Category: Food

Keeping your dog safe and happy.

Without breaking the bank!

Another very useful guest post from Penny Martin who is becoming a very regular contributor to this place. This time Penny writes about being on a budget, aren’t we all, but still keeping your dog safe and happy.

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Image: Pexels

Six Ways to Make Your Home and Yard Dog-Friendly on a Budget

By Penny Martin.

Dogs add many wonderful things to their owners’ lives; however, owning a dog can be a drain on your bank account. According to statistics, the average American dog owner spends $1,480 per year on dog expenses. These tips can help you make your home and yard more dog-friendly without breaking the bank.

1. Add a Fence

Dogs need exercise, a place to go to the bathroom and a chance to sniff around and be a dog. However, if you don’t have a yard with a secure fence, it isn’t safe to allow your dog outside without a leash. Even a well-trained dog may run off to chase a squirrel, greet a strange dog or go exploring. This puts your dog at risk of being hit by a car, getting in a fight with another dog or animal or becoming lost. Adding a fence to your yard allows you to enjoy time with your pet off leash without risking your pet’s safety.

2. Add a Backyard Pool

Not every dog loves to swim, but many do. You can give your dog a place to cool off and have some fun without spending a lot of money by purchasing a wading pool or a small stock tank. If you think your dog would enjoy more than splashing around, search for a dog-friendly place in your area where you can inexpensively take your dog to swim. However, don’t just toss your pup into the deep end. Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Many facilities that have pools for dogs offer swimming lessons.

3. Create Shady Spots

Dogs love to run and play and on hot days they can easily overheat. Help your dogs stay cool by making sure they have plenty of shady spots to hang out. One inexpensive way to do this is to purchase a portable awning. You can set the awning up anywhere in your yard and put it away when you no longer need it. Trees are also a good source of shade, but it is important to keep your trees maintained.

4. Remove Dead Trees and Branches

Dead trees create a safety hazard and provide a home for pests. Have a professional local tree service remove any dead trees and branches in your yard before they cause an injury or accident. Do not try to remove the tree yourself. Professionals have the right gear, tools and safety training to remove the tree safely and without damaging your property. Read online reviews before you reach out to contractors. Get at least three estimates and make sure to ask whether stump grinding and disposal are included in the price.

5. Buy Trash Cans With Lids

Trash cans are smelly, full of tasty food and plenty of stuff to shred. It is no wonder that most dogs love to root through them. However, spoiled food, sharp objects or toxic materials can injure or sicken your dog. Avoid this problem by purchasing trash cans with lids that lock. 

6. Remove Dangerous Plants

Many plants can be harmful to dogs who ingest them. Research the plants in your yard and remove any that could cause a problem.

Owning dogs is not a cheap endeavor. However, you can make your home safe and comfortable for them without spending all your savings by adding a fence and pool, creating shady spots, removing dead trees, purchasing garbage cans with lockable lids, and getting rid of poisonous plants.

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Here at home, because we live in a rural location, dead trees and branches are an ever-present problem. Luckily our dogs don’t seem to be drawn to them but the issue of pests is a different matter. We have thirteen acres of which half is forest and it is all too much for a contractor. Correction: It is all too expensive for us!

For the wider audience of readers this, I am sure, offers very good advice and is another great post from Penny.

Time waits for no man!

Tik: Tok – The Endless Clock.

Here we are on the last day of June and I am going to share a post with you in a few minutes. But I just wanted ahead of that to muse about the passing of time. I’m 77 and who knows how long I have to go before I die. Luckily Oregon is one of the States that has a right do die statute on the books. It is a strange phenomena this business of time. It is a constant but from a personal point of view it seems to be anything but that. Twenty or thirty years ago one thought that time was almost limitless. Now it seems very fragile and restless.

This thought comes to me because of Pebbles. Apparently he is the oldest living dog. Here is the story courtesy of The Dodo.

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A New ‘Oldest Living Dog’ Has Just Claimed The Title

The toy fox terrier is living the good life in South Carolina.

By Ellen Schmidt

Published on the 7th June, 2022

Turns out there’s competition when it comes to who’s truly the oldest living dog. A toy fox terrier named Pebbles just unseated TobyKeith, a 21-year-old Chihuahua, who held the title for only a month.

When news broke in April of TobyKeith’s appointment, Pebbles’ pet parents, Bobby and Julie Gregory of Taylors, South Carolina, realized their dog was even older than TobyKeith. So, the couple decided to apply for the title, and at 22 years, 50 days old, Pebbles was officially crowned “Oldest Dog Living” by Guinness World Records.

In response to Pebbles’ new status, Julie Gregory told Guinness World Records, “We are truly honored. Pebbles has been with us through everything; ups and downs, good times and bad, and she has always been the beacon of our lives.”

Weighing in at 4 pounds, the brand-new oldest living dog winner was adopted over 20 years ago, and according to the Gregorys, it was love at first sight. Originally looking for a larger dog, the couple came across Pebbles in their search for a new pet.

“She was jumping and barking so much at Bobby that he had no choice but to pick her up and check her out,” Julie Gregory said.

Flash forward over two decades later, Pebbles was already wearing an unofficial crown before Guinness World Records made it official. The much-loved terrier enjoys sleeping in (and staying up late!), snuggling underneath blankets, listening to country music and taking warm baths — a bubble bath was even part of her 22nd birthday celebration!

Pebbles has enjoyed a wonderful life thanks to good health and lots of love and attention from her pet parents. While she did enjoy snacking on some ribs and dog-friendly cake for her birthday, in general, Pebbles sticks to a healthy diet and is in good health for her advanced age.

Pebbles’ mom said that her secret to supporting pet longevity is to treat each animal, “like family, because they are. Give them a happy, positive environment as much as possible, good clean food, and proper healthcare.”

That pretty much sums it up, right? We like Gregory’s thinking. And by the way, no matter your pup’s age, we think it’s safe to say that all dogs should get to wear a crown, just for being awesome (we’re looking at you, TobyKeith).

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(All photographs Instagram/Pebbles_Since_2000)

Twenty-two! Huge congratulations to Pebbles and her Mom and Dad.

An insight into Parkinson’s

Funny how things turn up!

On the morning of the 1st June I read the latest from the Parkinson’s Foundation. It was a report that covered Can We Put the Brakes on Parkinson’s Progression? Essentially it said that diet and exercise were key. I quote:

Making nutritious food the mainstay of your meals and enjoying regular exercise has countless proven benefits. Studies show targeted nutrition may slow Parkinson’s advancement. Eating a whole-food, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet — including fresh vegetables, fruit and berries, nuts, seeds, fish, olive and coconut oils and more — may be linked to slower PD progression. When you live with PD, exercise is also critical to optimal health. In fact, the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project shows at least 2.5 hours a week of physical activity can slow PD symptom progression. Research reveals regular exercise also shows neuroprotective effects in animal models with Parkinson’s.

I showed the article to Jean. Later that morning Jean had her regular visit with Doctor David Tullar at our local Asante hospital. He is described on the Asante website as: David is a certified physician assistant with specialized expertise in neurology. But Jean sees him more as a neurologist in her own mind. I attend the appointment just to listen to David for we find him a most interesting man.

Here are some of the key messages from that meeting:

  • Parkinson’s is not a disease, it is a life condition. Just the same as diabetes. One doesn’t call it diabetes disease! These life conditions will be there at the end of life. Some people escape them, some do not.
  • Levodopa produces dopamine. It needs to be taken consistently. Levodopa is not taken at night because the brain requires far less dopamine because the brain is far less active. Don’t skip your doses.
  • Lifestyle does make a real difference. A non-meat diet and exercise really do make a difference with exercise being key. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week split into 20 minutes a day. Try to do more!
  • Having a dog extends your life and there is evidence that this is so. So love a dog and be loved by your dog back in return.
  • Make your lifestyle changes as early as you can.
  • An excellent resource of information is the Davis Phinney Foundation. The Foundation has an audio download of the book Every Victory Counts. You can also purchase the book from booksellers.

Then David Tullar turned to the question of freezing. Freezing when one has Parkinson’s is the temporary, involuntary inability to move. For Jean this happens occasionally in the kitchen area especially when she goes to turn around. David recommended practising ‘freezing’ where Jean deliberately stops what she is doing and actively ‘trembles’ on the spot.

The other thing was that while the cause of freezing is unknown, David said that the likelihood was that the brain became overwhelmed with extra, different thoughts when Jean was turning. Most likely with other thoughts that were in her inner mind. Such as what she was she turning for? Maintaining a balance? Doing things with her arms or hands?

In other words Jean was thinking about other stuff! All of these thinking processes were exercising the brain, of course, and the amount of brain power devoted to just the business of turning was smaller than it should be.

Answer: Focus on the business of turning first and foremost. Complete the turn and then think of the next item.

For other people who also suffer from Parkinson’s and have different spots in their lives where they freeze, then the advice from Dr. David Tullar is the same. Focus only on what you are doing at that moment.

For example some of his patients freeze when they are walking through a doorway. Answer: Focus on a point that you are walking towards and do not think of anything else.

Here’s a YouTube video on the topic (and it is very short but you will get the idea):

In conclusion, this is nothing more than me reporting back from Jean’s meeting with Dr. Tullar. If this strikes you as sensible advice and you have Parkinson’s then see your doctor responsible for your condition and discuss it with him or her.

Finally a little more about David Tullar from the Asante website:

David is dedicated to providing advanced care to patients of all ages. He has a special interest in evaluating and treating neurological concerns such as headaches, dementia, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Services

  • Evaluating and treating patients with neurological health issues 
  • Treating headaches, dementia and movement disorders

What’s that noise?

A rather funny reason about what freaks out dogs!

I was searching my files for something light-hearted to post for today and came across this article.

For some reason I hadn’t really noticed that our dogs are bothered by their farts and, thanks to a broken nose years and years ago, I have a very poor sense of smell.

Anyway, I wanted to share the article with you.

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Why Do Dogs Get Scared Of Their Own Farts? 3 Reasons Passing Gas Spooks Them

Farts can be sooo scary for dogs sometimes 🤣

By Sam Howell

Published on the 13th April, 2022

Have you ever noticed that when your dog farts, he’ll jump up and just stare at his butt totally confused — and even a little spooked — by the gas that just came out?

It seems hard to believe that your pup can actually be caught off-guard by a totally normal bodily function that happens to him on the regular, but here we are. Another day, another fart that’s totally bamboozled your dog.

We spoke with Dr. Sara Ochoa, a small- and exotic-animal veterinarian in Texas and a veterinary consultant for doglab.com, to find out why dogs get scared of their own farts.

And there are a few reasons why your pup’s own flatulence might spook him.

Your dog didn’t know he farted

This might be hard for you to imagine, but there’s a decent chance that your dog just has no idea what a fart even is.

“Most dogs do not know what their farts are,” Dr. Ochoa told The Dodo. “They do not have the mental capacity to process that they just farted.”

Not only does your dog not understand the scientific concept of passing gas, but he also doesn’t expect this gas to be expelled from his body, even if it happens often.

“I think some dogs are surprised to know that some air just came out of them,” Dr. Ochoa said. “The air leaving them is a surprise to them and sometimes a smelly surprise for us.”

Your dog’s farts are loud

An unexpected loud noise can startle anyone, so if your dog rips a particularly noisy fart, he’s probably going to be a little confused and scared.

“Just like with people, some farts are louder and some farts are smellier,” Dr. Ochoa said.

And if you’re wondering why sometimes your dog’s farts are super loud, while others are the silent-but-deadly type, that simply has to do with how much air is coming out of him and how intensely it’s being expelled.

“The sound intensity of the fart is due to the amount of air and force behind the farts,” Dr. Ochoa said.

It happened at the same time as another bodily function

Have you ever sneezed and happened to fart at exactly the same time? (This is a safe space, no one’s judging you.) Well, it probably surprised you when you realized you broke a little wind while you sneezed, because you were only expecting one bodily function.

The same can happen to your dog, too.

“My little dog will commonly cough and fart at the same time, which scares her,” Dr. Ochoa said. “I don’t think she is expecting the fart. When she is coughing, everything just lets loose and she farts, scaring herself.”

Why does my dog fart so much?

It’s actually pretty natural for dogs to fart a bunch.

“Some dogs will fart every day, [and] other dogs will never fart,” Dr. Ochoa said. “I find dogs who snore also fart a lot.”

But if you noticed your pup’s farting a little too frequently, it’s probably related to what he ate. If he’s eaten something nasty or you recently changed his diet, his gastrointestinal (GI) system may need to adjust by releasing a bunch of gas.

Why do my dog’s farts smell so bad?

According to Dr. Ochoa, the reason your dog’s farts smell so bad is because he’s not exactly eating great-smelling food.

“Dog food does not smell like flowers, so the farts are also not going to smell good,” Dr. Ochoa said.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a great sign if he’s regularly passing some putrid gas. In fact, if your dog’s farts are particularly rancid all the time, you should call your vet just to make sure everything’s OK with his GI system.

So even though passing gas is a common occurrence for your pup, dogs still get scared of their farts because they don’t quite realize what’s going on. But at least you’ll always know exactly when it’s accurate to blame it on the dog.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.

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I hope you learnt something from this post; I certainly did.

See you on Sunday.

Transformation

A more positive view as to how the future will pan out.

I tend to be rather pessimistic about the future. Maybe it is my age, I don’t know. But a week ago I posted an article by Ophelia Benson called Cruising over the Edge.

For this week I am republishing another climate change article but one that has a positive outlook on where we are going.

Have a read and let me know your thoughts.

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Climate change will transform how we live, but these tech and policy experts see reason for optimism

Authors

  1. Robert Lempert Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
  2. Elisabeth Gilmore Associate Professor of Climate Change, Technology and Policy, Carleton University

Published April 18th, 2022

It’s easy to feel pessimistic when scientists around the world are warning that climate change has advanced so far, it’s now inevitable that societies will either transform themselves or be transformed. But as two of the authors of a recent international climate report, we also see reason for optimism.

The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discuss changes ahead, but they also describe how existing solutions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help people adjust to impacts of climate change that can’t be avoided.

The problem is that these solutions aren’t being deployed fast enough. In addition to push-back from industries, people’s fear of change has helped maintain the status quo. 

To slow climate change and adapt to the damage already underway, the world will have to shift how it generates and uses energy, transports people and goods, designs buildings and grows food. That starts with embracing innovation and change.

Fear of change can lead to worsening change

From the industrial revolution to the rise of social media, societies have undergone fundamental changes in how people live and understand their place in the world.

Some transformations are widely regarded as bad, including many of those connected to climate change. For example, about half the world’s coral reef ecosystems have died because of increasing heat and acidity in the oceans. Island nations like Kiribati and coastal communities, including in Louisiana and Alaska, are losing land into rising seas.

Other transformations have had both good and bad effects. The industrial revolution vastly raised standards of living for many people, but it spawned inequality, social disruption and environmental destruction.

People often resist transformation because their fear of losing what they have is more powerful than knowing they might gain something better. Wanting to retain things as they are – known as status quo bias – explains all sorts of individual decisions, from sticking with incumbent politicians to not enrolling in retirement or health plans even when the alternatives may be rationally better. 

This effect may be even more pronounced for larger changes. In the past, delaying inevitable change has led to transformations that are unnecessarily harsh, such as the collapse of some 13th-century civilizations in what is now the U.S. Southwest. As more people experience the harms of climate change firsthand, they may begin to realize that transformation is inevitable and embrace new solutions. 

A mix of good and bad

The IPCC reports make clear that the future inevitably involves more and larger climate-related transformations. The question is what the mix of good and bad will be in those transformations.

If countries allow greenhouse gas emissions to continue at a high rate and communities adapt only incrementally to the resulting climate change, the transformations will be mostly forced and mostly bad

For example, a riverside town might raise its levees as spring flooding worsens. At some point, as the scale of flooding increases, such adaptation hits its limits. The levees necessary to hold back the water may become too expensive or so intrusive that they undermine any benefit of living near the river. The community may wither away.

Riverside communities often scramble to raise levees during floods, like this one in Louisiana. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The riverside community could also take a more deliberate and anticipatory approach to transformation. It might shift to higher ground, turn its riverfront into parkland while developing affordable housing for people who are displaced by the project, and collaborate with upstream communities to expand landscapes that capture floodwaters. Simultaneously, the community can shift to renewable energy and electrified transportation to help slow global warming.

Optimism resides in deliberate action

The IPCC reports include numerous examples that can help steer such positive transformation.

For example, renewable energy is now generally less expensive than fossil fuels, so a shift to clean energy can often save money. Communities can also be redesigned to better survive natural hazards through steps such as maintaining natural wildfire breaks and building homes to be less susceptible to burning.

Costs are falling for key forms of renewable energy and electric vehicle batteries. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Land use and the design of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, can be based on forward-looking climate information. Insurance pricing and corporate climate risk disclosures can help the public recognize hazards in the products they buy and companies they support as investors.

No one group can enact these changes alone. Everyone must be involved, including governments that can mandate and incentivize changes, businesses that often control decisions about greenhouse gas emissions, and citizens who can turn up the pressure on both.

Transformation is inevitable

Efforts to both adapt to and mitigate climate change have advanced substantially in the last five years, but not fast enough to prevent the transformations already underway.

Doing more to disrupt the status quo with proven solutions can help smooth these transformations and create a better future in the process.

Disclosure statement

Robert Lempert receives funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation and Culver City Forward. He was coordinating lead author of the IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report, Chapter 1, and is affiliated with RAND Corp.; Harvard; SCoPEx (Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment) Independent Advisory Committee; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Decision Science and Analysis Technical Advisory Committee (TAC); Council on Foreign Relations; Evolving Logic; and the City of Santa Monica Commission on Environmental, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice.

Elisabeth Gilmore receives funding from Minerva Research Initiative administered by the Office of Basic Research and the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. She is affiliated with Carleton University, Rutgers University, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and was a lead author on the IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report.

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The article makes the proposition that fear gets in the way of change. I think this is true because I tend to be a person that goes around saying ‘what can be done’ or ‘it is down to governments to set the changes required’ but not taking action personally.

So this is wakeup call for me and many others to be more positive and to support those changes that are beneficial, and to undertake them ourselves if at all possible.

Keeping your dog happy!

A lovely and very useful guest post from Indi!

I am afraid I was too busy to prepare a post for last Tuesday but no-one seemed to notice!

Today’s post is another one of the gorgeous guest posts from Indiana Lee. It is perfect!

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How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy

Courtesy of Pixabay

A happy dog typically equates to a happy dog owner. With 1.5 million U.S. households owning at least one pet and nearly a third of all pet owners hailing from the younger millennial generation, it goes without saying that many Americans want their dogs to be happy.

If a member of your family has four legs and some fur, you probably count yourselves amongst the ranks of pet owners looking to raise a happy pup. Here are some basic tips to make sure that you’re helping your canine get everything they need to live a comfortable, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Cover the Basics

Before you start thinking too outside of the box, it’s worth putting a little effort into ensuring that your pup has all of the basic elements required for daily life. This generally centers around three primary areas:

  • Water: Your dog should always have access to water. Often dogs won’t drink unless they want to. Whenever they decide it’s time to lap up some H2O, they should have water easily accessible.
  • Food: Dog food is an obvious purchase, but you may want to do a little extra homework. Look for food with quality ingredients and as few fillers as possible. In addition, create a list of approved human foods, like carrots and cucumbers, that you can feed your pooch as a nice treat.
  • Exercise: Every dog needs consistent exercise. The specific amount depends on your dog’s breed and age. Make sure to schedule in time for your pet to stay fit.
  • Visit the vet: Finally, make sure you’ve set up regular vet visits. It’s wise to also find a good pet insurance option to help you handle any additional expenses that might crop up during a check-up.

Once you’ve covered these basics, you can start to consider additional ways to cultivate health and happiness in your dog.

Provide Outside Access

One of the simplest-yet-most-impactful pleasures that you can give a dog is allowing them access to the outside on a regular basis. Some dogs will only want to take in Mother Nature for short stints at a time. Others will spend hours at a time outdoors, especially when the weather is nice.

If you can let your dog out regularly, plan on doing so. If you have a contained yard where they can wander without supervision, consider giving them a doggy door sized for them to comfortably fit through, too. That way they can control the number of times they head outside.

Designate Spaces

Along with outside access, make sure your dog has their own indoor space. Chances are, your happy pup will want to spend plenty of time in your company. However, just like humans, there are occasions when a dog needs some alone time.

The best way to facilitate this is to give them their own designated space. This could be the corner of a room. If you have more space, set up an entire pet room for them to occupy when they want to. This can give them the perfect retreat if they’re tired from a long day or even overwhelmed during a social gathering or a similar event hosted at your house.

Cultivating a Happy Dog and a Happy Home

It’s already been said, but it’s worth saying again. A happy dog leads to a happy owner. That isn’t just a cute saying, either. People are literally known to live longer and have good mental health if they have a dog in their lives.

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What a very useful article and that last paragraph is spot on. Jean and I have never been happier. Yes, we are not as young as we were (and that’s saying something) but having our dogs is perfect. So to Brandy, Pede, Cleo, Oliver and Sheena (and all the dogs that went before them) thank you!

Finally, thank you again to Indi.

The world of fungi.

A stark contrast to where I was a week ago.

A good friend of mine, Peter McCarthy, back in the UK, said that he had recently gone on to a supplement called Lion’s Mane. It is a supplement for keeping the cognition working and maintaining good brain function. Peter also mentioned a film called Fantastic Fungi that was available on Netflix.

At home we have Netflix and we watched the film. It was incredible, almost beyond words.

If you want to watch the official trailer then here it is:

The film is about the power of Mycelium. Here is an extract from Fungi Perfecti:

The activities of mycelium help heal and steer ecosystems on their evolutionary path, acting as a recycling mechanism to nourish other members of the ecological communities. By cycling nutrients through the food chain, mycelial networks benefit the soil and allow surrounding networks of plants and animals to survive and thrive. 

Increasingly known as the “wood wide web”, mycelium can be found underfoot with nearly every footstep on a lawn, field, or forest floor. It has been concluded that as much as 90% of land plants are in a mutually beneficial relationship with mycelial networks. Without fungi – without mycelium – all ecosystems would fail.

Mycelium and mycological applications have enormous potential to benefit the health of both people and planet. We are committed to continuing our research efforts to find new and innovative ways to build bridges between mycological applications to both human and planetary health.

We can think of it in a way of finding the mother tree.

The film speaks of protecting the old-growth forest trees. So if you have old-growth trees nearby, do everything in your power to protect them.

Here is a report including a video on Suzanne Simard’s New Book.

Forest researcher and university professor Dr. Suzanne Simard has spent years studying trees. Her research led to the discovery that the forest’s plants and trees have an underground communication system, with trees and fungi cooperating. Her Ted talk brought her work to a larger audience, while her 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals shared her research findings with the larger science community. Now, she is releasing her first book Finding the Mother Tree, published by Penguin Random House.

This is not a book about how we can save the trees. This is a book about how the trees might save us’.

Please help!

I do not very often post a request, but…

I have known John Zande for quite a few years. It has been, what they call, a virtual relationship for we have never met in person. I do have John’s book The Superstitious Naked Ape and it is a first-rate read.

John recently sent me an email. It read:

Hi Paul — How are you both, and the clan? Weather station up and going? Still has not stopped raining here. The ground is beyond saturated, and many of our big old trees around here are just falling over, which is horrible.
Just got sent this link (below), and G asked me to send it on to people I know. To celebrate Betty White’s work with animals (and her 100th birthday, which sadly she’ll not have) her sister (in Australia) just started a short Gofundme for G and me here in Brazil. She’s good like that, and at this time of year (heaps of dumped dogs and cats after Christmas) everything helps. 

This is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-vista-verde-animals-fund

If one opens the link then one reads the following:

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On 17/01 Betty White would turn 100 years old. Most of her life she was an advocate for the health & welfare of animals. As a tribute to her legacy, there’s a global movement to send monies to all animal shelters (thanks to my amazing friend Heather C who brought that to my attention). My sister and her husband John live in Brazil and have been working tirelessly to take stray cats & dogs off the streets for over 15 years.

Their amazing work, as much as is rewarding & noble have absolutely no financial help from the local Government. Stray animals are definitely a public health issue and depend practically solely on the private initiative.

So I’m asking my friends here to donate (any amount will help) to my sister’s VISTA VERDE ANIMAL FUND. Every cent in this campaign will go towards helping fund rescuing stray cats & dogs in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil – where my family lives – have them spayed/neutered, nurtured back to health with whatever operations/medicines/treatment they need, house them, and, with luck, get them adopted out into loving homes.

As Betty White herself summed it up best: “Take responsibility and breathe kindness.” Thank you in advance. YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

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To view the photographs and, more importantly, to Donate! go here

We have joined thousands of others in making a modest donation!

The end of our present behaviours!

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.

Recently he published a post called Cataclysmic Seven Degree Centigrade Rise and I wanted to share it with you. Here is is:

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CATACLYSMIC SEVEN DEGREES CENTIGRADE RISE

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

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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…

Mount Hood, Oregon, in August 1901 on the left, and August 2015, on the right. The Eliot glacier, front and center, which used to sprawl for miles, is in the process of disappearing completely.

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. 

At 7C, the melting of the surrounding of Antarctica, including destabilization of West Antarctica, and the Aurora and Wilkes Basin can’t be avoided… They hold around 25 meters of sea level rise….

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…)

Patrice Ayme

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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.

Taken by Valerie Little

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

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!

Food miles!

It is more complicated than it first appears.

I saw this article on the Sustainability at Harvard website and read it with great interest. I wanted to republish it to share with you but couldn’t readily see a copyright statement or an instruction regarding republishing. I sent an email but I was warned that Harvard receive a great deal of emails every day and a reply might not be forthcoming.

So ….. I have made a decision. I will publish the article and hope that it doesn’t infringe the copyright.

Before I do that let me ‘promote’ Sustainability at Harvard by giving you a little from their About page.

Together we are building a healthier, more sustainable community

Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines making differences globally. While Harvard’s primary role is to address global challenges, such as climate change and sustainability, through research and teaching, the University is also focused on translating research into action. Harvard is using its campus as a living laboratory for piloting and implementing solutions that create a sustainable and resilient community focused on health and well-being.

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Do food miles really matter?

March 7, 2017

By Molly Leavens, College ’19

Leavens breaks down the nuances of how a food’s carbon footprint relates to the distance it travels from farm to plate.

The local food movement, with the goal of consuming food produced and grown within a close geographic region, has been gaining traction in recent years as a way of eating fresh and high quality foods and reducing one’s environmental impact. However, public messaging about the outcomes of this movement is divided and often leads to confusion and misunderstanding among consumers. This short article will attempt to break down some of the nuances of how a food’s carbon footprint relates to the distance it travels from farm to plate (commonly referred to as food miles).

So, do food miles really matter? Yes and no. 

For most American diets, the carbon cost of transportation is slight compared to the carbon costs of production (running the tractors, producing chemical fertilizer, pumping irrigation…). Therefore, the most effective way for most Americans to reduce their diet’s carbon footprint is not by buying local, but rather eliminating or reducing their consumption of animal products.

the most effective way for most Americans to reduce their diet’s carbon footprint is not by buying local, but rather eliminating or reducing their consumption of animal products. 

Cartoon by Harvard staff member, Mitra Farmand. www.mitrafarmand.com.

For a vegan, food miles contribute to a larger portion of their food’s carbon footprint. Plant-based foods have lower production footprints, so transportation is comparatively more significant. Even then, the raw mileage is hardly informative for determining carbon footprints; the mode of transportation is the key variable. Cargo ships are the most efficient, followed by trains, then trucks, and lastly planes.

That means a product flown from Chicago to Boston has a significantly larger carbon footprint than one shipped 11,000 miles from Asia to California.

Although exact numbers vary across analyses, flying one ton of food is close to 70 times more carbon intensive than transporting that same weight via a large cargo ship (source). That means a product flown from Chicago to Boston has a significantly larger carbon footprint than one shipped 11,000 miles from Asia to California. As a result, locality is more important for perishable foods that are often flown like raw fish, asparagus, and berries. Foods such as tomatoes, bananas, pears, and apples can all be harvested before ripening, stored for long periods of time, then inoculated with ethylene gas (the naturally occurring hormone produced by fruits that causes the change in color and flavor profile associated with ripening) before entering a supermarket. In many cases, these shelf-stable foods have lower carbon footprints when produced internationally because the carbon cost of production far outweighs that of transportation.

Another frequently cited comparison is that of lamb produced in England verses lamb produced in New Zealand. For a consumer in England, the New Zealand lamb actually has a lower carbon footprint. Our intuition failed us. Why? Sheep in New Zealand are generally raised on farms run by hydroelectric power. This energy saving is so immense that it overrides the fuel output of the 11,000 mile cruise to England (source).

A similar story unfolds here in Boston. Local meat production could be more carbon intensive because the animals must be housed in heated facilities during the cold winter months. For a large portion of the year, we are better off shipping in a tomato from South America than growing one in a local greenhouse.

A similar story unfolds here in Boston. Local meat production could be more carbon intensive because the animals must be housed in heated facilities during the cold winter months.   

Looking exclusively at carbon footprints neglects other important issues like water usage and farmer rights but it is none the less a valuable metric. Purchasing local food has many social benefits like boosting local economies, and increasing community cohesion and self-reliance. In conclusion, local food is not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but it is important for consumers to define the values they hope to support through their purchasing decisions and think critically about when and where local foods support those values.

 

Looking exclusively at carbon footprints neglects other important issues like water usage and farmer rights but it is none the less a valuable metric.

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Like so many things in life they are frequently more complicated than they first appear.