Category: People

Picture parade one hundred and forty-six

The third and final set of simply stunning photographs of the Grand Canyon.

These are from the website of Humbert & Shirley Fernandez and the first set was two weeks ago. The second set was last week.

21hermitrest
Hermits Rest

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Colorado River
Colorado River

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Muddy Water Rafting
Muddy Water Rafting

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Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon

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Winter
Winter

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Sky Walk
Sky Walk

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Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls

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F5e Fighter Planes over the G. Canyon.
F5e Fighter Planes over the G. Canyon.

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See what we can find for you for a week’s time.

You all take care out there!

All is takes is love!

Too easy to be very disheartened about us humans so this makes a wonderful contrast.

As seen on Mother Nature Network and republished to offer you all a ‘Saturday smile’.

Dolphin returns to the ocean with a helping hand from humans | MNN - Mother Nature Network
Dolphin returns to the ocean with a helping hand from humans | MNN – Mother Nature Network

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Dolphin returns to the ocean with a helping hand from humans

Noel Kirkpatrick May 4, 2016.

With a swish of his flipper, a dolphin named Octavius became the first to be rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild off Louisiana’s coast. The rescued dolphin returned to the Gulf of Mexico on April 29 after five months of rehabilitation and medical monitoring in Louisiana.

The process from rescue to release was spearheaded by the Audubon Nature Institute and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) with assistance from the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.

After receiving a call from a private citizen regarding a washed up dolphin on Grand Isle Beach, biologists from the LDWF headed for the scene in October 2015 to see if the dolphin could be saved.

“We had a short window to diagnose whether the animal could be released or brought back to Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) in New Orleans for treatment,” said Audubon’s Stranding and Rescue Coordinator Gabriella Vazquez. “He was lethargic and had short, shallow breaths. We attempted a soft release in the surf, but he showed no initiative to swim back into the Gulf.”

The dolphin was transported to FMASSC where the process to get him ready for reintroduction to the ocean began.

Determining if the dolphin — named Octavius in honor of the veterinarian working most with him — was ready for release was a multi-step process. Octavius was monitored for behavioral challenges, ranging from swimming and breathing to becoming reliant on and desensitized to humans. Octavius demonstrated no such issues.

“Dolphins are very intelligent animals. Over time, they can learn to associate humans and boats as a source for food, which is why it is illegal to feed them in the wild,” explained Mandy Tumlin, the Louisiana state stranding coordinator for marine mammals and sea turtles.

The next two steps Octavius had to clear dealt with his overall health. He demonstrated no signs of hearing impairment, a key component for dolphins’ survival. In addition to hearing, veterinarians checked Octavius’s blood for congenital defects or other medical problems that could make surviving in the wild more difficult.

Octavius passed all three of the steps related to release, but vets weren’t through just yet. Because of his potential age — vets estimated Octavius to be between 1 and 7 years old — Octavius was affixed with a tag to the dorsal fin by Dr. Randy Wells, director of the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.

“The tag allows for satellite tracking as well as radio tracking. Since he could be a younger animal, this type of monitoring is necessary to ensure he is thriving back in the wild,” said Tumlin.

After all of this, Octavius was transported to Barataria Bay where he was released and swam back into the ocean of his own volition.

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Enjoy this video.

Published on May 2, 2016

A young dolphin has been released back into the waters off Louisiana’s coast after being found stranded on a beach a year ago. The Audubon Nature Institute believes that high waters and rough sears from Hurricane Patricia likely caused him to get stuck there. He was lethargic and short of breath. They named him Octavius and brought him back to their facility for rehabilitation. Before he could be released he had to reach milestones that include behavior and medical tests.

Foreign lands.

These seem like times where very little makes sense.

Blogger Patrice Ayme posted an item on Wednesday under the title of Doomed Dems. It was, inevitably, a commentary on the recent news regarding Donald Trump. Here’s how Patrice’s post opens:

So Donald Trump will be the Republican committee (😉 ) for the presidency. And Trump will, probably, be elected US president. Why? Because people want change, and they did not get it. Instead they got more of the drift down, after the reign of the teleprompter reading president. Average family income is DOWN $4,000 since (“Bill”) Clinton’s last year as president. According to a FOX News poll, 64% of Americans blame Wall Street. Meanwhile in a vast report in the New York Times, Obama celebrates, in May 2016, the alliance he said he made with Wall Street in 2008.

Later on in that same post, Patrice goes on to write about the horrific fire in Alberta, Canada, and the damage to trees in Yosemite National Park in California. At first sight those two events would appear disconnected. But not according to Patrice:

Meanwhile a friend of mine went to Yosemite ten days ago. She told me she could not believe the devastation of the forest. Most of it is fiery red. It is devastated by the Pine Bark Beetle. To kill the Beetle, one needs twenty days well below freezing. However, this hard freeze is now a memory. So the Beetle invades, and kills forest. Treating tree by tree is hopelessly expensive, and futile. Yes, the forests will burn soon, adding to CO2 in the atmosphere. And it is all the way like that to Alaska.

Fort McMurray, Alberta may not have seen the worst of a devastating wildfire.

Massive walls of flames prompted authorities to order the evacuation of all the city’s more than 80,000 residents last night. The blaze has been caused by un-naturally high temperatures. Such giant fires are our immediate future. Nobody said the Greenhouse crisis was going to be nice. More evacuations coming.

Anything to do with dogs? Well, yes!

For this coming Saturday I am giving a talk about my book, Learning from Dogs, to our local Rogue Valley Humanist and Freethinkers (both Jean and I are members) and it struck me that what Patrice wrote about and what we see all around us are part of the same big picture. That we need to be reminded of a few fundamentals. As I will be saying in my talk:

Dogs are creatures of integrity! Wow! Now you might see where this is leading to!

But more than that, much more than that, they offer us humans a model for a range of behavioural qualities that we ignore at our peril:

I then list the qualities that we see in our dogs, and continue:

Hold those values close to you for just a few moments. Imagine what would flow out across the world if those were the characteristics, the behavioural values, of us humans!

Finally, towards the end of that talk on Saturday I will be saying:

Nature will always have the last word regarding her natural world, to which we humans are so intricately linked. Standing alongside and respecting nature as the future comes to us will be so much wiser than pushing back against nature, and ultimately failing, trying to “convert” nature to some form of materialistic human resource. Because that route will only return those of us who survive to a life of hunting and gathering. Which, so many thousands of years previously, is where early dogs started humankind on the long journey leading to now.
Dogs have been the making of humans and a viable future for humankind on this beautiful planet depends on us never forgetting this oldest relationship of all, the one between dog and human.

Because if we, as a global society, don’t understand that when it comes to power all the plutocrats and all of their money come to naught in contrast to the power of nature then these present lands are going to become very strange indeed!

And nature is rapidly encroaching on these lands that we are now traversing.

Hazel’s sonogram.

Nothing life-threatening found!

I’m writing this post at 5pm yesterday (Tuesday) shortly after we returned home from collecting Hazel from Lincoln Road Vet Clinic following her earlier examination by Dr. Parker using his mobile sonogram.

Hazel at the clinic shortly before she was taken in by the staff.
Hazel at the clinic shortly before she was taken in by the staff.

The good news is that Dr. Parker did not find any sign of trauma or life-threatening illnesses in Hazel’s body especially focusing on her abdomen.

Dr. Parker to the left being assisted by clinic staff as he examines Hazel ultra-sonically.
Dr. Parker to the left being assisted by clinic staff as he examines Hazel ultra-sonically.

(I should be quick to say that I left my camera with one of the technicians and wasn’t present. Indeed, Jean and I did not get to meet Dr. Parker.)

Dr. Parker, who is a board-certified veterinarian doctor, came to the conclusion that the most likely cause of Hazel’s illness was the fungal lung infection, as Dr. Codd and the radiologist supposed.

Nothing frightening seen!
Nothing frightening seen!

To try and narrow down the exact fungal infection a further blood sample was taken and the lab results should be known in three or four days time.

Dr. Codd, in his briefing to Jean and me when we collected Hazel late afternoon, said that his recommendation based on the lack of any notable findings from the scan could be summarised as follows:

  • Regard treating the fungal infection as the number one priority,
  • Hold off from treating the tick fever in the interim,
  • Dose Hazel with 100mg of Fluconazole twice a day even if she is eating hardly anything,
  • The measure is whether Hazel, with a very small food intake, can take that dosage without vomiting,
  • Add a B12 tonic to her diet with immediate effect,
  • Give Hazel appetite stimulant medicine,
  • Consider the hemp oil (as queried by me) if the proper dosage can be determined.

(Petspeopleandlife: Hazel’s current weight is 53 lbs (24 kg). Any advice?)

Back home again albeit still feeling a little drowsy!
Back home again albeit still feeling a little drowsy!

Thus while we have not yet got to the bottom of what precisely is the nature of Hazel’s infection at least we know there isn’t anything else silently killing her.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for taking so much interest in Hazel and for sending your love and caring wishes – it’s working!:-)

Hazel – Change of tack

Still a long way from getting to the bottom of what is ailing Hazel.

In my last post about Hazel I opened by saying:

In the last post on Hazel’s condition, back last Thursday, I passed on Dr. Codd’s observation, “… that by not having Hazel on her meds we were, of course, letting the fungal infection continue its damage.”

Dr. Codd also recommended reducing the dosage of the Fluconazole to lower its side effect of suppressing appetite.

So since then, with outstanding care and patience, Jean has been coaxing Hazel to eat just sufficient food for Hazel to be able to take the Fluconazole, for her fungal infection in her lungs, and Doxycycline, for her tick infection. (Mind you, Hazel is still a long way from eating reliably.)

That was a week ago and while, at best, Hazel is just eating sufficient to take her meds she is far from improving to any noticeable degree. But she is not eating enough food to stabilise her weight and yesterday morning Jean was worried we might lose her if we didn’t rethink what was going on.

Jean is attempting to get Hazel to eat many times each day.
Jean is attempting to get Hazel to eat many times each day.

A Sunday morning call to Dr. Jim Goodbrod brought us the advice to re-think the evidence.

  • The titre results were negative but because there are so many variants of fungal infection that was discounted.
  • The film of Hazel’s lungs show what the radiologist described as a clear case of fungal infection.
  • However, if that infection had been in the past, before Hazel was taken in by us down in Mexico, and that infection had ceased, that film could be showing scarring in the lungs.
  • The positive result for Tick Fever showed evidence of antibodies not antigens. That might be interpreted as a previous incident.

Jim liaised with Dr. Codd and it was agreed that further examinations needed to be conducted to obtain a clear, unambiguous diagnosis and that in the interim we stop giving Hazel any medications and offer her body systems a bit of a rest.

One option being discussed is to call in a mobile sonogram or ultra-sonic scanner. There is a very expert doctor in the area who uses such a mobile device and scans can be taken of Hazel’s abdomen and lungs here at home.

Because we will do everything to try and return Hazel to good health.

P1160083More information will be passed to you just as soon as it is to hand.

Picture parade one hundred and forty-five

The second set of simply stunning photographs of the Grand Canyon.

These are from the website of Humbert & Shirley Fernandez and the first set was a week ago.

Rafting, but not on the Rapids!
Rafting, but not on the Rapids!

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Lover's Leap!
Lover’s Leap!

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Beaver Falls
Beaver Falls

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View from Commanche Point.
View from Commanche Point.

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Ribbon Falls
Ribbon Falls

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The final set in a week’s time.

See you all then!

Of love, and trauma.

When it comes to animals it’s practically impossible to have one without the other.

Today’s post was inspired by a comment left on yesterday’s post The most beautiful bond of all by MargfromTassie. This is what she wrote (my emphasis):

Yes, these people are inspirational as are all the people who voluntarily give their time and efforts to animal welfare work, sometimes for years. For many, it can be emotionally traumatising as well as rewarding.

It didn’t take me long to agree that for most it will be emotionally traumatising. In fact, one of the great lessons that we learn from our dogs, and all the other animals that we love, is that unconditional love brings with it emotional trauma.

So much better expressed by Suzanne Clothier in her book Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs

There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.

Our grief is always an insufficient measure of the joy we receive!

Speaking of joy, when we pulled back the bedroom curtains this morning (Thursday) the nest was empty!

P1160060For the last too many weeks to remember a mother Canadian Goose has been sitting on her nest of eggs with Father Goose staying close. We like to think that the mother returned to this place after having been born here a year ago.

Overnight five young healthy goslings were born!:-)

P1160059May their little lives be full of love with a total absence of trauma!

The most beautiful bond of all.

I am referring to the one between human and animal.

The millions of people who love their pets probably never stop to think about how far that love would extend. As I observe Jean’s patience in coaxing Hazel to take food, time and time again each day, it never crosses my mind that there would be a limit to that devotion from her.

When I think about our animals and the special relationships we have with them all, dogs, horses and cats, never for a moment do I weigh up the pros and cons, despite there being many limitations when one stops and ponders the fact. Like the fact that Jean and I have not been away for a honeymoon or any other vacation together since we were married in 2010.

All it takes is for a dog to rub its head against my leg, or a cat to curl up on my lap, or a horse to give in to a hug around its head, something that happens many times each day, and I am content.

However, the following article that appeared on the Care2 blogsite really underlined how much people will give for their animals.

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7 Times Humans Went the Distance for Animals

3175047.largeBy: Lindsay Patton, April 24, 2016

A story recently went viral about a Colombian man who risked his life to save a dog that was hanging from a balcony. The dog, who belongs to the man’s upstairs neighbors, was caught in the railing and was close to falling to the ground. The neighbor, whose name is Diego Andrés Dávila Jimenez, made a dangerous climb from his balcony up to his neighbors’ in order to save the dog.

For animal lovers, there wouldn’t be a second thought about doing the same, whether it was their own pet, someone else’s or an animal in the wild. People go great lengths for animals every day. Here are just a few inspirational examples of them.

Ric O’Barry Does Jail Time for Dolphins

In 1970, Ric O’Barry founded The Dolphin Project and since then, he has dedicated his life to saving dolphins. His life’s work hasn’t been easy, though. O’Barry – who was featured in the 2009 documentary The Cove –  has been detained, fined and threatened for his dolphin activism. In January, he was detained at a Japanese airport on his way to monitor the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji. By now, being detained is nothing new to O’Barry, as it happens nearly every time he visits Japan for the hunt. In August, O’Barry was arrested in Japan for not carrying his passport. Still, he carries on with his mission to rescue dolphins.

Adam Warwick saved a black bear from drowning

When a bear is roaming around a neighborhood, sedating it is one of the only safe options. That’s what Florida wildlife officers did when they got a call about a black bear wandering around an Alligator Point neighborhood. The officers shot the bear with a tranquillizer dart, but the bear ran away and headed straight into water, where he would eventually fall asleep and drown. Biologist Adam Warwick came to the bear’s rescue and pulled the 400-pound bear back on land. The bear was then safely transported back to its home in a national forest.

Motorist fights traffic to save injured dog

A Mexican woman was driving down a busy highway when she saw a dog get hit by a car and lay injured on the side of a crash barrier. Nobody stopped or slowed down as they drove by, leaving her to try to dodge traffic to get to the dog. The timid dog tried to limp away, but she eventually gained its trust and took it to an area vet to have its injuries treated.

Man saves a stranger’s dog that was blown off a pier

An Australian woman was walking her Shih Tzu-Maltese Bibi on a pier when a strong gust of wind picked the dog up and carried him into the water. Raden Soemawinata was at the pier scattering his grandmother’s ashes when he saw the Bibi in the water and immediately jumped in to save him. Soemawinata humbly told media that “it wasn’t such a great feat.” We think otherwise.

Two Norwegian men save lamb from drowning

Three friends were out taking pictures when they noticed a lamb struggling in choppy waters. Two of the young men worked together to rescue the lamb, while the other used the camera to take incredible pictures of the rescue. They pulled the lamb to safety and reunited it with its flock.

Randy Jordan removes hooks from sharks

Most people try to avoid sharks. Randy Jordan has made a mission to help them. The diver frequently noticed fishing hooks caught in sharks’ mouths, so he made it his mission to remove the hooks from the sharks he encountered. He worked with scientists in order to find the safest way – for himself and the sharks – to have the hooks removed. Jordan has gone on to free multiple sharks from the painful hooks.

Men save baby giraffe in crocodile-infested waters

For four hours, a baby giraffe tried to keep its head above the Uaso Nyiro river’s harsh waters. The Kenyan river is not only fast moving, but is home to many crocodiles. A group of men ignored the river’s danger and waded through the water to pull the giraffe back onto land.

Photo Credit: AmazonCARES

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With so many reminders, especially in the media, of the greed and selfishness of people it really does one good to read these seven examples of how wonderful is the bond between humans and animals.

 

Chew on this!

Why it’s impossible to actually be a vegetarian!

Jean and I are both vegetarians. Indeed, Jean has been a ‘veggie’ for decades and I swung inline with her when we started being together in 2008.

So it was natural (pun unintended!) for my eyes to notice a recent item that was published over on The Conversation.

Not only is it an interesting article but it also saved my bacon (pun intended!) when I was running out of time and wondering what to post for today.

The article is republished here within the generous terms of The Conversation.

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Why it’s impossible to actually be a vegetarian

April 26, 2016

In a sense, aren’t they one and the same? 'Heads' via www.shutterstock.com
In a sense, aren’t they one and the same? ‘Heads’ via http://www.shutterstock.com

In case you’ve forgotten the section on the food web from high school biology, here’s a quick refresher.

Plants make up the base of every food chain of the food web (also called the food cycle). Plants use available sunlight to convert water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air into glucose, which gives them the energy they need to live. Unlike plants, animals can’t synthesize their own food. They survive by eating plants or other animals.

Clearly, animals eat plants. What’s not so clear from this picture is that plants also eat animals. They thrive on them, in fact (just Google “fish emulsion”). In my new book, “A Critique of the Moral Defense of Vegetarianism,” I call it the transitivity of eating. And I argue that this means one can’t be a vegetarian.

Chew on this

I’ll pause to let the collective yowls of both biologists and (erstwhile) vegetarians subside.

A transitive property says that if one element in a sequence relates in a certain way to a second element, and the second element relates in the same way to a third, then the first and third elements relate in the same way as well.

Take the well-worn trope “you are what you eat.” Let’s say instead that we are “who” we eat. This makes the claim more personal and also implies that the beings who we make our food aren’t just things.

How our food lives and dies matters. If we are who we eat, our food is who our food eats, too. This means that we are who our food eats in equal measure.

Plants acquire nutrients from the soil, which is composed, among other things, of decayed plant and animal remains. So even those who assume they subsist solely on a plant-based diet actually eat animal remains as well.

This is why it’s impossible to be a vegetarian.

For the record, I’ve been a “vegetarian” for about 20 years and nearly “vegan” for six. I’m not opposed to these eating practices. That isn’t my point. But I do think that many “vegetarians” and “vegans” could stand to pay closer attention to the experiences of the beings who we make our food.

For example, many vegetarians cite the sentience of animals as a reason to abstain from eating them. But there’s good reason to believe that plants are sentient, too. In other words, they’re acutely aware of and responsive to their surroundings, and they respond, in kind, to both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Check out the work of plant scientists Anthony Trewavas, Stefano Mancuso, Daniel Chamowitz and František Baluška if you don’t believe me. They’ve shown that plants share our five senses – and have something like 20 more. They have a hormonal information-processing system that’s homologous to animals’ neural network. They exhibit clear signs of self-awareness and intentionality. And they can even learn and teach.

It’s also important to be aware that “vegetarianism” and “veganism” aren’t always eco-friendly. Look no further than the carbon footprint of your morning coffee, or how much water is required to produce the almonds you enjoy as an afternoon snack.

A word for the skeptics

I suspect how some biologists may respond: first, plants don’t actually eat since eating involves the ingestion – via chewing and swallowing – of other life forms. Second, while it’s true that plants absorb nutrients from the soil and that these nutrients could have come from animals, they’re strictly inorganic: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and trace amounts of other elements. They’re the constituents of recycled minerals, devoid of any vestiges of animality.

As for the first concern, maybe it would help if I said that both plants and animals take in, consume or make use of, rather than using the word “eat.” I guess I’m just not picky about how I conceptualize what eating entails. The point is that plants ingest carbon dioxide, sunlight, water and minerals that are then used to build and sustain their bodies. Plants consume inasmuch as they produce, and they aren’t the least bit particular about the origins of the minerals they acquire.

With respect to the second concern, why should it matter that the nutrients drawn by plants from animals are inorganic? The point is that they once played in essential role in facilitating animals’ lives. Are we who we eat only if we take in organic matter from the beings who become our food? I confess that I don’t understand why this should be. Privileging organic matter strikes me as a biologist’s bias.

Then there’s the argument that mineral recycling cleanses the nutrients of their animality. This is a contentious claim, and I don’t think this is a fact of the matter. It goes to the core of the way we view our relationship with our food. You could say that there are spiritual issues at stake here, not just matters of biochemistry.

Changing how we view our food

Let’s view our relationship with our food in a different way: by taking into account the fact that we’re part of a community of living beings – plant and animal – who inhabit the place that we make our home.

We’re eaters, yes, and we’re also eaten. That’s right, we’re part of the food web, too! And the well-being of each is dependent on the well-being of all.

From this perspective, what the self-proclaimed “farmosopher” Glenn Albrecht calls sumbiotarianism (from the Greek word sumbioun, to live together) has clear advantages.

Sumbioculture is a form of permaculture, or sustainable agriculture. It’s an organic and biodynamic way of farming that’s consistent with the health of entire ecosystems.

Sumbiotarians eat in harmony with their ecosystem. So they embody, literally, the idea that the well-being of our food – hence, our own well-being – is a function of the health of the land.

In order for our needs to be met, the needs and interests of the land must come first. And in areas where it’s prohibitively difficult to acquire the essential fats that we need from pressed oils alone, this may include forms of animal use – for meat, manure and so forth.

Simply put, living sustainably in such an area – whether it’s New England or the Australian Outback – may well entail relying on animals for food, at least in a limited way.

All life is bound together in a complex web of interdependent relationships among individuals, species and entire ecosystems. Each of us borrows, uses and returns nutrients. This cycle is what permits life to continue. Rich, black soil is so fertile because it’s chock full of the composted remains of the dead along with the waste of the living.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon for indigenous peoples to identify veneration of their ancestors and of their ancestral land with the celebration of the life-giving character of the earth. Consider this from cultural ecologist and Indigenous scholar-activist Melissa Nelson:

The bones of our ancestors have become the soil, the soil grows our food, the food nourishes our bodies, and we become one, literally and metaphorically, with our homelands and territories.

You’re welcome to disagree with me, of course. But it’s worth noting that what I propose has conceptual roots that may be as old as humanity itself. It’s probably worth taking some time to digest this.

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In reflecting on how to close this post I couldn’t help thinking that “The bones of our ancestors have become the soil, ” presumably includes the bones of our dogs! Leading me to ponder that maybe our dogs from old are nourishing our bodies; I would like to think that is the case.

You can’t beat a good book!

Advance notice of a book event this coming Saturday.

Oregon Books & Games, our local independent bookstore in Grants Pass, are having a book event this Saturday. In their own words:

tl_imgSaturday, April 30th, 11AM – 2PM
A day to celebrate the independent bookstores that continue to improve communities around the nation, and our day to celebrate YOU, our wonderful customers. In the same strain as last year, we will be inviting dozens of local authors to sign books and meet with their fans, raffling off TONS of prizes, barbecuing, and having a lot of FUN!

 

I’m sure that the vast majority of you dear readers that read the title to today’s post would have nodded in agreement with the statement: You can’t beat a good book!

But how many of you were equally cogniscent of the importance of buying from an independent book store, such as Oregon Books & Games? I would be the first to put my hand up in admitting that I had no idea of the damage that online booksellers, such as Amazon, were causing these same independent stores.

Here are some eye-opening statements kindly supplied by Oregon Books but that originally came from the organisation IndieBound.

What is IndieBound?
A product of ongoing collaborations between the independent bookstore members of the American Booksellers Association, IndieBound is all about independent bookstores and the power of “local first” shopping. Locally owned independent businesses pump money back into the their communities by way of taxes, payrolls and purchases. That means more money for sound schools, green parks, strong police and fire departments, and smooth roads, all in your neighborhood.

Independent bookstores have always occupied a special place in communities. Through IndieBound—and the Indie Next List flyers and Indie Bestseller Lists—readers find trusted bookseller curated reading options, newly discovered writers, and a real choice for buying.

IndieBound allows indie booksellers to communicate this vital role they play in their local economies and communities. It allows authors to show their dedication to indies nationwide, easily done through linking to thousands of indie bookstores through IndieBound.org. And it allows consumers to feel that their actions are a part of a larger picture—to know that their choices make a difference and that others are working toward the same goals.

Here’s the effect of buying from your local independent book store.

Here’s What You Just Did

  1. You kept dollars in our economy. For every $100 you spend at one of our local businesses, $52 will stay in the community.
  2. You embraced what makes us unique. You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?
  3. You created local jobs. Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
  4. You helped the environment. Buying from local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation, less packaging, and products that you know are safe and well made, because we stand behind them.
  5. You nurtured community. We know you, and you know us. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains and online retailers.
  6. You conserved your tax dollars. Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify our community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong—right here in your community!
  7. You created more choice. We pick the items we sell based on what we know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because we buy for our own individual market.
  8. You took advantage of our expertise. You are our friends and neighbors, and we have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. We’re passionate about what we do. Why not take advantage of it?
  9. You invested in entrepreneurship. Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.
  10. You made us a destination. The more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

And turning to Amazon?

Here’s What Amazon Just Did

  1. In 2014, Amazon avoided paying $625 million in much-needed local and state tax revenue in 23 states and Washington, D.C., all while selling $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide.
  2. In 2014, Amazon’s retail sales displaced the equivalent of more than 30,000 storefronts and 107 million square feet of commercial space, estimated to be worth $420 million in property taxes for local and state governments.
  3. In 2014, by avoiding sales tax, and quashing the viability of local bricks-and-mortar retail, Amazon deprived thousands of communities of tax revenue necessary for schools, roads, and police and fire safety, as well as of vibrant downtowns and main streets.
  4. In 2014, Amazon operated 65 million square feet of distribution space, employing both full-time workers and part-time and seasonal workers, yet still, Amazon’s dominance produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs nationwide.
  5. In 2014, Amazon’s sales and operations accounted for a loss of more than $1 billion in revenue to state and local governments.
  6. Amazon received the benefits of local grants, tax breaks, road improvements, and other government considerations to build its distribution centers, notwithstanding the net loss in jobs, property taxes, and downtown vitality.
  7. Amazon achieved dominance over the book industry equivalent to Standard Oil’s share of the refined oil market just before it was broken up in 1911.*
  8. Amazon has cheapened the value of both printed and electronic publishing, and dampened opportunities for new authors and diverse ideas, by discounting books to lower than wholesale price and bullying publishers and its marketplace sellers.
  9. In our state, Amazon accounts for a sale tax gap of $3.1 million and the displacement 1,200,000 square feet, which is the equivalent of 348 retail storefronts, and 3,029 jobs.
  10. In 2015, Amazon’s total sales and operations revenue increased by 20%, meaning the above 2014 figures are likely to be grossly understated.

So back to the event.
If you are within reach of Grants Pass this coming Saturday then do come along and meet many local authors, including yours truly, and help support the wonderful job that our independents are doing for authors.

Saturday, April 30th, 11AM – 2PM
Oregon Books & Games
150 N.E. E St., Corner of 7th and E St.
Grants Pass, OR  97526

Support local authors!

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