Interior Secretary Jewell Announces Strong Conservation Agenda

In a speech yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell talked about her conservation agenda. A few items particularly caught my attention.

First, she announced that her department will quickly adopt consistent policies and procedures on using mitigation at a landscape scale in the siting of energy and other infrastructure on public lands.

This may sound like “government speak,” but it really signals an important step. It recognizes nature as one of America’s most valuable assets, and reflects the kind of constructive, solution-oriented approach to government decision-making needed to南京夜网

get us to an environmentally sound and prosperous future.

“Mitigation” is not mysterious. It simply means taking reasonable steps to avoid harm to our natural resources, reducing that harm as much as possible if it can’t be avoided and compensating for any harm that remains.

We strongly support this approach, and I congratulate Secretary Jewell for her initiative.

Mitigation, fairly and properly used, is a practical, efficient and very effective way of better reconciling our country’s economic and environmental goals and of achieving the conservation of important natural resources at a large scale.

America’s population and our economy are both growing, and we need appropriate, efficient and effective development to support that growth. We also need to protect our natural resources to maintain our quality of life and e南京桑拿会所

nsure that our children and grandchildren will have the fortune of living in a prosperous, beautiful and healthy nation.

Those are not “either/or” choices; if we are smart and work together, we can do both. Proper and consistent use of mitigation is one of the keys to doing that.

Companies are also increasingly interested in mitigation as a strategy. It saves them time and money and reduces uncertainty, permitting delays, and the risk of litigation. This is especially true if it is approached at the landscape scale, focuses first and foremost on avoidance, and is considered in a collaborative manner very early on in the development process.

Applying mitigation at a landscape scale is particularly smart because it allows more effective engagement with state and local governments and helps avoid of the loss of key natural resources with multiple recreational, environmental and other public benefits. When compensation is needed despite efforts to avoid and minimize harm, a landscape approach helps ensure that the compensation is both effective and lasting.

We encourage the secretary to call on all Department of the Interior agencies to use their existing mitigation authorities within the many efforts currently underway to ensure robust mitigation outcomes that will conserve critical public resources.

In short, increasing and improving the use of mitigation is not a boring detail, but rather an important step recognizing that it is possible to accommodate needed investment in energy, transportation and water management while at the same time protecting the nation’s most critical natural resources that our economy and the quality of our lives depend upon.

In other important news, the secretary reiterated her support for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which supports national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails and more in all 50 states.

We’ve long viewed LWCF as a common-sense and critical conservation program. It balances the use of one natural resource — oil and gas — with the conservation of another by using a portion of drilling fees to protect important land and water resources. But despite an increase in energy production, funding for land and water protection has been low and unpredictable. Full funding for LWCF would go a long way in addressing that imbalance.

Finally, Jewell also announced an initiative “to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.”

I couldn’t agree more with her focus on educating and involving America’s young people in conservation, and I’m proud of our own efforts at The Nature Conservancy to engage younger generations.

Getting it right on things like mitigation and strong funding for LWCF — efforts that balance human needs with the need to conserve nature — is a great way to start ensuring these younger Americans can be inspired by nature, and realize its very practical value to their lives.

Fukushima, Humanity's Defining Moment

Let’s face it. Capitalism, with all its merit, lacks the ethical integrity required to responsibly handle technologies as potentially deadly as nuclear power. When you understand the facts, you will agree. Unfortunately, the facts have been buried by the very powerful financial interests making millions of dollars on nuclear power. The finest public relations teams on the planet have successfully convinced the general public that it is safe and that we need it. That is their job and they are paid well to do it. With the governments of the world manipulated like puppets on a string by these powerful corporate interests, concerned citizens, traditional elders, and scientists are converging with a message to end the insanity before it’s too late.


Photo courtesy of Emanuel Sferios and Popular Resistence

If you don’t believe that the situation is actually that dire then you might want to consider the educated words of health expert, Dr. Helen Caldicott. Watch this video to hear her explain in absolute clarity and detail the situation we are in right now on the planet. If that’s not enough then perhaps you should consider the words of scientist David Suzuki where he spells it out in this interview.

If you don’t have time to visit those links then just consider these numbers, courtesy of Ecowatch.

More than 1,300 fuel rods sit in a damaged fuel pool 100 feet in the air at Fukushima 4. They contain radioactive cesium equivalent to 14,000 times what was released at the bombing of Hiroshima. There are some 6,000 rods in a common fuel pool nearby. There are some 11,000 rods scattered around the site. The three melted cores from units One, Two and Three are missing. There are roughly 1,000 tanks holding billions of gallons of hot radioactive water that are leaking and will collapse in the next big earthquake.

The situation requires an international response, as the slightest error in removing the rods from the damaged building could be catastrophic for all of humanity. On Thursday, November 14th from 2:00-3:30pm at Tillman Chapel Church Center for the United Nations 777 UN Plaza at 44th Street in New York, Chief Arvol Looking Horse will present a statement prepared by leaders of many indigenous nations from around the world. Lookinghorse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Spiritual Leader of the Great Sioux Nation. A portion of the statement reads as follows:

We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life.

We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here.

Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life.
Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life.

The Fukushima nuclear crisis alone is a threat to the future of humanity. Yet, our concern goes far beyond this single threat. Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world. It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species and much much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth.

The compounding of bad decisions and their corresponding actions are extremely 江苏人气生活社区

short-sighted. They do not consider the future generations and they do not respect or honor the Creator’s Natural Law. We strongly urge for the governmental authorities to respond with an open invitation to work and consult with us to solve the world’s problems, without war. We must stop waging war against Mother Earth, and ourselves.

Tons of radioactive waste are flowing into the ocean, detected in fish as far away as Alaska and California. This and other recent incidents, like The BP spill in the gulf, are blatent failures of the private enterprise model to responsibly guard public safety. We simply can not survive as a species under an economic system that values monetary gain over life itself. Sure we wanna turn the lights on at night and drive our cars, but NOT at the expense of the air, water, animals and everything that is sacred. There are alternatives but you will never hear about them from the current energy industry PR teams masquerading as “experts”. Nor can we trust the mainstream media and politicians that these giant corporations own. Politicians are all too eager to rush us to war over the dangers of chemical weapons, yet they sit quiet when it comes to this dangerous chemical poison threatening life as we know it for many generations. Who can we turn to? Ourselves!

There are many scientific studies that validate the power of prayer, meditation, and intention for healing. Whatever spiritual or religious beliefs you may have, we all still drink the waters and breathe the air of this sacred planet. If you have ever witnessed a loved one dying of cancer then you know how devastating it can be. Now is the time to come together and unify for the purpose of ending the exploitation that is killing our planet. It’s time to focus our minds and hearts for the sake of healing so that future generations may live a healthy life. This is not a time to think someone else will take care of us. It is time to decide if we want to live within the laws of nature and respect all life as sacred or not. If the answer is yes, th南京夜网

en now is the time to act!

You can call your representatives, sign this petition, and share this very important information. Nobody else can do this for you. Together, as a unified force of nature, we humans have unlimited capacity to overcome all odds.

The Indigenous Elders Council Statement continues:

All Life is sacred. We come into Life as sacred beings. When we abuse the
sacredness of Life we affect all Creation. We urge all Nations and human beings around the world to work with us, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, to restore the Original Instructions and uphold the Creator’s Natural Law as a foundation for all decision making from this point forward. Our collective future as human beings is in our hands, we must address the Fukushima nuclear crisis and all actions that may violate the Creator’s Natural Law. We have reached the crossroads of life and the end of our existence. We will avert this potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster by coming together with good minds and prayer as a global community of all faiths.

You can read the original statement with signatures here. There is an informational video with Harvey Wasserman below. We live in powerful times, we must act on our love for this life and for our planet before it is too late. You know what you need to do, there is no time for panic or denial. Organize your networks, take time to pray, meditate and bear witness to the situation at hand. Live life like it matters!

Half Of Supermarket Chicken Harbors Superbugs, Consumer Reports Finds

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rick Schiller describes himself as a “super-healthy dude,” who practices taekwondo and rarely misses work.

The thought that he could be leveled by a piece of chicken had never crossed his mind, said Schiller, of San Jose, Calif. Yet that’s just what happened in September, when a contaminated chicken thigh landed him in the hospital with excruciating pain and a dangerous fever.

“It was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life,” Schiller said. “It’s a blessing I’m still alive.”

The Foster Farms salmonella outbreak that struck Schiller came shortly after Consumer Reports purchased chicken from stores around the country for an investigation. One of the packages turned out to be associated with the outbreak, which sent 40 percent of its victims to hospitals — about double the rate usually seen in a salmonella scare. Some experts said they think antibiotic resistance may be at least partially responsible for the unusual severity.

Consumer Reports’ findings, published on Thursday, underscore the potential danger to Americans posed by an apparently high rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the poultry aisle. Microbes that can resist multiple drugs lurked in about half of the more than 300 samples of raw chicken breasts tested by the consumer organization. Nearly all the chicken, regardless of brand or label, harbored at least one of six potentially harmful bacteria including E. coli and salmonella.

“The stuff can even hang out on the outside of the package,” said Urvashi Rangan, a toxicologist and executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center. “We’re talking about serious potential for problems.”

Overall, some 2 million Americans fight an antibiotic-resistant infection each year; 23,000 don’t survive. The pub南京夜生活

lic health threat is attracting increased attention from advocates, scientists and federal agencies.

“If we’re not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era,” said Thomas Friedan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in September when the CDC released a report detailing drug-resistance threats. “For some patients and some microbes, we are already there.”

Overprescribing antibiotics to humans undoubtedly plays a role in the rising resistance of microbes. Cattle, swine, chickens and other livestock, however, receive the majority of the nation’s antibiotics — less often for the treatment of an animal’s illness than to speed its growth or to prevent disease, which can be readily spread among industrially raised livestock kept in squalor.

The more antibiotics that are doled out to people and animals, especially when given at low doses over a long period of time, the faster that microbes can evolve and outsmart those drugs, experts warn. It’s survival of the fittest at a microscopic level.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration released controversial new guidance addressing antibiotic overuse in livestock.

The agency has asked drug companies to voluntarily change their labels over the next three years to exclude growth promotion as a use for antibiotics. The rules, developed with the cooperation of industry, pertain to hundreds of antibiotics used to treat people — including key weapons in fighting urinary tract infections and infections after surgeries. If a label changes, then farmers or feed mills would need to obtain a prescription from a veterinarian to treat a sick animal or to prevent disease. Before, they could simply buy the drugs from a feed store and administer them without a vet.

Critics say the FDA rules likely won’t change the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock.

There are the predictable worries about the voluntary nature of the rules. But the real elephant in the room is a blurry line between growth promotion and disease prevention in livestock. According to FDA documents, no signs of illness are needed before a vet may green-light preventative antibiotics.

“Many of the drugs are approved for both growth promotion and prevention,” said Avinash Kar, a health attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “So uses could remain more or less the same.”

What’s more, critics said, the veterinarians who would prescribe the antibiotics are often employed by meat producers. “If you’d like to keep your job, it’s probably wise to go with the views of your employer,” said Keeve Nachman, a scientist with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “So there would be pressure to continue to use drugs in a similar fashion.”

Consumer Reports’ Rangan said the FDA move is “a step in the right direction, but we need more, and sooner.”

The non-profit organization sent a letter to the FDA commissioner on Wednesday outlining the chicken test results and saying that there is “much more the agency must do to better protect the public health and to reduce the use of antibiotics in food animals.”

The National Chicken Council, meanwhile, questioned the alarm over contaminated chicken. In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post responding to the Consumer Reports finding, the chicken council noted that “99.99% of servings of chicken are consumed safely.” (Of the 160 million daily servings Americans consume, 0.01 percent amounts to 16,000 unsafe servings every day.)

“No legislation or regulation can keep bacteria from existing,” Mike Brown, the industry group’s president, told HuffPost. “We’re at 99.99%, but we’re going to keep working to reach 100.”

“We take the safety of our chicken very seriously,” added Brown. “After all, our families are eating the same chicken as you and yours.”

Michael Doyle, director for the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, called the consumer group’s report “sensational.”

“Their samples came during peak season for finding harmful microbes in animals,” Doyle said. And compared to retail poultry in China, Russia, Columbia and other parts of the world, added Doyle, “the numbers they are reporting are remarkably good.”

Doyle said it was “intriguing” that Consumer Reports found no difference in contamination between organic, antibiotic-free chicken and birds conventionally grown.

Still, Kar emphasized the importance of purchasing antibiotic-free meat. “You’re helping to put less antibiotic-resistant bacteria out into the world that can make its way back to our families,” he said. Contamination of organic meat likely stems from a contaminated environment and may occur during processing, noted Doyle and Kar.

Bacteria, antibiotic-resistant or not, are killed by cooking chicken to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. But that may not be enough to eliminate the risk of exposure. The bugs may linger on kitchen surfaces or elsewhere in the environment.

Dangerous bacteria may even stick around on supermarket shopping carts.  

Once in the environment, bacteria may easily swap genes with one another — including genes encoded with instructions on how to evade the drugs designed to kill it. So, even if a particular anti江苏夜网

biotic-resistant microbe isn’t capable of causing illness in humans itself, its DNA could find its way into a more malignant microbe such as the one that infected Schiller.

Rangen of Consumer Reports recommends that shoppers exercise vigilance, including wearing plastic bags as gloves when handling meat at the market, keeping it as cool as possible, selecting meat at the end of a shopping trip, and carefully cleaning before and after preparation of a meal. Hot soapy water will do the trick, Rangan said, along with occasionally disinfecting with diluted bleach or rubbing alcohol.

“But the goal is not to then hose your kitchen down in antibacterial cleaner,” she said. Another proposed rule released this week by the FDA would force soap makers to prove that products with added antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan are safe and effective. Evidence suggests the chemicals can interfere with human hormones and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Schiller, too, underscored the importance of precautions.

“Don’t take for granted that the food you’re cooking is completely safe, even if it is wrapped up in a nice container,” Schiller said. “Don’t take your life for granted either.”

The Climate Post: EIA Releases Early Predictions from Annual Energy Outlook

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released a 20-page preview of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices through 2040.

Although the full report won’t be released until spring 2014, the preview projects a spike of 800,000 barrels a day in domestic crude oil production in 2014. By 2016, U.S. oil production will reach historical levels–close to the 9.6 million barrels a day achieved in 1970. The feat–made possible by fracking and other advanced drilling technologies–is expected to bring imported oil supplies down to 25 percent, compared with the current 37 percent, by 2016. Eventually 南京夜网

though, the boom will level off, and production will slowly decline after 2020.

Natural gas will replace coal as the largest source of U.S. electricity. In 2040, natural gas will account for 35 percent of total electricity generation, while coal will account for 32 percent. Production of natural gas is predicted to increase 56 percent between 2012 and 2040; the U.S. will become an overall net exporter of the fuel by 2018–roughly two years earlier than the EIA projected in last year’s forecast.

“EIA’s updated Reference case shows that advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas production are continuing to increase 南京夜网

domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy as well as expand the potential for U.S. natural gas exports,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. “Growing domestic hydrocarbon production is also reducing our net dependence on imported oil and benefiting the U.S. economy as natural-gas-intensive industries boost their output.”

Total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are also predicted to remain below 2005 levels–roughly 6 billion metric tons–through 2040.

Oil to Flow from Southern Leg of Keystone Pipeline in 2014

Next month some 700,000 barrels per day are expected to begin flowing from Cushing, Okla. to Texas through the 485-mile pipeline that forms the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline project. Initial testing, before the Jan. 22 launch, is showing no issues with the pipeline or shippers, according to project lead TransCanada.

Construction of the southern leg required only state environmental permits and permission by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The northern leg–bringing crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast–has been more controversial. It awaits presidential approval on a trans-border permit.

Even so, TransCanada announced it has reached an agreement with 100 percent of landowners in five of the six states through which the 1,700-mile northern leg will pass. The remaining holdouts are in Nebraska, where the pipeline’s route was reworked to avoid crossing the Sand Hills aquifer.

U.S. Military to Utilize More Biofuel

On the heels of a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lower the country’s 2014 biofuel mandate, the U.S. military announced plans to make biofuel blends part of its regular “operational fuel purchase” through a collaboration of the Navy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Navy’s intensifying efforts to use advanced, homegrown fuels to power our military benefits both America’s national security and our rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Not only will production of these fuels create jobs in rural America, they’re cost effective for our military, which is the biggest consumer of petroleum in the nation.”

Sudden fuel price spikes–responsible for as much as $5 billion in unbudgeted fuel increases–were cited as one reason for the program, which will begin in 2014. Deliveries are expected in mid-2015.

The Climate Post offers a rundown of the week in climate and energy news. It is produced each Thursday by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Akademik Shokalskiy Trapped In Antarctic Ice; Blizzard Halts Efforts To Rescue Stranded Ship


(Adds details)

By Maggie Lu Yueyang

SYDNEY, Dec 30 (Reuters) – An Antarctic blizzard has halted an Australian icebreaker’s attempt to reach a Russian ship trapped for a week with 74 people onboard, rescuers said on Monday.

The Akademik Shokalskiy left New Zealand on Nov. 28 on a private expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

It became trapped in the ice on Dec. 24, 100 nautical miles east of the French Antarctic station Dumont D’Urville. The 74 people aboard include scientists and tourists, many of them Australian, and 22 Russian crew.

A first rescue attempt by a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, had to be halted because the ice was so thick.

Now another attempt, by the Aurora Australis, has been hampered by the weather.

It has had to return to open waters about 18 nautical miles from the Akademik Shokalskiy because of poor visibility, the 江苏夜网论坛

Australian Maritime Safety Aut南京火爆的夜生活人气互动论坛

hority (AMSA), which is co-ordinating the rescue, said.

The Australian vessel had reached as close as about 10 nautical miles from the trapped ship before turning back.

“The weather condition is not safe for it to proceed, and it’s gone back to open water,” said AMSA spokeswoman Lisa Martin.

The Snow Dragon is 6.7 nautical miles from the Akademik Shokalskiy and a helicopter on board will be used to rescue all 52 passengers and some crew if weather conditions permit, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Asked whether the passengers would have to see in the New Year on the stranded ship, Martin said: “It certainly looks like they will be there tomorrow.” (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Additional reporting by Alexei Anishchuk in Moscow; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alison Williams)

We Are Animals and Therein Lies Hope for a Better Future

This past year was remarkable in terms of what we have learned about the cognitive, emotional and moral lives of nonhuman animals (animals). A new and outstanding book called We Animals by award-winning photojournalist and activist Jo-Anne McArthur whose work also is featured in the wonderful documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine (see here) and a recent TEDTalk entitled “If We Could Talk To the Animals” by biologist Denise Herzing about the clearly smart and emotional dolphins she and her team study and her talk made me think of an incredible number of larger themes and “big” questions centering on the fascinating lives of the other animals with whom we share our magnificent planet. By paying attention to who other animals are we learn lessons about ourselves.

Let’s stop pretending we don’t know what other animals want and need: They do not want to die

First, let’s stop pretending we don’t know what other animals want and need.

As a biologist, I realize there aren’t “higher” and “lower” animals, and labels like higher and lower really don’t mean anything at all and are frequently used to justify the mistreatment of lower animals because the word lower far too easily slides into “less intelligent,” “less 南京KTV

feeling,” or less valuable.” So, are humans exceptional and unique? Yes, but so too are other animals. And, just like us, animals want to live in peace and safety — so let’s stop pretending we don’t know what they want and need. They do not want to die and surely do not want to be subjected to brutal torture before they succumb.

Incredibly exciting and important research has shown that humans do things that other animals can’t do and they do things that we can’t do. For example we now know:

• Mice, rats and chickens display empathy;

• Fish use their head to tell other fish where there’s food;

• Many animals experience emotions ranging from contagious and unbounded joy to deep sadness and grief;

• Animals play “just for the hell of it” because it feels good;

• New Caledonian crows outdo chimpanzees in making and using sophisticated tools (and dingoes also use and make tools);

• Gorillas learn to release other gorillas from snares;

• Animals care for disabled members of their group;

• Animals want to be treated fairly and will rebel when they’re treated unfairly;

• Fish display different personalities;

• Cuttlefish display episodic memory — the ability to remember when and where something happened — and can keep track of “what they’ve eaten, where, and how long ago”; this is the first demonstration of this type of memory in an invertebrate;

And the list goes on and on. In my latest book, Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation, I review these and many other studies. It’s simply amazing what we’re learning about the fascinating lives of other animals.

Some people call these discoveries “surprising” and exclaim, “Oh, I didn’t think they could do that!” However, if people keep open minds and hearts about whom other animals are, such findings are not really surprising at all.

Years ago, people thought only humans made and used tools, were conscious or self-aware, and had sophisticated ways to communicate with one another — and we now know those perspectives are wrong. People don’t have to embellish other animals; we just have to let them show us who they are.

There are also far fewer skeptics about the mental lives of other animals than there were even ten years ago. In July 2011, a group of renowned scientists reinvented the wheel, so to speak, and offered what’s called the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. In that declaration, the signers concluded: “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.” These researchers also should have included fish, for whom the evidence supporting sentience and consciousness is also compelling.

We must not ignore nature, for we do so at our own peril. By paying close attention to who other animals are and what they want and need, we can rewire our hearts and keep our hopes and dreams alive as we reconnect with other animals and nature as a whole and feel ever so comfortable with our membership in the diverse and fascinating animal kingdom.

We should be proud to be members of the animal kingdom. Sensationalist media that portrays other animals as brutal bloodthirsty beasts are thoroughly misleading and, in fact, we can learn many lessons about trust, friendship, cooperation, peace, and forgiveness from them if we pay attention to available data merging from a wide range of studies.

Seeing and treating other animals for who they are doesn’t lessen humans at all. We suffer the indignit江苏夜网

ies to which we subject other animals. We must use what we know about other animals on their behalf, to make their lives the very best they can be and to help them to live in peace and safety. This really isn’t asking too much. And, we are indeed making progress and there are many reasons to keep our hopes and dreams alive.

When we accept, and become openly proud of, our membership in the animal kingdom, hope abounds because we can see that we and “they” (other animals) must, and really do, share a passion to live peacefully on our wondrous planet. And I have much hope that we are heading into a future in which there will be considerably more peaceful coexistence.

On the Importance of Appreciating Animals

Huffington Post

Cross-posted from

You can tell a lot about people from their screensavers. Mine is a picture of gazelles: They are my role models. They run and flee when there is a danger — say, a leopard or a lion approaching — but as soon as the danger passes, they stop and go back to grazing peacefully without a care in the world. But human beings cannot distinguish between real dangers and imagined ones. As Mark Williams, a clinical psychology professor at Oxford, explains, “the brain’s alarm signals start to be triggered not only by the current scare, but by past threats and future worries… So when we humans bring to mind other threats and losses, as well as the current scenario, our bodies’ fight-or-flight systems do not switch off when the danger is past. Unlike the gazelles, we don’t stop running.” This is modern man’s predicament, perfectly summed up by Michel de Montaigne: “There were many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened.”

I’ve had gazelles — and lots of other animals, actually — on my mind lately, because I just finished putting the final touches on a book about the Third Metric and about what makes life worth living. And in the course of researching and writing it, I arrived at a deeper understanding of all that animals can teach us. That’s why I’m delighted at the arrival of The Dodo to lead the conversation on all the ways animals are deserving of our respect and compassion, at a time when the public is more interested than ever before in understanding and empathizing with animals.

While my two daughters were still in middle school, they brought into our home a Maltese, who we named Oliver Pistachio Huffington — Ollie to his friends. Having a pet reinforced one of my core beliefs — that one purpose of life is to expand the boundaries of our love, to widen the circle of our concern, to open up rather than shut down, expand rather than contract. And every week brings more stories and science about the amazing ways in which pets open our hearts and enhance our lives. Allen McConnell, professor of psychology at Miami University, wrote in Psychology Today that it’s well known that our social network is important for our emotional well-being. But that network is not limited to people. According to research from McConnell’s lab, pet owners have higher self-esteem, fewer feelings of loneliness, and are more physically fit and socially outgoing.

In another study involving 97 pet owners, some in the group were made to feel rejected socially (sounds like high school all over again). Afterwards, some in the study were asked to write about their best friends, while others wrote about their pets. What the researchers found was that thinking 同时也是江苏人气生活社区

about a pet provided the same power to recover from the negative feelings of rejection as thinking about a best friend.

Like spouses and close friends, pets can become “included in the self,” the core of our being that forms our perspective. McConnell says “they become as much a part of the self as many family members.” His conclusion? Pets are often “friends with benefits” and our health and happiness improve in meaningful ways from pet ownership.

But the benefits of pets go beyond the everyday. “Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression,” said Ian Cook, psychiatrist and director of UCLA’s Depression Research and Clinic Program. For those suffering from depression, pet ownership can be an invaluable source of healing.

The role of animals, and especially dogs, as roving ambassadors of goodwill can be seen most clearly in their role as therapy dogs. After the tragic massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, therapy dogs from all over the country were brought in to help the community, and especially the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Six months later Newtown held a “Day of Thanks” to show its gratitude. The gathering was attended by 50 dogs (and many more owners and residents). One parent explained that her daughter had had a rough time after the shooting. “But when she talked about南京夜总会招聘

the dogs that she saw every day at school, she lit up.”

Another young girl and a therapy dog developed an especially moving bond. At a Christmas party for Sandy Hook children just after the shooting, 9-year-old Emma Wishneski happened upon a therapy dog named Jeffrey, whose nickname is the “Positively Peaceful Pit Bull.” Jeffrey was rescued from a New York City shelter by Milford, Conn., hospice worker Michele Houston. When Emma met Jeffrey, it was love at first sight, and the two were inseparable for the whole party. And since then they’ve had regular play-dates. “It was still a really vulnerable time for her, and she just was comfortable sitting next to Jeffrey,” Emma’s mother said. “He’s strong and I think she just feels safe.” Since then Emma has begun to train her family’s dog Jedi (also a rescue dog) as a therapy dog. “Emma has a smile that could light the world, and I feel like we used to see that smile a lot more, but it’s definitely still there,” her mother said. “And when she’s with Jeffrey she doesn’t stop smiling.”

Animals help us be better humans. Quite often, they show us how to be our best selves. Always in the moment, sticking their noses into everything (literally), they see a world that we take for granted, one we’re usually just hurriedly passing through on our way to lives we never quite reach.

The Dodo would not be launching if not for Izzie Lerer, its co-founder and editor-at-large. Izzie is wrapping up her doctoral studies in philosophy at Columbia, where her research focuses on animal/human relationships. I have known Izzie for almost 10 years and know how passionate and intelligent she is about this most important subject. Her vision is nothing short of wanting to change the world in the way animals are treated. I’m betting on her, and I am sure she will become an important voice in this country on this issue. And that The Dodo, with Izzie and with Kerry Lauerman as its CEO and editor-in-chief, will become a very important vehicle in this conversation. All of us at HuffPost are excited about this addition to the media world and will be cheering you on!

Former SeaWorld Trainer: 'They Care About The Animals As Much As They Care About The Dollar Signs'

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Since the release of “Blackfish” — a highly controversial documentary that largely scrutinizes SeaWorld’s orca management — the marine park has faced tremendous backlash from conservationists, tourists and even some celebrities. “Blackfish” associate producer Tim Zimmermann and former SeaWorld trainer Kim Ashdown recently spoke with HuffPost Live to expand on some of the marine park’s alleged injustices presented in the documentary.

Ashdown, a trainer for SeaWorld for 12 years, told HuffPost Live about some of her experiences with SeaWorld management giving employees false information. “They have this whole artillery of answers that they provide you that back all of the PR that they want you to believe,” she said. For example, Ashdown recounted times when management required a sick whale to perform in shows, claiming “if we treat her as if she is sick, then she will start acting sick” — even if she was not eating or socializing with other whales.

On the other hand, Zimmermann elaborated on SeaWorld’s profitability from the killer whales, noting that they’re “central” to their operations. He also estimated that even though SeaWorld does a fair bit of marine mammal rehabilitation, they only spend about “0.0006 percent” of their profit on rescues and rehabilitation — and some of those rescues turn into p南京桑拿按摩论坛交流

erformers. “If the argument is ‘well we do some good stuff, so it’s okay if we do some bad stuff,’ that’s not a very good argument to make,” he told HuffPost Live.

Be sure to also check out HuffPost Live’s interview with “Blackfish’s” director from this past summer.

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Here's One Thing Disney Didn't Lie About: Life Is Better Down Where It's Wetter, Under The Sea

In Disney’s classic, “The Little Mermaid,” Princess Ariel sacrificed just about everything to marry the dreamy, land-dwelling Prince Eric, proving to an entire generation that love just might conquer the thrill of aquatic living. Like a number of other Disney-manufactured myths, we contest the moral of this story, because we think Ariel made a mistake of oceanic proportions when she left behind her underwater kingdom.

In our humble, oxygen-dependent opinion, pretty much everything is infinitely more awesome down in the deep blue sea (and oceans!). Need proof?

1. In the ocean, even the tiniest, simplest creatures are impossibly cool.

This tiny flatworm’s body is too thin to accommodate a respiratory system! Sure, we have insects, but they don’t have those kinda moves.

2. And the nerdiest individuals have Superman-like capabilities.

This “spookfish” from the Winteria Telescopa species, has a toothless mouth and binocular-sized eyes. While this made it very difficult for them to fit in as a teenager, their funny appearance gives them unbelievably sharp vision.

3. Sexual politics are very progressive in some circles.

Male seahorses hold babies in a cute “brood pouch.”

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That’s Dad, letting a shoal of little baby seahorses into the world for the very first time! Here are some fathers-to-be kickin’ it at the seahorse paternity ward:

Nothing like being raised by parents who are hip about gender!

4. You’re always discovering more beauty and wonder.

The world is your Pacific-Ocean sized oyster! Seals, or “pinnipeds,” are born and nursed on land. When they’re ready, they’l南京桑拿网

l enter the water, where they’ll eventually learn to dive up to 2,000 feet down, stay under for up to 45 minutes and be pretty darn cute.

5. You make new friends everyday!

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You’re not imagining it — this dolphin really likes you!

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Dolphins love to socialize and play together and splash around. And if dolphins are too cuddly and sweet for you, don’t worry! You have plenty of other options: Between 700,000 and one million species live in the world’s oceans, and scientists estimate that between one-third and two-thirds of those species have not yet even been named! Perfect excuse to introduce yourself!

6. Plus, your new buddies don’t even judge your gross eating habits.

These starfish bros are sharing the wealth of a dead seal with three-foot nemertean worms on the ocean floor. Starfish eat by pushing their stomachs out through their mouths and secreting enzymes that then digest all the goodies. Then, all those nutrients travel into their big ol’ starfish guts.

7. Even the cheerleaders are nice enough, as long as you don’t get too close.

Pom-pom crabs have an anemone in each claw. But beware — they’re not doing that dance for school spirit. They use these anemones to sting would-b梧桐客栈南京夜网

e predators, and to mop up food off of rocks.

8. It’s easy to avoid potentially awkward encounters.

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The octopus’ art of camouflage is especially useful on bad hair days, or when you want to avoid making eye contact with your crush. An ocotpus can match the color, pattern and texture of its surroundings instantaneously, despite being colorblind. This, presumably, also makes for epic games of hide and seek.

9. The ocean’s plenty crowded, but it’s never too hard to divert traffic.

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If you’re at the top of the food chain like this shark, that is. Despite having razor sharp teeth, sharks eat their food in huge, gulping chunks.

10. That said, even the smaller creatures have creative ways to avoid unpleasant company.

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This sea anemone had dinner plans with his starfish buddy — then he realized he was the main course. It’s hard to run away when you’re a sea anemone. The skeleton-free, primarily sedentary sea animal moves by flexing and twisting its body.

11. If nothing else, come for the jellyfish.

The true eye candy of the sea. But don’t get too close, they might be hungry:

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After a quick snack, they’re once again, absolutely mesmerizing.

Pretty much all jelly fish look magical, but one type of jellyfish might even be immortal.

12. You’ll never get bored of all the goofy characters dancin’ around the neighborhood.

Actually — call us nostalgic, but this shrimp’s melodious movements call to mind that very special ode to the ocean floor … and we think you know which one we’re talking about:

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All that’s missing is the Disney soundtrack. And the talking crab. Use your imagination! Or don’t: After all, long before animators gave the ocean floor that special Disney flair, the real deep blue beyond offered enough magic and beauty to entrance generations.