Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris, Friday 13 November 2015

Art by Jean Julien, found on FB

Paris was attacked yesterday by male religious extremists. 127 people were murdered - people simply out on a Friday evening, enjoying the unusually warm weather, dining, going to a concert, shopping, watching a soccer game. Close to 200 people were injured, with reports that 80 of them sustained critical injuries. 

And for what?  The endless wars that men start and continue - that they have started and continued for millennia, all in the name of religion, of ethnicity, of culture, for Earth's resources, of greed, of violence, of destruction, of dominance, of superiority of all other life forms on Earth.  Their actions, their inflammatory words are like an auto immune disease for all of the rest of us living here on our beautiful Earth. They are malignant narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths who won't stop - their addiction to violence will never be satiated because they don't want it to end - a calm and peaceful life is too boring for them - they crave excitement, titillation at any cost and that cost is the lives of all living beings that share this Earth with them.

I'm beginning to believe that the Y chromosome must be terribly degraded, causing some sort of insanity to overtake men. What else can account for this?
"Civilization is in a constant state of warfare.

Over the last 6500 years, more than 14,500 major wars have resulted in the death of almost 4 billion people. Since WWII, there have been about 30 armed conflicts per year on average, in which 90% of the casualties have been civilians."

--via Deep Green Resistance
Not to mention the non human life forms and ecosystems that have been killed, damaged and/or destroyed.

Men's words of peace, love, beauty, harmony are meaningless in the face of their actions.
“If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ‘our’ country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are fighting to gratify a sex Instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share; but not to gratify my instincts, or protect either myself or my country. For, the outside will say, in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world...”
Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941) England
“Women are not at the peace table. We are not there where our commitment to peace, our capacities to find solutions through dialogue, debate, our sensitivities to human needs, human rights are sorely needed. Therefore, we still must press - from the outside...Feminists can make clear that one does not have to agree with the political or economic systems of a country in order to like and understand its people...The feminist movement has a vision. We understand, first of all, that we have but one earth, shared by one humanity. ...We will make it a woman’s world, not in the sense of control, or power, or dominance, but those values that we call women-centered values, will be diffused throughout society.”
Margarita Chant Papandreou. Greece/U.S.A.
“When we carry our eyes back through the long records of our history, we see wars of plunder, wars of conquest, wars of religion, wars of pride, wars of succession, wars of idle speculation, wars of unjust interference, and hardly among them one war of necessary self-defence in any of our essential or very important interests.”
Anna Barbauld, English poet, essayist, critic, 1793

Monday, November 2, 2015

Elephants being elephants

One more Elephant trekking camp has joined our Saddle Off program . Here are some of the 20 beautiful ladies who live in this camp which is joining our freedom program called " Elephant Keeper " .

The visitor will enjoy taking the herd to walk in the jungle, to feed them, watch them eating and foraging, swimming and playing in the mud. If you want to help more elephant out of the riding work, to take the saddle off of their backs, please help to support this program at Mae Pin elephant camp, Mae Wang district. More details on the program soon.

You can read more about Elephant Nature Park at their FB page and their website.

There is also a wonderful Nature program on PBS worth watch entitled Soul of the Elephant.

They are such remarkable beings - sensitive, intelligent, soulful - and it pains me greatly to read about them being poached and poisoned for their tusks.  Humans have so much to be ashamed of...

Pileated Woodpecker

A simply stunning shot of a male Pileated Woodpecker in flight—notice how he has twisted his neck around so that his head is upside-down relative to his body. Thanks to David Mintz in Florida for the photo.

I was fortunate to see a Pileated Woodpeck back in 2007 - walking in the woods with my dog, Kylie, I head the drumming and looked up to see one in a dead tree by the river.  I gasped and gave thanks to Nature for allowing me that opportunity as they are rare what with all of the development in the area.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dance the fire of your longing...

(Image from here)

Reclaim what has been forgotten.
Dance the fire of your longing
under the waxing moon of your full presence.
Carry the seeds of your dreams
awhile longer in the womb of Nature’s being.
Let the Earth incubate
your wild if onlys
in its embryonic embrace
as you re-member the self you were so many eons ago
when you were forest and moonlight.

(Poem found on Tree Sisters FB page)

RIP Meamar

This beautiful male Amur Leopard was killed by an automobile - you can read the story here.

I had zero idea that there was even an Amur Leopard and had to read a little about them.  Apparently, there are only about 80 left in the world, so losing this beautiful male is very problematic for the species. 

You can read the Wiki entry here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Science is not above reproach

Protect the Polar Bear

Polar bear suffering from abusive science

A sad image of a starving polar bear went viral a few months ago. This shocking image came to my attention a couple of days ago. It shows a MALE polar bear being wounded, suffocated, by a collar device. The photo is less than 2 weeks old. It is from the east Alaskan part of the coast of the Southern Beaufort Sea.

I have had confirmation that the USFWS are aware of this bear and its predicament. According to my sources, they are ”monitoring the bear”. Word is that the bear does not belong to a USFWS program, it has been collared under a Canadian regime.
Generally, only polar bear females are collared. Males develop much thicker necks and have the potential to either pull the collars off over their heads (if they are loose enough) or get strangled by the collars (if they are tight enough).

A timed self-release device that allows the collars to fall off before the male polar bears get problems from them is apparently the reason behind a program to experimentally put collars on males in the Southern Beaufort Sea – a methodology used by only one senior polar bear researcher.

Also female polar bears routinely suffer from their collars and from the human handling associated with putting them on. Scientists are well aware of this. They have even among themselves coined the term “stinker” for bears with collars that cause such gross inflammation and infection that they smell very bad upon renewed human contact!
The invasive methods used in polar bear science are a general problem. Self-restraint, and a respectful approach to individual bears, is a universal scarcity in polar bear science. Clearly, the chase/sedate/handle/collar methods are traumatic. With male polar bears, collaring is a failure. Whether it is due to failed release mechanism, or to bad programming of the timers, the result is suffocating bears. The photographer of this particular bear, and other sources, assure me that this is not a unique case. 

Polar bears are in dire straits already – due mostly to over hunting and sea ice melting. The Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation of polar bears has been dramatically crashing in recent years, and the continued utterly unsustainable hunting on both the Canadian and US sides of the border is driving the subpopulation towards extirpation. The management and “conservation” of polar bears is already a disgrace. The last thing these bears need is additional casualties due to scientific experiments.

The USFWS says they do not have funds to save this bear right now. Really? Well, someone needs to take responsibility for their actions. Canada? In the meantime, the polar bear suffers.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Reddish Egret


Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) in Florida, USA by ER Post on Flickr.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Australian Pelicans

Australian Pelicans in breeding colors. In the breeding season the large bills take on brighter colors and are used as flags to attract the opposite sex when they flap in the breeze. 

Kangaroo Island, South Australia by Grame Guy

Eagle Huntress

Ashol-Pan, the now 14-year-old Mongolian/Kazakh celebrity who rose to fame online, is a primary example of the potential of new media technologies to transform the lives of nomadic women. In January, 2016, Ashol-Pan will star alongside her family in Eagle Huntress, a documentary that follows her life in the remote mountains of Tsambagarav Uul National Park. The film will also call attention to the rapidly disappearing tradition of eagle hunting.

A day earlier, Ashol-Pan’s mother, Almagul, had sat in front of the camera and talked about her daily life, oriented around caring for livestock and making dairy products and food for her family. She has never eagle-hunted, although she often feeds and cares for her daughter’s and husband’s eagles. She has a cellphone, which she uses infrequently, and watches television occasionally with her family — especially films in Mongolian. She likes technology, but is in no way attached to it. She is proud of her daughter’s fame, but then, she is proud of all of her four children. And while she feels that technology has played a role in her daughter’s celebrity status, she does not have a desire to use technology more regularly. She is satisfied with her life.

At the end of the interview, I asked: “How has fame changed your daughter’s life?” Almagul smiled. “We’ve been very lucky. I’m very proud of my daughter. But, I also worry about her. In Mongolia, we have this belief that fame is bad luck. So, I worry that too much fame will bring my daughter bad luck.”
You can read the rest of this article here.

You can see more pictures of Ashol-Pan here, along with more information about her and Mongolian nomad culture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


(Click to enlarge)

Merlin catching a dragonfly

Photo by Carl Woo

(where you can find the top 100 amazing photos)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reasserting her willdish nature...

(Image from here)

When women reassert
their relationship with the wildish nature,
they are gifted with a permanent
and internal watcher,
a knower,
a visionary, ...
an oracle,
an inspiratrice,
an intuitive,
a maker,
a creator,
an inventor,
and a listener who guide,
and urge vibrant life
in the inner and outer worlds.
When women are close to this nature,
the fact of that relationship glows through them.
The wild teacher,
wild mother,
wild mentor
supports their inner and outer lives,
no matter what.

~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes -Women Who Run With The Wolves

Thursday, October 8, 2015

H is for Hawk

Here is an excerpt of a book review from Death of a Million Trees.  You can read the entire blog entry here.
Origins of the inhabitants

At the end of a challenging hunt, Helen and Mabel encounter a herd of deer.  Helen describes the scene:

“The running deer and the running hare.  Legacies of trade and invasion, farming, hunting, settlement.  Hares were introduced, it is thought, by the Romans.  Fallow deer certainly were.  Pheasants, too, brought in their burnished hordes from Asia Minor.  The partridges possessing this ground were originally from France, and the ones I see here were hatched in game-farm forced-air incubators.  The squirrel on the sweet chestnut?  North America.  Rabbits?  Medieval introductions.  Felt, meat, fur, feather, from all corners.  But possessing the ground, all the same.”

On this bucolic scene, a couple appears and admires the herd of deer:  “The deer.  Special, aren’t they, those ones.  Rare…A herd of deer.  Doesn’t it give you hope?  Isn’t it a relief that there’re things still like that, a real bit of Old England still left, despite all those immigrants coming in?”

The encounter with the deer is ruined for Helen by this xenophobic comment:

“It is a miserable walk.  I should have said something.  But embarrassment had stopped my tongue.  Stomping along, I start pulling on the thread of darkness they’d handed me.  I think of the chalk-cult countryside and all its myths of blood-belonging, and that hateful bronze falcon, of Göring’s plans to exclude Jews from German forests.  I think of the Finnish goshawks that made the Brecklands home, and of my grandfather, born on the Western Isles, who spoke nothing but Gaelic until he was ten.  And the Lithuanian builder I’d met collecting mushrooms in a wood who asked me, bewildered, why no one he’d met in England knew which were edible, and which were not.  I think of all the complicated histories that landscapes have, and how easy it is to wipe them away, put easier, safer histories in their place.”

Sand Angel

"Wanna make sand angels with me?"

Cheeky Australian Sea Lion at Seal Bay Conservation Park / Quentin Chester - Photography

Black Cockatoo

Beautiful young Black Cockatoo.
Image & Text: David Whelan Photography

Learn more about these beautiful birds here (PDF). Click on image to enlarge it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Putorana Plateau, Siberia

The second largest store of fresh water in Russia by capacity after Lake Baikal, and certainly one of the most remote & stunning areas of Siberia, the Putorana Plateau in pictures by Sergey Gorshkov. 

If by any chance you are in Moscow, exhibition of Sergey's pictures goes until 16 October; see more here.

Monday, October 5, 2015


"At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.

This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross."

-John O'Donohue 

Art by Douglas Smith

Starry starry night

Starry night over Altai region, by Barnaul-based photographer Alexey Ebel

Listening to our non human siblings

Design inspiration comes in a lot of forms. When it comes to solar panels, engineers sometimes look toward the butterfly. One may not think this little insect is a powerhouse for harnessing solar energy, but a butterfly's beautiful wings offer far more than flight.

Scientists from the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation of the University of Exeter employed biomimicry, or using patterns and techniques from nature in applied science, to help develop a more efficient way to turn light into power, also known as photovoltaic energy.

On cloudy days, a Cabbage White butterfly positions its wings in a v-shape and holds this stance for several moments before taking flight. This posture reflects heat downward, allowing the sun to warm up the insect's "flying muscles" before take off, thus utilizing and converting solar energy into kinetic energy.

Scientists assumed that if this unique positioning works for the butterfly, the same positioning might help solar panels soak up more energy from the sun. This theory proved to be right, as mimicking the Cabbage White butterfly's v-shaped pose increased the solar panel's energy production by 50 percent and making the power-to-weight ratio 17 times more efficient than other structures, according to the study published in Scientific Reports.
Perhaps if we humans listened more to what the rest of our non human siblings were telling us, we might be able to get out of this cluster*uck that we've created and which is sucking us into a sinkhole like this:

It's good to be multilingual!

You can read the rest of the article here, which is where the butterfly image is from.

Sitting with the dying

In A Tale of a Sickly Whale, Dee Dee Conover recalls a chance encounter with a dying True’s beaked whale on the beach of her home island in Maine. Featuring hand-drawn imagery from the UK-based animators Rosanna Wan and Zuzanna Weiss, Conover’s reflection is a brief yet moving glimpse into the way that people can find not only a profound emotional connection with highly intelligent members of another species, but also a distinct impression of meaningful communication.

A Tale of a Sickly Whale is part of BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts documentary series. For more from BBC Radio 4, watch What Does it Mean to be Me? and The Life You Can Save, part of their A History of Ideas video series. For more on whales, watch The Whale Warehouse, on the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s massive mammal bone collection, and Whale Fall, on how a whale’s body sustains other lifeforms long after its own death.

Water Witch

 (Image from here)
The highway to Oroville, a small town in California’s Central Valley, runs into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. As the road and the temperature climb, the neon lights of the valley’s box stores give way to orchards. Before the weather changed, this was a good place for fruit. Along the highway, hand-painted posters flash: ‘Fresh! Peaches’. The town was founded during the Gold Rush, and although today it’s home to more farmers than miners, it’s still a place where people search for what they don’t have. ‘Severe drought,’ highway signs blink. ‘Limit outdoor watering.’ There’s been no rain here since April, and the land is so dry even the moonlight is dusty. I’ve travelled 3,000 miles to California looking for a woman looking for water. I’ve come to a desert.

Sharron Hope, I’ve heard, can find water underground. As a dowser, she uses tools as simple as a stick to determine where to place a well. Holding a forked branch, Hope can tell if she is approaching a buried spring because she will feel these tools move in her hands. She can even estimate how many feet to dig and how many gallons per minute the finished hole will produce. She’s right so regularly that excavators often call her before breaking ground.
Of course, there are people who doubt Hope’s abilities. According to the United States Geological Survey: ‘The natural explanation of “successful” water dowsing is that in many areas water would be hard to miss.’ But the state is now entering its fourth year without enough rain, and this summer struggling farmers will let 620,000 acres lie fallow, losing an estimated $5.7 billion dollars. As increasingly desperate Californians turn to dubious and expensive long-term projects like piping water 1,400 miles from Alaska or building a billion‑dollar desalination plant in San Diego, dowsing for a well looks downright sensible. Hope’s become one of the few people sure of their answers, and the appeal of that certainty is easy to understand. The more difficult question is: how, in the middle of this century’s worst drought, is she still turning up water?

Hope agrees to explain over breakfast and suggests we meet at Oroville’s Gold Country Casino and Hotel. Just after sunrise, the parking lot is filled with dusty pickups. The farmers inside might have more of a chance at a jackpot than rain. The waterfall is closed for construction and the slot machines sing. Hope is waiting outside the café with a large map, a ruler and a pendulum – a long crystal on a silver chain. Dowsers use these tools to answer questions the same way one might use an Ouija board, by holding them and concentrating until they move one way for yes, and another for no, pointing their owner in the right direction.

We sit at a greasy vinyl booth. Hope pulls out a bird’s‑eye view of a client’s property and holds her pendulum over it. When the tool swings, she marks the spot with a black Sharpie. ‘Where it circles, that means there’s two water veins,’ Hope says. She’ll double-check her results in person. ‘You get on the land, and then you just concentrate.’ When the tools move, Hope knows she’s in the right spot.

Like dowsers, geologists look for water by preparing a map of the land. But their cartography focuses on the physical terrain, tracking where different kinds of rock come to the surface and plotting historical well data. Radar can reveal fractures in the ground where water might flow. Geologists combine this data for a pretty good guess at where underground aquifers might lie. ‘Geologists get a black‑and‑white printout that goes hundreds of feet down and shows you the layers of rock and openings where water might be,’ Hope says. ‘But they can’t actually tell you if there’s water.’ She took graduate hydrogeology courses at Chico State University 25 miles away, and she says that the more she learned, the more she thought: ‘I might as well go dowse. It saves people money and it’s just as accurate.’

However popular dowsing may be, the US Geological Survey takes pains to point out that it is not a science. Hope says: ‘If you call a geologist, it’ll cost you $2,000 a day.’ By comparison, she charges a one-time fee of $250 for a well-siting. Despite the differences in her methods, she works regularly with real estate agents and drillers, and the drought has multiplied her business. David Munch, an excavator who digs wells throughout the Central Valley, says he calls her anytime he has a client in the foothills. Her results speak for themselves: Hope has found dozens of wells this year.
You can read the rest of this fascinating Aeon article here.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Grizzly love

(Image from FB)

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel; The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins - a NY Times book review

Safina comes to an unfamiliar but empirically based conclusion: prior to the domestication of plants and the invention of writing, the differences between human societies and those of elephants, dogs, killer whales, and dolphins was a matter of degree, not kind. Why, he asks, has it taken us so long to understand this? Are our egos “threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel? Is it because acknowledging the mind of another makes it harder to abuse them?”
The discovery of nonhuman societies composed of highly intelligent, social, empathetic individuals possessing sophisticated communication systems will force us to reformulate many questions. We have long asked whether we are alone in the universe. But clearly we are not alone on earth. The evolution of intelligence, of empathy and complex societies, is surely more likely than we have hitherto considered. And what is it, exactly, that sets our species apart? We clearly are different, but in light of Beyond Words we need to reevaluate how, and why.
That is an excerpt of a review of 2 books about animals in the NY Times. The books are entitled:

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina 

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins by Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell 

The entire review is worth the read. Both books sound so interesting, especially the one by Safina, and are now on my reading list.  


Both pictures are from the article in the Times.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Caterpillar shed her skin...


Belgian photographer Manuel Leyssens (Leyman) specializes in macro photography of insects with perfect lighting. Check out his website at
Image and text from FB.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sea dog surf rider makes me smile!

(Image from FB)

Never piss off a seal woman. Ever.

From Hakai, a story of a Seal Woman, aka Selkie.

Let’s start with the moral of this story: never piss off a seal woman. Ever.

Seal people—Selkies—are seal-human hybrids in the folklore of Irish, Scottish, Icelandic, and Faroese cultures. These mythological creatures live in the water as seals and, in some stories, come ashore once a year to human it up for a day. They flop out of the water and slip out of their fur, revealing their white, gleaming skin. And they dance. (Flamenco. Rumba. Disco. No one really knows what they dance, just that they’ve got feet for a day and they want to boogie.)

Read the rest of the story by Jude Isabella here.

And, if you've never seen The Secret of Roan Inish, treat yourself!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just because...dogs and horses

 Image was taken from FB.

I love horses and I love Border Collies.  I live with one and would love to know more about the other.

Here's who I live with:

Her name is Kylie and she will be 10 years old in December.  She's a very good girl who is also known by other names, Mrs. Good Puppy and Baby Kylie being the most common.

I love horses - I don't know much about them, but I love them.  I have ridden them when I was a young teenager at summer camp in Canada many years ago.  I love the way they smell and the velvety feel of their noses.  I love the unfathomable depth of their eyes and their exquisite bodies.

It amazes me that they allow humans to ride them, what with them being prey animals.  It disturbs me greatly to see how they are treated as commodities in the racing world, as "beasts of burdens" around the world and in this country and how the BLM terrorizes our wild Mustangs on public land at the behest of ranchers who graze their cattle on our land for pennies or nothing.  It deeply bothers me that men have taken them, along with dogs, into their stupid and meaningless wars.  And I am extremely horrified that pregnant mares are used for Premarin, an estrogen and hormone replacement drug for women:
The mares are repeatedly impregnated, and for six months of each 11-month pregnancy most are confined in stalls that prohibit turning around, grooming themselves and comfortably lying down. Their water intake is often regulated to produce maximum estrogen-rich urine. The mares are continually attached to plumbing which is designed to fit over their urethras. It is held in place with movement-restricting body straps. When mares can no longer adequately "produce," most are sold for slaughter. Most of their surviving foals are either pulled and raised as "Pee Line" replacements or slaughtered for food in China.
Dogs and horses have been with humans for so many years...

When and why did we get to be so cruel and callous towards them - towards so many animals, the environment and towards each other?  

Will humans ever feel part of Nature again or will they continue to think that they are in control of Nature, not part of Her?

There may be flowing water on Mars. But is there intelligent life on Earth?

Think of what would change if we valued terrestrial water as much as we value the possibility of water on Mars. Only 3% of the water on this planet is fresh; and of that, two-thirds is frozen. Yet we lay waste to the accessible portion. Sixty per cent of the water used in farming is needlessly piddled away by careless irrigation. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are sucked dry, while what remains is often so contaminated that it threatens the lives of those who drink it. In the UK, domestic demand is such that the upper reaches of many rivers disappear during the summer. Yet still we install clunky old toilets and showers that gush like waterfalls.

As for salty water, of the kind that so enthrals us when apparently detected on Mars, on Earth we express our appreciation with a frenzy of destruction. A new report suggests fish numbers have halved since 1970. Pacific bluefin tuna, which once roamed the seas in untold millions, have been reduced to an estimated 40,000, yet still they are pursued. Coral reefs are under such pressure that most could be gone by 2050. And in our own deep space, our desire for exotic fish rips through a world scarcely better known to us than the red planet’s surface. Trawlers are now working at depths of 2,000 metres. We can only guess at what they could be destroying.
Let the market decide: this is the way in which governments seek to resolve planetary destruction. Leave it to the conscience of consumers, while that conscience is muted and confused by advertising and corporate lies. In a near-vacuum of information, we are each left to decide what we should take from other species and other people, what we should allocate to ourselves or leave to succeeding generations. Surely there are some resources and some places – such as the Arctic and the deep sea – whose exploitation should simply stop?

All this drilling and digging and trawling and dumping and poisoning – what is it for, anyway? Does it enrich human experience, or stifle it? A couple of weeks ago I launched the hashtag #extremecivilisation, and invited suggestions. They have flooded in. Here are just a few of the products my correspondents have found. All of them, as far as I can tell, are real.

An egg tray for your fridge that syncs with your phone to let you know how many eggs are left. A gadget for scrambling them – inside the shell. Wigs for babies, to allow “baby girls with little or no hair at all the opportunity to have a beautifully realistic hair style”.The iPotty, which permits toddlers to keep playing on their iPads while toilet training. A £2,000 spider-proof shed. A snow sauna, on sale in the United Arab Emirates, in which you can create a winter wonderland with the flick of a switch. A refrigerated watermelon case on wheels: indispensable for picnics – or perhaps not, as it weighs more than the melon. Anal bleaching cream, for… to be honest, I don’t want to know. An “automatic watch rotator” that saves you the bother of winding your luxury wrist-candy. A smartphone for dogs, with which they can take pictures of themselves. Pre-peeled bananas, in polystyrene trays covered in clingfilm; just peel back the packaging.
Every year, clever new ways of wasting stuff are devised, and every year we become more inured to the pointless consumption of the world’s precious resources. With each subtle intensification, the baseline of normality shifts. It should not be surprising to discover that the richer a country becomes, the less its people care about their impacts on the living planet.

 Read the entire Guardian article here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Trapping = cruelty, pain and torture

Furbearer hunting and trapping season begins on Oct 1 - April 30 (bobcats - Nov 15 - Mar 1). Just when our Wyoming bobcats are the most vulnerable, they will be trapped and killed in legholds, snares, and conibears, suffering immeasurable pain, just for their fur.

We can make the choice to stop the cruelty and let these animals live - it's a simple choice - don't buy or wear fur.

Compassion is the fashion!

Photo by Chris Lorenz
Image and text from FB.

Shades of "No one could have predicted..."

In addition to increasing the risk of another devastating fire, the City of Oakland's deforestation/poisoning plan will also expose citizens to large amounts of dangerous chemicals, exacerbate climate change by releasing 17,495 metric tons of greenhouse gases into our environment, poison, displace and kill wildlife (including several protected species), radically alter the appearance and therefore the experience afforded by our public recreation areas, threaten homeowners values by degrading the aesthetics upon which those values depend, eliminate erosion control for hillside homes, result in (according to FEMA) “significant alternation of community character,” as well as cause a variety of other harms that FEMA admits are “unavoidable."
Read a letter to the Oakland City Attorney urging the City to rethink the dangerous policy:
This is a subject close to my heart.  I lived in the Bay Area for 30 years and to even THINK that this kind of measure is on the table is beyond my wildest nightmares.  The Bay Area has been the "greenest" places I've lived - people were very concerned about the environment.  It is heartbreaking and horrifying to me that this concern is dying and/or being overridden by political and corporate decisions that do not respect the environment or the people.

I happened to have lived in the area when the Oakland-East Bay Hills Fire occurred.  Eucalyptus trees were NOT the problem - the wind was very strong that day; the fire department thought it had the original fire completely doused - they did not; narrow streets crowded with cars prevented fire trucks from getting to the area; fittings for the hydrants did not work; the fire department ran out of water; there was no "perimeter" set by the fire department; there was no evacuation order.  None of which was the fault of eucalyptus trees.

The letter that Nathan has written (linked above) is lengthy but spells out why clear cutting these trees will not prevent another fire, and, in fact, will exacerbate a fire if one starts.  The grasses are the fuel, not the trees.

In addition to the clear cutting, other problems arise: the use of glyphosate (Monsanto's RoundUp) in very large doses - it is a carcinogen; the welfare of the wildlife who live in the area being clear cut; no trees to sequester carbon; home values decreased.  It is such a bad decision overall and it is beyond comprehension how it can be implemented.

Image is from here - the article is worth reading, too.

Friday, September 25, 2015

What price coconuts?

Did an abused monkey pick your coconut?
Agile and adept climbers, pig-tailed macaques—native to coconut growing regions in Southeast Asia—are capable of harvesting several hundred more coconuts a day than a human can. Chained by the neck and trained to pick only ripe coconuts, they are forced to do so, day in, day out and all day long. They are trained at monkey training facilities one visitor described as such, “The primitive, primate campus, a simple, open sided shed,” contains, “individual, meter high stakes, driven into the dirt floor… Onto each perch is tethered a solitary monkey by collar and chain. There are a dozen such perches, each one just out of reach of its neighbor.”
During training and beyond, the monkeys are tethered or caged 24/7, sometimes with little to no opportunity for socialization. Where do these monkeys come from? According to one monkey handler, “Sometimes the monkeys are offspring of berok (already trained monkeys); sometimes they are caught on the forest with nets or traps. Often though, nursing mothers are shot and their babies are taken.”
Unfortunately, much of the reporting you will find on this issue approaches it from a disturbing “entertainment” angle in which the subjugation and forced labor of primates is treated as a curious, amusing oddity rather what it really is: exploitation of highly intelligent individuals. Instead of living fulfilling, autonomous lives in deference to their natural instincts and will—lives that would include social interaction with others of their kind, mating, raising young, moving about freely and resting whenever they choose—these monkeys spend their lives in endless toil and forced obedience to the will of humans.
And though many articles about these monkeys contain quotes from handlers who state that they care about their animals, it is impossible to square such assurances with the long hours, hard labor, constant shackling and lack of autonomy these animals are forced to endure day in and day out for no personal benefit. It is, in a word, slavery. And as human nature and history demonstrate again and again—where there is a profit to be made on the backs of non-humans, those backs are strained and often broken.

This is an excerpt from a FB post; you can read Nathan's entire article here.  And here is another article which lists some companies that do not use monkeys or small children to harvest the coconuts.


(Image from FB)

Toxic Waste

The church spire is one of the last visible signs of the abandoned Romanian village, Geamana - flooded to create a pond for toxic waste from a copper mine 
(Credit: Glyn Thomas)

Image and text from the BBC.

Thursday, September 24, 2015