Saturday, November 16, 2019

Change is in the Air

After all my off and on hullabaloo about moving my company and household, and my 180 degree reversals on this decision, it actually looks like it's going to happen! Our home in Wickenburg is in escrow, and as we watch the days slowly slide by waiting for things to officially close, it looks like it's a done deal on November 19th.  

Of course I have not started packing. I have not ordered moving boxes. I did, however, rent a gargantuan storage unit - and I may need another. I just want to make 100% certain it's a done deal. My husband is convinced it is, and I want to be... I think I'm still in shock.

So the plan is to return to the Pacific Northwest. We're leaving behind two sons and two grandsons in Arizona, but we won't be strangers to them. My Alaska Airline Credit Card is so high I'm sure I could fly once a month from Washington State to Phoenix for at least two years. And I plan to be that naughty word "snowbird" for a short spell every winter (for as long as I can stand living in a tiny trailer, that is).

As for Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., I will be closing the Arizona corporation and will be opening a DBA as Moonlight Mesa Associates in Washington in due time. My authors will be able to access their books when needed, and I may continue to publish, but probably only personal work. I'm also going to finish my practicum to get my Marine Naturalist Certification! That's where my heart is and has been most of my life - with the sea and its residents. 

Basically, I'm at an age where I just want to write, paint, row (even if in the rain) hike, and ride my mule! I was reminded the other day that I don't have forever to do these things as much as I'd like when I was sternly persuaded to start high blood pressure medication when I registered 200/98. Very weird since I'm a health nut, but I guess our genes don't understand that always.

So, soon my blogs will be filled with new items and energy! It's time for a change and a new adventure. I hope you'll stay with me through it all.

Our last publication, C.L. "Lee" Anderson's The View from My Old Saddle, will be released in January 2020. It's a fantastic book to end our 10 years of western passion on. 


Good-bye Arizona

Becky and Reba Peru









Wednesday, October 30, 2019

JUST ONE THING



Ambivalence seems to be the prevailing attitude for so many when it comes to the health of our planet and its inhabitants. And it’s a tragedy.  As Jane Goodall said, “How is it that the most intellectual creature to ever walk the earth is destroying its own home?”

It’s a minority of individuals who have any sense of stewardship about anything involving nature and animals. Some people are concerned with a specific animal – for example “Save the Whales” – which is perfectly fine. Some are concerned about all animals and nature – for example Green Peace. But we’re talking a very small number of people when it comes down to it.

One problem that those involved with saving animals or even just one species must deal with is that  they’re regularly scoffed at as extremists, tree-huggers, radicals,  hippies,  and other invectives.  I think it’s safe to say that a majority of people don’t give a thought to a species of any kind becoming extinct and might not even care if someone planted the thought.

This realization really hit home when I sent out an email to a group of 70 people, most of whom I know well. Some I’ve known for years. I asked that they consider supporting the publication of Saving Our Oceans since the net proceeds from the sale were being donated to several 501c3 organizations. Many of the 70 live in California, and California does have a healthy history of protecting their coastline and marine sanctuaries.

Get ready for the big response! Ready? One person out of 70 said they’d be delighted to buy the book. That is .02 per cent.

One woman asked me to remove her from my email list. 

Well, it’s very possible it could simply be me.

However, I have found only one individual in the tiny town where I live who cares one whit about the health of the ocean, the captivity of orcas, Japanese whaling, or any environmental topic.


Photo by change.org

It's NOT okay for 1,000,000 species of plants and animals to die off. It is NOT acceptable to be harpooning the smartest mammals in the ocean (possible smarter than people in some regards) or holding them prisoners in swimming pools for entertainment. It’s not acceptable for big business to rape, pillage, and pollute the earth. There seems to be a robust “leave it for others to fix” attitude. Or is the real reason behind inaction and ambivalence that the problems seem overwhelming and hopeless? 

Yes, for the most part we all have extremely busy, stressful lives, but the solution might be simpler than people realize. Imagine this: What If everyone, every single person, did something helpful. Just one thing. I think we can all afford to do JUST ONE THING.


Start by saying NO to PLASTIC Bags, Bottles and Straws. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Rights of Nature Is Growing Around the World

Despite our obsession with the slaughter and captivity of whales and dolphins, there are some growing bright spots on the horizon! Here at Moonlight Mesa Associates we've agreed to stop obsessing about captive whales and focus on the bigger picture. Plenty of other people are focusing on whales and dolphins. The four of us aren't going to be missed. The Rights of Nature movement needs support too.

Essentially, the idea of the Rights of Nature arose in the "western" world around 1972, although indigenous citizens in many countries have pretty much always recognized and respected the rights of nature. However, in 1989 Professor Roderick Nash published the Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics which really began the ball slowly rolling.

The fact is, and it's a happy fact, the Rights of Nature is being increasingly recognized worldwide. Just this past week, Sweden introduced a Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment in their parliament.

Parliament member Le Moine succinctly made it clear when he said,  "The underlying value in our society is that we are the dominators of this world and Nature is just a resource for us to use. Economic growth has been the real goal, not a healthy environment. I'm tired of this era, where our arrogant worldview has driven us far beyond the planetary boundaries. Now, when we're in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature. And for me, it starts with admitting that Nature has rights."

Mari Margil of CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) stated: "We need to quickly make a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural world. Advancing the Rights of Nature in Sweden's constitution is an important step forward."

These exact words could/should have been said in the United States Congress, the British Parliament, and any number of countries. Unfortunately, it will likely be decades before words of this kind are uttered in the U.S. Congress, but there's always hope!

Sweden will be joining Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, India, New Zealand and a host of other
countries who have come to their senses and realized that some things (nature) are just more important than amassing untold amounts of money and multiple private estates.

Citizens of the United States are taking action even if the federal government here isn't. I think I already mentioned about the citizens in Lincoln County, Oregon, who adopted a first-in-nation ban of aerial pesticide spraying. Despite a staggering campaign war chest of $300,000 raised by timber and chemical corporations, Lincoln County fought back with $16,000 and won their measure.

Pennsylvania  is introducing a constitutional amendment called the "local Self-Government Amendment" which places the rights of people over the interests of private corporations and empowers communities to heighten state protections for civil, human, and ecosystem rights. This is in an effort to protect themselves from environmental and personal harm. Pittsburgh has already waded into this swamp and defended themselves against sludge, fracking, and a host of harmful corporate projects.

In Florida laws are being proposed in each county through the citizens' ballot initiative process. In addition to protecting the Rights of Nature, the laws would recognize rights of local residents to a healthy environment and clean water.

Toledo, Ohio, however, passed a ballot initiative that gave Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake's ecosystem a bill of rights. The intent is to protect and preserve "the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it - humans included - can have access to safe, fresh drinking water." This certainly seems like a reasonable initiative, yet big business (in this case the Farm Bureau) had a stop put to this. The State of Iowa is supporting the farmers in a lawsuit against the city. Toledoans for Safer Water were told, by a judge no less, that they "cannot defend the voter-passed initiative in a lawsuit brought by a factory farm against the city over the initiative."

Gig Harbor, Washington, formed a movement, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea,  to help protect endangered orcas and the Salish Sea.

Overall, small movements in this country are arising. Many have the backing and assistance of CELDF and are becoming victorious. Check CELDF out on the web, please!

For a full account of the timeline of Rights of Nature, visit https://celdf.org/advancing-community-rights/rights-of-nature/rights-nature-timeline/.

I can also recommend The Rights of Nature, by David R. Boyd. This is an excellent book and clearly explains what this movement entails and is all about.

Basically, we've come to the conclusion that we need to do much more than fret about the beloved Southern Resident Pod and the Humpbacks dying around the globe. The planet itself is at stake.

What can  YOU do to help this movement? Stay tuned. We're going to get to that.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stop Orca Captivity and Cruelty NOW!

There is simply one reason why the United States of America permits orcas to be treated in the most inhumane, cruel, despicable way. Of course, money is the reason.

For starters, it's important to remember that whales are mammals. They are like us in that respect. Whales, chimpanzees and humans are placental carriers - that is each carries its unborn young in a placental sack.  It's believed that whales, sloths, bats and humans share a common ancestor, which is a topic for a blog from a geneticist, I suppose. My concern is why we allow mammals, whales in particular, to be treated worse than the criminally insane.

No other nation, with possibly the exception of China, now allows orcas and belugas to be captured in the wild and held in swimming pools solely for personal enrichment and human entertainment. Only the United States allows this criminal behavior of imprisonment to continue - specifically Sea World and their "Shamu" shows.

Finally, word recently escaped about how cruelly the whales are treated in captivity, often being deprived of food if they fail to do as ordered. Almost every whale in captivity has died decades before its time. Out of sheer frustration and boredom, the orcas bang their heads against the sides of the pool. Their teeth are ground to nubs from grinding and chewing on cement. They deeply mourn the loss of their pod. But the show goes on.

Orcas are extremely intelligent. They have language skills and communicate with each other. They have very strong familial ties and are highly social animals. They also have a sense of self. They mentally KNOW they exist. Fortunately, the capture of whales has been outlawed in most all countries - with the exception of renegades in Russia who illegally imprisoned orcas and beluga whales last winter for sale to China. Under Putin's direction the whales were released. Orcas also are no longer allowed to be bred in captivity since the offspring die. When the babies die, the mothers grieve for long periods of time.

Orcas are designed by nature to swim a hundred miles a day, give or take, and dive to deep depths in pursuit of food. Yet knowing this and all the inhumane treatment the whales endure in captivity, Sea World continues to hold them as prisoners in swimming pools not much bigger than the whales themselves. There's absolutely no heart, humanity, or morality here - it's clearly about the money earned by the captivity.

Unfortunately, we have a president who is not particularly environmentally friendly. With a stroke of his pen I think he could end the captivity of orcas and order  them to be released to ocean sanctuaries now ready to help them return to their natural habitat, just as Putin did. Perhaps Sea World executives are big supporters of Trump?

Sea World says it will stop their whale shows by the end of 2019. That remains to be seen. Perhaps they plan on imprisoning more dolphins (perhaps the smartest animal in the ocean and possibly smarter than humans) and porpoises to display. Or how about another walrus?

The captivity and imprisonment of any wild animal is cruel beyond measure. It must be stopped, just as the imprisonment and captivity of people in this country was stopped.

Whales, dolphins, chimpanzees, people - we are all mammals. We share DNA and a common ancestor. Possibly humans are the smartest living "creature" on the planet, but that's debatable as the dolphin is a contender for first place when it comes to intelligence, and orcas are members of the dolphin family. Unfortunately, we have the dishonor of being the cruelest creature on the planet.

Enacting a Rights of Nature would put an end to this wild animal captivity nonsense. We don't own these animals - we share the world with them.

To read more about the exploitation and masacre of whales and orcas read Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield.





Tuesday, October 8, 2019

From Toilet to Tap - Are you Ready?



   
Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash


Large portions of this country experienced severe flooding this past year, while other parts remained bone dry. Regardless of the drenching rains in some areas, however, America’s aquifers are in serious trouble. It takes literally decades to refill an aquifer.

According to Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield, the United Nations predicts at least 30 nations will have water shortages by 2025. And by 2030, “47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress.” That is nearly half of the world’s population. Why? Aquifers are failing world-wide, including those in the United States.

Rapid population growth, increased industrial demand, and water withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years. Water wars could well be the future. Mark Twain once commented, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” If not water war skirmishes, mass migration of millions of people from drought stricken countries will likely ensue which will cause political and social upheaval.

Agriculture in general uses about 70 per cent of water withdrawn from aquifers. The Ogallala aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers located in the mid-west, lost a third of its water in just 30 years due to farmers withdrawing water at an unsustainable rate. California’s Central Valley aquifer is showing signs of depletion and could drop below reach by 2050. Because of the overuse of groundwater by farmers, many resident’s wells are going dry.

Of the 37 major aquifers on the planet, 21 are on the verge of collapse. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City are sinking. Indeed, sections of California’s Central Valley have dropped a foot, and in some areas 28 feet. The facts regarding water shortage are dismal, but action can be taken.

Water catchment systems are one of the simplest solutions to water scarcity. Many dry areas, like Texas and Arizona, are now allowing rainwater-catchment installations on homes and other buildings. 

In addition, desalination has become well known in recent times. Desalination can work not just for salt water, but for water considered “brackish,” which is water that is too salty for human consumption. There is up to 10 times more brackish water than freshwater in any aquifer. And changing from highly thirsty, water intensive crops, like corn , cotton, rice, and wheat to less water consuming products might also be a consideration.

But the most extreme measure, in many people’s minds, is the concept of “Toilet to Tap.” Namibia, a very arid country has been purifying wastewater into drinking water for almost 50 years. No one has ever become ill from this “reused water.” In 2003 Singapore began treating sewage water to drinking-water standards, and now El Paso, Texas, is preparing to provide potable reuse water for drinking. This is because El Paso’s Hueco Bolson aquifer that has supplied El Paso with water for decades could run dry which, at its rate of drop, could happen by 2025.

Unfortunately, much of the currently available water for consumption is contaminated. The drinking
water of 233 million Americans is dangerously compromised.  

As deadly serious as the prospect of water shortage and contamination is, it’s surprising that this issue is not front and center. There’s much more to this story, however, and it’s covered in Saving Our Oceans by R.L. Coffield.

Saving Our Oceans is available from Amazon and from the publisher, Moonlight Mesa Associates. 




Material for this blog is from Saving Our Oceans, chapters 5 and 6. 

Net proceeds from the sale of this book are earmarked for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Publisher Has Some Good News!

It's always a pleasure to have some good news! Here it is:

Moonlight Mesa Associates received notification today that A Beginner's Guide to Owning a Mule  is a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards! The book was entered in the Pets/Animals Division. The title was Moonlight Mesa's overall best-selling nonfiction book in 2018.

Awards will be announced November 9 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

MEANWHILE, work has begun on Lee Anderson's The View From My Saddle.  "This book is absolutely amazing," editor Renee Witty commented. "I learned so much from Lee's first book, but this book is incredible. It's extremely reader-friendly but also extremely informative."

The View From My Saddle  discusses training techniques as well as
the ins and outs of horse equipment with a lot of emphasis on bits. "People will think twice before they stick a bit in a horse's mouth and jerk on those reins," Witty said. Anderson also covers the various disciplines and the competitive show ring/racing/trail parts of the horse world.
Lee and his rescued horse Concho checking things out

"Lee has been there, done that, and studied these things for decades. Having been an engineer, he is very attuned to how and why things work. This book is a must-read for every equestrian out there!" Renee said.

The publisher hopes to have the book in print and available by January  of 2020. Vin Libassi will again do the cover design even though he's now living in Ecuador. Happily they have internet!

FINALLY,  After a lot of delay, procrastination, and postponement, Memoir Writing  is now available on Amazon as an ebook;  priced at $4.95.  Looking to write a memoir? You'll appreciate the many tips and ideas in this short book.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Rights of Nature Slowly Making Progress - Stay Tuned


It appears that the Rights of Nature movement is finally, ever-so-slowly making progress in this country. There are a number of countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, India, and some European countries who embrace the concept of the Rights of Nature and have enacted laws establishing those rights. Ecuador went so far as to add the Rights of Nature to their constitution. Not the U.S.

Periodically one can find an article (usually well hidden) about the success of communities enforcing the Rights of Nature, often with the help of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Now before you sign off, CELDF simply believes that nature should not be polluted, despoiled or ransacked, and that people have the right to clean air, water and a healthy environment. Is this too much to ask? Citizens should have more say about their communities than corporations.

 Lincoln County, Oregon, successfully adopted the first-in-nation ban on aerial pesticides, elevating "community rights" over "corporate rights." The community's win took place "despite campaign contributions from timber and chemical corporations who spent nearly $300,000 to defeat the measure." Residents fought back with $16,000. CELDF is preparing for a lawsuit expecting that industry will want to overturn the will of the citizens.

Five counties in Florida want to preserve nature and drinking water by granting legal rights to their rivers. Florida is following the lead of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed in February 2019.

The Rights of Nature movement is slowly growing in this country even though this idea is well established elsewhere. For example, “Bangladesh became the first country to grant all of its rivers the same legal status as humans." The Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that the rule is meant "to protect the world's largest delta from further degradation from pollution, illegal dredging and human intrusion."

The Rights of Nature basically asks that we (all nations) treat our environment and its inhabitants (which includes mammals, fish, fowl and any other kind of critters) respectfully and stop raping, pillaging and destroying the environment. 
 
People are fed up with a "corporate-run America" that focuses only on profiteering at the expense of
the environment and its citizens.

To learn more about the Rights of Nature, I urge you to read The Rights of Nature, by David R. Boyd. 

When will SeaWorld recognize this right and stop imprisoning orcas in swimming pools?