Tag: Russia

For They Bring Out The Best In Us!

A wonderful follow-on to yesterday’s post.

As many of you will know, yesterday I published a post under the heading of Dogs: Aren’t They Incredible. It was the first of three essays that have been published by The Smithsonian about the wonderful ways of the dog.

So when I was wondering just what to share with you today and was browsing ‘stuff’ this story over on the Care2 site struck me as a perfect companion to yesterday’s post.

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Man Hears Barking From Under Pavement and Rescues Buried-Alive Dog

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally published on October 4, 2015. Enjoy!

A pregnant dog buried alive under paving stones for two days was rescued by local hero Rustam Vadim who heard a soft barking sound as he walked home with family in the Russian city of Voronezh.

Concerned about the dog’s survival, Rustam immediately went to the public utilities office to ask for help in rescuing her but was told that that department had not made the repair to a long-standing large hole in the street and they could not help.

Apparently, workers from a different government agency had made the repair and were unaware of the dog hiding in the hole as they sealed it over with paving stones.

[Ed: This video has a Russian commentary but you don’t need words to understand it!]

“My husband started to hammer to pull out the cobblestone and to hand dig out the sand because he did not have a shovel,” Rustam’s wife explains. “There was a gap that laid between the large cobblestones. My husband removed one stone and saw the face of a dog. He started to slowly pull out the dog as she is pregnant. After rescuing the dog, we recovered the hole so there is no threat to people.”

The dog was reportedly taken to a shelter and is being cared for. How many of you would like a man like Rustam as your friend or neighbor?

Photo Credit: YouTube

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How many, indeed, would like Rustam as a friend.

In fact, it underlines the truth that despite all the gloom and doom we read about on a daily basis most of the people out there are nice people!

Finally, I was curious as to where Voronezh was in Russia. Thanks to ‘Google’ that question was quickly answered:

Voronezh is a city and the administrative center of Voronezh Oblast, Russia, straddling the Voronezh River and located 12 kilometers from where it flows into the Don. Wikipedia
It appears to be about an eight-hour drive South-south-east of Moscow and here’s a picture of the city.
Voronezh.

Picture Parade One Hundred and Eighty-Two

The second set of photographs by Russian photographer Andy Seliverstoff.

The first set of these stunning photographs was last week. I shall repeat the background to the photographer that was also published a week ago.

Little Kids and Big Dogs

Andy Seliverstoff is a 58-year-old professional photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia. A few years ago some of Seliverstoff’s friends asked him to take photos of their daughter Alice in a park. They had their gigantic Great Dane, Sean, with them, so they decided to incorporate him into the photos. After seeing the results, he knew he was on to something special.

Seliverstoff did another shoot with a child featuring big dogs, and told BuzzFeed News that he was “deeply touched” by the work. That was four years ago and he’s been a dog photographer ever since.

The project has become his passion, which he chronicles in a book called “Little Kids and Their Big Dogs.“

All of the photos are taken in St. Petersburg. Its extensive parks and colder climate help create some spectacular shots.

Seliverstoff said the goal of the series wasn’t just to create beautiful pictures, but to capture the interaction between the children and the animals.

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Beautiful almost beyond words! These were sent to me by Dordie from next door. Dearest Dordie has sent me another set of stunningly magical photographs that I will be sharing with you from next Sunday for a few weeks.

Picture Parade One Hundred and Eighty-One

Sent to me by Dordie Lamphier from next door.

First some background to the pictures that are presented both today and in a week’s time.

Little Kids and Big Dogs

Andy Seliverstoff is a 58-year-old professional photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia. A few years ago some of Seliverstoff’s friends asked him to take photos of their daughter Alice in a park. They had their gigantic Great Dane, Sean, with them, so they decided to incorporate him into the photos. After seeing the results, he knew he was on to something special.

Seliverstoff did another shoot with a child featuring big dogs, and told BuzzFeed News that he was “deeply touched” by the work. That was four years ago and he’s been a dog photographer ever since.

The project has become his passion, which he chronicles in a book called “Little Kids and Their Big Dogs.“

All of the photos are taken in St. Petersburg. Its extensive parks and colder climate help create some spectacular shots.

Seliverstoff said the goal of the series wasn’t just to create beautiful pictures, but to capture the interaction between the children and the animals.

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These are stunningly beautiful. Thanks Dordie.

The final set of eight photographs next Sunday.

The ancient roots of the relationship.

The recent news of finding a dog graveyard that is 2,000 years old.

Before going on to today’s post, can I just remind you kind folks that as of today, and for the rest of this week, we have family guests staying with us here in Oregon.

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Grandson Morten responding to his mother, Maija, taking a picture of him and Marius, as they wait to board the aircraft for San Francisco yesterday morning.

Thus from tomorrow until the end of the coming weekend my posts will be a preponderance of republications of previous posts. Plus my attention to you dear readers will be less than you are accustomed to.

Now on to today’s post that was kindly sent to me by Chris Gomez. Thanks Chris.

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2,000-Year-Old Dog Graveyard Discovered in Siberia

Voting for hope.

Considered reflections to yesterday’s post.

Yesterday, I published Bitter Lake ripples, a post that, in turn, was my response to the fabulous comments left by readers of my earlier post Oil, money, banks, guns and blood.  The overall feeling I read in those comments was one of terrible uncertainty about these present times. Or in the words of Sue Dreamwalker in response to a comment left by Patrice Ayme.

I have to say Patrice.. I agree with your comment here… And yes people are not understanding the whole of what is going on.. The Truth of it would seem unbelievable..

Patrice, in a post published on Monday entitled Arm Ukraine, Disarm Bankers sent shivers down my spine with the suggestion, the strong suggestion, that Ukraine, if not handled properly by ‘the West’ could be a tipping point into another major war between Europe (and the USA?) and Russia.  Here’s an extract from Patrice’s post:

The way it was said, in conjunction with Putin’s recent admission that Russian “volunteers” were fighting in Ukraine, is basically a declaration of war. On top of this, the head of the Eastern Ukraine rebels declared that he was raising a 100,000 men army. This means he expect tens of thousands of Russian troops (Putin’s “volunteers”) to cross the border.

This is not contained. Putin is billowing out of control, all by himself. One has to see what the combination of Putin’s dictatorial powers, media control, psychology and sinking economy leads to. Let me spell it out.

Once Putin has conquered Ukraine, he will push for more: he is already partly occupying Moldavia, WEST of Ukraine. Putin is also messing up with Hungary: there were street demonstrations about this, just yesterday, in Budapest. Putin uses the fact that Hungary is extremely dependent upon Russia’s fossil fuels. Merkel, who desperately wants to avoid war with Putin, flew to Budapest in emergency, to sort the situation out.

Patrice continues the warning of possible terrible times ahead in a subsequent post: Mental Inertia, Evil’s Friend, published yesterday.

Just as it takes a long time to erect, or change a vast building, so it is with the brain. The brain has inertia. Thus psychological inertia.

This mental inertia is why human beings tend to go on with a task, or with an attitude, once they got launched into it (a Jihadist laden with explosives just flew by).

Once a force is applied to an object, for example a propaganda to a brain, it tends to gather momentum, and develop ever more inertia.

Putin of course creates his own propaganda, and then can listen to it, reinforcing his deviance, in a self-reflective way. It’s all the more efficient if others repeat his ideas, and he listens to them. Actually that’s not just a problem with Putin, but with all Great Leaders. (And that’s one reason why Great Leadership has to be discontinued, and replaced by Direct Democracy.)

This amplifies the inertia.

By not fiercely opposing Putin, one collaborates with him. It is not just a question of sanctions. Putin is a liar, and an aggressive one, he should be publicly called for what he is.

Thus in terms of my own personal ideas, I freely admit to struggling to see things clearly.  Simply because I find it very difficult to get to the heart of these international issues through not having access to clear, impartial commentators who know what they are speaking about. As Patrice infers much of the media is corrupted by self-serving agendas.

However, on balance, despite Patrice Ayme being a ‘nom-de-plume’ and me having no idea who the person behind the label really is, I do trust his (?) writings and believe that Patrice writes from a position of having very good access to the inner workings of the US Government. (I am not privy to anything to support my proposition; just my guess.)

The other commentator whose opinions and judgements are trusted by me in equal fashion is George Monbiot. Mr. Monbiot has been gracious to grant permission to me for his essays to be republished here on Learning from Dogs.

On the 28th January, Mr. Monbiot published an essay that in words better than I could write encapsulates my response to the comments left on my Bitter Lake ripples post. Here is that post from George Mobiot.

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The Lamps Are Coming On All Over Europe

28th January 2015

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 28th January 2015

Here is the first rule of politics: if you never vote for what you want, you never get it. We are told at every election to hold our noses, forget the deficiencies and betrayals and vote Labour yet again, for fear of something worse(1). And there will, of course, always be something worse. So at what point should we vote for what we want, rather than keep choosing between two versions of market fundamentalism? Sometime this century? Or in the next? Follow the advice of the noseholders and we will be lost forever in Labour’s Bermuda triangulation.

Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished.

Syriza, Podemos, Sinn Fein, the SNP; now a bright light is shining in England too, as the Green party stokes the radical flame that Labour left to gutter. On Tuesday morning, its membership in England and Wales passed 50,000(2); a year ago it was less than 15,000. A survey by the website voteforpolicies.org.uk reports that in blind tests (the 500,000 people it has polled were unaware of which positions belong to which parties), the Green Party’s policies are more popular than those of any other. If people voted for what they want, the Greens would be the party of government.

There are many reasons for this surge, but one of them must be a sense of popular ownership. Green party policies are determined democratically. Emerging from debates led mostly by younger members(3), they feel made for their time, while those of the major parties appear trapped in the 1980s.

Let me give you a flavour of the political transformation the Green Party seeks. There would be no prime minister of the kind we have today, no secretaries of state. Instead, Parliament would elect policy committees which in turn appoint convenors(4). It would also elect a First Minister, to chair the convenors’ committee. Parliament, in other words, would be sovereign rather than subject to the royal prerogative prime ministers abuse, leaders would be elected by the whole body and its various parties would be obliged to work together, rather than engage in perennial willy-waving.

Local authorities would set the taxes they chose. Local currencies, which have proved elsewhere to have transformative effects in depressed areas (see Bernard Lietaer’s book The Future of Money(5)) would become legal tender(6). Private banks would no longer be permitted to create money(7) (at the moment they issue 97% of our money supply, in the form of debt). Workers in limited companies would have the legal right, following a successful ballot, to buy them out and create cooperatives(8), with funding from a national investment bank.

The hideously unfair council tax system would be replaced by land value taxation(9), through which everyone would benefit from the speculative gains now monopolised by a few. All citizens would receive, unconditionally, a basic income(10), putting an end to insecurity and fear and to the punitive conditions attached to benefits, which have reduced recipients almost to the status of slaves.

Compare this vision of hope to Labour’s politics of fear. Compare it to a party so mesmerised by the City and the Daily Mail that it has promised to sustain the Tory cuts for “decades ahead”(11) and to “finish that task on which [the Chancellor] has failed”: eradicating the deficit.

Far too late, a former Labour minister, Peter Hain, now recognises that, inasmuch as the books need balancing, it can be done through measures like a financial transaction tax and a reform of national insurance(12), rather than through endless cuts. These opportunities have been dangling in front of Labour’s nose since 2008(13), but because appeasing the banks and the corporate press was deemed more important than preventing pain and suffering for millions, they have not been taken. Hain appears belatedly to have realised that austerity is a con, a deliberate rewriting of the social contract to divert our common wealth to the elite. There’s no evidence that the frontbench is listening.

Whether it wins or loses the general election, Labour is probably finished. It would take a generation to replace the sycophants who let Blair and Brown rip their party’s values to shreds. By then it will be history. If Labour wins in May, it is likely to destroy itself faster and more surely than if it loses, through the continued implementation of austerity. That is the lesson from Europe.

Fearful voting shifts the whole polity to the right. Tony Blair’s obeisance to corporate power enabled the vicious and destructive policies the Coalition now pursues(14). The same legacy silences Labour in opposition, as it pioneered most of the policies it should oppose. It is because we held our noses before that there is a greater stink today. So do we keep voting for a diluted version of Tory politics, for fear of the concentrate? Or do we start to vote for what we want? Had the people of this nation heeded the noseholders a century ago, we would still be waiting for the Liberal Party to deliver universal healthcare and the welfare state.

Society moves from the margins, not the centre. Those who wish for change must think of themselves as the sacrificial margin: the pioneering movement that might not succeed immediately, but that will eventually deliver sweeping change. We cannot create a successful alternative to the parties that have betrayed us until we start voting for it. Do we start walking, or just keep talking about the journey we might one day take?

Power at the moment is lethal. Whichever major party wins this election, it is likely to destroy itself through the pursuit of policies that almost no one wants. Yes, it might mean five more years of pain, though I suspect in these fissiparous times it won’t last so long. And then it all opens up. This is what we must strive for; this is the process that begins in May by voting, regardless of tactical considerations, for parties offering a genuine alternative. Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.

http://www.monbiot.com

References:

1. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/09/labour-tories-vote-osborne

2. Green Party office, by email, 27th January 2015

3. http://bright-green.org/green-movement/how-the-green-party-changed-itself-to-make-the-greensurge-possible/

4. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pa.html

5. http://www.lietaer.com/writings/books/the-future-of-money/

6. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html#EC678

7. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

8. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/in.html

9. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

10. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

11. http://press.labour.org.uk/post/87284550049/long-termism-in-public-finance-speech-by-chris

12. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jan/22/labour-radical-counter-greens-peter-hain

13. I was not the first to propose these alternatives to austerity Peter Hain has just discovered, but even I had got there by 2011: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/06/march-26-protest-aims-first-draft

14. http://www.monbiot.com/books/captive-state/

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I said that Mr. Monbiot’s words were much finer than my own. No better illustrated than by his closing three sentences:

“Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.”

Picture parade thirty-nine.

The third and final set of photographs by Elena Shumilova.

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A MOTHER FROM RUSSIA TOOK THESE PICTURES AT HER FARM

ALONG WITH HER TWO SMALL BOYS, A CAT AND A DOG.

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around her two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends.

Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that leaves you amazed. Elena said, “Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm.”

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Aren’t they stunningly beautiful!

If you missed the other sets of pictures, the first set is here and the second set is here.

Picture parade thirty-eight.

The second set of photographs from Elena Shumilova.

A week ago I introduced Elena Shumilova and am delighted to stay with her fabulous pictures.  I’m repeating the introduction from last week.

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A MOTHER FROM RUSSIA TOOK THESE PICTURES AT HER FARM

ALONG WITH HER TWO SMALL BOYS, A CAT AND A DOG.

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around her two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends.

Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that leaves you amazed. Elena said, “Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm.”

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Final set for you in a week’s time.  You all take care of yourselves.

Picture parade thirty-seven.

From The Meta Picture website, link sent to me by Suzann.

All pictures by Elena Shumilova. See her gallery on Flickr and 500px.  They are breathtakingly beautiful.

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A MOTHER FROM RUSSIA TOOK THESE PICTURES AT HER FARM

ALONG WITH HER TWO SMALL BOYS, A CAT AND A DOG. 

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around her two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends.

Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that leaves you amazed. Elena said, “Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm.”

 

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Another eight next week; be sure to come back, they are unmissable pictures.

The mystery of nature.

Spellbinding!

English starling

Ginger I. who works at the Payson branch of the Humane Society of Central Arizona recently sent me the following video on the magic of a flock of starlings.  It’s … well, you watch it and fill in the rest of the sentence; I ran out of words.

A short film that follows the journey of two girls in a canoe on the River Shannon and how they stumble across one of nature’s greatest phenomenons; a murmuration of starlings.

A murmuration is a…

/merr’meuh ray”sheuhn/, n.

1. an act or instance of murmuring.

2. a flock of starlings.

Ginger also included the following in her email,

A mystery of nature:

No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite.

Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. The starlings’ murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practised by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds’ quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.

Despite their tour de force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a decline in suitable nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after their evening ballet.

Two young ladies were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in the short video above. Watch the variation of colour and intensity of the patterns that the birds make in close proximity to one other.

I also quickly found a second video on YouTube that seemed worthy of including in this Post.

This astonishing sequence was filmed by wild life cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter who is currently sailing around the UK in an 18 foot boat. You can follow his journey and see more of his work at www.keepturningleft.co.uk.

Now I know that as I get older I seem to be turning into an emotional mess!  But a very happy mess!  I mention this because both films had me in tears.  Why?  Not really sure.  But I sense that when one looks at such beauty, such real pure magical beauty, and then reflects on the stupidity, greed and shortsightedness of mankind the contrast is almost too much to handle!

‘Big Oil’, please learn from dogs!

The latest announcement continues to show dogs in very good light!

Before I plunge into this Post, just an apology.  I’m trying hard to get out of what feels like a recent pattern of ‘re-publishing’ stuff rather than posting material that is primarily my own creative output.  Ironically, it’s become a little harder to achieve since starting a creating writing course last Tuesday 23rd (every Tuesday evening for 12 weeks!).  The course requires several thousand words of ‘homework’ each week.

Then I lost the plot and published two posts yesterday, when one of them should have been scheduled for today!  Thus making it almost impossible to be fully creative today!

Anyway, to today’s theme.  Which comes very close on the heels of my post on Monday about the antics of the big oil companies and ‘recovering’ oil from tar sands in Canada.

We all know that some of the most ecologically and environmentally fragile places on the planet are the polar regions.  Of the two polar regions, the more sensitive one is the North Polar region.  The Arctic ice cap is forecast to be clear of ice each Summer by 2030 assuming the huge annual run-off of fresh water doesn’t screw up the existing ocean currents before then.  (Indeed, a fascinating film about the complexity of the weather systems as a result of very long heating and cooling cycles was seen recently on YouTube – link at the end of this post.)

So continued madness over our love affair with oil is just that: madness.  Don’t get me wrong.  Jean and I drive gasoline-powered vehicles but at least we are conscious of the damage we are doing and will change just as soon as it becomes viable for us to so do.

So with all that in mind, here’s a recent announcement from Exxon first seen on the BBC News website.

US oil major Exxon Mobil has clinched an Arctic oil exploration deal withRussian state-owned oil firm Rosneft.

The venture seemingly extinguishes any remaining chance of BP reviving its own deal, which lapsed in May.The agreement was signed on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a Rosneft spokesman said.

Prime Minister Putin said that it would also allow Rosneft to develop fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas, according to local media reports.

“New horizons are opening up. One of the world’s leading companies, Exxon Mobil, is starting to work on Russia’s strategic shelf and deepwater continental shelf,” he said.

‘Big win

Under the agreement, the two firms will spend $3.2bn on deep-sea exploration in the East Prinovozemelsky region of the Kara Sea, as well as in the Russian Black Sea.

Exxon described these areas as “among the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally, with high potential for liquids and gas”.

The two companies will also co-operate on the development of oil fields in Western Siberia.

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers told the BBC: “[The Russian Arctic] is among the most promising and least explored regions for oil, that is why we are very interested.

Cynic mode on: “The Russian Arctic is among the most promising and least explored regions for oil …”  Well that’s alright then!

If one follows that link in the BBC news item, it goes to the ExxonMobil press release where one can quickly read the following key points,

  • US $3.2 billion exploration program planned for Kara Sea and Black Sea
  • Establishment of a joint Arctic Research and Design Center for Offshore Development in St. Petersburg
  • Rosneft participation in ExxonMobil projects in the U.S. and other countries with a focus on building offshore and tight oil expertise
  • Joint operations to develop Western Siberia tight oil resources
  • Companies form partnership to undertake projects in the Russian Federation and internationally

Thus this is not some small sideline – it’s potentially very big business for both partners.

So where is the Kara Sea?

Kara Sea, Russia

Here’s how the website WorldAtlas describes it,

The Kara Sea, an extension of the Arctic Ocean, is located off the coastline of Siberia in far northwestern Russia.

It’s separated from the Barents Sea (in the west) by the Kara Strait and Novaya Zemlya – and the Laptev Sea (in the east) by the Taymyr Peninsula and Severnaya Zemlya. The northern border (shown) is a mapping opinion.

It has an estimated area of 880,000 sq km (340,000 sq mi), an average depth of 128 m (420 ft) and a maximum depth of 620 m (2,034 ft).

Ice-bound for most of the year, the sea is generally navigable only during August and September.

The main ports are Dikson (Dickson) and Novyy Port, and they are heavily used during the two-month (lucrative) fishing season. They will also be distribution points when the petroleum and natural gas discovered here is brought to the surface.

Just look at that map again and see how far North of the Arctic Circle is the Kara Sea.

Dad, where's the ice gone?

Let’s go back to dogs.  When dogs were primarily wild animals, really when they were still carrying all the ‘habits’ of the Grey Wolf, from which dogs are genetically descended, they were very territorial, as indeed domestic dogs are towards their domestic area.  WikiPedia explains, ‘The core of their territory is on average 35 km2 (14 sq mi), in which they spend 50% of their time.‘  (That’s a great article on WikiPedia about the Grey Wolf, by the way.)

Anyway, the wolves, like practically all other animal species, live in harmony within their territory and only move or amend their territorial boundaries if the survival of the pack is threatened.

So when, oh when, is mankind going to learn that our territory is Planet Earth.  We have no other territory to move to.  I still remember my form teacher way back in my first English school saying to me, “There are two ways you can learn this lesson, the easy way or the hard way!”  Same applies to us all!  Let’s urgently learn this lesson from dogs and move on from oil.

Finally, that YouTube video.  Less than an hour long, it has some interesting facts about climate change over many thousands of years and a rather interesting conclusion.