Tag: Texas

Water, water, everywhere!

It’s beyond imagination as to what it must be like in Houston just now!

By writing that sub-heading I am, of course, revealing the fact that Jeannie and I are living a long way from Texas.

But that doesn’t stop our hearts going out to the poor animals who are in the middle of this disaster. Maybe also that doesn’t stop many from extending a helping hand. Here’s how that might be achieved. In that I am republishing an article that appeared on Mother Nature Network on Tuesday.

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How to help pets after a disaster

After Hurricane Harvey’s rain and flooding, many animals are expected to be without homes.
Mary Jo DiLonardo, August 29, 2017.

Naomi Coto carries Simba as they evacuate from their Houston home after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and Louisiana, residents are rushing to recover yet facing catastrophic rain, flooding and evacuations. While many residents headed for safety with their pets in tow, plenty of animals either escaped or were left behind. Animal rescue and shelter administrators say it’s still too early to estimate how many animals are struggling to find their way home.

Shelters in nearby areas unaffected by the storm took in animals from evacuated facilities. The Humane Society of North Texas, for example, made room for 22 animals from a shelter in Corpus Christi that had to shut down.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a disaster response team on the ground offering search and rescue, sheltering and relocation services for animals displaced by the storm.

The ASPCA reports, “Emergency response agencies are receiving a high number of requests for animal-related rescue, and are conducting responsible assessments to determine where resources can be utilized most effectively. The ASPCA stands ready to assist where our resources can have the most impact in saving lives and helping to reunite pets with their families. Residents who need assistance with recovering a pet from their home or emergency sheltering for their pets are encouraged to contact their local emergency management agency.”

With so much of the storm’s impact in the Houston area, the Houston SPCA has become a central hub for animal-related needs. Because the storm is still pounding, the SPCA is unsure how strong its impact will be on the area pet population, but the group is fielding offers from individuals and rescue groups willing to donate or transport and foster displaced animals. While needs are still being assessed, one way to help is through direct donations.

How to help animals in any emergency

Two pups rest after being rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Austin Pets Alive!)

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, an estimated 15,000 pets were rescued by the New Orleans SPCA, as volunteers scooped cats and dogs off rooftops, out of the water and from flooded streets, reports CNN. However, a whopping 90,000 area pets were never accounted for with some sources saying an estimated 600,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died as a result of the storm.

As animal lovers all over the country saw images of abandoned pets, they wanted to help. People sent money and rescue groups transported unclaimed pets to shelters and new homes. Those are some of the things you can do to help when disaster strikes.

Donate money. Teams from the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States head to areas after disasters to help with transport, rescue and other needs. Donate to them directly, or go online to find shelters directly impacted by the event.

Contact local shelters to see what they need. Some might want local volunteers or item donations, while others may prefer monetary aid. Rescue groups outside the area can contact individual shelters or other local rescue groups to see if there are pets ready to be taken to new homes. Early on, there will likely be temporary shelters set up in hopes that some animals may be claimed by their owners, so rescue groups might not be needed right away.

Be willing to foster. After large disasters, shelters brace for a high volume of new animals. Some shelters might be looking for short-term fosters to care for the animals that were already in their care before the storm hit or to take care of owned pets while the families recover from damage and get back on their feet.
How to protect your pet:

Looking ahead, there are things you can to do be prepared with your pet before disaster strikes, says the ASPCA:

  • Microchip your pets. Collars and tags can get lost, but it’s easier for rescue workers to help pets reunite with their owners if they are chipped and the information is updated.
  • Have a go-bag for your pet. Have it packed with leashes, medical info, food, water and anything else your pet needs and keep it by the door.
  • Download the ASPCA’s free mobile app for your smartphone. It stores your pet’s records and offers tips on what to do if you get separated from your pet.
  • If you have to evacuate, take your pet with you. Some emergency shelters allow pets. In 2006, Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which authorized FEMA to rescue, care, shelter and take care of people with pets and service animals. About 44 percent of the people who didn’t evacuate during Katrina stayed because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind, according to a report by the Fritz Institute.

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I’m going to close today’s post by referring to another recent item published by Mother Nature Network. More precisely by first presenting a photograph that was in that MNN item.

Photo taken by Tiele Dockens last Saturday.

Now read the text that accompanied that photograph.

Dog carrying bag of food turns out to be the hero Texas needed
In times like these, even ordinary creatures do extraordinary things.

In troubled times, we all look to heroes to step up and lead us from a dark place to one of hope. And in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which battered and then flooded much of southeast Texas over the weekend, we didn’t have to wait long. Countless everyday Texans have risked their own lives to haul people and pets out of the affected areas.

But Otis may be the unlikeliest hero of all.

After all, he wasn’t exactly leaping into the breach when Tiele Dockens snapped this picture over the weekend. Nor was the golden retriever hauling anyone out of danger.

Instead, Otis was carrying cargo that was precious mostly to him: a big bag of dog food. And he was just trying to get it home.

But there was something about that picture — a humble family pet clinging tightly to his one precious possession, despite the chaos all around.
A new survival icon emerges

Since Dockens posted the image on Facebook — a photo snapped while she was taking stock of the flood-wracked city of Sinton — the post has been shared more than 35,000 times.

“We are a population of about 6,000,” Dockens told the Weather Channel. “We were out today clearing tree limbs from streets. Families are already starting to clean up. Our town is still out of water and power. I was driving around checking on family and friends’ properties that decided to evacuate.”

Then she spotted Otis.

“With his dog food of course,” Dockens added.

It turned out, the man taking care of Otis, who belonged to his grandson, had been looking for the furry refugee who had slipped out of a screened-in back porch on Friday night.

“I kept yelling his name and yelling his name and he wasn’t around,” Segovia told the Houston Chronicle.

Amid devastating floods, with countless family pets already missing, the situation could have taken a dark turn. But not long after he was photographed high-tailing it down a city street, Otis found his way back home.

And, along the way, into the hearts of millions.

Sure, images of ordinary people doing extraordinary things can be a powerful cure for despair. And right now, Texas needs all the heroes it can get.

But sometimes, we need a simple reminder from our four-legged friends that they are in this mess, too. They’re trying to get by one way or another. And if that happens to involve looting — err, retrieving — a bag of food, then this is a survivor’s tale worth cheering for.

Please, please if there is anything that you can do to help alleviate what the animals are experiencing please do so.

Thank you!

The essence of our relationship with dogs.

Woman Rescues Burned Puppy and He Grows Up to Save Her Life

This wonderful story was recently published on the Care2 site and is republished here to share with you all and to underline the importance of always trying to find your next pet from a rescue shelter.

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Woman Rescues Burned Puppy and He Grows Up to Save Her Life

2997475.largeBy: Laura S. April 6, 2016

About Laura

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 7, 2013. We are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Anyone who has ever saved an animal will tell you that its the kind of experience that shakes up your DNA. You won’t regrow hair on a balding head or suddenly run a four-minute-mile, but there is a pulse of positive energy that churns through the human body much like a twister. In some cases, fragments of that emotional explosion are powerful enough to be credited with modern medical miracles. And for one Texas woman, the experience was profound enough to help wake her from a coma.

My Name is Danielle…

“My name is Danielle and it’s been over a year since something terrible happened to me. I am ready now to share my story,” explained the letter we received recently from veterinary technician Danielle Torgerson of Killeen, Texas. ”Four years ago somebody brought a puppy to the clinic. I was not assigned to that room but I was in the second room when I felt something pull me into the hallway. It was strange, but I glanced into the other exam room and saw a puppy on the table. He looked at me with so much pain and despair. A man had brought him in for a ‘sting’ but I knew instantly that was not the case. The puppy was horribly burned on the head like somebody had poured gasoline over him and set him on fire. He was there to be euthanized.”

But Danielle’s conscience began to wrestle down the injustice of extinguishing this young life before it had known the simple joys that every dog should know. She wondered if he might be able to have a bed of his own. Could there be walks through the park in the cool evening air? Was it possible that this puppy might wake up each morning beside a person whose first words were his name?

“I asked the vet if something could be done,” Danielle recalls. “He said that treatment could be carried out, but only with lots of money.”

The Rescue Begins

And that was all Danielle needed to hear. She wasn’t wealthy, but she was determined and if there was a chance at recovery, she’d already made up her mind to take it. So Danielle had the man who brought in the puppy sign over custody to her. She then contacted Dr. Elaine Caplin in Austin and the puppy was brought in for a surgical consulation to see what could be done.

“He was not able to eat or drink because part of his mouth was melted,” Danielle recalls.
“He was not able to eat or drink because part of his mouth was melted,” Danielle recalls.

Skingraft surgery was undertaken to reconstruct the mouth and soon the puppy’s condition improved dramatically and he began to function on his own.

Danielle named the puppy D’Artagnan (who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard) or Mister D for short and introduced him to other dogs and cats who welcomed him.

Mister D began to grow into a large dog and earned a reputation for his generous nature. “He allows all the cats to sleep with him and we have actually seen him share food with other dogs. He picks out pieces of food and gives it to them.”

All grown up.
All grown up.
But in the street, Mister D is sometimes regarded as a beast.“He looks like a werewolf with his skin grafts and people are kind of scared,” Danielle explains. “But he truly is my loving angel and I know that saving him is what helped save me.”You see, last year, Danielle was in a terrible motorcycle accident when she tried to avoid a collision with a car. Within seconds, she was on the ground bleeding with a broken skull and awaiting a lifelight helicopter to a trauma center where doctors would find no brain function.Photo00811For 12 days, Danielle lay motionless in her pale blue hospital gown while her mother, who flew in from Germany, went back and forth between the hospital and Danielle’s home to take care of not only her dying daughter, but of the animals who meant the world to her.

At night, Danielle’s ex-husband would help look after the pets so that her mother could spend more time with Danielle, and try to get some rest, but everyone feared the worst.

But in the silence of the mind, a louder voice came from Danielle’s soul.

“I had to get back to Mister D and my other ‘kids’ because they needed me and I needed them,” Danielle says of her sense that she carried that desperate need to be reunited with her pets, despite the lack of medical evidence that she was processing those emotions during her coma.

I Had to Wake Up for My Animals

“After 12 days, a miracle happened,” Danielle says tearfully. “I woke up. The doctors and nurses have told me that the first words that I uttered were ‘Mister D.’”

For several weeks, Danielle remained in rehabilitation while she learned to walk and to fully speak again. It seemed so painfully long for her to be away from the ones she loved and that motivated her to work harder each day.

“When I finally got home, Mister D was so happy,” Danielle said. “He checked on me all the time. When he felt that I was hurting, he would put his paw very carefully on my head and sigh. I truly know that if it was not for Mister D, I would not be here. He has become my musketeer, my protector and has given me the security and protection that I never had from people.”

together-todayNow fully recovered, Danielle’s greatest hope is that her story will inspire others to rescue animals. She asks people to consider rescuing, rather than buying pets and explains that “the bond between you is one that can never be broken.”

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Please help share this message of the bond and love that is possible between us and our pets and to always consider taking on rescues.

Questions without answers.

Why is truth so often the first casualty?

As is the way of things, my post yesterday, The growth of empathy, unwittingly set the scene for today’s post.  Here’s why!

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Fukushima and the power of blogging in connecting so many all across the world.  Maurice Barry, who writes his own blog, left a comment:

Regarding Fukashima I’m still left wondering whether the real problem is the lack of social conscience in the top level leaders or the apathy of ordinary people like you and I who let them carry out their plans.

To which I replied, “Maybe just the power of 20:20 hindsight?”

So to today’s post.

One of the items in yesterday’s Naked Capitalism Links was the headline: Is there a media blackout on the fracking flood disaster in Colorado? That caught my eye and in a moment I had gone across to the blogsite: Bluedaze Drilling Reform.

This is what I read:

Is there a media blackout on the fracking flood disaster in Colorado?

by TXSHARON on SEPTEMBER 15, 2013

in UNCATEGORIZED

See update below before trying to post a comment.

I will update this post as residents send me pictures and video.

We need the national news stations to go cover the environmental disaster that’s happening in Colorado right now.

This picture taken by a resident is from yesterday.

From an email.

flood-in-Weld-County-yesterday-Sept-13-e1379256241135
I see you’ve noticed the underwater wells in Weld County, Colorado. Amazing; we’ve emailed the Denver TV stations, other media, and state and local politicians. We’ve sent pictures that our members have taken. It’s like the media and politicians have been TOLD not to say anything about it. There has been no mention of the gas wells on the Denver newscasts either last night or this evening although all stations have had extensive and extended flood coverage. You can see underwater wells in the background of some of the newscast videos, and yet the reporters say absolutely nothing.

Here’s a picture one of our members took yesterday in Weld County, Colorado. We’ve got tons more on our website. Check it out. The tanks are tipping and, in some cases, have fallen over. They have to be leaking toxins into the flood waters. There have to be hundreds if not thousands of underwater well pads in Weld County as a result of the flooding.

Please publicize this in Texas since our media people and politicians have gone silent!

https://www.facebook.com/EastBoulderCountyUnited

East Boulder County United

Lafayette, Colorado

Post from yesterday shows leaking tank floating down the river.

WeldCountyFloatingTank-e1379213713195

The reason I called today’s post ‘Questions without answers’ was because there are so many complex issues today.  So many issues that cannot be understood in simple ‘question and answer’ ways.  But one hope of finding answers to the complex questions of these times is through the sharing, caring ways of communicating that so many can access.  No more passionately demonstrated than by TXSharon in her About section of her blog.

Finally, I shall leave you with another great dog picture from Chris Snuggs.  So beautifully appropriate to the complex world we live in.

sunsetdog

But what does it all MEAN?

Quirks of the natural world

Or should that be ‘quacks’?  A delightful duck story from San Antonia, Texas.

With big thanks to Merci O. for sending me the story.

A True Duck Story from San Antonio , Texas

Something really cute happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael R. is an accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works there in a second story office. Several weeks ago, he watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the sidewalk. The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.

Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take them to water, which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching.

Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off. Office work came to a standstill as everyone gathered to watch.

The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn trustingly toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement below. Michael couldn’t stand to watch this risky effort nine more times! He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where the first obedient duckling, near its mother, was resting in a stupor after the near-fatal fall. Michael stood out of sight under the awning-planter, ready to help.

As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. Safe and sound, he set it down it by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from that painful leap. (The momma must have sensed that Michael was trying to help her babies.)

One by one the babies continued to jump.. Each time Michael hid under the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free fall. At the scene the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a standstill. Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining eight and set them by their approving mother.

At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its dangerous journey. They had two full blocks to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs and past pedestrians to get to the closest open water, the San Antonio River, site of the famed “RiverWalk.”

The on-looking office secretaries and several San Antonio police officers joined in. An empty copy-paper box was brought to collect the babies. They carefully corralled them, with the mother’s approval, and loaded them in to the container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San Antonio River. The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all the way.

As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping in the river and quacking loudly. At the water’s edge, Michael tipped the box and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to the waiting mother after their adventurous ride.

All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up snugly to momma.  Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank book-keeper, and proudly quacking.

At last, all present and accounted for: “We’re all together again. We’re here! We’re here!”

And here’s a family portrait before they head outward to further adventures….

Like all of us in the big times of our life, they never could have made it alone without lots of helping hands. I think it gives the name of San Antonio ‘s famous “River Walk” a whole new meaning! Maybe you will want to share this story with others.

And even if you enjoyed the story, do settle down for 3 minutes and watch the YouTube version – it’s something you will treasure, I promise you!

Both versions end with this thought:

Live honestly, Love generously, Care deeply and Speak kindly

The potential for the USA!

A powerful ‘good news’ story.

I am republishing in full a recent report from the Earth Policy Institute.  It underlines how wringing our hands in the face of so much doom and gloom, while perfectly understandable, can hide the fact that mankind can and does change, frequently for the better.  This EPI report is a tad ‘dry’ but still a great read.  As an incentive, let me show you the final sentence, “If so, the United States could become a world leader in cutting carbon emissions and stabilizing climate.

Here’s the full paper.
NOVEMBER 02, 2011
U.S. Carbon Emissions Down 7 Percent in Four Years: Even Bigger Drops Coming
Lester R. Brown


Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four years. And this is only the beginning.

The initial fall in coal and oil use was triggered by the economic downturn, but now powerful new forces are reducing the use of both. For coal, the dominant force is the Beyond Coal campaign, an impressive national effort coordinated by the Sierra Club involving hundreds of local groups that oppose coal because of its effects on human health.

U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1950-2010, with Projection for 2011

In the first phase, the campaign actively opposed the building of new coal-fired power plants. This hugely successful initiative, which led to a near de facto moratorium on new coal plants, was powered by Americans’ dislike of coal. An Opinion Research Corporation poll found only 3 percent preferred coal as their electricity source—which is no surprise. Coal plant emissions are a leading cause of respiratory illnesses (such as asthma in children) and mercury contamination. Coal burning causes 13,200 American deaths each year, a loss of life that exceeds U.S. combat losses in 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The campaign’s second phase is dedicated to closing existing coal plants. Of the U.S. total of 492 coal-fired power plants, 68 are already slated to close. With current and forthcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air quality regulations on emissions of mercury, sulfur, and ozone precursors requiring costly retrofits, many more of the older, dirtier plants will be closed

In August, the American Economic Review—the country’s most prestigious economics journal—published an article that can only be described as an epitaph for the coal industry. The authors conclude that the economic damage caused by air pollutants from coal burning exceeds the value of the electricity produced by coal-fired power plants. Coal fails the cost-benefit analysis even before the costs of climate change are tallied.

In July 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a grant of $50 million to the Beyond Coal campaign. It is one thing when Michael Brune, head of the Sierra Club, says that coal has to go, but quite another when Michael Bloomberg, one of the most successful businessmen of his generation, says so.

The move to close coal plants comes at a time when electricity use for lighting will be falling fast as old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are phased out. In compliance with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, by January 2012 there will be no 100-watt incandescent light bulbs on store shelves. By January 2014, the 75-watt, 60-watt, and 40-watt incandescents will also disappear from shelves. As inefficient incandescents are replaced by compact fluorescents and LEDs, electricity use for lighting can drop by 80 percent. And much of the switch will occur within a few years.

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that residential electricity use per person will drop by 5 percent during this decade as light bulbs are replaced and as more-efficient refrigerators, water heaters, television sets, and other household appliances come to market.

Even as coal plants are closing, the use of wind, solar, and geothermally generated electricity is growing fast. Over the last four years, more than 400 wind farms—with a total generating capacity of 27,000 megawatts—have come online, enough to supply 8 million homes with electricity. (See data.) Nearly 300,000 megawatts of proposed wind projects are in the pipeline awaiting access to the grid.

Cumulative Installed Wind Power Capacity in the United States, 1980-2011

Texas, long the leading oil-producing state, is now the leading generator of electricity from wind. When the transmission lines linking the rich wind resources of west Texas and the Texas panhandle to the large cities in central and eastern Texas are completed, wind electric generation in the state will jump dramatically.

In installed wind-generating capacity, Texas is followed by Iowa, California, Minnesota, and Illinois. In the share of electricity generation in the state coming from wind, Iowa leads at 20 percent.

With electricity generated by solar panels, the United States has some 22,000 megawatts of utility-scale projects in the pipeline. And this does not include residential installations.

Closing coal plants also cuts oil use. With coal use falling, the near 40 percent of freight rail diesel fuel that is used to move coal from mines to power plants will also drop.

In fact, oil use has fallen fast in the United States over the last four years, thus reversing another long-term trend of rising consumption. The reasons for this include a shrinkage in the size of the national fleet, the rising fuel efficiency of new cars, and a reduction in the miles driven per vehicle.

Fleet size peaked at 250 million cars in 2008 just as the number of cars being scrapped eclipsed sales of new cars. Aside from economic conditions, car sales are down because many young people today are much less automobile-oriented than their parents.

In addition, the fuel efficiency of new cars, already rising, will soon increase sharply. The most recent efficiency standards mandate that new cars sold in 2025 use only half as much fuel as those sold in 2010. Thus with each passing year, the U.S. car fleet becomes more fuel-efficient, using less gasoline.

Miles driven per car are declining because of higher gasoline prices, the continuing recession, and the shift to public transit and bicycles. Bicycles are replacing cars as cities create cycling infrastructure by building bike paths, creating dedicated bike lanes, and installing sidewalk parking racks. Many U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York, are introducing bike-sharing programs.

Furthermore, when people retire and no longer commute, miles driven drop by a third to a half. With so many baby boomers now retiring, this too will lower gasoline use.

As plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars come to market, electricity will replace gasoline. Ananalysis by Professor Michael McElroy of Harvard indicates that running a car on wind-generated electricity could cost the equivalent of 80-cent-a-gallon gasoline.

With emissions from coal burning heading for a free fall as plants are closed, and those from oil use also falling fast—both are falling faster than emissions from natural gas are ramping up—U.S. carbon emissions are falling.

We are now looking at a situation where the 7 percent decline in carbon emissions since the 2007 peak could expand to 20 percent by 2020, and possibly even to 30 percent. If so, the United States could become a world leader in cutting carbon emissions and stabilizing climate.

Lester R. Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge.

Copyright © 2011 Earth Policy Institute

Earth Day and The 11th Hour

Some very thought-provoking ideas.

John H, a good friend of us here in Payson, lent us the Leonardo DiCaprio film The 11th Hour.  More information on the film’s website.  Here’s the trailer,

The plot of the film, if plot is the right word, is as follows,

With contributions from over 50 politicians, scientists, and environmental activists, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen HawkingNobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken, the film documents the grave problems facing the planet’s life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans’ habitats are all addressed. The film’s premise is that the future of humanity is in jeopardy.

The film proposes potential solutions to these problems by calling for restorative action by the reshaping and rethinking of global human activity through technology, social responsibility and conservation.

Whether or not you watch the film, and I strongly suggest you do, the action website that supports making a difference is For the Love of Action.  Drop in and make your own mind up.

Following on from that film is this apt reminder of the world we have created.  I tend to write articles a few days ahead of the publish date, so it wasn’t possible to have this post come out on the 20th April, last Wednesday, which was Earth Day.  Shame.  Because as this email from the Alaska Wilderness League pointed out, it’s also a sad reminder of our love affair with oil.

Dear Paul,

The next Deepwater Horizon could be amid the broken sea ice and polar bear habitat of America’s Arctic: unless we prevent it now. Donate to the League.

It was one year ago today. I remember sitting in my living room after dinner when the news alert flashed across the screen:Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico; 11 workers dead or missing. 

Huddled around the office television the next morning, there was no way we could anticipate the true magnitude of the disaster. Images of ruined lives and tarnished lands poured out of the Gulf formonths on end. As the oil industry’s feeble attempts to contain the destruction grew evermore cartoony – ‘top hat,’ ‘junk shot,’ ‘top kill’ – we learned just how little they had prepared for the eventual catastrophe of an oil spill.

Our government rubber-stamped the faulty plans for this oil rig. They had a chance to prevent this disaster, but didn’t. What’s worse: they continue to approve plans for America’s Arctic that are functionally identical to the plans that caused the Gulf disaster. America’s Arctic could be our next Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The effects of deadly crude oil spilling into the broken sea ice and polar bear habitat of America’s Arctic would be disastrous: unless we stop it.

We are fighting the next horrifying oil spill every step of the way. Help us prevent it – donate now! 

When Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf, the League had just completed a campaign to highlight the incredible annual migration of Arctic birds that begins in the Arctic Refuge and extends through each U.S. state. Some of these birds fly as far as the southern tip of Argentina! Many of them rely on critical nesting grounds around the Gulf of Mexico.

The League moved quickly to save these birds, distributing ‘Arctic Garden Kits’ to help donors across the country to provide sustenance and shelter to Arctic birds in their own backyards. Proceeds from the fundraiser helped us fight faulty plans from moving forward in America’s Arctic for the last two summers.

Shell Oil, the biggest threat for Arctic drilling, remains undaunted by our success. Their drilling plans for 2012 have ballooned from one drill rig to six. This is their big move – their cards are on the table. We need your help and support to go over the top to stop their escalating plans.

Help us stop the next disaster in America’s Arctic. Give today.

The way in which the League responded to the Gulf disaster – stemming the damage to wildlife and preventing the next disaster – was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. You have a chance to be a part of this continuing work. Help us save America’s Arctic before it suffers the fate of another Deepwater Horizon.

Thank you for all that you do,

Cindy Shogan
Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Finally, let me close rather pointedly, perhaps, by this video of the fires in Texas which are burning out of control and have already scorched 1.6 million acres.; long-term drought being part of the cause.