A rescue cat named Quixote was found dead and mutilated in a dumpster. “Every bone in his body was broken,” his eyes were pulled out and his skull was crushed in. A bloodied blanket and a yellow poncho were found in his enclosure, indicating that Quixote had struggled with his attacker before he was killed. Demand that Quixote’s sadistic killer be found and brought to justice.
By Lorelei Plotczyk | September 24, 2017 | Categories Animal Rescue Stories
Cowboy leading cows down a city street after hurricane Harvey.
A cowboy leads “rescued” animals down a city street after hurricane Harvey hits Texas.
As we all know, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have brought devastation upon so many. As someone with family in Florida, including my Mom, I anxiously followed Irma’s path and was immensely relieved when she only lost a couple of shingles along with power for several days. Many others, as we know, were not so lucky.
Yet even during such nail-biting times and now the tremendous destruction left behind, I couldn’t help but notice that, somehow, a perfect storm had been created for glorifying animal exploitation and ridiculing veganism (of all things).
Although I really wish we didn’t have to talk about this right now, unfortunately, letting these distortions go unchallenged would be a great injustice, both to the animals and those who truly defend them.
Are farmed animals really “rescued?”
A disturbing trend is exemplified by the viral video the above image was taken from, as well as by articles like The New York Times’ “A Flying Cowboy Arises to Rescue Cattle Stranded in Harvey’s Floods” and CNN’s “Texas Ranchers Battle to Save Cattle From Harvey’s Wrath,” all depicting the moving of cattle to dryer ground as some sort of compassionate intervention to save these animals for their own sakes.
But despite appearances and claims – unless, of course, they are being rescued by a vegan sanctuary – farmed animals in situations such as this are NOT being rescued or saved from weather events or fires; sadly, it’s just being made sure they don’t die before they can be further exploited and killed for profit.
Positioning this profit-protecting as “rescuing” or “saving” those you are going to restrain and kill at a later date is obtuse and deceptive if not downright diabolical, and the media and public’s uncritical acceptance of that framing reveals a glaring disconnect. It’s all part of the ludicrous charade required for people to support animal exploitation and slaughter in the total absence of necessity.
The farmers, of course, are all too happy to use the confusion to their advantage. In an Orwellian piece for Farm and Dairy, editor Susan Cromwell has sunk so low as to claim that the fact that so many so-called “livestock” (that word alone speaks volumes) were “rescued” by farmers from the hurricanes not only proves that commodifying and killing sentient individuals is an act of “compassion” rather than exploitation (they give them bedding and hay, tho!), but that animal activists are the true dangerous hurricane, metaphorically speaking.
I kid you not.
Not surprisingly, this spot-on comment left by Free From Harm’s founder Robert Grillo has since been deleted/censored from the article’s comments section:
Are we really to believe your assertion about farmers “rescuing” their animals from Harvey and Irma, that the real “victims” are those who artificially breed, exploit and kill baby animals for profit? Are we to hail exploiters as heroes for rescuing their “livestock” because they view them as nothing more than valuable commodities they can’t afford to lose? Are we to conflate real compassion, altruism and empathy with financial self-interest? Everyone knows that these animals have a price tag on their heads and will soon be sent off to slaughter by these same “compassionate rescuers” where they will be shot point blank in the head, have their throats slashed and then have their bodies hacked up into “edible” body parts. You are shamefully and dishonestly propping up an industry built upon violence and killing as some kind of rescue mission.
When we trust the ones doing the direct exploiting on our behalf, it’s the desensitized leading the disassociated. It’s a very convenient dynamic, allowing them to profit while consumers enjoy the results and absolve ourselves of responsibility and moral consequence. When it comes to justifying needless exploitation and killing, apparently nothing is too ridiculous and absurd for otherwise savvy people (including reputable journalists) to believe.
And where is the journalistic integrity and responsibility in accurately covering such stories? Journalists hold the power in either informing or deceiving the public about news stories. Rather than getting at the truth and the facts, they’ve conflated rescue with financial self-interest. It flies in the face of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, particularly these two principles:
Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.
If they were truly being rescued, these animals would be destined for sanctuaries, not slaughterhouses.
Making the disconnect even more obvious, a Washington Post exposé published on the same day as Cromwell’s article explains that the FBI is currently dedicating resources to try to recapture truly rescued farmed animals from their caretakers at vegan sanctuaries – in order to return them to their killers. Are we to believe that is “rescue” too?
Animal exploitation is not compassion. Please don’t fall for it.
Does nobody really want the vegan food even during a natural disaster?
Vegan food left on grocery shelves while non-vegan foods are all bought.
Vegan products apparently still on grocery shelves in Houston after hurricane Harvey. Credit: Viral photo shared by comedian Matt Oswalt.
A second wildly popular meme that managed to spread in the midst of hurricane preparation, covered by The Daily Dot, also perpetuates a falsehood to the great detriment of animals: the idea that “even during a natural disaster nobody wants the vegan food” and that Americans would rather starve to death (and go to hell) than eat vegan food.
The photo in the meme, popularized by a comedian, is admittedly a funny sight, and I get that it capitalizes on an incredibly easy target. But regardless of whether it was intended just for laughs, it was gleefully shared by non-vegans everywhere to further reinforce what’s been drilled into our heads since childhood: that plant-based sources of the same nutrients found in animal foods are somehow inferior and undesirable, and that people who opt out of animal exploitation should be unceasingly ridiculed by those who opt in.
Oh, and if you dare to critically respond, they’ve “found the vegan.”
First, since a relatively small fraction of the population is vegan, it’s reasonable to imagine that the vegan specialty items may typically turn over much more slowly than other foods. Of course, many popular foods that move quicker are also vegan, we just don’t generally think of them as such (I’m pretty sure people eat things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bananas during hurricanes).
In fact, the Hurricane Ready Cookbook developed by Florida International University seems to include more vegan and vegetarian options than not, judging from the sample recipes published by the Miami Herald such as hummus, eggless egg salad, chickpea curry, and bean salad – which makes sense given the highly perishable nature of animal flesh and secretions.
But the meme refers specifically to tofu and other plant-based meaty and/or cheesy options still only consumed mostly by vegetarians and vegans and perceived as subpar to people eating typical Western diets.
Therefore when a mad rush occurs before a bad storm, it makes sense that these particular items will still remain largely untouched by anyone other than vegans. This is America after all. Despite the fact that as of 1999 it was estimated by researchers that globally “4 billion people live primarily on a plant-based diet” as required by “shortage of cropland, freshwater, and energy resources” – and that items like tofu and “wheat meat” and even almond milk have been nutritious, affordable staples for many cultures for many millennia – our sense of entitlement to constantly eat the resource-intensive flesh and bodily fluids of exploited animals doesn’t suddenly go away just because a hurricane is coming.
Yet the resulting visual created the perfect opportunity to ridicule veganism and reinforce the status quo.
This photo doesn’t prove the inferiority of vegan food. It just proves the extent to which we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s inferior, to the point we will turn our noses up at it even if it might mean going hungry. (Although I believe that again, as Americans, people didn’t really believe they would go hungry, otherwise that vegan section would have been cleaned out.)
It also contradicts a common rationale for non-veganism that claims vegan food is typically unavailable (true in food desserts and remote regions but not at typical U.S. chain grocery stores). Here it is so incredibly available it is apparently the only thing left. It all calls to mind this quote from Dr. Will Tuttle from his book The World Peace Diet: “There is something about veganism that is not easy, but the difficulty is not inherent in veganism, but in our culture.”
Secondly, it’s worth noting that the science tells us that animal agriculture dramatically exacerbates climate change, which in turn exacerbates the intensity and frequency of storms. Despite the popularity of films like Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, this connection still remains tragically trivialized or ignored by most people, a fact made extra ironic by this meme.
Finally, while vegans were being poked fun at, here’s what they were really up to during the hurricanes.
free vegan meals for delivery after hurricane Harvey.
Loving Hut Houston delivered hundreds of free vegan meals after hurricane Harvey. Credit: Shared by Vegan Society of PEACE.
Vegan food relief organization A Well-Fed Word was busy matching all donations up to $5,000 made on behalf of Food Not Bombs Houston to increase their free vegan food distribution to flood victims.
Food Not Bombs Houston (a regional wing of a national vegetarian food relief organization) shared a post showing a large group of people volunteering at their Friday night Hunger Fight: “While we are still facing Harvey’s devastating trauma & challenges, the continued effort of last night’s folks was a testament of perseverance and dedication.” The post included a call for donations along with the hashtags “#vegan #vegetarian #nonviolence #community.”
Vegan Society of Peace shared: “On Wednesday, #Govindas gave out 200 free meals from their restaurant. And for the past few days, #Udipi Vegetarian Cafe has been delivering 500-700 free meals to #vegans and vegetarians currently in shelters at the GRB and at NRG Park. #VeganSocietyofPEACE greatly appreciates these businesses giving back to those in need during times of disaster.”
The same group shared the vegan food efforts of Loving Hut Houston (a vegan restaurant chain) in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods. “They are preparing hundreds of FREE vegan meals to deliver to those in need around the #Houston area!”
Food For Life Global, who travel around the world during times of disasters to feed those in need, shared a call to help Texas flood victims, adding “The Govinda’s vegetarian restaurant in Houston has been offering 300-400 free vegan meals to victims since the storm hit, however, they are now delivering free vegan meals to area shelters, including 200 hot meals to volunteers at the University of Houston who are doing volunteer service at various shelters.”
G-Zen Vegan Restaurant in Branford, CT announced that a portion of bills are being donated “towards disaster relief in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. Unicef, Friends of Culebra Animals and other hurricane relief programs in the Caribbean.”
Chilis on Wheels, who build community around free vegan food, posted that they are reactivating their Chilis on Wheels Puerto Rico chapter “to aid in food relief efforts as a result of the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria… We will be joining existing relief efforts and providing #vegan meals to everyone affected.”
A tasty looking plate of vegan food
Who would turn up their nose at this mouth-watering vegan buffet at Udipi Vegetarian Café in Katy, TX, which delivered hundreds of free meals to shelters at the GRB and at NRG Park after Harvey? Credit: Shared by Vegan Society of PEACE.
And those are just the few I happened to come across.
I’m sure this article will be seen by some as “trying to make everything about veganism,” but in a society hell-bent on systemic mass animal exploitation and slaughter for reasons other than survival – along with, conveniently, the rampant mischaracterization of vegans – this is the unfortunate context in which we exist.
And if talking about this right now is insensitive, as I anticipate some will also argue, then so is dedicating efforts to rescuing pets during hurricanes. All animals are sentient individuals with a fierce will to live and survive, including the ones whose lives we so callously snuff out for our palate pleasure, fashion, and other forms of exploitation, while their killers are framed as their saviors. We will speak out for them all.
My heart goes out to family and friends and everyone else, both human and non-human, affected by these recent (and ongoing) disasters. The justice, empathy, and compassion people have shown others, including the most vulnerable, have been incredible. Veganism is simply the logical extension of such values. In these tumultuous times, may more of us be galvanized to make this connection so urgently needed of us, now more than ever, and join the growing vegan movement.
Lorelei Plotczyk, who holds her MBA with an Environmental Management specialization, is a vegan environmentalist and content producer. She strives to position veganism in a new light on her site Brain on Hugs and to help more people make the connection between water scarcity and animal agriculture through the grassroots campaign Truth or Drought, and she contributes to Vegan Publishers’ blog and social media. After having spent several years touring extensively as bassist in the indie band Film School and working as a segment producer in the LA television industry, she now lives and writes in the Massachusetts countryside with her fiancee Craig, a vegan molecular biologist.
Plastic. It’s everywhere.
From food packaging to fabrics and face wash, this modern “miracle” invention can be found in some shape or form in nearly all of the products that we purchase and use. While this might be convenient for us, that is about where the accolades of this material end.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in one year alone, the U.S. produces a staggering 32 million tons of plastic waste and only around nine percent is recovered for recycling. This means the majority of plastics end up in landfills and much of it never makes it that far; plastic also has a tendency to wind up in local waterways and our oceans. While we might understand that plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is not a good thing, we are only just beginning to realize the impact that plastics have on marine ecosystems.
There are an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean and according to a recent study authored by researchers at Plymouth University, a staggering 700 different marine species are threatened by its presence. More than this, researchers believe that plastic plays a role in rising rates of species extinction.
Research found that 693 species had been documented as having encountered plastic debris, with nearly 400 involving entanglement and ingestion. Between entanglement, ingestion and ecosystem damage, the threat of plastic pollution impacts marine species both large and small.
“We found that all known species of sea turtle, and more than half of all species of marine mammal and seabird had been affected by marine debris – and that number has risen since the last major study,” explains Sarah Gall, one of the report’s authors.
We have seen around 52 percent of the world’s wildlife disappear in the past 40 years, and if we continue to dump plastic into the world’s oceans, this number is set to increase exponentially. The good news is that we can all help turn the tides for marine animals. Although humans are to blame for plastic pollution, this means we also have the power to stop this marine destruction. So, if you want to stand up for the world’s marine animals, the best place to start is with your personal plastic consumption. Check out these five ways you can help save marine species now!
- Replace all Disposables With Reusables
Think about your daily routine – how many times do you use something that is made of plastic and disposable? Water bottles, plastic utensils, to-go containers, straws, Q-tips, toothbrush. You probably don’t even realize how many disposable items you use every day, plastic can be a sneaky thing! While they might not seem very significant, remember that every piece of plastic you throw out has the potential to wind up in the ocean. Luckily, there are reusable alternatives to virtually all of the disposable plastics you might use. Check out ReUseIt and start kicking plastic out of your routine!
- Swear off Plastic Bags
By now, you’ve probably caught on to the reusable grocery bag trend. This is a great place to start, but there are many other places where plastic bags show up on a daily basis. In fact, it is estimated that the average American throws out 10 plastic bags a week! When plastic bags make their way into the oceans, marine animals can easily ingest them, which causes gastrointestinal blockages and other serious health problems. To help keep plastic bags out of the oceans and away from marine animals, carry a reusable bag where ever you go – not just the grocery store! You can purchase convenient reusable bags that roll up to fit easily in your pocket or purse.
- Check Personal Products for Microbeads
Have you checked your toothpaste and face wash for plastic? Certain exfoliants and “deep-cleaning” toothpastes actually contain tiny plastic microbeads. These small beads easily travel through water filtration systems and end up in lakes, streams, and the ocean. One single tube of face wash can contain around 300,000 of these plastic beads.
Studies have found thousands of plastic beads in the stomachs of fish and other aquatic animals. These plastics leach toxins and can cause digestive issues in animals. Not to mention, these plastics can travel up the food chain and research shows that the fish many people eat actually contain plastic.
Be sure to check your personal care products for microbeads. You can even download this handy app to find out if the products you use contain these sneaky beads.
- Avoid Synthetic Fabrics
While you may know that synthetic clothing and materials aren’t made of natural fibers, did you know they are actually derived from plastic? Rayon, polyester and nylon fabrics are made of thousands of tiny, plastic microfibers. Although these garments are versatile and easy to clean, they leach plastic fibers every time they go through the washing machine. Nearly 1,900 microfibers are released from a single synthetic garment every single time you wash it!
Like microbeads, microfibers can pass through water treatment plants unaltered and enter into waterways and the ocean where they are ingested by marine species. According to ecologist Mark Browne, worldwide, around 100,000 marine animals accidentally consume plastics, like microfibers, spreading toxins through the ecosystem.
While it might be difficult to avoid synthetic fabrics, reducing the number of new items you purchase is a great way to lower the amount of microfibers you’re adding to the water system. Opt for high-quality natural fabrics like linen, hemp or soy silk over synthetics. Check out this article for some other great, planet-friendly options.
- Learn to Live Waste-Free
Achieving a 100 percent waste-free lifestyle is challenging, but it is certainly not impossible. Just take a page from Lauren Singer, the 23-year-old who can store all the waste she’s produced in the past two years in a single mason jar! Finding new ways to avoid plastics by making your own food or beauty products will not only make you feel incredibly accomplished, but it can save you money and help keep tons of plastic out of the oceans. To learn more about how to make your life a little less wasteful, check out these resources:
Plastic garbage is displayed prior to a press conference of the Ocean Cleanup foundation in Utrecht, Netherlands, Thursday, May 11, 2017. The foundation aiming to rid the world’s oceans of plastic says it will start cleaning up the huge patch of floating junk known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next 12 months, two years ahead of schedule.
Plastic garbage is displayed prior to a press conference of the Ocean Cleanup foundation in Utrecht, Netherlands, Thursday, May 11, 2017. The foundation aiming to rid the world’s oceans of plastic says it will start cleaning up the huge patch of floating junk known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next 12 months, two years ahead of schedule. Peter Dejong AP
The latest nation to apply to the UN: An ocean garbage patch with 115,000 ‘citizens’
By Greg Hadley
September 21, 2017 11:14 AM
The Great Pacific garbage patch, a swirling pile of pollution and discarded plastics between California and Japan, is made up of millions of pieces of trash and tiny plastics and has been estimated to be anywhere from the size of Texas to twice the size of the continental United States.
Now, a group of activists is hoping to make those comparisons to countries and states a bit more literal.
According to Quartz, enviromental advocates have started a petition to have the garbage patch officially recognized by the United Nations as a country, formally known as the Trash Isles. They even have designed a flag, passport and currency, appropriately named “debris.”
So far, the group has more than 115,000 signatures on its petition urging the U.N. to accept the Trash Isles as a nation and volunteering to be citizens of the country. If the petition reaches its goal of 150,000 signatures, it would have more “citizens” than 24 other countries.
The Trash Isles’ honorary first citizen is, of course, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, who appeared in a video for the project.
“We want to shrink this nation,” Gore said. “We don’t want any more plastic added.”
Other high-profile supporters include British actor Judi Dench and Olympic champion runner Mo Farah, per Reuters.
Getting the Trash Isles recognized as a country would help, organizers say, because it would force other U.N. members to help clean the new nation up, as required by the U.N.’s charter.
However, not only is the plan extraordinarily unlikely to succeed, it also isn’t entirely scientifically accurate. In promotional materials, activists describe the Trash Isles as roughly the size of France, suggesting that there is nearly 250,000 square miles of solid, uninterrupted garbage floating on the surface of the Pacific.
In fact, “island” or “isles” are misnomers, according to the NOAA. For the most part, the garbage patch consists of millions of pieces of microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic that poision fish and harm the environment. While there is plenty of empty water bottles and fishing nets too, some of them are below the surface and it is not large enough on the surface to be observed by satellites.
Still, scientists say the garbage patch is extremely dangerous for the environment and use names like “Trash Isles” to convey the severity of that danger, per AdWeek.
Never miss a local story.
Sep. 14, 2017 12:27PM EST
Rare White Giraffes Spotted in Kenya, Captured on Camera for First Time
Two white reticulated giraffes, a mother and her calf, were captured on camera at the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservacy in Kenya.
Their creamy coloring is due to a genetic condition called leucism, in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal’s skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.
The Hirola Conservation Programme, an NGO which manages the area, wrote in a blog post that the giraffes were first spotted by a local villager.
“They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence,” the post states. “‘The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes.”
According to the post, the only two known sightings of white giraffes have been made in Kenya and Tanzania: “The very first reports of a white giraffe in the wild was reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania; a second sighting was again reported in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.”
Reports say this is the first time these animals have been filmed on camera. The conservancy first shared video on YouTube last month, but the clip is now going viral. YouTube commenters have expressed concern that sharing the animals’ location could attract potential poachers.
It is unknown how many white giraffes roam the Earth, but Africa’s giraffe population as a whole has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just more than 97,000 individuals due to habitat loss, hunting for meat and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies.
This story was originally published by New Republic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the number of chemical plants, refineries, and other industrial facilities. So when one of the worst storms in American history hit the heart of Texas’ petrochemical industry, it also triggered one of the biggest mass shutdowns the area has even seen. At least 25 plants have either shut down or experienced production issues due to Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented severe weather and flooding, according to industry publication ICIS. But those closures are not only disrupting markets; they’re also causing enormous releases of toxic pollutants that pose a threat to human health.
Take Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas. When it shut down due to Hurricane Harvey, it released into the atmosphere more than 100,000 pounds of carbon monoxide; 22,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 32,000 pounds of ethylene, and 11,000 pounds of propane, according to a report the company submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). A couple thousand pounds of 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and butane were released as well. All of these releases were far more than what was legally allowed.
Chevron reported similarly huge amounts of air pollution above legal limits due to the shutdown of its chemical plant in Cedar Bayou. 28,000 pounds of benzene, a known carcinogen. 56,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide gases, which react to form smog and acid rain. From just one “miscellaneous” source at the facility, a combined 40,000 pounds of various chemicals were released — and that source had no legal authority to release anything at all.
Smaller emissions events were also submitted to TCEQ. In preparation for Harvey, the Equistar plant in Corpus Christi released 5,000 pounds of both carbon monoxide and ethylene. The shutdown of Chevron’s Pasadena Plastics Complex caused some excess releases, mostly of carbon monoxide and isobutane. Javelina Gas Processing facility went far above its relatively low pollution limits for its shutdown, reporting releases of 10,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and 4,000 pounds of butanes, among other things. One Pasadena refinery released a bit of particulate matter.
Between Aug. 23 — the day it became clear Harvey would threaten Texas — and Aug. 29, industrial plants reported 74 excess air pollution release events to TCEQ, or nearly 60 percent more than the previous week. Those releases have so far totaled more than 1 million pounds of emissions above legal limits, according to Air Alliance Houston, an environmental nonprofit that crunched the numbers.
This chart shows excess air pollutant emissions from the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey. TCEQ
The reason this is happening is simple: Petrochemical plant shutdowns are a major cause of abnormal emission events. The short-term impacts of these events can be “substantial,” according to a 2012 report from the Environmental Integrity Project, because “upsets or sudden shutdowns can release large plumes of sulfur dioxide or toxic chemicals in just a few hours, exposing downwind communities to peak levels of pollution that are much more likely to trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory systems.”
Air Alliance Houston’s Executive Director Bakeyah Nelson is concerned about how these shutdowns will affect nearby communities already suffering from Harvey. “The excess amount of air pollution puts communities in close proximity to these plants at risk, especially people with chronic health conditions,” she said. She also noted that communities closest to these sites in Houston — and in general — are disproportionately low-income and minority. Some residents have already been complaining of “unbearable” petrochemical-like smells.
But so far, TCEQ has not indicated these events have triggered health impacts. Its website offers no guidance for air pollution events from the storm, and TCEQ Media Relations Manager Andrea Miller told me the agency or local emergency officials would contact residents if an immediate health threat were to occur. What’s more, Miller said companies were probably reporting higher emissions that what actually occurred, “since underreporting can result in higher penalties.”
It’s unclear, however, how TCEQ would check many of the companies’ reports, since the agency turned off all its air quality monitors in the Houston area before Harvey hit. Miller confirmed as much on Monday, saying devices were either turned off or removed “to protect against damage or loss of these sensitive and expensive instruments.” Most of the plants impacted by Harvey are in the Houston area, as this ICIS map below shows.
A map of industrial facilities in Texas that have either closed, reduced operations, or otherwise scaled back because of Hurricane Harvey. ICIS
None of this is to say that companies could have done much of anything this week to stop the release of these chemicals. Indeed, there is no way to avoid large releases of air pollutants when refineries and chemical plants shut down, and there was no way these companies could have avoided shutting down their facilities faced with such a destructive storm. In their reports to TCEQ, companies generally say they are operating within safety and good air pollution control practices. And fortunately, as one meteorologist pointed out to me on Twitter, the continued rainfall in Texas is likely improving the situation, preventing pollutants from remaining stagnant in the air as it destroys everything else.
The real problem lies in the sheer number of facilities having to shut down or decrease operations at the exact same time — meaning they’ll also all eventually have to start back up. And emissions-wise, starting back up is just as bad as shutting down. That’s evident in the TCEQ emissions reports; rebooting the Formosa Plastics plant two hours outside Houston will be an enormous emissions event. In Corpus Christi, the Flint Hills Resources plant reported releases of 15,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide — a particularly harmful chemical — for its start-up. Most of this, too, is unavoidable, said Neil Carman, the clean air program director at Sierra Club’s Lone Star chapter. “Plants aren’t like cars or trucks where you just push a button and its starts,” he said. “These are huge refineries and petrochemical plants, so it takes a number of hours to heat up their units.”
When these plants restart, it’s less likely that the communities nearby will have the rain to save them. (And it seems a cruel irony to wish for rain that’s already caused so much damage.) But Nelson says the real problem is that the plants are allowed to operate so close to residential areas in the first place. Houston’s lack of zoning regulations have been front-and-center in discussions about why Harvey has been so terrible for the city, and that’s no different in the discussion about air pollution. “When the city gets back on its feet, it’s a good time to revisit the dialogue about where facilities are allowed to be located, and what precautionary measures can be taken in the future for communities in close proximity to these facilities,” Nelson said. Unfortunately, like so many other problems with Harvey, the discussion may come too late for the most vulnerable.
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Hurricanes keep bringing blackouts. Clean energy could keep the lights on.
By Amelia Urry on Sep 22, 2017
When Hurricane Irma scraped its way up the Florida peninsula, it left the state’s electrical grid in pieces. Between 7 million and 10 million people lost power during the storm — as much as half of the state — and some vulnerable residents lost their lives in the sweltering days that followed. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of electrical workers from around the country rushed to the Sunshine State to repair damaged substations, utility poles, and transmission lines.
But in Palm Coast, on Florida’s eastern seaboard, midway between Daytona and St. Augustine, Jim Walden never lost power. As he and his wife listened to debris clattering off their roof, 24 solar panels and 10 kilowatt hours of battery storage kept their lights on and their refrigerator cool. Over the ensuing days, as electric utilities struggled to return power to Florida’s storm-wracked communities, the only thing Walden and his wife missed was their air conditioner (which would have drained their batteries too quickly).
“It worked flawlessly,” Walden says of his solar-plus-storage system. “We had plenty of power for the fans to keep us cool and the lights when you walk into the bathroom at night. The wife would even run her hairdryer off of it.”
Walden’s setup — which draws power from the sun during the day and dispenses it at night, with or without the help of the grid — is an illustration of how we might reimagine our electrical system to be more modular, resilient, and renewable-powered. We’ve already been struggling with the question of how to build (or rebuild) our grids to better accommodate solar- and wind-generated energy. But this month’s run of record-making Atlantic hurricanes has made finding an answer — one that will help us better weather the storms of the coming century — even more urgent.
Questions about reliability have dogged renewable energy from the beginning. Simply put, when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not getting any energy from those sources. Our grid, by contrast, is set up to provide constant, unwavering power around the clock. We’re only just starting to address the challenge of reconciling these two basic facts in one functional system. (Hint: The solution involves batteries). But according to a Department of Energy report, wind and solar power have not made the U.S. power grid less reliable, even as the amount of renewable energy loaded onto it has shot up.
But the grid is getting less reliable overall. Thanks to perpetual delays in updating old infrastructure, the United States sees more power outages per year than any other developed country — costing an annual $150 billion in lost productivity.
And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Even as Florida’s lights turn back on, the Atlantic keeps serving up hurricanes like Maria, which left all of Puerto Rico in darkness that could last as long as six months. Overall, the average number of annual weather-related power outages doubled from 2003 to 2012, a Climate Central report found.
One basic improvement the United States could make to its power grid is moving power lines from above-ground utility poles to protected underground conduits. This is how Germany rebuilt its grid after World War II, and now it suffers very few outages, says Blake Richetta, the U.S. VP for German clean-energy company sonnenBatterie. The country has fewer than 12 minutes of blackout per customer per year, compared to the 244 minutes that plague Americans.
But moving America’s 300,000 miles of transmission lines underground would be an epic investment of time and labor — just the sort of massive infrastructure project we’ve been putting off.
Florida utilities did invest in some storm-hardening of their power infrastructure in the past decade, replacing wooden poles with concrete ones and placing them closer together as a response to hurricane damage in 2004 and 2005. The state’s largest investor-owned utility, Florida Power & Light, spent $3 billion on improvements over the last decade, including an $800-million smart-grid project completed in 2013 with backing from the Department of Energy. The initiative involved deploying more than 4.5 million smart meters, sensors, and flood monitors, all networked together to give the utility real-time information on how power is moving around the grid.
Those moves helped lessen the damage Irma caused, according to Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy. During the hurricane, several power substations were able to shut down when flooding monitors indicated equipment was at risk, saving the utility several days of work and possibly millions in equipment repair.
Still, Silagy’s company had to deploy around 20,000 workers in camps across the state to patch power plants and transmission lines in the days after the storm. And a utility spokesperson told ABC News that parts of the electrical grid on Florida’s west coast will require a “wholesale rebuild.”
“This is going to be a very, very lengthy restoration, arguably the longest and most complex in U.S. history,” VP of Communication Rob Gould said.
Clearly, Florida — and the rest of the country — still needs to do much more. And according to Jim Walden, it’s going to require a change in attitude for many Americans.
“It’s amazing to me that we live in the Sunshine State, and it’s hard to get people interested in solar power whatsoever,” he explains.
Walden himself got interested because he wanted to save money on his electric bill. Later, with the help of a $7,500 federal tax incentive, he installed his own battery storage to become more self-sufficient, especially during power outages.
The solutions to our collective energy troubles, however, will also need to be collective. One way that could look is scaling up from individual battery-powered homes to networked storage hubs that could act as regional power sources, flexibly responding to the changing demands of the grid.
As one urban resilience expert, Thaddeus Miller, told ProPublica, increasing the defenses of our cities and systems will require deeper changes than any we’ve embraced so far. “Fundamentally, we must abandon the idea that there is a specific standard to which we can control nature,” he said.
That means, for instance, changing the way we think about resilient infrastructure. Rather than working to prevent flooding at all times with high-investment levees and reservoirs, we could work to build facilities that are better at weathering flooding without being totally compromised. These “safe-to-fail” approaches would leave less of a mess after a storm blows through.
Because storms are going to blow through places like Florida, and they’re likely going to get stronger.
“We lose electricity quite often here, believe it or not — there are thunderstorms that can come up and knock power out,” Walden says. “Just to have electricity during those times is a great comfort.”
Cats don’t differ dramatically from humans when it comes to diabetes, it is to do with the hormone insulin which helps to remove sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. Cat type 2 diabetes can… More
Defenders of Wildlife Blog
19 September 2017
Walling Off Wildlife
Posted by: Bryan Bird
The Trump administration pushes forward with plan to wall off wildlife.
While the president continues his bombastic border wall talk and the administration and Congress argue over funding for this monstrosity, construction equipment is already moving in, land is being cleared and people and wildlife are being displaced in the borderlands of California and Texas.
By Hook or by Crook
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already waived a host of environmental and other laws in order to expand the border wall along a 15-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, California. Defenders, along with a coalition of national conservation groups, sued to stop this unlawful overreach of the authority provided by Congress in the Real ID Act of 2005.
Similarly, in Texas the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have started clearing land, taking soil samples and conducting tests in areas where they plan to build new border wall – often without even notifying the landowners or the public of their actions. This was the case when the managers of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, discovered industrial mowers stripping vegetation from their land and imperiling more than 200 species of butterflies.
Now, CBP is trying to conceal efforts to build a 60-mile extension through the area that includes two national wildlife refuges and important habitat for the endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
In a letter recently sent to a select group of stakeholders earlier this month, CBP requested comments on the proposed construction of 60 miles of border wall that would cut through parts of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the National Butterfly Center and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The letter appears to be a dubious ploy to claim that the agency is fulfilling its obligation to “seek public comment,” while not actually making the public aware of their plans. Perhaps even they realize what a terrible idea it is to construct a barrier through these sensitive habitats and critical wildlife corridors that support countless species of wildlife, including more than 500 species of birds, 300 butterfly species and 1,200 plant species.
A Tale of Two Refuges
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
Few places in the Western Hemisphere exhibit such a diversity of flora and fauna as the lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, home to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. While small in size, the Santa Ana Refuge contains an abundance of neotropical songbirds, raptors, mammals and reptiles, including the nine-banded armadillo, Texas tortoise, Mexican free-tailed bat. It is also home to more than 400 bird species, more than 300 species of butterflies –half of all butterfly species found in North America – and more than 450 varieties of plants.
The refuge also provides habitat for at least eight species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including the highly-imperiled ocelot and jaguarundi. With fewer than 50 left in the United States, the refuge is essential to ocelot recovery.
Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Comprising several units along the Rio Grande, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge helps protect a crucial link between coastal and river wildlife corridors. The various refuge units are located at the nexus of four climate zones – tropical, temperate, coastal and desert – and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Central flyways, making the region one of the most diverse conservation areas in North America. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is home to more than 700 vertebrate species, 300 species of butterfly and at least 18 threatened or endangered species, including the highly-endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley refuge complex conserves Mid-Delta Thorn Forest, a rare forest type that provides habitat for an array of small mammals and birds and serves as a key hunting ground for the ocelot. As the thorn forest has continued to diminish over the years, ocelots have been forced to cross open fields and been exposed to more dangers from vehicular traffic and predators. Further degradation of this crucial habitat from wall construction could prove devastating to the dwindling U.S. population of ocelots.
A Decisive Blow to Wildlife
The construction of an impenetrable wall through these refuges would fragment riparian habitats, block migration corridors for rare migratory birds and imperiled species, degrade and destroy habitat, and disrupt nesting, breeding and foraging by countless birds and other wildlife. Levee walls, which are proposed for at least 28 miles along this route, can trap wildlife and drown animals during severe flooding events.
Both refuges serve as important migration corridors for animals like the ocelot and jaguarundi, who travel back and forth from Mexico to the U.S. These rare cats would be cut off from crucial habitat affecting their dispersal and their potential to establish new resident populations in the U.S. The noise from increased vehicle traffic and lighting along the border wall could also greatly impair these animals’ ability to hunt and alter the behavior of their prey.
No Longer the “Land of the Free” for Wildlife
A border wall offends our core American values – freedom, equality, justice and the preservation of our natural heritage. For wildlife in the borderlands, a wall would set back decades of conservation success in the region.
We are the guardians of these imperiled animals and at Defenders we are fighting to make sure they have a voice and can continue to recover and prosper in our country. The illicit and secretive actions by the current administration would have disastrous consequences for wildlife.
Tell the administration you won’t stand for any attack on our refuges or our wildlife. Stand up for imperiled wildlife in jeopardy because of the border wall.
Stand up for wildlife now!
Tell CPB and the administration that you oppose any border wall construction that would destroy vital wildlife habitat on our national wildlife refuges and public lands.
Defenders is committed to protecting human communities, wildlife and habitat threatened by a border wall. We have joined a diverse coalition of conservation, human rights, civil rights, religious and other groups to mount substantial opposition. Please join us in this important fight.
Bryan Bird, Southwest Program Director
Bryan oversees Defenders work in the Southwest, where he has spent 23 years working on wildlife conservation. His efforts are focused on maintaining and enhancing vital wildlife habitat, and on protecting imperiled species, such as Mexican gray wolves, jaguars, desert tortoises and California condors, in the face of a changing climate, drought, and increasing development.
Categories: border wall, Habitat Conservation, habitat conservation, jaguarundi, Lower Rio Grande, Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, migration corridor, ocelot, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Take Action, Trump administration, Wildlife
Your weekly roundup of wildlife news from across the country.
1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
©2017 Defenders of Wildlife
Wind power is on the rise and with it is an uptick in bat deaths.
Developing renewable energy is critical to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing climate change. Wind energy is an important source of American renewable energy and the success of this industry is crucial to our green energy future. However, like all energy types, wind energy is not without its challenges. In the early 2000s, researchers realized that wind turbines were killing bats at record rates.
A Fatal Attraction
Findings from the last decade reveal that wind turbines kill more than half a million bats each year in the United States. The overwhelming majority of the bats killed are migratory bats that are not affected by white-nose syndrome, the pathogenic fungus causing precipitous declines in hibernating bat species.
Wind turbine blades disproportionately strike these migratory bats as they pass through wind farms to forage or migrate. It’s unclear why there are so many collisions, but bats are well-known to be curious creatures and have been documented to change course to check out turbines. Although there’s no scientific consensus on why bats are attracted to turbines—theories range from mistaking turbines as trees for roosting, to seeking out insect prey that congregate near turbines—this behavior puts them at increased risk for collision with the spinning blades.
Bat Numbers Give Us Cause for Pause
As more information becomes available about the interaction of bats and wind energy production, scientists are growing increasingly concerned. Bats are long-lived mammals (many bats live more than a decade, and at least one Brandt’s bat lived for 41 years!) that reproduce slowly, meaning that bat populations are very sensitive to losses of breeding-age adults.
A recent study led by UC Santa Cruz professor Winnifred Frick, whose findings were published in Biological Conservation earlier this year, set out to identify whether mortality from wind turbines could cause bat populations to decline. Professor Frick and her colleagues focused on the bat species most commonly killed by wind turbines: the hoary bat.
The hoary bat, named for its silver-tipped fur that resembles hoar frost, is a wide-ranging, migratory bat found throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada. Hoary bats are solitary animals, spending their days roosting in trees until sunset. As it gets dark, these charismatic critters emerge to feed, foraging over great distances as they search for moths and other insects.
Unfortunately, hoary bats seem particularly susceptible to wind turbines, representing over a third (38 percent) of all bats killed at wind energy facilities. Professor Frick and her colleagues sought to determine whether the high mortality rate for hoary bats at wind facilities was sustainable.
Their results were alarming. According to the best available estimates for population size and growth rate, they projected hoary bat populations would decline by 90 percent in the next 50 years due to mortality at wind turbines. If wind energy development continues at expected rates and nothing is done to decrease bat mortality, the fate of the hoary bat will only become more dire.
Unfortunately, the hoary bat is not alone in facing such a bleak future – other migratory bat species may also be at risk. While hoary bats are the hardest hit bat species, other species of migratory bats are also frequently killed by wind turbines. Hoary bats, eastern red bats, and silver-haired bats collectively account for almost 80 percent of all bats killed at turbines. Future research is needed to determine whether there are population-level impacts to eastern red bats and silver-haired bats from wind energy.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, there are techniques that the wind industry can adopt so that we do not have to choose between wind energy and these important bat species. Wind industry leaders have stepped up and are proactively working with researchers and government agency staff to create technological solutions to overcome these bats’ fatal attraction to turbines. Technologies to deter bats from approaching turbines, such as playing high frequency noises, lighting the blades with ultraviolet light, using textured turbine coatings, are in development and being tested at pilot sites. We are optimistic that these technologies will be commercially available within the next five years or so, but continued funding and research are needed.
Until these technologies are available, operational changes, such as “feathering” turbine blades so that they don’t spin at low wind speeds (when bats are most active) during important migration periods, can drastically reduce bat deaths. These operational changes can be adopted immediately, but they come with a catch: they reduce the amount energy being produced from each turbine.
It’s not that wind facility operators don’t want to do the right thing–most are aware of the problem and want to minimize bat kills. However, until there is industry-wide adoption, any wind facility that does implement operational curtailment (by strategically feathering turbine blades) is at a competitive disadvantage because it would be producing less energy than a comparably-sized facility that’s not endeavoring to protect bats. In addition, some facilities are contractually obligated to produce a certain amount of energy that leaves little room for seasonal curtailment to protect bats.
If wind facilities trying to protect bats go out of business, that’s a losing scenario for both wildlife and the climate. Thus, saving these bats can’t solely rest on industry – energy consumers need to value wind operators who take measures to protect bats.
It’s a rare opportunity to be able to protect a species before it’s on the verge of extinction, but in order to do any good, we must act swiftly. Allowing hoary bat numbers to continue to decline at a precipitous rate isn’t just bad for bats, it’s bad for industry, too. Protecting bats through preventative solutions available to us now will help keep these species off the Endangered Species List, at which point options may be limited to more expensive conservation measures.
Unlike Vampires, Bats Don’t Live Forever (Plus Vampires are Fake)
Time is of the essence and we cannot afford to delay action. The wind industry, conservation organizations, academia, government, and energy users need to work together to find solutions. Defenders of Wildlife is fully committed to a strong wind energy future while conserving bats. We are working to educate corporate buyers about the importance of purchasing wind energy from responsible operators, while simultaneously advocating for federal, state, and private investment to advance and commercialize technical solutions to reduce the industry’s impacts on wildlife. Tackling this issue now is critical to securing a strong future for the wind energy industry and bats.
Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on the latest developments concerning wildlife from Capitol Hill and other news important our work. Don’t forget to sign up for our emails where you will get all the latest news and action alerts to support wildlife.
Pasha Feinberg, Renewable Energy & Wildlife Research Associate
Pasha Feinberg is a research associate for the Renewable Energy and Wildlife team, providing scientific research in support of the team’s efforts to ensure that renewable energy development does not occur at the expense of wildlife. Prior to joining Defenders, Pasha earned her B.S. and M.S. in environmental science from Stanford University and conducted ecology research in Mexico, Australia, Tanzania, Kenya, and the United States to better understand the relationships between biodiversity, human health, and other ecosystem functions and services.
Categories: Bats, bats, hoary bats, Living with Wildlife, Renewable Energy, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbines
Your weekly roundup of wildlife news from across the country.
1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
©2017 Defenders of Wildlife
The War on the Wild: Alaska at the Forefront
21 September 2017
Posted by: Mary Price |
The administration’s war on the wild zeroes in on Alaska
There has been a steady drumbeat from the Trump administration and many like-minded members of Congress who are pushing to wring every last available resource out of America’s wildest frontier – Alaska.
This fervent pursuit of profits above all else on our public lands and waters has put our wildlife and wild places at greater risk than ever before. It is clear this administration has little regard for the health and future of wildlife and our natural heritage, and Alaska has become a favorite target in its war on the wild.
Selling Out Alaska
Just this past week, The Washington Post revealed that the Trump administration is secretly pushing oil and gas exploration in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The contentious battle to open the refuge to drilling has been raging for decades, but has gained renewed momentum from an administration eager to profit from every last drop of oil they can bleed from our public lands and waters. In this case, the Trump administration is even willing to illegally alter regulations that have prohibited oil and gas exploration in the refuge for more than 30 years.
The Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, home to some of America’s most iconic and imperiled species, including polar bears, caribou, and hundreds of migratory bird species that migrate from all 50 states and six continents. Drilling could forever destroy this delicate ecosystem. While full-blown oil development on the Coastal Plain still requires an act of Congress, the Trump administration’s effort to allow harmful exploratory activities in this wildlife haven is the first step to drilling. And Congress could get in on the action: the House FY2018 budget resolution currently under consideration is an opportunity for the legislative branch to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
The Trump administration’s unprecedented move against the Arctic Refuge should come as no surprise given the president’s directives targeting Alaska last spring. Specifically, the “America First Offshore Energy Strategy” would rewrite the country’s five-year development plan that guides the lease sales for oil and gas development in federal waters offshore. The current plan excludes lease sales in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Trump’s executive order would put those “off-limits” areas back on the auction block. In addition, it seeks to fast-track harmful seismic testing and roll back safeguards for marine wildlife like dolphins, porpoises, whales and other creatures who can suffer devastating impacts from seismic testing.
Rescinding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule
Just months into the new administration, Congress and the president revoked the Obama-era Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule that prohibited extreme hunting practices on refuges in Alaska. The elimination of the regulation could allow the state of Alaska to pursue its unscientific predator control policy on these federal public lands that sanctions killing mother bears with cubs, killing wolves with pups during denning season, and baiting, snaring and scouting bears from the air for hunting.
Now Congress is taking aim at similar protections on National Park Service preserves in the state. The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, deceitfully dubbed the SHARE Act, is anything but generous to wildlife, as it threatens to allow the same objectionable practices on Alaska’s national preserves. Through the SHARE Act, the House is doubling down on this attack since, as part of the FY2018 Interior Appropriations bill, it passed a separate measure that does the same thing.
Clearcutting “America’s Rainforest”
Alaska is home to our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The vast Tongass National Forest spans 17 million acres and contains the largest remnants of intact old-growth forest habitat in North America. Sadly, it is still logged on an industrial scale – in fact, it is the last forest in the country where old-growth clearcutting is allowed.
In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service made plans to transition away from this outdated practice, but the new administration is putting that progress in reverse.
Now the Forest Service, operating under the Trump administration, is proposing to log an estimated 200-million board feet of old-growth forest on the Tongass over the next decade, in what would be the largest sell-off of old-growth forest the U.S. has experienced in decades. This colossal forest liquidation would destroy thousands of acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, threaten the persistence of Alexander Archipelago wolves, Sitka black-tailed deer, and northern goshawks, and potentially spell disaster for countless other species dependent on these unique and irreplaceable old-growth forests.
Bulldozing Wilderness in Izembek
For years, there has been spurious debate over proposals to build a road through wilderness wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, bisecting the refuge and destroying essential wildlife habitat. The dispute has now resurfaced with new potency.
The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act, which was recently passed in the House and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate, would trade away globally important habitat in the heart of the Izembek Refuge to allow construction of this destructive and unnecessary road.
If enacted, the bill would irreparably damage an internationally recognized conservation area, threaten the survival of imperiled species, like the Steller’s eider, and set a precedent that would undermine our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and jeopardize the integrity of wildlife refuges and wilderness protections on public lands across the country.
The proposed road would cost taxpayers tens of millions of additional dollars to solve a “problem” that the federal government previously addressed with a more effective, less destructive, transportation solution.
Mining for Trouble in Bristol Bay
Every year, tens of millions of wild salmon return to the Bristol Bay, Alaska, where they join an incredible diversity of wildlife ranging from Pacific walrus and beluga whales to brown bears. Despite the incalculable value of these species and the clear, clean water of the bay, or the very tangible value of these resources to the regional recreation and tourism economies, this administration is threatening to jeopardize it all to allow the permitting process to proceed for a Canadian company to open a massive gold and copper mine. This decision overturns a robust, public Obama-era review that declined issuing a permit to the company.
Mining in the bay’s watershed would require massive earthen dam construction, development of a 100-mile road through important salmon habitat, and diversion of nearly 35 billion gallons of water a year from salmon streams and rivers. These activities will expose all manner of species to habitat loss, increased vehicular and vessel traffic in Cook Inlet, which could impact endangered Cook Inlet belugas, and the potential for the mine’s massive earthen wall to collapse that would forever ruin this vital ecosystem.
Tribulations for Teshekpuk Lake
The area around Teshekpuk Lake in Alaska is incredibly important for wildlife – polar bears make their dens there, migratory birds spend their summers along the shoreline and tens of thousands of caribou call it home.
Teshekpuk Lake is located inside the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA) – an Indiana-sized expanse covering much of the western Arctic. Despite its name, the NPRA is required to be managed both for conservation of its remarkable wildlife values and oil and gas development. In 2013, after a lengthy robust planning process involving numerous local, regional and national stakeholders, the Bureau of Land Management finalized a management plan that allows oil and gas development on over 11 million acres in the area, but protects the important habitat around Teshekpuk Lake by designating it “unavailable for leasing.”
Unfortunately, this successful resource management plan could be short-lived. In May, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed an order requiring a review of the Obama administration’s plan for managing this area, but rather than holding a transparent and public process, and expedite the opening of Teshekpuk Lake up for exploitation by oil and gas interests.
Fighting for “The Last Frontier”
The Trump administration and some in Congress have a keen interest in Alaska, so do we – but for very different reasons. We and most Americans, want to enjoy and preserve Alaska’s wildlife, lands and waters, while current leadership is driven by greed, unfazed by what they could ruin in pursuit of their objectives.
Help us fight back against this administration’s relentless attacks against our wildlife and wild places.
Mary Price, Digital Copywriter
Categories: Alaska, Alaska, Arctic, Arctic, Arctic drilling, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, bears, imperiled wildlife, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Public Lands, Trump administration, Wildlife, wolves
1130 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
©2017 Defenders of Wildlife
Volume 5 of the CIA’s Lee Harvey Oswald 7-volume collection, may never be turned over, even though the law requires it to take place by October 26th of this year.
Countless concerned individuals are still searching for answers surrounding the mysterious death of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. The official narrative, that a lone former Marine named Harvey Oswald assassinated him, is widely disputed.
All available documents from all government entities are required by the Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 to be released on October 26th of 2017. But if history repeats itself, the Central Intelligence Agency may not release an entire volume of documents on Oswald, known as “volume 5.”
As Sputnik reports, the release in July of 3,810 CIA and FBI documents on the assassination by the Assassination Records Review Board threw up a number of revelations that JFK researchers have hungrily devoured and…
View original post 674 more words
By: Judy M.
September 18, 2017
Follow Judy at @judymolland
Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on August 22, 2015. Enjoy!
A number of dogs around the country are not happy with their dinner these days. And that’s due to repeated scares about pet food safety. From euthanasia drugs to wires, some of the reported ingredients are downright scary.
Obviously we don’t want to feed our pets anything that could threaten their health, so let’s use this opportunity to take a look at ten foods that you should never give your cat or dog.
All alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can have disastrous effects on the human liver and brain — and the effects are amplified for our pets. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
Love This? Never Miss Another Story.
This fruit contains Persin, a toxic component which has adverse effects on the heart and lungs of our pets. It can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.
I love my morning coffee — and, indeed, tea and coffee are known for their beneficial effects on human health. But the same is not true for our pets. These products all contain methylxanthines, and when ingested by pets, this can chemical can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.
You probably already know this one, but you should never share a bite of your favorite chocolate bar with your pet. The theobromine in chocolate can cause irregular heart beats in dogs and cats, which could prove fatal. Don’t even let your dog lick the chocolate frosting on that cake.
- Grapes and Raisins
It’s unclear why grapes and raisins create problems for pets, but these fruits can lead to kidney failure in dogs and cats. Don’t leave any lying around!
As a child, I watched my mother give our cat Timmy a bowl of milk every day, so this one came as a total surprise to me. Mom made a big mistake: Cats do not possess significant amounts of lactase — the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk — which means that milk and other milk-based products may give them diarrhea or cause other digestive upset.
- Onions and Garlic
You may love to cook with a perfect combination of these two ingredients, but onions and garlic are highly toxic to animals. Onions, in particular, have a destructive effect on your pet’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia, breathing troubles and weakness.
- Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs, Bones
Some people may consider raw bones to be a natural food for dogs, but they definitely pose a choking hazard. Raw meat and raw eggs also may contain Salmonella and E.coli bacteria, which can affect your pet’s health. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that restricts the absorption of biotin — a B vitamin — leading to skin and coat problems.
Too much salt produces excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium poisoning. Don’t let your pet have any of those salty chips, or you may find that she experiences vomiting, diarrhea, tremors or an elevated body temperature.
Candy, chewing gum and baked goods may contain a sweetener called Xylitol, which can cause insulin release in most species, potentially leading to liver failure. The increase in insulin triggers a sudden fall in blood glucose level, potentially causing seizures and/or loss of coordination.
Of course, even if you know what to avoid feeding your cats or dogs, they do have minds of their own, and accidents can happen. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these foods, note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Copyright © 2017 Care2.com, inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved
Care2 Team Blog
Interior Secretary Zinke just recommended that Trump downsize four national monuments and remove protections for six more. Tell Congress to block this public lands heist!