Oct 24, 2007

This is scary.

Today's post should interest all the global warming skeptics.. because recent studies have shown that computer generated models of climate change were not actually accurate.. (ok I'll give all you skeptics a moment to cheer before I break your hearts).... but get this.. "But what has been wrong recently is that THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING EVEN FASTER THAN THE MODELS SAID. In fact, Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than any models predicted, and sea level is rising much faster than IPCC previously predicted".

You can read it on the CTV webpage at http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071023/carbon_dioxide_071023/20071023?hub=SciTech

Another thing to add is that scientists are forecasting that global warming will cause MASS extinction.
So why should we care if some lemur or asian sunbear goes extinct in some part of the world you say?? Well first of all.. it's going to be mass extinction-- not just a few species. Secondly many species of animals have a profound effect on the ecosystem. This has been proven many times with the introduction of foreign species into a place where they don't belong and the whole ecosystem has been thrown out of whack. We all depend on each other to survive. If hundreds or thousands of microorganisms start to die out or plant life starts to die out, there is no food for the animals or birds, or us, and life gets so complicated that many species cease to exist.
They are forecasting this mass extinction in the next few decades.

Read about it here: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071024/warming_extinctions_071024/20071024?hub=SciTech

What is the cause and effect between warmer seas and extinctions?

"Peter Ward, a University of Washington biology and paleontology professor, said natural increases in carbon dioxide warmed the air and ocean. The warmer water had less oxygen and spawned more microbes, which in turn spewed toxic hydrogen sulphide into the air and water, killing species.

Ward examined 13 major and minor extinctions in the past and found a common link: rising carbon dioxide levels in the air and falling oxygen levels. Ward's study will be presented Sunday at the Geological Society of America's annual convention in Denver."

They believe that over 50 per cent of species could be wiped out if temperatures rise as predicted. Now that's scary.

Oct 23, 2007

One eyed Jellybean

This is Jellybean. She is the newest addition to my family. We were at a pet store, which shall remain nameless, a week or so ago and I found this little sweetie with a bloody gouged out eyeball.. poor thing. She must have been attacked by one of her litter. I pointed out the problem to one of the staff and she took her into the back room and promised me that they would have one of their pet caregivers look at her as soon as possible. Knowing full well that they would not be able to sell a one-eyed hamster and she would probably either be put down or become snake food, I gave them my number and told them to call me if she is ok and I will adopt her. She is such a sweetie I am totally and completely ga-ga over her ... Her eye is really healing up well. I have not put her in the hamster ball yet because I do not want her exposed to any germs on the floor, etc as she is still healing up but she loves to run in her wheel!! My boyfriend bought her a cute little edible hamster hut with a grass roof. so cute!! I may not be able to save every animal -- though I wish I could ..but I am glad I saved her. <3

Oct 19, 2007

Missing $250 million dollars:

What is The Sask Party planning on doing with the OTHER $250 MILLION that the NDP has set aside for our Green Future Fund?

The Sask Partys platform is now released and I am confused. Some numbers just are not adding up. It is making them look oh so good about providing 70 million for the green initiatives fund (page 35 of 46 at http://www.saskparty.com/assets/pdf/New%20Ideas/SecuringTheFuturePlatform.pdf) over the next 4 years.. BUT the NDP already established $320 million according to their website, so I would like to ask the Sask Party WHERE IS THE OTHER 250 MILLION GOING?

"We created a $320 million Green Future Fund- helping achieve Saskatchewan's emission reduction and climate change" (saskatchewan's NDP website at http://www.saskndp.com/issues?id=17)

I'm not a political guru, I'm new at this whole election thing being a young person, so forgive me if I have something askew in understanding how this works.. but it's not hard to subtract $320 million minus $70 million and there's $250 million missing.. the Sask party are CUTTING the environmental budget by 250 million, aren't they? (than what we'd have under an NDP gov'mt) Somebody please tell me how this works. One of the main determinants of who gets my vote will be who takes this issue seriously. Cutting $250 million ? Because of the SEVERE CLIMATE CHANGE that is GOING TO occur EVERYTHING will change. Just in my agriculture class today our prof who is renowned and has been in agriculture for several decades said just that. The global warming will completely change the way we do agriculture. We are going to need to rethink our daily lives as we know them. Basically everything we consume comes from the earth. Everything. Think about that for a minute. Even the clothes on your back came from plant products or animals which ate those plants. Our environment and preserving it should be a top priority to politicians. Unfortunately I think most of what they care about is money and economic growth. Yet they (the sask party) state that Saskatchewan has the highest rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 in all of Canada!!! So why are they promising $250 million less than the NDP?

Anyway I wrote them. Hopefully I get a response soon:
"I finished reading all 46 pages of your platform, and I have a question. Forgive me if I don't understand this but I'm a young voter and I'm new to this. A lot of who gets my vote WILL be based on their stand toward environment and sustainable living. I noticed that you guys are promising 70 million in the next 4 years towards that purpose, but then I compared it to the NDP site which states "We created a $320 million Green Future Fund- helping achieve Saskatchewan's emission reduction and climate change goals". So I ask you, where is the other $250 million going? They are willing to spend $250 million more on making saskatchewan greener than your party.. so I'd like you to explain that to me if possible. Thanks a lot, looking forward to hearing your response. "

Take a picture

Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. The crazy new thing for today is called Quick Response Code. They have this technology in Japan, which apparently allows you to take a picture of a store window, poster, or advertisement with your cell phone and it takes you immediately to their website where you can find a ton of information. For example, you can take a picture of a movie poster and have the theater show times and ticket prices right at your fingertips, as well as buy tickets right then and there. It allows you to take a picture of a clothing store window poster and see if they have your size or color preference in stock. It even allows you to find out about your meat ! lol... get this:

"Somebody can go to the meat section of some supermarkets in Japan and use a QR code to find out what the cow ate, where it came from and where it was processed," said Junn Chanoki, the Tokyo-based head of food and agribusiness research for Rabobank, a Dutch investment bank. "Ninety percent of Japanese have a mobile phone, and most phones are connected to the Internet, so the number of potential users is enormous." [ from http://searchquant.blogspot.com/2006/10/quick-response-codes-japans-waaaay.html ]

Of course we don't have any such thing in North America because all the major cell phone companies are trying to come up with their OWN code instead of working together to make this happen. The only reason it happened in Japan is because the cell phone companies and businesses co-operated and accepted the inventor's code as the standardized version. My economic prof pointed out that this is the same reason why Microsoft has 95% of computer sales and Mac only 5% because everyone accepted Microsoft's programs as the "standard".

Anyways I thought this was a pretty cool little piece of info to share.. AND it ties in to the whole animal welfare thing in that you'd be able to tell where your food is coming from, how it was raised, etc.. for those that are cruelty-conscious or even those that are health conscious. I think if we had that technology here, more people would start thinking about where their meat is coming from, and consumer trends MIGHT shift to a more humane level.

I do believe that a day will come where we will catch up to the UK in our animal production methods.. and I think this sort of technology might not only help us to catch up to them but to even exceed them in innovating ultra-humane ways of raising animals for whatever reason.

Personally, I would rather see everyone stop eating meat altogether.. not just for animal-rights reasons (because killing is never cool) but also from an environmental perspective (the higher up on the trophic level, the less ecologically efficient you are!!!.. in other words, a lot of the energy captured by plants, ingested by the herbivore, then ingested by the first carnivore or the top carnivore... it's a lot of energy wasted. We could feed all of the starving children in the world with the amount of water and crops grown to raise animals for food). But I have to keep a realistic perspective about things.

I think a little change at a time is what's realistic. The whole world isn't going to go vegetarian or vegan overnight. I'm trying to make suggestions for the general public to become more aware of these issues and make conscious choices reflecting responsibility to our environment and to influence consumer choices that will promote better treatment of animals.

Oct 18, 2007

Egg-eaters, beware

Ever stop and think where your eggs come from?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the University of Saskatchewan campus laying barn. I mentally prepared myself before I went because I had read about the plight of hens and the horrible conditions they suffer, but I wanted to see it firsthand. You cant believe everything that you read on the internet, right?

Unfortunately, I have to confirm that what you read on animal rights/animal welfare websites about the plight of laying hens is TRUE. We went through on a tour of the hatchery, the laying barn, and the broiler (meat chicken) barn. During the tour I asked a lot of questions regarding the welfare of the animals. For example they were telling us how they debeak the chicks and I asked how humane that process is. Don’t the birds have nerve endings in their beaks? The man showing us around told us that yes, it is a painful process for the birds, but it must be done to prevent the chickens from pecking each other to death, and cannibalism.

Once in the laying hen barn it was obvious to see why debeaking is done. The hens are in tiny cages, packed with up to 6 birds a cage. If I was that crowded, I’d want to peck the person beside me to death as well! As I was walking down the isles of chickens my disgust was growing. Rows upon rows, stacks upon stacks, of full grown chickens crammed into tiny metal cages so that they couldn’t even spread their wings. There were a few cages that had 2 or 4 birds, which wasn’t AS bad, but there was also a large amount of cages with as many as 6 birds. I don’t understand how any living creature should be forced to live like that. The hens are kept in these tight little metal cages for a full year, sometimes longer. It would be like the equivalent of stuffing 6 fat people in your bedroom closet for a year (and I’m not talking about a walk in closet either!). If you went to a pet store and saw 6 full grown dogs crammed in a cage so tight that they were standing shoulder to shoulder and couldn’t even move around, would you not be shocked and call the SPCA or your local animal protection officer? Yet these are the conditions that hens are forced to endure for their entire lives so that you and I can eat eggs.

I must also note that there was a couple of alternative cages they were “trying out”.. That were reasonably larger, cleaner, and the hens in those cages were significantly more calm that the ones in the battery cages. At least they ARE looking into alternatives. I don't understand though why every cage has not been replaced with the larger more humane, cleaner ones. The University is shelling out millions to make place riel into a frikkin shopping center but they can't shell out anything for a more humane laying-hen production?

My professor said that in the UK they have banned battery cages and their laying hens are now kept in a large barn setting where they are free to roam and walk around. Unfortunately, all Canadians seem to care about is that the price of their eggs stays low, and so they don’t care that these birds have shitty lives. (or else they don’t KNOW about it.. but now you DO know.. so if you go out and buy regular supermarket eggs, remember, you are supporting this type of cruelty that other countries have banned!) I can promise you I will never buy supermarket eggs again unless they are from free range hens.

I don’t like to eat eggs period because of the unnecessary slaughter that is associated with egg production. All of the male chicks that hatch in the egg industry are killed because, of course, male chicks don’t lay eggs. They are not kept for meat because there is barely any meat on them. Also after a year, the female hens are killed because their production declines to about 70%. In a natural setting, a hen can live 4-5 years.

So in conclusion, I’m not telling you all to NOT eat eggs. If you simply must eat eggs please remember: hens go through a lot of suffering in battery cages to produce low cost supermarket eggs. Choose to be a better person and shell out a bit extra from your wallet…choose to buy eggs that are from free range hens .. birds that are allowed to roam in the sunshine!

please note: the pictures in the above article were not taken at the U of S barns. I googled the images from random websites, but I chose the images which I felt best depicted what I saw in person.

Oct 13, 2007

Disease or delicacy

Ducks and geese.. who should be out on the lake, swimming and flying, enjoying the wind and the sun.. they are kept in cages indoors, not allowed to fly or breath fresh air. They are raised for 3 months and then killed for their livers. They are force fed by metal pipes that scrape up the inside of their throats, the huge amount of food they are force fed causes them to get liver disease,.. which makes their livers grow 10 times the regular size. It causes them extreme pain, difficulties breathing, and stress, so that they will tear their own feathers out and cause open wounds. Many of the birds are unable to move under the extreme weight of their livers. The disease causes many of them to die before they even reach 3 months of age when they will be slaughtered. Many of them, by the time of slaughtering are barely alive. All so that people can eat these diseased, fatty livers.. "foie gras".. considered a delicacy. I just don't understand it. The California, Israel, Switzerland, and the UK have banned the sale of foi gras. I sure wish Canada would follow suit.

One of the ladies from an organization I volunteer for in the city is currently down in Virginia working for PETA. She sent me this video which I found completely and utterly shocking.. (PETA wasn't the people behind this undercover investigation, but are supporting bringing awareness to it nonetheless, for animal welfare purposes.) I know that animals in factory farms suffer but this degree of cruelty is one of the worst I have yet heard of. At first I didn't even know what foie gras is (fatty duck/goose liver) .. and I had no idea there was a market for it! If you go to Amazon.com and type in foie gras, a lot of results will come up. Apparently the demand is also increasing. I called the agriculture inspector for Elevages Perigord.. the company in Quebec that is guilty of this cruelty, but no one answered so I left a message expressing my utter disgust at their treatment of the animals and asked for a call back with my name and number. So we'll see what happens. I also called the head office of Sobey's and left a polite message that I will no longer be shopping at their store until they stop selling foie gras because it promotes cruelty! I'm also planning on calling Amazon.com's corporate number on Monday to tell them I will not be purchasing anything online from them until they no longer offer foie gras. They sell the products from Elevages Perigord. Personally i find it disgusting that anyone would want to eat DISEASED duck livers in the first place! Anyways no more words.. I think this video will speak louder than ANY amount of words could:


Oct 11, 2007

Hope is like a rope - don't let go

I was shocked and disappointed to open up this week's copy of my University's newspaper and read such a message of hopelessness. Krishna Datla, the opinions writer, wrote an article titled "Global warming is unsolvable". In it he admitted that global warming is real and humanity is making it worse, but his stance that he is making loud and clear to everyone on campus is that there is absolutely not a bloody thing we can do about it. He says that "the real inconvenient truth is that global warming is unsolvable". He says that cutting back on fossil fuels is "tantamount to bleeding", saying cutting back on fossil fuels were lose revenues and people will lose jobs, ... I say.. what about coming up with alternatives? There actually ARE alternatives already, but governments won't sponsor them because there's not a demand and it would cause a loss of profit all around. Therefore it us up to us, the consumers, to DEMAND the alternatives! It's also up to us to elect the government that will stand for the environment. They are in power by OUR votes. What we think and what we want makes a difference. So instead of just giving up we have to unite for a common cause. Datla also says this: "Even if you try to help the cause by taking the bus more often, your insignificant reductions will be eclipsed by the increased wastage from billions of others." What a pessimistic and lazy point of view! So we just shouldn't give a fuck? I'd like to include a few points taken from another persons blog found at: http://easygreen.blogspot.com/2006/01/idea-green-my-choices-dont-matter-im.html

"1. Many Small Changes Add Up Small changes get easier, and easier, and build up within your life; one day you wake up and realize you have made a lot of changes in your life, and have reduced your personal threat to the survival of your family and others by a great deal. 2. Many Small Changes Add Up, II Many individuals making the same small change can add up to a larger cultural change. Folks that pushed for organic foods in the 70s probably never foresaw the day of FDA Organic Certification or that Organic Pop-Tarts (ok, generic "Toaster Pastries") would actually exist. 3. Cultural Change Can Effect Political Change Which can, in-turn, effect more cultural change. By caring enough to use reusable shopping bags, or giving your car the weekend off, and telling people about it, we begin to create a cultural phenom. This, in turn, creates political pressure to be more green in how let the government regulate our society, which in turn can create broader understanding and appeal of how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Not everyone will "get" it; not all of us will make every change we could, but as the social and political culture shift it will get easier and easier to be green. In the final analysis, then, every easy green thing you do does make a significant difference. You may only see it in your own life at first, but individual choices do affect the rest of the world."

Anyways Datla went on to say that our wind and solar power options aren't efficient enough, that we don't have time to come up with better options, saying that it's human nature to pursue the status quo rather than alter one's lifestyle. He also writes, "One might think that some day a huge tidal wave will drown Manhattan, but it's not going to happen tomorrow, and I don't even live there, so why should I care?"
HELLOOO it's called GLOBAL warming. Not "polar ice cap warming", not "Manhattan" warming, ... it's a global issue. Every place and every person will be affected. Our air quality, our vegetation, our animal life, microbial organisms, our food, our climate, our energy sources, our water supply..

Anyways I DID write a response to The Sheaf, and hopefully it will be published.. I had to keep it under 300 words, and there are some key points I never got across but the important thing I think was to encourage people and give them a message of hope after Datla's abomination of an article.

My response:

RE: Global warming is unsolvable

I am disappointed in Krishna Datla’s article, “Global warming is unsolvable”. To say this, is to create a hopeless frame of mind, and with hopelessness, nothing can be accomplished. We CAN come up with alternatives and we ARE; even as you read this people are working at better ways to go about our daily lives that are more earth-friendly. We CAN improve and innovate alternative sources of energy. The most important thing is that we have to try. We only have one earth. Laziness is no longer an option. Every choice we make, no matter how insignificant it seems has a positive or negative effect on our environment. In saying, “taking the bus more often, your insignificant reductions will be eclipsed by the increased wastage from billions of others” (Datla), you are encouraging laziness and irresponsibility! We ALL have a responsibility to the environment. By doing the right thing and making better choices, we are setting an example that others will follow, and soon those of us who actually care about the environment will no longer be a minority! “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” (Edmund Burke) Every small choice made by one person, multiplied by thousands of “one persons” - - makes a HUGE difference. Taken from http://www.janegoodall.org/jane/essay.asp are four reasons for hope: Humans have amazing problem solving abilities. Young people can bring energy and enthusiasm to the cause and WILL make a difference. The human spirit is amazing; our determination can make even the most impossible goals achievable. Lastly, we should not underestimate the resilience of nature. There is hope… never forget that.

Oct 10, 2007

Horse Slaughter plant opens in Saskatchewan

Just last Wednesday in my Animal Science lab, the proff stated that Canada is lagging behind many other countries in issues of animal welfare. There are several methods we use here in Canada in animal production that have been banned in other countries because they are inhumane. One does not have to look very far to find really how horribly we treat animals. One of these days I'm going to do a blog on just how these beings suffer so that we can eat them or wear their skin or their fur. It will NOT be happy reading.
However the issue at hand today is this: I have recently found out that our province has opened up a HORSE SLAUGHTERING plant, just outside of Regina. .. for the export of HORSE MEAT.
"A southern Saskatchewan meat processor is bringing its workforce back up to 100 per cent by processing horse meat for sale in the European Union (EU)." (see end of blog for resources)
They are justifying this act of complete cruelty and inhumanity by that fact that it opens up a lot of new jobs. I sure don't want to kill horses for a living.
Now I know some of you may not feel the same way as I do in regards to animal welfare when it comes to chickens, fish, etc.. because some people question how much those animals actually understand or actually suffer because they don't SEEM to be so smart. But I think we can ALL agree that horses are beautiful, amazing, and super intelligent animals. And so I ask you again..
would YOU like to have a job that requires you to murder these awesome creatures in vast numbers every day? I don't think I could look at myself in the mirror knowing that blood is on my hands.
"Currently, horse slaughtering is a controversial issue in the United States, where the country's last horse slaughterhouse, located in Illinois, is challenging a state law that bans the practice. Two Texas-based plants were closed in May due to similar state legislation being enforced."
Remember: horses are not raised for slaughter. They are usually bought at auctions, or stolen or brought in by their owners who once loved them and no longer want them. Often people are ignorant to the mass amount of mistreatment their horse is about to suffer in it's last moments alive. At the plant they are mistreated, terrified at the pungent smell of blood and death all around them, electrocuted, hit, or speared into the "kill box", and they are beaten down. They are hoisted up by one leg where they hang there in a line awaiting their throats to be slashed while they are still alive.
(Quote from a horse plant worker,"You move so fast you dont have time to wait till a horse bleeds out, you skin him as he bleeds. Sometimes a horses nose is down in the blood, blowing bubbles, and he suffocates.")

We need to do something. Make calls, send letters.. make people more aware of what is going on.. and we need to speak up . We can't just sit and let this go on..

"It is not alone what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable."
~Moliere (1622-1673)

Please go to www.horsekillers.com to watch real video footage of what really goes on at a horse slaughtering plant.


Oct 6, 2007

The Petition

One of my friends posted this on their facebook pictures and I thought it was such a cool idea. A car as a petition! So neat! It is true, cities are extremely unfriendly to cyclists. I don't bike a whole lot (Something I am currently trying to change... I plan to bike/bus a lot more as it's a lot better for the environment and a lot cheaper for my limited funds as a starving student!) .. but the times I have biked I'm scared to drive on the road like you're supposed to and find myself sticking to the sidewalk.. Otherwise you're honked at or else completely ignored, cars zooming past you as if you're standing still.. Seems like people don't care whether they come one millimeter away from hitting you! Bikes ARE vehicles, and have just as much right to the road as everyone else does. So instead of getting ticked off at the next cyclist biking in your lane, maybe roll down your window and give them a high five.. or just take a mental note that what they're doing is ok! It's not the end of the world if you don't make it home in time to watch your favourite sitcom.. Cyclists are preserving our environment each and every time they choose to forgoe the use of an automobile, not to mention keeping healthy themselves!
Starting today I am going to try to go all week without using my vehicle. We'll see how that goes. It hasn't snowed yet so biking shouldn't be a problem.

*Edit: Well it's Wednesday.. I actually HAVE used my car this week.. to go to thanksgiving dinner at my parents. After all, the public bus system doesn't let me take my puppy on the bus so in order for her to be able to come, we drove... But I AM biking when I can. So that's a start.

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