoy the outdoors. Take advantage of mood-boosting sunny days by letting your pet go outside during peak daylight hours. Better yet, join in for a romp in the yard or a walk in the park (cats can be leash trained). Outdoor time has the added advantage of allowing pets (and you) to exercise, take in stimulating neighborhood sights and socialize with other people and animals. All are known blues busters.

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Whether or not pets suffer from this disorder isn’t really known, “Whether pets are prone to SAD like humans are or they slip into a seasonal slump for other reasons, ” the fact remains that the winter months for some dogs do have the cause to provide a slump. Whether you have one pets or quite a few, keep a close watch of them and love them through and through.

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Sixty-Six

A look at some of the prize winners of the 23rd annual Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Award

Taken from here. (And I hope the copyrights aren’t being infringed by me sharing them.)

Silver Fox, Northern Washington, USA by Tin Man Lee (Winner for “Wildlife”): “I spent a week with this fox family after a friend shared the location.” (© Tin Man Lee, courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards)

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Serval, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya by Richard Peters: “It paused for a moment, ready to pounce at a butterfly passing by.” (© Richard Peters, courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards)

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Cheetah, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya by Andy Rouse: “I had been following this family in the Maasai Mara for two weeks and loved their displays of intimacy.” (© Andy Rouse, courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards.)

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Gentoo Penguins, Antarctic Peninsula by Anil Sud: “I spotted two chicks being fed by their parents.” ( (c) Anil Sud, courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Intermediate Awards)

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Filtering Giants (vimeo,com (259502508), Isle Mujeres, Mexico by Howard and Michele Hall (Winner for “Video Nature in Motion”): “How these animals know when and where the fish will spawn is a mystery.” Courtesy of Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards.

Wonderful!

A dog food recall for you!

This came in while we were away.

G & C Dog and Cat Food Recall Expands to Include Multiple Brands

October 24, 2018 — G & C Raw of Versailles, Ohio, is recalling all products lots manufactured from February 27, 2018 through July 20, 2018, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Affected products are sold under the brand names G & C Raw Dog Food and G & C Raw Cat Food and sold through direct distribution to customers.

Product Image

No product images have been provided by either the company or the Food and Drug Administration.

About Listeria

Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in animals eating the products.

Furthermore, there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes infections can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

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

Pets with Listeria monocytogenes infections are rare, and pets may display symptoms such as mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervous, muscular and respiratory signs, abortion, depression, shock, and death.

In addition to the possibility of becoming sick, such infected animals can shed Listeria monocytogenes through their feces onto their coats and into the home environment and thus serve as sources of infection to humans and other animals in the household.

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

Where Was Product Distributed?

Recalled products were distributed by direct delivery and may have been sent to the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

What’s Being Recalled?

The manufacture dates are included at the end of the lot number.

For example, the pet food product manufactured on February 27, 2018 has a lot code of that ends with 022718.

The company is now recalling all products with lot numbers that end in 022718 through 072018.

The recalled dog food products include:

  • Beef Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Beef Dog Food
  • Sliced Beef Heart Dog Food
  • Ground Beef Heart Dog Food
  • Kim’s Special Beef Organ Dog Food
  • Ground Chicken Dog Food
  • Chicken Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Chicken Mix Patties Dog Food
  • Duck Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Duck Dog Food
  • Ground Rabbit Dog Food
  • Rabbit Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Lamb Dog Food
  • Lamb Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Beef Pancreas Dog Food
  • Beef Liver Chunks Dog Food
  • Beef Sweet Breads Dog Food
  • Ground Pork Dog Food
  • Pork Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Shelby’s Pork Organ Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Pollock Dog Food
  • Turkey Veggie Mix Dog Food
  • Ground Turkey Dog Food
  • Tripe Dog Food

The recalled cat food products include:

  • Pat’s Cat Beef
  • Pat’s Cat Chicken
  • Pat’s Cat Turkey
  • Pat’s Cat Duck
  • Pat’s Cat Rabbit

No confirmed illnesses have been reported to date.

What Caused the Recall?

The recall was initiated as the result of a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which revealed that some finished products contained the bacteria.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased the products are urged to return them to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, OH, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact G & C Raw at 937-827-0010 from 9 to 5 pm Easter Time or by email at mgcrawdogfood@yahoo.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.

You keep all your dogs safe out there!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight

The last of dear Su’s photos.

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So, so beautiful! Especially loved the photo of the chimp bottle feeding the tiger.

How about your favourite?

P.S. Later on yesterday, at 13 minutes past 4pm to be precise, we had rain. Thus ended 111 days without rain.

Then shortly after we had eaten supper and I was washing the dishes, I looked up to see the most beautiful rainbow over the hills to the East of us.

This photo doesn’t do it justice!

Saturday Smile

Another great news item about our wonderful wildlife.

This update about the Tiger population in Nepal was read on Mother Nature Network yesterday. Coming so soon after the positive news about the wolf population once again I wanted to share it with you!

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Tiger population rebounds, nearly doubling in Nepal

By Mary Jo Dilonardo, September 26th, 2018.

Photo: Amy Fitzmaurice/Living with Tigers

The number of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled over the past nine years as a result of conservation efforts. A survey carried out earlier this year found 235 tigers in Nepal, up from just 121 in 2009.

To count the tigers, conservationists and wildlife experts used more than 4,000 cameras, traveling a 2,700-kilometer (1,700-mile) route across Nepal’s southern plains where most of the big cats are found.

“This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told AFP.

Nepal and a dozen other countries signed the 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan, pledging to double their tiger populations by 2022. Since then, the tiger population — which has been decimated by deforestation, loss of habitat and poaching — has begun to show positive changes. The World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum announced in 2016 that the wild tiger population had grown for the first time in more than 100 years, according to AFP.

Co-existing in harmony

A tiger comes in for a close-up, thanks to a camera trap in Bardia National Park in Nepal. (Photo: Amy Fitzmaurice/Living with Tigers)

Although this news is obviously heartening, there’s a challenge that comes hand in hand with the growth: making sure people and tigers co-exist safely. A team of conservation scientists from the Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom is working with groups such as Green Governance Nepal to reduce conflict between tigers and residents.

The Living with Tigers project uses methods such as predator-proof livestock pens and changes in livestock management practices to help lessen the risk of tiger attacks on livestock and people.

“It is wonderful news for the entire conservation community around the globe and it demonstrates that ambitious conservation goals can be achieved when governments, conservation partners and local communities work together,” said Kiran Timalsina, chairperson of Green Governance Nepal.

“It also highlights the need for more concentrated efforts particularly focusing on human-tiger conflict mitigation to bring about conditions where tigers and the local communities with whom they share the landscape could coexist.”

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Don’t know about you but I feel I can handle a great deal of bad stuff about these present times so long as news items such as this come along on a regular basis!

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!

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.

ooOOoo

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!