We need to start caring about plastics recycling again

Sure, recycling plastic is boring. But now we have a new reason to care about it. A new report says that eighty-nine percent of Indonesia’s coral reefs are struggling with disease. Diseases like skeletal eroding band disease that literally kill the budding coral that forms the reef’s spine.

And these diseases are not some mystery that science will have to investigate for ten years. It’s that plastic bottle that someone threw off a boat, times a million boats, times six bottles.

Australia is doing a pretty good job of containing its boat trash. Its coral reefs are under a manageable degree of stress. But coral reefs in Indonesia are dying. According to a recent study coming out of the Netherlands, “Indonesia produced 3.2 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, with around 1.29 million tons of that ending up in the ocean.”

Indonesia’s failure to manage its plastic waste is now an international problem. This problem is not an easy fix. It’s obvious that at least three things need to happen:

  1. Entrepreneurs need to invent new end products that can be recycled out of waste plastic and produced with a minimum of machinery and pollution. These end products need to stimulate Indonesia’s economy and provide gainful employment at the local level.
  2. Indonesia’s government needs to do a better job of sealing off the pathways that lead from the garbage mountain to the ocean.
  3. Private industry in Indonesia needs to step up to the plate and package products in biodegradable materials.

Cloning: Primates yes; humans no

The big news today is that science has managed to clone monkeys. PETA’s stand is that cloning is a huge waste of resources and represents too much suffering on the way to getting it right.

However, cloning does, theoretically, have the potential to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

Put another way, it’s possible that, by cloning endangered animals, we may be able to save a few species, once we have solved the problems of climate change that are driving animals extinct in the masses.

Today’s news headlines hint that human cloning is but a few short experimental steps away. Here at AnimalRightsChannel, we want to make an unequivocal statement: Nothing could be more immoral than cloning humans, and science should not ever attempt it.

For one thing, humans have no trouble reproducing themselves and often do so by accident. For another, our species threatens every other species on the planet. We invented climate change. Other animals are guiltless of that problem. Humans, not animals, invented air and water pollution. Humans, not animals, invented mono-cropping which threatens the world’s food supply.

So let’s not clone ourselves. Agreed?

Trump tariffs will further endanger endangered animals

Trump tariffs will further endanger species on the climate change hit list

Americans need to just accept the fact that the Chinese have gotten ahead of us on solar panel manufacture. China saw an opportunity and ran with it. Americans sat around with their thumbs up their butts, claiming that solar power would never work.

Fast forward about twenty years. Now U.S. solar manufacturers want to be protected from competition from China, where manufacturers have figured out how to deliver efficient products for cheap. China’s motives may have been entirely rooted in profit, but somehow they have become the world’s savior in the fight against climate change.

Instead of crying into our diapers, the U.S. needs to find the next cool, earth-saving technology.

That’s the message U.S. President Donald Trump should have sent to American manufacturers. Instead, he has announced that he is going to impose tariffs on Chinese panels. Tariffs have never worked, and tariffs on China are going to backfire in some huge way that we just didn’t have the imagination to anticipate.

Around this time, you might be wondering what Trump’s tariffs have to do with animals. This is how it works: Trump imposes these tariffs. Fewer people can afford solar panels. Climate change continues apace, destroying many species who simply can’t adapt fast enough to weather extremes and, in particular, changes that affect food supply.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has compiled a list of the top species that are declining rapidly because of climate change. On this list are coral reefs that are the seas’ nurseries. When the coral reefs go, the collapse of the fish industry will only be the beginning. Also on the list are Beluga whales, leatherback sea turtles, koalas, and arctic foxes.

Please sign this petition asking Trump to rescind tariffs on solar energy: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/258/650/626/stop-trumps-war-on-clean-energy-reject-solar-tariffs/

Bringing your comfort pet on board is a rich person’s problem

By Lynn Hamilton

In the wake of Delta Airlines’ announcement that it will clamp down on the ever expanding universe of quasi-trained comfort and emotional support animals, I think it’s time for some perspective.

Whether you get the comfort of an animal on your flight is mostly a rich person’s problem. Yeah, I said it.

Statistics show that over seventy percent of people who REALLY NEED a service animal don’t get one. That’s because service animals start at around $15,000 and that’s if you train the animal yourself.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, people who can afford a trained emotional therapy duck have been taking their animal on the plane while blind people living in low-income neighborhoods can’t even get a dog to help them get to Walgreens.

Meanwhile, airlines like Delta don’t want to spend money redesigning their cabins to accommodate therapy animals. Therapy animals, in other words, are cutting into Delta’s profits.

Maybe that’s okay, if Delta would throw a little of its profits at helping people who really need them get service animals. Please sign today’s petition asking for that.

Where do service animals pee on a Delta flight?

Delta Airlines have said they will cut back on the rights of passengers to bring comfort animals aboard. The new, proposed rules say that, in effect, only dogs and cats may be brought on board, and passengers will have to give notice 48 hours in advance, if they wish to bring a comfort animal on a flight.

Delta representatives are saying that comfort animals wander the cabin and urinate or defecate in inappropriate spaces in the cabin. Once, a comfort animal bit a fellow passenger.

Animal Rights Channel supports the rights of dogs to serve as therapy and service animals because dogs often seek out and enjoy work, just as humans do. We believe that helping others less fortunate gives meaning to life for both humans and animals. Similarly, we believe that most cats have a strong drive to snuggle with humans, a situation that provides mutual comfort and emotional support to both human and cat. Therefore, many cats are predisposed to be excellent comfort animals as well, and they are unlikely to regard this as work.

It is, however, questionable whether ducks, snakes, and other smaller brained animals should be subjected to air travel. The stress of such travel could be damaging to the animal, and small comfort to the human.

In complaining about service animals, Delta representatives have said nothing about whether they supply a place for service animals to urinate and defecate. Flights are often delayed, as we all know, and even well-trained animals can only hold on to their body waste for so long. AnimalRightsChannel.com has put in a request for information from Delta’s communications department to answer this question.

 

 

Dear Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump: That kudu horn won’t give you an erection

Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., sons to the current United States president, are trophy hunters. Posing with a dead elephant in 2012 may be their greatest claim to fame. At one point, they killed a kudu, pictured above.

So it is kind of ironic that Lara Trump, wife to Eric Trump, is an animal welfare advocate. She supports a number of shelters for unwanted pets.

Given this hypocrisy, one animal rights group is now calling L. Trump out.  NYCLASS, an animal rights advocacy group based in New York, has asked her to stop trophy hunting. Starting with Eric Trump, of course.

Why do men, like eric trump, need to shoot endangered species?

Trophy hunting is rooted in the male ego.  Men struggle to find validation through honest work and long-term relationships. So they shoot animals. Trophy hunters, like Donald, Jr. and Eric Trump, always go for large-brained mammals. Animals who can feel excruciating pain. Elephants, in particular, take hours to die because of their size and strength.

And there is no solid line between trophy hunting and hunting for endangered species. A small percentage of men seek out, kill, and eat endangered species. Some men shoot rhinos so they can grind up the horn and eat it. They think it gives them a good erection. Obviously, there’s no science to this. Some people think that kudu horns possess similar properties. Basically, endangered animals are being killed for hard ons.

Let me make this very clear. A kudu horn will not give Eric Trump, or anyone else, a hard on.

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Norway thinks we’re the shithole

waters-3022419_960_720.jpgLet’s take a look at whether Norwegians would actually like to immigrate to the United States. By all usual measures, especially education, healthcare, and the prison system, it appears Norwegians have a higher standard of living than we do.

A little research into Norway’s animal welfare code shows that Norwegians are way ahead of us in animal rights. Norwegians are compelled by law to report or aid an animal in distress. Here’s a quote from the code: “Anybody who discovers an animal which is obviously sick, injured, or helpless, shall as far as possible help the animal. If it is impossible to provide adequate help, and the animal is domestic or a large wild mammal, the owner, or the police shall be alerted immediately.”

When I met my dog, Alice, she was dying of combined malnutrition and exhaustion in my back yard, and my neighbor, Kenny, was stabbing her with a broom stick.

“Kenny, what are you doing?” my husband asked.

“This dog has mange,” Kenny said, while he continued to assault her.

“But she’s on our side of the fence,” my husband said.

Finally, we got Kenny to desist. But then we had to do something. U.S. law apparently says we can allow her to turn into compost. But that kind of chafes at our personal standards. We called animal control and were told that they won’t collect a suffering animal “unless it bites someone.”

Long story short: Somewhere on the way to the vet’s office, my husband fell in love with this dog that had half her fur. She’s long recovered and snuggling on our bed, as I write this. We named her Alice.

But when I look at the infrastructure for animal welfare in my country, I’m forced to ask, under my breath, “Am I living in a shithole country?” And why would any Norwegian want to come here?

 

Energy audits are cool

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Some people have a hard time connecting their home’s energy efficiency with animal rights.

But, it might be the case that the best thing you can do for animals is: Improve your home’s energy efficiency. Traditional energy usage causes climate change which leads to the extinction of animals. Animals currently at risk from climate change are polar bears, migratory birds, monarch butterflies, and most frogs, snakes, and other reptiles.

Energy audits typically involve a door blower test that tells you where the cold air is coming into your house. Our energy auditor, Keith Crumes, was the bomb. And we got our energy audit for only $25 through LG&E’s energy rebates program.

Unfortunately, Louisville, Kentucky’s local energy company, LG&E, is phasing out its energy efficiency incentives. Would you please sign my petition to ask LG&E to continue this extremely worthwhile program? Thank you for your support.

The health benefits of trees

By Lynn Hamilton

Most people want to live on a green leafy street with plenty of tree canopy, whether they live in the suburbs, the country, or the inner city.

But now it’s official: a greener street makes you healthier. Omid Kardan, a professor and researcher with the University of Chicago, conducted a survey of residents in Toronto, comparing the health of those who live on tree-rich streets to the health of those on streets more barren of trees.

The results might surprise you. Even in a big city like Toronto, residents in leafier parts of town reported better health. Specifically, their blood pressure was lower, and they were more likely to have a healthy weight. Blood sugar issues, such as overly high glucose, were also fewer in the tree covered streets.

That’s significant because high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity lead to a host of major health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, kidney failure, and liver failure, to mention the most problematic. Obesity, in particular, is a frequent predictor of death.

As we know, better health leads to a longer life. But it also gives you more energy and zest for day-to-day living. As few as ten additional trees on a city block give its residents a health boost equivalent to being seven years younger.

There are any number of ways that trees in a residential neighborhood can affect health. They trap pollution that might otherwise find its way into a home. Trees absorb noxious particulates as well as gasses. In 2010, a forester by the name of Dave Nowak found that trees prevented over 600,000 cases of respiratory distress and prevented at least 850 deaths in the United States.

Trees also reduce the chances of flooding and the myriad of health problems that arise from a flooded basement, such as mold and toxic bacteria. They reduce summer heat and encourage people to get outside and take a stroll or a run around the neighborhood. People who get such moderate exercise are more likely to be healthy, maintain a normal weight, and live longer, happier lives.

The recent Toronto study filtered out variables such as diet, age, income, and education. Kardan admits, of course, that he can’t screen out every variable. It could be the case that healthier people choose to live on more tree-lined blocks. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore his findings. And they are backed up by other studies.

Researchers in Japan studied the effects of time spent on Yakushima island, a locale known for its rich biodiversity and lovely tree canopy. These Japanese scientists found that trees and other plants throw off beneficial bacteria and oils that we inhale. When these beneficial elements enter our systems, they fight off toxins and malevolent bacteria that can, otherwise, make us sick.

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation offers some further observations on the link between trees and human health. The beneficial bacteria that trees exude is called phytoncides. They are a sort of natural insect repellant. Trees throw off phytoncides to discourage termites and other tree-destroying organisms from dining on the trees’ trunks.

Because of these phytoncides, even a short, three-day stay in a forest increases the number of beneficial white blood cells, also known as “natural killer cells,” in a person’s body. The presence of these white blood cells improves a person’s immunity to disease and infection.

Admittedly, much of the benefit people derive from trees is psychological and emotional. But it is also well known that our mood and emotions directly impact health. Stress causes a whole list of negative health concerns including hypertension, accelerated heart rate, and overeating. Increased rates of cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream have been linked to stress. A walk in the woods or a stroll down a tree lined street definitely alleviates stress and increases a sense of well being, while providing very real and physiological health benefits. And you don’t have to hike in a remote, old-growth forest to reap the results. Even looking at pictures of trees is calming, though not as beneficial as a walk in a leafy neighborhood.

Trees are especially meaningful to children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD typically find it difficult to concentrate, and they often do poorly in school because they lack an ability to focus. For decades, children diagnosed with ADHD were routinely put on one or more drugs to help them succeed academically and socially.

Scientists and doctors now believe, however, that spending time among trees is a tremendous help in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD. Such therapy has the advantage of being affordable and it doesn’t have the inevitable side effects of pharmacological treatment. Schools that are built near a small forest or which incorporate a forested area in their construction have the potential to greatly help students with ADHD.

You might be surprised to learn that trees are beneficial to hospital patients, especially people who have experienced a serious illness or undergone major surgery. Hospital patients suffer not just from the complications of their illness, but also from stress, lack of privacy, and fear. Even a view of trees out a hospital window can make a positive difference in a patient’s recovery. Patients with a view of greenery have fewer postoperative complications, science has discovered. They also have shorter hospital stays and don’t need as many addictive pain medications.

The United States had an unfortunate occasion for studying the impact of trees on health. Since 2002, the emerald ash borer, a tree destroying beetle, has devastated the country’s ash trees. Studies found that, in neighborhoods where ash trees had to be removed, there was a serious spike in lung disease- and heart disease-related mortality.

In fact, the Atlantic reports that trees are so important to human health, they save Americans $6.8 billion dollars in health care per year.

More research is definitely needed on the relationship between trees and human health. But, in the meantime, one of the best things you can do for your family and your neighborhood is to plant a tree.