Did you just adopt a new dog and now you’re super excited to introduce her to all the awesome people and animals in your life?
While you might want to bring her everywhere you go right away, it’s also important to take the right steps inorder to set her up for success — especially when it comes to dog training and socialization skills.
To understand how to socialize your dog, The Dodo reached out Juliana Willems, head trainer at JW Dog Training in Washington, D.C., for some insight.
What does it mean to socialize a dog?
Socialization is the process of helping a dog enjoy and feel comfortable with people, other animals, places, novel objects and environments.
It means bringing your dog out into the world and introducing her to various kinds of people and situations — which helps to make sure she learns how to be a happy, friendly pup (with manners!), and can reduce fear in unknown situations.
It also helps to give your dog the skills she needs to learn about boundaries — meaning she’s not running around and bulldozing other dogs who clearly just want to sleep whenever she’s around them.
What’s the best age to socialize a dog?
According to Willems, the best age to socialize your dog is when she’s a puppy — because there’s a critical socialization window in a dog’s life between 3 and 16 weeks.
“This is the age where puppies are like sponges, soaking up information and using the experiences during this time to determine how they feel about the world later in life,” Willems said.
Experiences — or a lack of experiences — during this critical socialization window can have a direct impact on a dog’s behavior as an adult.
So what happens if you adopt an older dog outside of the socialization window?
Unless you adopt a puppy who’s 4 months old or younger, Willems said that the dog you’re bringing home is well outside the critical socialization period.
“What this means is you won’t be able to undo what did or didn’t happen during that window when they were a puppy,” Willems said. “That being said, a goal with newly adopted rescue dogs is always to introduce them to new people, animals, places and activities in a positive way.”
Of course, there’s a good chance your pup was already socialized, especially if she was living happily with a foster family before she went up for adoption. But no matter what stage she’s in socially, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what to look out for.
As with puppies, being exposed to people, animals and places isn’t enough if you’re hoping to get your pup to truly love and be comfortable with these experiences. You should be paying attention to how she’s reacting to these situations as well.
According to Willems, simple exposure without looking at if your dog is having fun, feeling comfortable and enjoying herself leaves the door open for a negative experience.
That means it’s important you don’t overwhelm your dog by going to too many new places — or meeting too many new people — when she first comes home.
How to socialize your dog
According to Willems, the best way to socialize a new rescue dog is to go at her pace, use treats and always pay attention to body language.
“When you let your new rescue dog approach situations at their pace — allowing them to approach or retreat when they need to — you’re giving them choice in the interaction and you’re decreasing the chances that your dog will feel overwhelmed and scared,” Willems said.
And make sure you have some of your dog’s favorite treats ready to go during the process!
If you give your dog high-value treats when she meets new people or new animals or goes somewhere new, you’re increasing the chances that she ends up really liking those experiences. Why? Because she’s learning that new people, animals or places equal tasty treats!
While you’re keeping her happy with yummy treats, make sure you’re also paying attention to how she might be feeling in this new situation — and always give her the opportunity to take a breather if she needs one.
She should always have the option to leave a new situation if she’s uncomfortable — especially when it comes to meeting new people and dogs.
How can you tell if your dog’s uncomfortable?
According to Willems, your best bet is to look at your pup’s body language — and it’s helpful to be able to understand what certain signals mean.
Obvious ones include:
A tucked tail
Trying to move away
Growling or barking
More subtle stress signals include:
If your dog exhibits stress signals like these, it’s important you advocate for her and move her out of the situation.
What should you do if your dog’s uncomfortable?
If you find yourself in a situation that’s making your dog uncomfortable, you’ll want to get her some relief by moving away — and you can also try adding something your dog loves to the equation.
“The most effective tool here is high-value treats — something squishy and stinky that your dog really enjoys,” Willems suggested.
Keep in mind, though, that you won’t want to give your pup a high-value treat or toy around a dog she isn’t comfortable with, to avoid sparking any possessive aggression.
Take your time — and socialize her slowly
It’s definitely worth it to put in the work with your new dog to help her get comfortable with her new life — but make sure to resist the urge to take her to tons of new places or introduce her to a bunch of new people or animals right away.
“Aggressive behaviors are rooted in fear, so all the more reason to be very intentional, patient and positive in your socialization practice to help your dog learn their world with you is not a scary place!” Willems said.
Your new dog has been through so many changes — so let her decompress and get acclimated to her new home, routine and family.
All those couch snuggles will be worth it.
I don’t know about you but I found this article very useful and very informative. Now many books have been written on the subject and the odd blogpost or twenty.
But I hope that some readers found it informative. It would be lovely to hear from you if you are one of those people.
A superb reminder of the positives of this funny old species of ours!
The issue of what man is doing to our biosphere is all important, probably above all else. It surely occupies much of the thinking time of me and countless others across the globe. It seems so obvious that we are harming the planet it’s easy to forget that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are making a very positive difference in countless ways.
Take Erik Bendl. Not someone I had previously heard of so thanks to Lew L. who sent me the information.
Erik Bendl has walked over six thousand miles for the cause of diabetes awareness. In recent years he and his dog named Nice have walked in over thirty nine states and Washington D.C. to help diabetes organizations and encourage people to get healthy with exercise to control and prevent diabetes. When you see him on the road stop to say hello, walk with him or call him @ (502) 408-5772. (This includes a link to here)
That link (this one) takes you to a place on the website of the American Diabetes Association from which one further learns,
I AM STEPPING OUT BECAUSE…
I am Stepping Out because the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is so much more than a fundraising event to me. It is my opportunity to change the future and make a positive impact in the lives of those who are affected by diabetes. I am committed to walk and raise money in this inspirational event not because 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because I personally know some of them, and I want to do something about it.
I am now inviting you to join me in my quest to prevent and cure diabetes once and for all. Chances are, you also know someone who has been affected by diabetes and you already know how important it is to stop this disease. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.
With your help, we will fight for a future where a parent does not have to hear that their child has diabetes. A future where an adult does not have to face the uncertain times ahead after receiving a diabetes diagnosis. A future where you and I will know that we had a part in making this possible.
I truly appreciate your support. Together we can Stop Diabetes!
Easy to read, even easier to copy and paste into this post. Far, far more difficult to undertake what Erik and Nice have been doing for so long.
Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011
FORT RIPLEY — He may have the world on a string, but Erik Bendl’s highly visible stroll along Highway 371 is hardly a walk in the park. The Louisville, Ky., carpenter and his dog, Nice, are walking along the highway shoulder with a large, inflatable, rubber globe in order to raise awareness about diabetes.
This particular walk started in Sheboygan, Wis., and has Lake Itasca as its final destination. His route took him into Iowa before heading into Minnesota.
“I’m walking until the snow flies,” he said.
Stopping to answer questions from the curious near Eagle’s Landing on Tuesday afternoon, Bendl had a few northbound miles to go until Fort Ripley, his stated goal for that day.
The 49-year-old travels about 10 to 15 miles a day and estimated he had walked about 3,000 miles in 26 states in his five trips with Nice. Asked what kind of dog his non-descript companion was, Bendl replied, “He’s a brown dog.”
But apart from the commitment to his chosen cause, Erik also writes beautifully. Take this recent piece (which I trust Erik doesn’t mind me reposting here.)
Out of a dream
I awoke thinking I was writing about the twelve miles we had pushed against the wind. It took ten hours. Good people stopped and gave us water through the windy, hot day. Never thirsty, backpack still full at the end of the day with the bottles I started out with in the morning. Others brought food for us to eat. Dog biscuits and salad for me. Burgers and chews kept our stomachs full and my pack heavier with extra dogs treats when we stopped for the night.
We met diabetics of all shapes, ages and size. Stubborn ones who are not to be told and dedicated ones who want to grow old. I was told by all what I am doing is an inspiration, still some could not get away fast enough, lest they admit they could do more for themselves.
Everyday someone will tell me as they leave, smiling ear to ear, that I have made their day happier. A bonus which makes my day a joy.
Now I am awake from my sleepy dream. The fog has lifted from my tired senses. I hesitate to read over what I have just written. Will it make any sense? Will it matter? Or Am I still dreaming?
I think I will push the “send” button and forget, like most other dreams.
Why not send him an email to remind him of the universal power of being a good person: erikbendl (at) gmail (dot) com
Maybe the power of open communications is our only way forward.
A number of disparate ideas have flown into my ‘in-box’ and left me with these thoughts.
The first was the last essay on TomDispatch. This one from the hands of Mr. Engelhardt himself. I’m referring to Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Washington Straitjacket. As many of you know, Tom has been generous in granting me blanket permission to republish his posts and I frequently so do; as yesterday’s post written by Professor Michael Klare demonstrated.
Let me give you a idea of where Tom was coming from with this personal essay,
The Barack Obama Story (Updated) How a Community Organizer and Constitutional Law Professor Became a Robot President
By Tom Engelhardt
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama,
Nothing you don’t know, but let me just say it: the world’s a weird place. In my younger years, I might have said “crazy,” but that was back when I thought being crazy was a cool thing and only regretted I wasn’t.
I mean, do you ever think about how you ended up where you are? And I’m not actually talking about the Oval Office, though that’s undoubtedly a weird enough story in its own right.
The next paragraph opens, thus:
After all, you were a community organizer and a constitutional law professor and now, if you stop to think about it, here’s where you’ve ended up: you’re using robots to assassinate people you personally pick as targets.
Then there’s a comprehensive description of all the outcomes that have taken place in the last few years as in this paragraph,
Still, who woulda thunk it? Don’t these “accomplishments” of yours sometimes amaze you? Don’t you ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering just who you are? Don’t you, like me, open your eyes some mornings in a state of amazement about just how you ended up on this particular fast-morphing planet? Are you as stunned as I am by the fact that a tanker carrying liquid natural gas is now making a trip from Norway to Japan across the winter waters of the Arctic? Twenty days at sea lopped off an otherwise endless voyage via the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Did you ever think you’d live to see the opening of the Northeast Passage in winter? Don’t you find it ironic that fossil fuels, which helped burn that oceanic hole in the Arctic ice, were the first commercial products shipped through those open waters? Don’t you find it just a tad odd that you can kill someone in distant Yemen without the slightest obstacle and yet you’ve been able to do next to nothing when it comes to global warming? I mean, isn’t that world-championship weird, believe-it-or-not bizarre, and increasingly our everyday reality?
Tom’s essay comes to this conclusion,
And don’t you ever wonder whether a labyrinth of 17 (yes, 17!) major agencies and outfits in the U.S. “Intelligence Community” (and even more minor ones), spending at least $75 billion annually, really makes us either safe or smart? Mightn’t we be more “intelligent” and less paranoid about the world if we spent so much less and relied instead on readily available open-source material?
I mean, there are so many things to dream about. So many ghostly possibilities to conjure up. So many experimental acts that offer at least a chance at another planet of possibility. It would be such a waste if you only reverted to your community-organizer or constitutional-law self after you left office, once “retirement syndrome” kicked in, once those drones were taking off at the command of another president and it was too late to do a thing. You could still dream then, but what good would those dreams do us or anyone else?
It’s a very powerful analysis that I really encourage you to read.
Then thanks to a mailing from the WordPress team, I was drawn to a recent account of life by Ruth Rutherford. In an essay from the 13th November, Ruth writes about living in the dark, as this sample evocatively describes,
Dating in the dark
Just got back from visiting my ol’ stomping grounds in New Jersey where I spent the weekend with my parents and grandparents, just talking, eating and enjoying good company. And all this was done in the dark. Yep, that’s right. Even nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury, the Garden State is still struggling to recover. And let me tell you: Living without power for that long will quickly make you appreciate the little things.
Like walking into a dark room and then transforming it with just the flip of a switch. Or turning on a faucet and seeing water actually pour out. Or pulling into a gas station on any day you choose, not just the days you’re allowed to based on the numbers on your license plate. Or just using the bathroom without strategically planning your “number twos” based on how much water is in the tank. Or not having to wake up at two o’clock in the morning to wander outside in your pajamas to fill the generator with gas. (Okay, fine. My dad did that part. But still…)
When you’re without electricity for a while, your mind tends to do a lot of thinking. There are no reality shows to turn your brain into mush, no hair dryers to block out the noise of everyday life, and no steaming hot baths to drown your worries in. Basically, it’s you, alone, with a candle, a flashlight and your thoughts. So I spent the time brain blogging.
At the heart of this essay is the concept that ‘dating’ as in finding one’s life partner has become too complex. This is how Ruth concludes her ideas.
Yep, I’m telling you to be shallow.
Forget the deep end, folks. Jump, cannonball style, into the shallow end and let the fun begin!
Shared interests. Favorite movies. Local hot spots. Interesting hobbies. Recent vacations. Current music playlists. Boring work stories. Embarrassing childhood memories. Stupid jokes. Mutual attraction. Sparks. Chemistry.
Because if you can’t relate on these basic levels, then who the heck cares if you both want two boys, one girl and a yellow Labrador named Minnie?
Start small. Start simple. Grab a lantern and meet during a power outage. It’s amazing what you’ll find out about your date in the dark. (With your clotheson, people! Get your minds out of the gutter.)
Finally, closer to home. Patrice Ayme and Martin Lack have been exchanging views in comments to my recent post Unintended Consequences. Patrice ended a comment with this: ” If goodness is to win, it has to be smarter than the enemy.”
So what’s this all coming to? According to WordPress there are over 500,000 people blogging about the world as they see it. The number of others who read all those words must be well into many, many millions. Even humble old Learning from Dogs received over 45,000 viewings in November alone bringing the total viewings to over 785,000!
As the saying goes, “the only thing required for evil to win, is for good people to do nothing.”
The article in The New York Times tells the story of students, faculty and alumni around the country who are demanding divestment from fossil fuels. On a few campuses, like Swarthmore, they’ve been at it for semesters — but all of a sudden, as the article says, they find themselves “at the vanguard of a national movement. In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.”
The picture that accompanies the article comes from our Minneapolis roadshow last Friday night, and the article concisely lays out the demands and the strategy of the campaign. It’s precisely the boost we need. So please, go read it here: www.nyti.ms/SESrfr
We’re quickly getting traction, but we can get more if we have your help.
So, first things first: please email the article by clicking the “E-Mail” button on the New York Times website — if we can get it on the newspaper’s “most emailed list”, we can help make sure it goes as far as possible, as fast as possible.
For full instructions on how to email the article, click here: www.350.org/nyt
I sense that we, as in the peoples on this planet, are well into a period of such change that even by the end of 2013, a little over 50 weeks away, the precipice for humanity will be within sight. I hold out zero hope that any time soon our leaders and politicians will stop ‘playing games’ and focus on doing what’s right. The time for truth, for integrity, for sound debate is NOW!
The sharing of ideas, thoughts and emotions that this ‘virtual’ world of blogging offers (despite me regarding the word ‘blogging’ as ugly) is going to be the only tool, the only channel to carry sufficient weight and power for the wishes and desires of the ‘common man’ to live peacefully and safely to the end of this century and beyond!
The concluding part of Ellen Cantarow’s essay recently published on Tom Dispatch.
As I explained yesterday, when I introduced Part One of Ellen’s essay, the reason I split it into two was wanting to add additional material. Today the additional material will be added at the end. So to Ellen’s essay.
Frack Fight 2012
New York isn’t just another state. Its largest city isthe world’s financial capital. Six of its former governors have gone on to the presidency and Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to have his sights set on a run for the White House, possibly in 2016. It also has a history of movements, from abolition and women’s suffrage in the nineteenth century to Occupy in the twenty-first. Its environmental campaigns have included the watershed Storm King Mountain case, in which activists defeated Con Edison’s plan to carve a giant facility into the face of that Hudson River landmark. The decision established the right of anyone to litigate on behalf of the environment.
Today, that activist legacy is evident in a grassroots insurgency in upstate New York, a struggle by ordinary Americans to protect what remains of their democracy and the Earth’s fragile environment from giant corporations intent on wrecking both. On one side stands New York’s anti-fracking community; on the other, the natural gas industry, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York’s industry-allied Joint Landowners Coalition.
As for Governor Cuomo, he has managed to anger both sides. He seemed to bowto industry this past June by hinting that he would end a 2010 moratorium on fracking introduced by his predecessor David Paterson and open the state to the process; then, in October, he appeared to retreat after furious protests staged in Washington D.C., as well as Albany, Binghamton, and other upstate towns.
“I have never seen [an environmental movement] spread with such wildfire as this,” says Robert Boyle, a legendary environmental activist and journalist who was central in the Storm King case and founded Riverkeeper, the prototype for all later river-guardian organizations. “It took me 13 or 14 years to get the first Riverkeeper going. Fracking isn’t like that. It’s like lighting a train of powder.”
Developed in 2008 and vastly more expansive in its infrastructure than the purely vertical form of fracking invented by Halliburton Corporation in the 1940s, high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing is a land-devouring, water-squandering technology with a greenhouse gas footprint greater than that of coal. The process begins by propelling one to nine million gallons of sand-and-chemical-laced water at hyperbaric bomb-like pressures a mile or more beneath Earth’s surface. Most of that fluid stays underground. Of the remainder, next to nothing is ever again available for irrigation or drinking. A recent report by the independent, nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that fracking poses serious risks to health and the environment.
New York State’s grassroots resistance to fracking began about four years ago around kitchen tables and in living rooms as neighbors started talking about this frightening technology. Shallow drilling for easily obtainable gas had been done for decades in the state, but this gargantuan industrial effort represented something else again.
Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University’s Department of Engineering, co-author of a study that established the global warming footprint of the industry, calls this new form of fracking an unparalleled danger to the environment and human health. “There’s much more land clearing, much more devastation of forests and fields. . . thousands of miles of pipelines. . . many compressor stations [that] require burning enormous quantities of diesel. . . [emitting] hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.” He adds that it’s a case of “the health of many versus the wealth of a few.”
Against that wealth stands a movement of the 99% — farmers, physicists, journalists, teachers, librarians, innkeepers, brewery owners, and engineers. “In Middlefield we’re nothing special,” says Kelly Branigan, a realtor who last year founded a group called Middlefield Neighbors. “We’re just regular people who got together and learned, and reached in our pockets to go to work on this. It’s inspiring, it’s awesome, and it’s America — its own little revolution.”
Last year, Middlefield became one of New York’s first towns to use the humblest of tools, zoning ordinances, to beat back fracking. Previously, that had seemed like an impossible task for ordinary people. In 1981, the state had exempted gas corporations from New York’s constitutionally guaranteed home rule under which town ordinances trump state law. In 2011, however, Ithaca-based lawyers Helen and David Slottje overturned that gas-cozy law by establishing that, while the state regulates industry, towns can use their zoning powers to keep it out. Since then, a cascade of bans and moratoria — more than 140 in all — have protected towns all over New York from high-volume frack drilling.
This Is What Democracy Looks Like
Caroline, a small hamlet in Tompkins County (population 3,282), is the second town in the state to get 100% of its electricity through wind power and one of the most recent to pass a fracking ban. Its residents typify the grassroots resistance of upstate New York.
“I’m very skeptical that multinational corporations have the best interests of communities at heart,” Don Barber, Caroline’s Supervisor, told me recently. “The federal government sold [Americans] out when they exempted fracking from the Clean Water and Air Acts,” he added. “Federal and state governments are not advocating for the civil society. There’s only one level left. That’s the local government, and it puts a tremendous load on our shoulders.”
Caroline’s Deputy Supervisor, Dominic Frongillo, sees local resistance in global terms. “We’re unexpectedly finding ourselves in the ground zero for climate change,” he says. “It used to be somewhere else, mountaintop removal in West Virginia, deep-sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, tar sands in Alberta, Canada. But now…it’s right here under our feet in upstate New York. The line is drawn here. We can’t keep escaping the fossil fuel industry. You can’t move other places, you just have to dig in where you are.”
Two years of pre-ban work in Caroline included an election that replaced pro-drilling members of the town board with fracking opponents, public education forums, and a six-month petition drive. “We knocked on every single door two or three times,” recalls Bill Podulka, a retired physicist who co-founded the town’s resistance organization, ROUSE (Residents Opposed to Unsafe Shale Gas Extraction). “Many people were opposed to gas-drilling but were afraid to speak out, not realizing that the folks concerned were a silent majority.” In the end, 71% of those approached signed the petition, which requested a ban.
On September 11th, a final debate between drilling opponents and proponents took place, after which Barber called for the vote. A ban was overwhelmingly endorsed. “For the first time,” he told the crowd gathered in Caroline’s white clapboard town hall, “I will be voting to change the balance of rights between individuals and civil society. This is because of the impacts of fracking on health and the environment. And the majority of our citizens have voted to pass the ban.” The board then ruled 4 to 1 in favor.
About a year and a half ago, as Caroline and other towns were moving to protect their land from the industry, XTO, a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil Corporation, began preparing for a possible fracking future in the state. It eyed tree-shaded, Oquaga Creek, a trout-laden Delaware tributary in upper New York State’s Sanford County, leased the land, and applied to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) for a water-withdrawal permit. XTO required, it said, a quarter of a million gallons of water from the creek every day for its hydraulic fracturing operations.
Delaware Riverkeeper, an environmental organization, found out about the XTO application and spread the word. Within days, the DRBC received 7,900 letters of outrage. On June 1, 2011, hundreds of citizens, organized by grassroots anti-frackers, packed a hearing in Deposit, a village in Sanford Township that lies at the confluence of the creek and the western branch of the Delaware River. Only two people spoke at the meeting in favor of XTO. One was the Supervisor (mayor) of Sanford, Dewey Decker. He applauded the XTO application and denounced protestors as “outsiders.” He is among a group of landowners who have leased land to XTO for hundreds of millions of dollars. (Decker refused to be interviewed for this article.) The rest of the crowd spoke up for the creek, its fish, and its wildlife. The Delaware River Basin Commission indefinitely tabled the XTO application.
While a grassroots victory, the episode also served as a warning about how determined the industry is to move forward with fracking plans despite the state-enforced moratorium still in place. As a result, Caroline and other towns are continuing to develop local anti-fracking measures, since they know that the 2010 ban on the process will end whenever Governor Cuomo okays rules currently being written by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
When it comes to those rules and fracking more generally, the DEC has a conflict of interest. While it is supposed to protect the environment, it is also tasked with regulating the very industries that exploit it through the agency’s Mineral Resources Division. Last year, the DEC received over 80,000 written comments on the latest draft of its guidelines for the industry, the 1,500-page “SGEIS” (which stands for “Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement”). Drilling opponents outnumbered proponents 10 to 1. The deluge was a record in the agency’s history.
Activists weren’t the only ones with a keen interest in the SGEIS, however. Documents obtained through New York’s Freedom of Information Law indicate that, in mid-August 2011, six weeks before the DEC made its statement public, the agency shared detailed summaries of it with gas corporation representatives, giving the industry a chance to influence the final document before it went public.
Two days before the SGEIS was opened to public scrutiny, an attorney for the Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation and other companies asked regulators to “reduce or eliminate” a requirement for the sophisticated testing of fracking fluids. Such fluids are laden with toxins, including carcinogens, which storms could wash away from drilling sites — an especially grim prospect given the catastrophic flooding experienced in the state over the last three years.
At the same time, two upstate New York journalists revealed that Bradley Field, the head of the DEC’s Mineral Resources Division, had signed a petition that denied the existence of climate change. Formerly of Getty Oil and Marathon Oil, Field also serves as the state’s representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council, both industry fronts which maintain that fracking is benign. As this was coming to light, state officialsanonymously leaked word of a plan to open five counties on New York’s border with Pennsylvania to fracking as long as communities there supported the technology.
This is What Autocracy Looks Like
In May 2012, Dewey Decker and his board passed a resolution pledging thatthe town of Sanford would take no action against fracking, while awaiting the decision of the DEC. There was no prior notice. Citizens were left to read about it in their local papers. “You wake up the next morning and say, ‘What happened?’” commented Doug Vitarious, a retired Sanford elementary school teacher.
In June, a headline in the Deposit Courier, a Sanford paper, read “Local Officials in Eligible Communities Approve Pro-Drilling Resolutions.” Accompanying the piece was a map of towns that had passed such resolutions. The subscript under the map read: “Joint Landowners Coalition of N.Y.” The JLCNY is the state’s grassroots gas industry ally, whose stated mission is to “foster… the common interest… as it pertains to natural gas development.” Decker represents the organization in Sanford.
During the summer, Vitarious and other citizens asked their town board where the resolution had originated, but were met with silence. They requested that the board rescind the resolution and conduct a referendum. Decker refused.
By the end of August, 43 towns in the region had passed resolutions modeled on one appearing at the JLCNY website. It stipulates that at the local level “no moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will be put in place before the state of New York has made it’s [sic] decision.” Under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council obtained records from Sanford and two other towns about howthey achieved their objectives. The records, says Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, “detail contacts between gas industry operatives and officials.”
Two months before superstorm Sandy swamped parts of the state, Sue Rapp, a psychotherapist fromthetown of Vestal, told me that flooding worries her as much as anything else about fracking. Upper New York State suffered flooding in 2010 and 2011. And then came Sandy. Floods turn millions of gallons of fracking waste-water for which there is no safe storage into streams of poisons that wash into waterways.
Unlike Sanford’s board, Vestal’s has not formally blocked debate. It has heard arguments for a moratorium by Rapp and an organization she co-founded, Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VERSE), as well as pleas for a moratorium by physicians and academics. Its reaction, however, has simply been to sit on its hands, waiting for the DEC and Cuomo to make a final decision. This amounts to adopting the JLCNY position in all but formal vote. “What is happening?” asked Rapp rhetorically at a demonstration in Binghamton this past September. “They are trying to shut us down. But we do vote and we will vote. We do not constitute [what pro-drillers call] the tyranny of the majority, but simply the majority. That is called democracy.”
Demonstrations against Cuomo’s frack plan, which drew thousands to Washington D.C., Albany, and elsewhere in New York, included pledges to commit sustained acts of civil disobedience should the governor carry out plans to open the Pennsylvania border area of the state to fracking. At the end of September, theNew York Times announced that Cuomo had retreated from his June stance. The report credited the state’s grassroots movement for his change of mind. Legendary for his toughness and political smarts, the governor will confront a political challenge in the coming months. Either he will please gas-industry supporters or his Democratic base. Whichever way he goes, it could affect his chances for the White House.
The stakes, however, are far larger than Cuomo’s presidential aspirations. Opening any part of the state to fracking will certainly damage the local environment. More importantly, a grassroots win in New York State could open the door to a nationwide anti-fracking surge. A loss might, in the long run, result in a cascade of environmental degradation beyond the planet’s ability to cope. As unlikely as it sounds, the fate of the Earth may rest with the residents of Middlefield, Caroline, Vestal, and scores of tiny villages and small towns you’ve never heard of.
“All eyes are on New York,” says Chris Burger, a former Broome County legislator and one of a small group who persuaded New York’s last governor, David Paterson, to pass the state’s moratorium on fracking. “This is the biggest environmental issue New York has ever faced [and not just] New York, the nation, and the world. If it’s going to be stopped, it will be stopped here.”
Ellen Cantarow first wrote from Israel and the West Bank in 1979. A TomDispatch regular, her writing has been published in The Village Voice, Grand Street, Mother Jones, Alternet, Counterpunch, and ZNet, and anthologized by the South End Press. She is also lead author and general editor of an oral-history trilogy, Moving the Mountain: Women Working for Social Change, published in 1981 by The Feminist Press/McGraw-Hill, widely anthologized, and still in print.
A report by the UN says global attempts to curb emissions of CO2 are falling well short of what is needed to stem dangerous climate change.
The UN’s Environment Programme says greenhouse gases are 14% above where they need to be in 2020 for temperature rises this century to remain below 2C.
The authors say this target is still technically achievable.
But the opportunity is likely to be lost without swift action by governments, they argue.
Negotiators will meet in Doha, Qatar for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP18) next week to resume talks aimed at securing a global deal on climate by 2015.
The Emissions Gap Report 2012 has been compiled by 55 scientists from 20 countries. It says that without action greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will be the equivalent 58 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2020.
That’s around 14 gigatonnes above the level that scientists have saidis needed to keep temperature rises this century below the targeted level of 2C.
Even if the most ambitious pledges from countries to cut emissions are honoured, the gap is likely to be eight gigatonnes, an increase of two gigatonnes on last year’s estimates.
“Eight is a big number,” says Dr Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “that’s about the total greenhouse gas emissions of the entire industrial sector in the whole world right now.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) says the increase in the levels of emissions in this year’s report is due to projected economic growth in some developing countries and the removal of some emissions cuts that were counted twice.
“The report provides a sobering assessment of the gulf between ambition and reality,” says Achim Steiner, the executive director of Unep.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization has said.
In its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin released on Tuesday, the organisation said that carbon dioxide levels reached 391 parts per million in 2011.
The report estimates that carbon dioxide accounts for 85% of the “radiative forcing” that leads to global temperature rises.
Other potent greenhouse gases such as methane also reached record highs.
The carbon dioxide levels appear to have been rising at a level of two parts per million each year for the last 10 years – with the latest measure being 40% higher than those at the start of the industrial revolution.
The WMO estimates that 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere since 1750, and that about half of that amount is still present in the atmosphere.
“These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on Earth,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“Future emissions will only compound the situation.”
US weather agency the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contributed to the bulletin with their Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which indicated that between 1990 and 2011, carbon dioxide’s role in the radiative forcing that leads to warming had increased by 30%.
Levels of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas, hit a new record at 1,813 parts per billion – more than two-and-a-half times the pre-industrial level.
Concentrations of nitrous oxide, estimated to be nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, rose slightly to a record 324 parts per billion.
Mr Jarraud pointed out that until now, “carbon sinks” such as the oceans had reclaimed half of all atmospheric carbon dioxide, but that pattern would not necessarily continue.
“We have already seen that the oceans are becoming more acidic as a result of the carbon dioxide uptake, with potential repercussions for the underwater food chain and coral reefs,” he said.
“There are many additional interactions between greenhouse gases, Earth’s biosphere and oceans, and we need to boost our monitoring capability and scientific knowledge in order to better understand these.”
In 2010 New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric pollution.
Carbon Visuals and Environmental Defense Fund wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real – the total emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the ‘person on the street’, this version is exploratory and still work in progress. Mayor Bloomberg’s office has not been involved in the creation or dissemination of this video.
NYC carbon footprint:
54,349,650 tons a year = 148,903 tons a day = 6,204 tons an hour = 1.72 tons a second
At standard pressure and 59 °F a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere 33 feet across (density of CO₂ = 1.87 kg/m³: http://bit.ly/CO2_datasheet). If this is how New York’s emissions actually emerged we would see one of these spheres emerge every 0.58 seconds.
Emissions in 2010 were 12% less than 2005 emissions. The City of New York is on track to reduce emissions by 30% by 2017 – an ambitious target.
This Post includes the details of a live broadcast of an important event Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks from Washington D.C. If you would like to watch that broadcast then it starts at:
6am US Mountain Time Zone
9am US Eastern Daylight Time
13:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC)
2pm British Summer Time
Full details below.
H’mm, maybe the days of Oliver are well and truly numbered!
A quick ‘search’ found the lyrics of the famous song from the musical Oliver. Here’s a part of the chorus:
Food, glorious food!
Don’t care what it looks like —
Don’t care what the cook’s like.
Just thinking of growing fat —
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
However, a recent announcement from Arizona State University quite rightly points out the challenges that lay ahead in terms of feeding the world’s population. Here are the details of that ASU announcement.
The future of food: feeding the world while the Earth cooks
Editor’s Note: This event is presented by Future Tense, a partnership between Arizona State University, the New America Foundation and Slate, that examines emerging technologies, public policy and society.
The event considers the agricultural crisis that may ensue when today’s toddlers are parents themselves – a time when the world population will reach 9 billion. “A growing global middle class will demand more food. And climate change will leave farmers holding seeds that won’t sprout. By 2050, will our global appetite outgrow our agricultural capacity?”
Tune in to find out how everyone – growers, technologists, governments, business leaders, and carbon-conscious consumers – will be part of the solution.
Speakers include Nina Fedoroff, special advisor on science and technology to the Secretary of State; Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and President of Stone Barnes Center; Debra Eschmeyer, founder and program director of FoodCorps; and Bill Hohenstein, director of the USDA Global Change Program Office.
Let me highlight that the event is being carried live and is available to view.
The link you need to that ASUtv programme is here. From where you will see that:
Arizona State University, the New America Foundation , and Slate present “Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks” live from Washington, D.C., this April 12 from 6:00 am to 12:15 pm. The program will air in it’s entirety onASUtv.
(From the New America Foundation): When today’s toddlers are parents themselves, they will face an agricultural crisis. The world population will reach 9 billion. A growing global middle class will demand more food. And climate change will leave farmers holding seeds that won’t sprout. By 2050, will our global appetite outgrow our agricultural capacity?
Join us to find out how everyone—growers, technologists, governments, business leaders, and carbon-conscious consumers—will be part of the solution.
The day’s speakers include Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Special Advisor on Science and Technology to the Secretary of State; Dr. Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and President of Stone Barnes Center; Debra Eschmeyer, Founder and Program Director of FoodCorps; Bill Hohenstein, Director of the USDA Global Change Program Office; and many more.
So if you want to watch that event then here are the UTC times.
April 12 from 6:00 am to 12:15 pm US Mountain Time equates to 13:00 – 19:15 UTC (2 pm to 8:15 pm British Summer Time)