Category: Writing

Ancient history of the climate.

Showing that droughts have been in evidence for 1,000 years or more!

It is very easy, well it is for me, to think that the changes we are seeing in the climate are purely recent. There is no question that we are experiencing changes in the global climate. But it would be too easy to think that these changes are only the result of recent times.

My way of an introduction to this post from The Conversation.

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1,000-year-old stalagmites from a cave in India show the monsoon isn’t so reliable – their rings reveal a history of long, deadly droughts.

Published on the 19th September, 2022 by:

  1. Gayatri Kathayat Associate Professor of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University
  2. Ashish Sinha Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences, California State University, Dominguez Hills

In a remote cave in northeast India, rainwater has slowly dripped from the ceiling in the same spots for over 1,000 years. With each drop, minerals in the water accumulate on the floor below, slowly growing into calcium carbonate towers known as stalagmites.

These stalagmites are more than geological wonders – like tree rings, their layers record the region’s rainfall history. They also carry a warning about the potential for catastrophic multiyear droughts in the future. 

By analyzing the geochemistry of these stalagmites in a new study published Sept. 19, 2022, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we were able to create the most precise chronology yet of the summer Indian monsoon over the past millennium. It documents how the Indian subcontinent frequently experienced long, severe droughts unlike any observed in the last 150 years of reliable monsoon rainfall measurements. 

The drought periods we detected are in striking synchrony with historical accounts of droughts, faminesmass mortality events and geopolitical changes in the region.

They show how the decline of the Mughal Empire and India’s textile industries in the 1780s and 1790s coincided with the most severe 30-year period of drought over the millennium. The depth and duration of the drought would have caused widespread crop failures and the level of famine discussed in written documentsat the time. 

Another long drought encompasses the 1630-1632 Deccan famine, one of the most devastating droughts in India’s history. Millions of people died as crops failed. Around the same time, the elaborate Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned and the Guge Kingdom collapsed in western Tibet.

Buland Darwaza (Door of Victory) at Fatehpur Sikri, India.

Our findings have important implications today for water planning in a warming world, particularly for India, which, with its vast monsoon-reliant agriculture industry, is on pace to soon be the most populous country on the planet.

Why the monsoon’s history matters

Scientists began systematically measuring India’s monsoon rainfall with instruments around the 1870s. Since then, India has experienced about 27 regionally widespread droughts. Among them, only one – 1985 to 1987 – was a three-year consecutive drought or worse.

The apparent stability of the Indian monsoon in that data might lead one to surmise that neither protracted droughts lasting multiple years nor frequent droughts are intrinsic aspects of its variability. This seemingly reassuring view currently informs the region’s present-day water resource infrastructure.

However, the stalagmite evidence of prolonged, severe droughts over the past 1,000 years paints a different picture.

It indicates that the short instrumental period does not capture the full range of Indian monsoon variability. It also raises questions about the region’s current water resources, sustainability and mitigation policies that discount the possibility of protracted droughts in the future.

Timeline of major societal and geopolitical changes in India and the oxygen isotope record from Mawmluh cave. Gayatri Kathayat

How do stalagmites capture a region’s monsoon history?

To reconstruct past variations in rainfall, we analyzed stalagmites from Mawmluh cave, near the town of Cherrapunji in the state of Meghalaya – one of the wettest locations in the world.

Stalagmites are conelike structures that grow slowly from the ground up, typically at a rate of about one millimeter every 10 years. Trapped within their growth layers are minute amounts of uranium and other elements that were acquired as rainwater infiltrated the rocks and soil above the cave. Over time, uranium trapped in stalagmites decays into thorium at a predictable pace, so we can figure out the age of each stalagmite growth layer by measuring the ratio of uranium to thorium.

The oxygen in rainwater molecules comes in two primary types of isotopes – heavy and light. As stalagmites grow, they lock into their structure the oxygen isotope ratios of the percolating rainwater that seeps into the cave. Subtle variations in this ratio can arise from a range of climatic conditions at the time the rainwater originally fell.

Stalagmite formation are marked inside Mawmluh Cave, where the new study was based. Gayatri Kathayat
A cross-section of a stalagmite shows differences in its ring formation as climate conditions changed. Gayatri Kathayat

Our previous research in this area showed that variations in oxygen isotope ratios in rainwater, and consequently, in stalagmites, track changes in the relative abundance of different moisture sources that contribute to summer monsoon rainfall.

During years when monsoon circulation is weak, rainfall here is primarily derived from the moisture that evaporated from the nearby Arabian Sea. During strong monsoon years, however, atmospheric circulation brings copious amounts of moisture to this area all the way from the southern Indian Ocean.

The two moisture sources have quite different oxygen isotope signatures, and this ratio is faithfully preserved in the stalagmites. We can use this clue to learn about the overall strength of the monsoon intensity at the time the stalagmite formed. We pieced together the monsoon rainfall history by extracting minute amounts of calcium carbonate from its growth rings and then measuring the oxygen isotope ratios. To anchor our climate record to precise calendar years, we measured the uranium and thorium ratio.

Stalagmites grow from the ground, and stalactites grow from above. These are in Mawmluh Cave, where the authors conducted their research. Gayatri Kathayat.

Next steps

The paleoclimate records can usually tell what, where and when something happened. But often, they alone cannot answer why or how something happened. 

Our new study shows that protracted droughts frequently occurred during the past millennia, but we do not have a good understanding of why the monsoon failed in those years. Similar studies using Himalayan ice cores, tree rings and other caves have also detected protracted droughts but face the same challenge. 

In the next phase of our study, we are teaming up with climate modelers to conduct coordinated proxy-modeling studies that we hope will offer more insight into the climate dynamics that triggered and sustained such extended periods of drought during the past millennium.

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So there we are. Droughts are a thing of the ancient past. But only a partial understanding for why the monsoons failed is known. Despite these modern times with so much general access to knowledge there are still things that we do not know!

Finally, one hopes that the next phase of their study will be along in reasonable time! I would love to report on it.

Our climate: Welcome to the New Normal!

An article read on Sunday is the motivation for today’s post.

The article, published by The Conversation blog site, was made public last Wednesday week.

I make no apologies for banging the climate change gong again, it is in my opinion the most important subject going.

Enough from me; now to the article.

(And it had been planned for last Tuesday but because of Pedi it is now today.)

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By Professor Shuang-Ye Wu

This article was written by Professor Shuang-Ye Wu. It is very good.

Professor Wu is the Professor of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at the University of Dayton, USA.

Looking back on America’s summer of heat, floods and climate change: Welcome to the new abnormal!

Much of the South and Southern Plains faced a dangerous heat wave in July 2022, with highs well over 100 degrees for several days. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The summer of 2022 started with a historic flood in Montana, brought on by heavy rain and melting snow, that tore up roads and caused large areas of Yellowstone National Park to be evacuated.

It ended with a record-breaking heat wave in California and much of the West that pushed the power grid to the breaking point, causing blackouts, followed by a tropical storm that set rainfall records in southern California. A typhoon flooded coastal Alaska, and a hurricane hit Puerto Rico with more than 30 inches of rain.

In between, wildfires raged through California, Arizona and New Mexico on the background of a megadrought in Southwestern U.S. that has been more severe than anything the region has experienced in at least 1,200 years. Near Albuquerque, New Mexico, a five-mile stretch of the Rio Grande ran dry for the first time in 40 years. Persistent heat waves lingered over many parts of the country, setting temperature records.

At the same time, during a period of five weeks between July and August, five 1,000-year rainfall events occurred in St. Louis, eastern Kentucky, southern Illinois, California’s Death Valley and in Dallas, causing devastating and sometimes deadly flash floods. Extreme rainfall also led to severe flooding in Mississippi, Virginia and West Virginia.

The United States is hardly alone in its share of climate disasters.

In Pakistan, record monsoon rains inundated more than one-third of the country, killing over 1,500 people. In India and China, prolonged heat waves and droughts dried up rivers, disrupted power grids and threatened food security for billions of people.

In Europe, heat waves set record temperatures in Britain and other places, leading to severe droughts and wildfires in many parts of the continent. In South Africa, torrential rains brought flooding and mudslides that killed more than 400 people. The summer may have come to an end on the calendar, but climate disasters will surely continue.

This isn’t just a freak summer: Over the years, such extreme events are occurring in increasing frequency and intensity.

Climate change is intensifying these disasters

The most recent international climate assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found significant increases in both the frequency and intensity of extreme temperature and precipitation events, leading to more droughts and floods.

A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature found that extreme flooding and droughts are also getting deadlier and more expensive, despite an improving capacity to manage climate risks. This is because these extreme events, enhanced by climate change, often exceed the designed levels of such management strategies.

A girl in rain boots walks through a mud-filled yard. Damaged mattresses and other belongings from a flooded house are piled nearby.
Flash flooding swept through mountain valleys in eastern Kentucky in July 2022, killing more than three dozen people. It was one of several destructive flash floods. Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Extreme events, by definition, occur rarely. A 100-year flood has a 1% chance of happening in any given year. So, when such events occur with increasing frequency and intensity, they are a clear indication of a changing climate state.

The term “global warming” can sometimes be misleading, as it seems to suggest that as humans put more heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world is going to get a bit warmer everywhere. What it fails to convey is that warming temperatures also lead to a more violent world with more extreme climate disasters, as we saw this past summer.

Climate models showed these risks were coming

Much of this is well-understood and consistently reproduced by climate models.

As the climate warms, a shift in temperature distribution leads to more extremes. The magnitudes of changes in extreme temperature are often larger than changes in the mean. For example, globally, a 1 degree Celsius increase in annual average temperature is associated with 1.2 C to 1.9 C (2.1 Fahrenheit to 3.4 F) of increase in the annual maximum temperature.

A man works on a car with an older mechanic in overalls standing next to him under the shade of a large beach umbrealla.
Heat waves, like the heat dome over the South in July 2022, can hit outdoor workers especially hard. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

In addition, global warming causes changes in the vertical profile of the atmosphere and equator-to-pole temperature gradients, leading to changes in how the atmosphere and ocean move. The temperature difference between equator and the poles is the driving force for global wind. As the polar regions warm at much higher rates then the equator, the reduced temperature difference causes a weakening of global winds and leads to a more meandering jet stream.

Some of these changes can create conditions such as persistent high-pressure systems and atmosphere blocking that favor more frequent and more intense heat waves. The heat domes over the Southern Plains and South in June and the West in September are examples.

The initial warming can be further amplified by positive feedbacks. For example, warming increases snow melt, exposing dark soil underneath, which absorbs more heat than snow, further enhancing the warming.

Warming of the atmosphere also increases its capacity to hold water vapor, which is a strong greenhouse gas. Therefore, more water vapor in the air leads to more warming. Higher temperatures tend to dry out the soil, and less soil moisture reduces the land’s heat capacity, making it easier to heat up.

These positive feedbacks further intensify the initial warming, leading to more heat extremes. More frequent and persistent heat waves lead to excessive evaporation, combined with decreased precipitation in some regions, causing more severe droughts and more frequent wildfires.

Higher temperatures increase the atmosphere’s capacity to hold moisture at a rate of about 7% per degree Celsius.

This increased humidity leads to heavier rainfall events. In addition, storm systems are fueled by latent heat, or the large amount of energy released when water vapor condenses to liquid water. Increased moisture content in the atmosphere also enhances latent heat in storm systems, increasing their intensity. Extreme heavy or persistent rainfall leads to increased flooding and landslides, with devastating social and economic consequences.

Even though it’s difficult to link specific extreme events directly to climate change, when these supposedly rare events occur with increasing frequency in a warming world, it is hard to ignore the changing state of our climate.

A woman with her eyes closed holds a screaming 1-year-old boy in a National Guard helicopter, with a guardsman standing in the open helicopter door.
A family had to be airlifted from their home in eastern Kentucky after it was surrounded by floodwater in July 2022. Michael Swensen/Getty Images

The new abnormal

So this past summer might just provide a glimpse of our near future, as these extreme climate events become more frequent.

To say this is the new “normal,” though, is misleading. It suggests that we have reached a new stable state, and that is far from the truth.

Without serious effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, this trend toward more extreme events will continue. Things will keep getting worse, and this past summer will become the norm a few years or decades down the road – and eventually, it will seem mild, like one of those “nice summers” we look back on fondly with nostalgia.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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There is growing evidence that things are really changing globally. I used to say that I would be dead before the impacts of climate change really hit home. As in, it would be a good twenty years before things really took a hold. But it is now much more likely that the next five years are going to see a continuation of the changes and that there isn’t time to hang around.

I may not be as sharp as I used to be but the changing climate will affect me and Jean and all those in our area. Will our leaders grasp this nettle now? I wish I knew.

Pure, unconditional love (in spades)

On this occasion it was the loss of our Pedi that had hearts ‘speaking’.

When it comes to dogs millions of people open their hearts to the love that exists between a dog and a dog’s close human. And I am not sure that I have cracked it yet; I know what is felt but putting it into words is more difficult.

So I shall turn to Jess and the guest post she sent to me. But just before sending me the story of Scruffy Jess sent me this email: “Sorry for the loss. Dogs have always been an important part of my life. I’ve cried like a baby every time I lost one. Truly man’s best friend. “

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Scruffy is getting up there in years and it breaks my heart to even think of losing him.  He’s been my best friend for the past twelve years.  He does everything that I do.

I never paint in my studio that he isn’t there beside me.

He will be 13 in February.  I only hope that I can get a couple more years out of him.  He is one of those special dogs.  If someone said, “If there was one thing you would change about Scruffy, what would it be?”  The only thing in this world I would change about him is to give him a longer life.

He minds me better than my kids ever minded and I’ve never laid an angry hand on him.  I talk to him like I would a human, and he seems to understand everything that I say.  I just bought another Schnauzer puppy, only four months old, hoping that some of Scruffy will rub off on him as he grows up.  So far Scruffy is not too happy about sharing me with another dog, but hopefully time will change that.

So this is Scruffy at age 12.  He still is full of life.  

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And this is Tux below, because of the Tuxedo that he always wears.  He’s also a Miniature Schnauzer, but in an exotic color, and he has one blue eye that I love!

Yes, you should get another puppy to fill the hole in your heart.  It seems, you are never sorry about it!  You guys have a wonderful day!   JESS

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Beautiful!

And the other guest post!

This time from Penny Martin.

Penny wanted me to post this guest post from her a little earlier than the ‘chosen’ date. So, I am publishing it today!

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Tips and Tricks for Multistate Living with a Pet

As a senior, you get the best of both worlds by spending half the year in one state and half in another.  But sometimes, things can get a little hectic along the way, especially when you own two homes in independent living communities and a pet on top of it. There may be days when your stress levels rise as you try to cope with everything. That’s why Learning from Dogs has assembled some handy tips and tricks to smooth out multistate living for you and your pet.

Saving Money

One of your first considerations may be to save some money as you switch from one home to the other. You might, for instance, register your cars and purchase auto insurance in a state that is less expensive. Do the same for health insurance and even pet insurance to save extra money. You might also stock up on nonperishable and freezer items for each house when your budget allows so that you’ll have supplies on hand when you transfer between homes. Finally, consider replacing double cable services with streaming options. This way, you can watch all your favorite shows whenever and wherever you want without paying for access in two states.

Staying Organized

It can be quite difficult to stay organized when you’re splitting your time between two different homes, but you can if you get in the habit of making lists. Keep a running tab of your possessions and current supplies, like food and cleaning products, at both homes. This way, you’ll know what you have and what you need to bring with you. If you find yourself overwhelmed by clutter, don’t be afraid to use a storage unit. There are plenty of self-storage options in San Diego, and you can check prices and reviews in advance.

When it comes to your pet’s needs, you might do well to have a set of care items like harnesses, crates, cat trees, and litter boxes at both homes. This way, you won’t have to drag things back and forth. When you’re shopping for pet supplies, be sure to read online reviews from customers but also from veterinarians and other animal experts so that you can ensure the quality of the products and the health and safety of your pet. 

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Dividing time between two homes in two different states can be stressful for your pet, so make sure you take care of your pet’s health. Find a trustworthy veterinarian in both locations, and take your pet for frequent checkups each time you settle into a new place. Make sure your pet has proper flea and tick prevention for both environments, and find a good pet sitter in both locations, too. 

Also, consider pet insurance to help defray vet costs. One state may actually offer less expensive pet insurance policies than another — although you may find it more expensive in many ways — so shop around for the best policy. Research coverage options, prices, deductibles, limitations, and provider reputations before choosing a policy that is right for you and your pet. 

Living Well in Two States

Multistate living can be a challenge, but it can also be a delightful experience for you and your pet. Use the tips above to save money, stay organized, keep your pet healthy, and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Learning from Dogs serves as a reminder of the values of life and the power of unconditional love – as so many, many dogs prove each and every day. Click here to get involved!

Image via Pexels

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It was exceedingly kind of Penny to promote this blog and I am grateful for the links.

It is a very useful guest post and I hope that many people find it of value. It would be nice to hear from people who have read Penny’s post.

That’s all from me!

Remembering the Queen and her Corgis

It seems fitting to share this!

Until Her Majesty is laid to rest next Monday it is impossible just to come up with a topic that has nothing to do with her. That’s my feeling (and I am sticking to it)! 😉

Voice of America is a website that I recently came across and they appear to allow the republication of their stories. On September 12th, they published an article about the the Queen and her Corgis and it is shared with you all.

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A Queen and Her Corgis: Elizabeth Loved Breed Since Childhood

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, left, looks at a Corgi dog as British television presenter Paul O’Grady, second right, looks on during a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London on March 17, 2015.

LONDON — 

For many people around the world, the word corgi is forever linked to Queen Elizabeth II. 

Princess Diana once called them a “moving carpet” always by her mother-in-law’s side. Stubby, fluffy little dogs with a high-pitched bark, corgis were the late queen’s constant companions since she was a child. She owned nearly 30 throughout her life, and they enjoyed a life of privilege fit for a royal pet. 

Elizabeth’s death last week has raised public concerns over who will care for her beloved dogs. But Sky News reported Sunday, according to a palace spokesman, the corgis will live with Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. 

“One of the intriguing things people are wondering about at the funeral is whether a corgi is going to be present,” said Robert Lacey, royal historian and author of “Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor.” “The queen’s best friends were corgis, these short-legged, ill-tempered beasts with a yap that doesn’t appeal to many people in Britain but was absolutely crucial to the Queen.” 

Puppy love

Elizabeth’s love for corgis began in 1933 when her father, King George VI, brought home a Pembroke Welsh corgi they named Dookie. Images of a young Elizabeth walking the dog outside their lavish London home would be the first among many to come over the decades. 

When she was 18 she was given another and named it Susan, the first in a long line of corgis to come. Later there were dorgis — a dachshund and corgi crossbreed — owned by the queen. Eventually they came to accompany her in public appearances and became part of her persona. 

Throughout Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, the corgis were by her side, accompanying her on official tours, reportedly sleeping in their own room at Buckingham Palace with daily sheet changes, and occasionally nipping the ankles of the odd visitor or royal family member. 

Three of them even appeared alongside the queen as she climbed into James Bond’s waiting helicopter in the spoof video that opened the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. 

Royal treatment

British author Penny Junor documented the dogs’ feisty lives in a 2018 biography “All the Queen’s Corgis.” 

She writes that Elizabeth walked and fed the dogs, chose their names, and when they died, buried them with individual plaques. Care for the corgis had fallen largely on the queen’s trusted dressmaker and assistant Angela Kelly and her page Paul Whybrew. 

The corgis were also present when the queen welcomed visitors at the palace, including distinguished statesmen and officials. When the conversation lulled, Elizabeth would often turn her attention to her dogs to fill the silence. 

“She was also concerned about what would happen to her dogs when she is no longer around,” Junor wrote, noting that some royal family members did not share her fondness for the corgis. 

After the death of her corgi Willow in 2018, it was reported that the queen would not be getting any more dogs. 

But that changed during the illness of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at age 99. She turned once again to her beloved corgis for comfort. On what would have been Philip’s 100th birthday last year, the queen was given another dog. 

In addition to her human family, Elizabeth is survived by two corgis, a dorgi, and a cocker spaniel.

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It is clear from all the news and tributes presented following Her Majesty’s death on September 8th that she had a very special affection for her Corgis. As does Jean for all our dogs!

What a difference a week makes!

It all makes sense now.

Photo by Salmen Bejaoui

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” “Believe you can and you’re halfway there. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”

This famous quotation by Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919), the 26th President of the USA, seems apt for today’s post.

Exactly one week ago I published a post called Musings from a 77 year old! I wrote that the future was uncertain. Summed up at one point by me writing: “I have no idea of the global changes that are afoot and how they will affect us in Merlin. Indeed, I have no idea how long I have to live.

Margaret (from Tasmania) was one of the many people who responded. She included a video interview of Meg Wheatley by Michael Shaw. It is an hour long. Last Friday afternoon Jean and I watched it in full and it was incredibly interesting. Thank you very much, dear Margaret.

But before I present Meg’s video again I want to show you another video. It is a talk by Richard Grannon about the collapse of our civilisation. Now Richard Grannon is an author, YouTuber and life coach so one needs to remain impartial to his views, certainly before one does further research. But in the 46-minute talk I think there is much sense in what he says. See for yourself:

Moving on! The interview of Meg Wheatley is very good indeed. It’s a broad look at the issues and problems governing society but done in such a way that the people who watch her will also take away a number of tools for avoiding depression and anxiety. Meg places great store on the Hopi Native American Indians: “The Hopi maintain a complex religious and mythological tradition stretching back over centuries.

Meg quotes one of the more famous Hopi prophecies, that is reproduced below:

This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Photo by Lucas Ludwig 

Here is that Meg Wheatley interview. (It is an hour long but very interesting; please watch it!)

I want to pick up the topic that was at the end of her interview; that of societal collapse. How would one define it? I chose Wikipedia for a reference.

Societal collapse (also known as civilizational collapse) is the fall of a complex human society characterized by the loss of cultural identity and of socioeconomic complexity, the downfall of government, and the rise of violence.[1]Possible causes of a societal collapse include natural catastrophe, war, pestilence, famine,  economic collapse,  population decline, and mass migration. A collapsed society may revert to a more primitive state, be absorbed into a stronger society, or completely disappear.

Virtually all civilizations have suffered such a fate, regardless of their size or complexity, but some of them later revived and transformed, such as China, India, and Egypt. However, others never recovered, such as the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, the Maya civilization, and the Easter Island civilization.[1] Societal collapse is generally quick[1] but rarely abrupt.[2] However, some cases involve not a collapse but only a gradual fading away, such as the British Empire since 1918.[3]

Anthropologists, (quantitative) historians, and sociologists have proposed a variety of explanations for the collapse of civilizations involving causative factors such as environmental change, depletion of resources, unsustainable complexity, invasion, disease, decay of social cohesion, rising inequality, secular decline of cognitive abilities, loss of creativity, and misfortune.[1][4] However, complete extinction of a culture is not inevitable, and in some cases, the new societies that arise from the ashes of the old one are evidently its offspring, despite a dramatic reduction in sophistication.[4] Moreover, the influence of a collapsed society, such as the Western Roman Empire, may linger on long after its death.[5]

The study of societal collapse, collapsology, is a topic for specialists of historyanthropologysociology, and political science. More recently, they are joined by experts in cliodynamics and study of complex systems.[6][4]

The article is much more extensive than I have quoted above and for anyone deeply interested then I do recommend you going to the article and reading it extensively.

Now Meg is of the opinion that it is too late to turn back but next Tuesday I want to talk to you about Sir David Attenborough’s film A Life on our Planet. That he believes there is a chance to undo the harm we are causing to the planet; through rewilding.

Until then!

Volunteering at animal shelters.

Another great post from Penny Martin.

Once again I am delighted to publish another post from Penny. This is a relatively short post but nevertheless of supreme importance.

With no more ado from me, here it is:

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Protecting Our Pets: Resources for Volunteering at Animal Shelters

By Penny Martin

August 10th, 2022

If animal welfare is close to your heart, you might want to consider helping out at a pet shelter for abandoned or unwanted animals. There are always a number of charities in the USA and beyond looking for eager volunteers. 

Before You Apply

Animal welfare work can be challenging for an individual, even if you’re just volunteering. It’s important to take precautions before you commit to your decision.

  • Read about the experience of working at a shelter to better understand the challenges and obstacles you might encounter.
  • Often, volunteers need to undergo training, orientation, and background checks before they’re allowed to contribute.
  • Connect with your local shelters on social media to see the kind of work they do and whether there are opportunities to volunteer.

Organizations

Shelters for abandoned and neglected pets are frequently found throughout the country. If you want to do your part, the logical first step is to locate one close to you.

  • Institutions like Guide Star have been established to hold animal rescue services accountable and ensure they are being maintained properly.
  • Take some time to learn about the listed charities in your area.
  • If you find an abandoned pet and you’re not aware of shelters in your area, try reaching out to American Humane.

Ways to Help

If you’re unable to volunteer in person, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and do your part.

  • There’s good work to be done online via social media and you can help out by engaging in discussion and sharing posts about missing or unwanted pets.
  • If you have any spare supplies that you’re willing to donate, these can make a profound impact on the lives of animals. 
  • If you’re purchasing supplies to donate, read expert reviews to choose the highest-quality products.
  • If the existing organizations don’t meet your concerns, you could try forming your own nonprofit.
  • You can create Facebook ads for free to secure donations and get the word out about your nonprofit. 

Unfortunately, across the USA and beyond, there are a great many pets in need of our help but even small acts of kindness can take us a significant way towards eradicating the problem altogether. Reach out to your local shelter and see how you can help.

Read the Learning from Dogs book for a reminder of the unconditional love dogs give us every day. 

Image by Pexels

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Once again, a big thank you to Penny and also my thanks for the link to Learning from Dogs.

For those of you that are considering helping out then Penny’s post might offer the advice you require.

This is one quick-thinking man!

He saves the life of a dog.

This is a story from Peru. But world-wide our fondness and love for dogs is beyond measure.

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Quick-Thinking Man Saves Life Of Dog Falling From Building

“She didn’t stop wagging her tail out of happiness.”

By Stephen Messenger

Published on the 7th July, 2022

The other day, after a two-week-long stint working in the field, John Alexander Palomino Bendives was looking forward to finally relaxing in the apartment he shares with his mother and four dogs in Peru.

But, before he could even get inside the building, Bendives was called into action once more — to save the life of his beloved dog Mina.

When Bendives, along with his girlfriend, got to the front of his apartment building, their arrival didn’t go unnoticed. High above, in his family’s fourth-story rooftop apartment, Mina and the other pups were peering down over the railing, excited to see him home.

Bendives would be up to greet them in a few seconds. But that was apparently just a bit too long to wait for Mina.

Having either lost her balance and slipped or misjudged the distance and leapt, Mina began falling to the street below. Thankfully, quick-thinking Bendives took notice — and was able to catch her in his arms.

Bendives was able to save Mina from what may have been certain death — to his great relief. And to hers.

“She was OK, unharmed,” Bendives told The Dodo. “Mina was happy and grateful. She didn’t stop wagging her tail out of happiness.”

All his pups were thrilled that Bendives was finally home. Mina, clearly, just a bit too much so.

Bendives said this scary incident has the family planning to make some changes: “We are looking at putting up a mesh [barrier] on the roof so that they can continue to sit up there, but without the risk of falling again.”

Now that the unthinkable happened — and disaster narrowly avoided — it’s the least they could do.

“I love my pets very much,” Bendives said. “They always receive me with a lot of love and emotion. The time I spend at home, I try to spend as much time as possible with them.”

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(Both photographs by John Bendives.)

Another wonderful story of a life-saving act on behalf of Bendives and his saving of his dog, Mina. Four stories high is no laughing matter and Snr. Bendives certainly saved Mina from serious injury and probably death.

Literally hundreds of times every day, with the vast majority of the stories unreported, we humans save the lives of dogs!

Just wonderful!

Another happy dog!

Dogs are so perfect in their expressions!

Dogs are not always happy as we know with the loss of our Sheena. Because the other dogs felt the loss inexplicably. But in the main they are happy, happy animals. Unlike us humans who have lots of things to contend with. I say this because in the last twenty-four hours we have had the sudden explosion of fire down in Northern California, the McKinney blaze, which has grown very rapidly.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency over the fire, which began on Friday afternoon before rapidly exploding in size due to a combination of dry fuel after a drought, strong winds and lightning strikes.

Around 650 firefighters are battling to contain the fire, officials say, but with little success. Sheriffs said on Sunday evening that it was “0% contained”.

As a result, more than 2,000 inhabitants of the area around the Klamath National Forest are being forced to evacuate their homes. Rescue teams have been aiding hikers who had been on the national park’s trails.

The China 2 fire, that is part of the group of California fires, is about 55 miles due south of home. Far enough not to panic but not far enough not to get us to check our evacuation preparations.

We hope that we are not evacuated in the next few weeks because of fire!

Here is a delightful dog article courtesy of The Dodo.

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Dog Dances In The Rain After 175 Days Stuck In Shelter 

“The absolute joy in his eyes and the feeling of freedom was wonderful to watch.”

By Maeve Dunigan

Published on the 1st July, 2022

When staff members from Forgotten Dogs Rescue pulled Rambo from a shelter and placed him with a foster family, they had no idea how much the pittie mix would love the feeling of freedom.

It was raining outside, but that wasn’t going to stop him. After 175 days, Rambo was finally out of the shelter, and he was so happy that he started running and dancing in the rain.

“I cried happy tears when his foster mom sent me the video,” Julie Saraceno, a shelter volunteer, told The Dodo. “That was his second day in his foster home, and the absolute joy in his eyes and the feeling of freedom was wonderful to watch.”

When Rambo went from a small concrete kennel to a large grass-covered yard, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

The young dog with beautiful, big eyes has an exuberance that shows. He loves other dogs and cats, and while he’s certainly high energy, he’s also always willing to snuggle on the couch.

“He is the sweetest guy to the people he considers his crew,” Saraceno said.

Rambo, who was originally found roaming the streets of Kennewick, Washington, as a stray, is working every day to become more confident and less fearful. Through his work with a trainer, he has learned obedience, how to meet strangers and lots of other skills that have made him a good boy.

Once Rambo finishes his training, he’ll be ready to meet potential fits for his forever home, ideally one where there’s space for him to exercise all his energy.

Pretty soon, Rambo won’t have to jump at every opportunity to get outside. He’ll have a yard — and a family — all his own.

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(The first photograph was taken by Julie Saraceno and the last two were taken by Billie Wensveen.)

Six months in a shelter! That must have been a real joy for Rambo when he was let out. Correction: It was a real joy because that was how Rambo expressed himself.

As I called this post: Another Happy Dog.

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.