The Dharma of Dogs: Our Best Friends as Spiritual Teachers

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We spend countless hours training our dogs, but how often do we consider what they have to teach us? “Our canine companions aren’t just our best friends,” explains Tami Simon. “Sometimes they can also be carriers of a special medicine and the wisdom lessons we most need.” The Dharma of Dogs shares the reflections of spiritual teachers and writers who have found a source of deep truth and practical wisdom beneath the furry surface of our four-legged friends.

For anyone who loves dogs—and who has learned and grown through this special relationship—these 31 essays offer humor, solace, inspiration, and insight into the life lessons our dogs make available to us, exploring such themes as unconditional love, connecting with nature, facing our fears, and much more.

 

Edited by Tami Simon, The Dharma of Dogs includes contributions by Alice Walker, Eckhart Tolle, Pam Houston, Mark Nepo, Roshi Joan Halifax, Adyashanti, Julie Barton, angel Kyodo williams, JP Sears, Lama Surya Das, Diane Musho Hamilton, Allan Lokos, Andrew Holecek, Bonnie Myotai Treace, Chris Grosso, Geneen Roth, Jeri Parker, Joan Ranquet, Lama Tsomo, Laura Pritchett, Mirabai Starr, Sarah C. Beasley, Stuart Davis, Susan Martin, Susanna Weiss, and His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche.

Portion of proceeds donated to the National Mill Dog Rescue. milldogrescue.org.

Heat Waves Could Silence the Southwest’s Songbirds

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Alan Schmierer/Flickr

These maps tell the sad story.

 

This story was originally published by High Country News and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. 

Because of human caused climate change, the desert Southwest’s heat waves are projected to become more frequent, intense and widespread. According to recent research, this may take a deadly toll on songbirds by century’s end. Songbirds don’t sweat, but because they pant when they’re hot, they still lose water staying cool. During heat waves, birds can lose so much water trying not to overheat that they die of dehydration. Most animals can’t survive losing more than 15 percent of their body mass to dehydration.

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Based on climate projections for the Southwest, small birds such as the lesser goldfinch may face lethal dehydration on average 25 days per year by the end of the century. Larger songbirds, such as curve-billed thrashers and Abert’s towhees, lose water at a lower rate, so they won’t be as vulnerable to dehydration until temperatures get much higher. But even bigger birds face risks: For some, small ranges restrict them to hot deserts and unpredictable water sources. Birds spend the hottest parts of the day seeking shelter in cool hideouts, making havens such as mountains, trees and shaded washes increasingly important.

Kondo Koichiro ~ (1884-1962) | Landscape painting

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Originally trained in Western-style oil painting, Kondo Koichiro worked as a successful cartoonist-illustrator, expolored nihonga techniques, and eventually achieved fame as an innovative ink painter. Today he is best known for pushing the medium of ink further than anyone else in order to portray air an light effects in his objective let lyrical paintings (Michiyo Morioka in Literati Modern, p. 275).

The Three Views of Japan (Nihon Sankei) is the canonical list of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic sights, attributed to 1643 and scholar Hayashi Gaho. One of those views is Matsushima, the pine islands, depicted here by Kondo Koichiro.

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Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes

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Wind turbines in the Atacama Desert and other turbines along Chile’s 2,653-mile coast contribute to power to national grid. CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

CERRO PABELLÓN, Chile — It looks and functions much like an oil drilling rig. As it happens, several of the men in thick blue overalls and white helmets who operate the hulking machine once made a living pumping crude.

But now they are surrounded by snowcapped volcanoes, laboring to breathe up here at 14,760 feet above sea level as they draw steam from the earth at South America’s first geothermal energy plant.

With the ability to power roughly 165,000 homes, the new plant is yet another step in Chile’s clean energy transformation. This nation’s rapidly expanding clean energy grid, which includes vast solar fields and wind farms, is one of the most ambitious in a region that is decisively moving beyond fossil fuels.

Latin America already has the world’s cleanest electricity, having long relied on dams to generate a large share of its energy needs, according to the World Bank.

But even beyond those big hydropower projects, investment in renewable energy in Latin America has increased 11-fold since 2004, nearly double the global rate, according to a 2016 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization. Chile, Mexico and Brazil are now among the top 10 renewable energy markets in the world.

So as Latin America embraces greener energy sources, government officials and industry executives in the region have expressed a sense of confusion, even bewilderment, with the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the climate change commitments contained in the Paris Agreement, declare an end to the “war on coal” and take aim at American environmental regulations.

“It’s irrational, like someone has been asleep for 10 years and refuses to wake up,” said James Lee Stancampiano, the head of business development for South America at Enel Green Power, an Italian company that has played a leading role in overhauling Chile’s energy sector. “We see renewables as a train that nobody can stop.”

Even Argentina, something of a laggard in Latin America when it comes to clean energy, last year invited foreign companies to bid on renewable energy projects and declared 2017 to be the “year of renewables,” setting a goal of relying on clean sources for 20 percent of its electricity needs by 2025, up from the current 2 percent.

Mexico is striving to rely on clean energy for 35 percent of its electricity demand by 2024, up from about 21 percent today. By 2050, it hopes to have a grid that runs on at least 50 percent clean energy.

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Vicuñas and flamingos on the edge of a lake in the Antofagasta Region in northern Chile. The geography of Chile is favorable for the creation of renewable energy. CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Chilean officials have an even more ambitious projection, saying the country is on track to rely on clean sources for 90 percent of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45 percent.

The country’s expanding green energy infrastructure has significantly reduced the cost of producing electricity here, helping to turn a nation once dependent on energy imports into a renewables powerhouse with the potential to help its neighbors keep the lights on.

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U.S. Already Feeling Consequences Of Global Warming, Draft Report Finds ~ NPR

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Participants look at a world map showing climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 in France. A draft government report on climate, which was leaked ahead of publication, says the U.S. is already experiencing the consequences of global warming.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters

 

A draft government report on climate says the U.S. is already experiencing the consequences of global warming. The findings sharply contrast with statements by President Trump and some members of his Cabinet, who have sought to downplay the changing climate.

The document, which was leaked ahead of publication and reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, says Americans are seeing more heat waves and rainfall as a result of climate change.

The report, known as the Climate Science Special Report, is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by Congress every four years and provides a synthesis of the federal government’s knowledge about the state of the climate. Previous assessments have shown that climate change is already affecting the the United States’ weather and economy.

The draft report, by agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, echoes that message. It finds that the world has warmed by about 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 150 years and that human activity is the primary cause for that warming. In the U.S., the report says the largest temperature increases have taken place in the West. It also found an increase in extreme precipitation events in the Northeast. The report concludes:

“Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gasses, are primarily responsible for observed climate changes in the industrial era. There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

It concludes with high confidence that humans are responsible for effectively all observed warming since 1951.

That statement is directly at odds with statements from Trump and key Cabinet members. The head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has said there is “tremendous disagreement” on the impact humans have had on the climate. And in June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from so-called Paris agreement on climate change, which is the main international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump sent official notice of the U.S. intention to withdraw late last week.

“Just because we pulled out of the Paris accord doesn’t mean we believe in climate production,” Trump’s ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on NBC’s Today show. “What we’re saying is, we’re not going to sell out American businesses to do that.”

At the time it was leaked, the draft report had been completed for months and was awaiting the administration’s approval ahead of publication. However, key positions involved in vetting the report, such as the presidential science adviser, have gone unfilled by Trump.

The Times was the first to report on the draft report’s conclusions.

On Tuesday, a White House official noted that “drafts of this report have been published and made widely available online months ago during the public comment period. The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date.”

Melting glaciers leave a flood of problems for Peru

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 7.43.22 PM.pngAbove: An Andes mountain range and a cross headstone are seen from Cementerio Municipal De Huaraz in Huaraz, in the Ancash region of Peru, on July 13.

LAKE PALCACOCHA, Peru

After a day of bright sunshine, a chunk of ice the size of a dump truck broke off the glacier on Mount Pucaranra a few weeks ago. It plunged into the lake below and kicked up a wave nine feet high.

Victor Morales, a small, catlike man with a tattered ski cap who is the lake’s solitary watchman, scrambled up to a stone hut on the side of the mountain and got on the radio. The wave had damaged an emergency drainage system meant to reduce the volume of the lake. But to his great relief, the earthen dam holding back the water was intact.

 

“It wasn’t a big avalanche,” Morales said.

Lake Palcacocha is a mile long and 250 feet deep, and the effect of a large avalanche would be similar to dropping a bowling ball in a bathtub. Modeling scenarios predict a 100-foot wave so powerful it would blow out the dam. Three billion gallons of ice water would go roaring down the mountain toward the city of Huaraz, burying its 200,000 residents under an Andean tsunami of mud, trees and boulders.

So far, it’s not going very well.

“For countries like Peru that are trying to climb out of poverty, there are major social, cultural and economic obstacles to adaptation,” said Nelson Santillán, a researcher at Peru’s national water authority. “Identifying risks is one thing, but doing something about them is another.”

In the weeks since President Trump announced the United States would renege on its commitment to the Paris climate accord, scientists have pointed to new signs the planet is edging closer to a precipice. Maximum temperature records continue falling. New cracks are opening at the polar ice caps.

Peru’s high-altitude glaciers are tiny by comparison, but millions of people depend on their runoff for water, food and hydroelectricity.

Some of Peru’s glaciers have lost more than 90 percent of their mass. While much of the water trickles harmlessly down the mountainside, in places like Lake Palcacocha, it is pooling in great big puddles of melted ice. Many of these new lakes are held back by glacial moraines, which are essentially mounds of compressed sediments. They may be structurally weak, and as the volume of water pushing on them increases, some will collapse.

“We have glaciers across 19 — no, 18 — mountain ranges,” said Marco Zapata, a top scientist at Peru’s institute for glacier research, correcting himself to reflect the latest monitoring data.

“They’re all shrinking.”

For Peruvian authorities, this is becoming more of an engineering problem than an environmental lament. Without reliable glacial runoff, the country’s water and irrigation systems will need to be retooled. New dams and reservoirs will be needed to more effectively store water. Investments in agriculture and other water-intensive industries will need to be recalculated.

“The glacier used to come down to there,” said Tomás Rosario, 45, who farms in the shadow of 22,000-foot Huascaran, Peru’s highest peak. He pointed at a ridge above his village, where bare rock was exposed. “Now the snow is gone and we’re running out of water.”

Bear breaks into Subaru, then takes it for a short drive in Durango

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A bear that broke into an SUV early Friday in Durango took it for a short ride, rolling it out of a driveway and crashing it into a mailbox.

The commotion woke Ron Cornelius and his wife, who found the trashed Subaru in their yard on Timberline Drive in Southwest Colorado.

“Usually, I don’t get up at 5 o’clock unless there is a bear driving a car down the street,” Cornelius joked.

After the bear broke into the car, it likely released the parking brake somehow, he said.

The couple didn’t see the bear leave the SUV and called 911 after the crash because they didn’t know if people were to blame and possibly still in the vehicle.

The car rolled backward from a neighbor’s home into Cornelius’ mailbox and over some utility boxes, he said.

La Plata County Sheriff’s Office deputies determined a bear was to blame, because it defecated in the car, likely because it was nervous, Cornelius said.

It also ripped up the interior of the vehicle. It pulled the steering wheel straight off the shaft, ripped the radio out of the dash and busted out the back window.

“It would have taken a human being hours to do what this bear did in a couple minutes,” he said.

He wasn’t sure what was in the vehicle that attracted the bear.

The Durango Herald