Tag: Philippines

The wonder of dogs.

Never before has an integrous way of life been so critically important.

When I was preparing this post, I couldn’t make up my mind if it should come before or after the story of the release of The National Climate Assessment.  In the end I decided it should follow the post that I called The unacceptable face of The Daily Mail.

My reasoning was that the NCA report was such a stunning indictment of the madness, the myopic madness of mankind these last 100 years, that this appreciation of the wonder of dogs must act as a beacon for us all.  I use the word ‘beacon’ because the qualities demonstrated by these nine dogs are just the qualities that we need to adopt.

Every living person on Planet Earth has to embrace the stark choice coming up on us like a runaway train. If we don’t change our values, our behaviours and our relationship with this one, finite planet, in the next ten years, at most, then the consequences will be beyond imagination; a world of unimaginable terror and chaos.

Forgive me if I repeat what the Home page of Learning from Dogs offers:

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer.  Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming,  thence the long journey to modern man.  But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite.  Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

On the 30th December, 2012 The Week magazine published an item written by Editor Lauren Hansen.  I ask Lauren if I might republish the article in full but that was denied.  However, I was given permission to refer extensively to the piece.  I will use it to underline just what we have to learn from dogs.

The 9 most newsworthy dogs of 2012

Dogs are the best. Here’s the proof… if you even need it
By Lauren Hansen | December 30, 2012
The K-9 Parish Comfort dogs (and their handlers) who helped the residents of Newtown, Conn., through their grief.
The K-9 Parish Comfort dogs (and their handlers) who helped the residents of Newtown, Conn., through their grief.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably aware: Dogs rule. This year, a handful of canines rose above the rest, making headlines for their actions — whether facing imminent danger to save lives, enduring unimaginable physical hardships, or simply making us laugh. A look at nine of the year’s most newsworthy pups:

1. Chicago’s comfort dogs
After the unimaginable events that befell Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 that left 27 people, including 20 children, dead at the hands of suspected gunman Adam Lanza, a team of golden retrievers was deployed from Chicago to the picturesque town. About 10 specially trained dogs, including Chewie, Ruthie, and Luther, made the 800-mile journey to sit with children and adults during masses and funerals. “Dogs are nonjudgmental. They are loving. They are accepting of anyone,” says one handler. “It creates the atmosphere for people to share.” The Chicago comfort dogs are notable not only for this caring venture but also for helping those who suffered through Hurricane Sandy and the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., in 2011.

The next story was about the puppies that kept a lost boy warm.

That was followed by the hero dog that lost its snout saving two girls.

One dog’s heroism so disfigured her sweet little face that her photo is often preceded by a warning. This canine’s story started with a motorcycle careening through the streets of Zamboanga City, Philippines, earlier this year. Young cousins Dina Bunggal, 11, and Princess Diansing, 3, stepped unknowingly into its path. A mutt named Kabang came out of nowhere and jumped in front of the motorbike, stopping it in its tracks, and saving the little girls from serious injury. The driver and the girls emerged with superficial wounds, but Kabang wasn’t so lucky. Her head landed on the motorcycle’s front wheel and as the wheel rolled forward, Kabang’s upper snout was ripped right off. Her story quickly went viral and when local doctors could do no more to help her, specialty surgeons from the University of California, Davis, flew Kabang to their facilities, where she’ll endure six to eight weeks of treatment to repair her face. The cost of her surgeries, which could top $20,000, will be covered by her many supporters who have started an online fundraising campaign.

Here’s a photograph of Kabang found on the web.

Vets at William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital don’t plan to fullyy reconstruct Kabang’s snout, or fit her with a prosthetic. Instead, they are attempting to close the gaping wound on her face, preventing further infections.

Then my last dip into Lauren’s article is dog story eight.

8. The dog that saved its own life by calling the police

We’ve often heard the tale of the puppy that proves its “man’s best friend” status by saving its owner’s life. But this year, there was George, a 2-year-old basset hound in West Yorkshire, England, who reworked the well-worn script a bit, literally calling for help to save himself. Home alone, George had knocked the phone to the floor and was strangling himself with the handset’s cord when he apparently dialed 999 — England’s 911 equivalent — in a panic. The operator heard only frantic gasps and, assuming someone was desperately sick or reeling from an attack, sent police to the house. The dog was found and rescued from the cord. “Incredibly, you could see where his paw print was on the phone,” said the neighbor, “he literally saved his own life.”

The article also mentions a recent item in Huffington Post (UK):

Now, what fun-loving toddler can walk past a puddle without stopping for a little splash? Not this one!

Little Arthur was out for a stroll with his best mate, Watson the dog, when he noticed a tempting puddle. So he put down the leash and plunged straight in. And Watson? Well, he’s a more mature 12 years old, so he didn’t partake himself. But he was more than happy to wait while Arthur had his fun.

You know what this video is, don’t you? That’s right. Too. Cute. For. Words.

Here’s the video, seen over 4,800,000 times!

Finally, there’s the beautiful story of the dog befriending a Down’s Syndrome boy.


So what does this all add up to?  That the qualities of the dog; integrity, unconditional love, patience, loyalty, and their ability to live in harmony with nature really do send us humans a message for the future.

And a future not so far away.

Beautiful photographs, part two.

Sent to me by long-term friend Dan Gomez. Enjoy.

This second set carries on from yesterday’s selection.  You will see from one of the comments from yesterday that blogger Pedantry noticed there was a problem with” the height description on the second through fifth images in this set“.  Feedback from others who had this problem would be helpful as I can pass the details back to WordPress.



The Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a transparent horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge and tourist attraction in Arizona near the Colorado River on the edge of a side canyon west of the main canyon. USGS topographic maps show the elevation at the Skywalk’s location as 4,770 ft (1,450 m) and the elevation of the Colorado River in the base of the canyon as 1,160 ft (350 m).

In other words, the height of the vertical drop directly under the skywalk is between 500 ft (150 m) and 800 ft (240 m).

Commissioned and owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe, it was unveiled March 20, 2007, and opened to the general public on March 28, 2007.  It is accessed via the Grand Canyon West Airport terminal or a 120-mile (190 km) drive from Las Vegas, which includes a 10-mile (16 km) stretch of dirt road which is currently under development.

The Skywalk is east of Meadview and north of Peach Springs with Kingman being the closest major city.


Palawan Underground River or St. Paul Subterranean River.

The longest navigable underground river in the world.

This is the most famous cave in the Philippines. The longest underground river was discovered a few years back in Mexico somewhere in the Yucatan.

The St. Paul underground river in Palawan, Philippines may not be the longest underground river in the world anymore, but it is still the world’s longest navigable underground river. The navigable part of the river inside the 4000-acre cave of the  St. Paul subterranean river stretches 15 kilometers in length (9.3 miles). St. Paul Cave is the third deepest cave in the country.


The Seven Sisters waterfall in Norway.


Plitvice Lakes National Park in the Lika region of Croatia.


A hotel window view in the United Arab Emirates!


Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta, Canada


Villas Vista Hermosa, Costa Rica




Sea caves near Benagil Beach, Algarve, Portugal.


Barcelona, Spain.


The village of Hallstatt in Austria.


Victoria Falls, in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Beautiful display of nature’s balance: Predators and Prey.


Connecting the dots

On the 23rd March, I wrote a piece entitled The most important alarm ever heard.  It opened as follows:

The most important alarm ever heard.

The heading says it all.

In fact the heading was taken from an email that came in from Bill McKibben’s 350.org yesterday.  But before reproducing that email in full, let me take you back to the 6th January this year when I published a piece simply called Keystone XL pipeline.  This is how that Post opened up,

Yesterday, I had published a lecture given in Melbourne by Britain’s eminent Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees.  Lord Rees concluded his lecture with the call for us to take better care of our own planet. He, like many others, recognises the unique place in history that we occupy. For the first time a single species is capable of exerting profound changes on the Earth’s natural and physical environments.

Over and over again, scientists are reporting the rise in climate temperature of Planet Earth and the implications thereof if we do not wakeup soon to changing our ways.  The Keystone pipeline is a huge potential mistake!

Bill McKibben of 350.org

Not easy to focus on a single sentence from Lord Rees but this one’s pretty direct, “For the first time a single species is capable of exerting profound changes on the Earth’s natural and physical environments.”

Now have a read of the article on 350orbust.com called Things Happen, But It’s Time To Connect The Dots. I’ve taken the liberty of republishing it in full.  But first the video:

Things Happen, But It’s Time To Connect The Dots

APRIL 16, 2012

Thailand has the worst flooding in its history, only a month after Central America has the worst flood in its history, a month after Vermont has the worst flooding in its history in the same year that the Mississippi river has the worst flooding in its history. And Queensland in Australia has its worst floods only a few months after Pakistan floods so badly that 20 million people are forced from their homes – it’s connected, folks.

Across the planet now we see ever more flood, ever more drought, ever more storms. People are dying, communities are being wrecked — the impacts we’re already witnessing from climate change are unlike anything we have seen before.

But because the globe is so big, it’s hard for most people to see that it’s all connected. That’s why, on May 5, we will Connect the Dots.

In places from drought-stricken Mongolia to flood-stricken Thailand, from fire-ravaged Australia to Himalayan communities threatened by glacial melt, we will hold rallies reminding everyone what has happened in our neighborhoods. And at each of those rallies, from Kenya to Canada, from Vietnam to Vermont, someone will be holding a…dot. A huge black dot on a white banner, a “dot” of people holding hands, encircling a field where crops have dried up, a dot made of fabric and the picture taken from above — you get the idea. We’ll share those images the world around, to put a human face on climate change–we’ll hold up a mirror to the planet and force people to come face to face with the ravages of climate change.

Anyone and everyone can participate in this day. Many of us do not live in Texas, the Philippines, or Ethiopia — places deeply affected by climate impacts. For those communities, there are countless ways to stand in solidarity with those on the front-lines of the climate crisis: some people will giving presentations in their communities about how to connect the dots. Others will do projects to demonstrate what sorts of climate impacts we can expect if the crisis is left unchecked. And still others of us will express our indignation to local media and politicians for failing to connect the dots in their coverage of “natural disasters.”

However you choose to participate, your voice is needed in this fight — and you can sign up here: www.climatedots.org

These will be beautiful events, we’re sure. But they will also have an edge. It’s important for all of us whose lives are being damaged to know that it’s right that we get a little angry at those forces causing this problem. The fossil fuel industry is at fault, and we have to make that clear. Our crew at 350.org will work hard to connect all these dots — literally — and weave them together to create a potent call to action, and we will channel that call directly to the people who need to hear it most.

May 5 is coming soon; we need to work rapidly. Because climate change is bearing down on us, and we simply can’t wait. The world needs to understand what’s happening, and you’re the people who can tell them.

Please join us–we need you to send the most important alarm humanity has ever heard:www.climatedots.org


Bill McKibben for the whole team at ClimateDots.org

The XL pipeline. What comes next?

Full copy of an email just in from Bill McKibben.

Dear Friends—

I’m writing this from the lawn in front of the White House.

In front of me there’s a sprawling rally underway, with speakers ranging from indigenous elders to the great Canadian writer Naomi Klein. In back of me, another 243 courageous people are being hauled away to jail — it’s the last day of Phase 1 of the tar sands campaign, and 1,252 North Americans have been arrested, the biggest civil disobedience action this century on this continent.

But we’ve been just as cheered by the help that has poured in from around the world — today, activists in front of the White House held a banner with a huge number on it: 618,428. That’s how many people around the world who signed on to the “Stop the Tar Sands” mega-petition to President Obama, including many of you in the 350.org network. Check out this beautiful photo of passion and courage on display:

(Photo Credit: Josh Lopez. If you can’t see the photo above, click here to see it and more inspirational photos from DC.)

But this movement does more than sign petitions: many of you stood strong in front of the White House risking arrest, and protesters on every continent have picketed outside embassies and consulates. That makes sense, for global warming is the one problem that affects everyone everywhere.

And the next moment to prove that is Sept. 24 for Moving Planet — the massive day of climate action that will unite people all over the world. We’ve heard news of amazing actions from every corner of the earth -— from a massive bike rally in the Philippines to an incredible eco-festival in Philadelphia. I truly can’t wait to see the pictures pour in.

But here’s why it’s important: we’re not just a movement that opposes things, we’re also a movement that dreams of what’s coming. And we don’t just dream, we also transform those dreams into reality. On September 24, on bike and on foot and on boards, we’re going to point the way towards that future. By days’ end, we’ll have shown why the bicycle is more glamorous than the car, and why the people have the potential to be more powerful than the polluters.

On some days fighting global warming means swallowing hard, mustering your courage, and making a sacrifice — other days it means getting all your friends up in the saddles of their bikes to have some fun and help move the planet forward.

September 24 is the second kind of day; it’s going to be powerful, it’s going to be beautiful, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  Please find or join a local event to get involved. 


Bill McKibben for the whole 350.org team

350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries. You can join 350.org on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page atfacebook.com/350org and follow us on twitter by visiting twitter.com/350. To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visitwww.350.org/signup. To support our work, donate securely online at 350.org/donate.

What is 350? 
350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in “parts per million” (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM–a “people powered movement” that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet.

Feel free to circulate this as far and wide as you wish.  Thanks, Learning from Dogs