Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Merlin is a free spirit who needs a loving home

February is Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit-Month and the House Rabbit Network works hard to  rescue homeless rabbits, find them good indoor homes, and educate the public about rabbits and their care.

Merlin is just one of many bachelors, bachelorettes, couples and trios available for adoption.  

There are many other ways to help rabbits: become a HRN member, volunteer, help raise money or sponsor a rabbit.

Now is a good time to spread the message that rabbits and other animals are not toys. The old time Easter Bunny tradition may seem quaint, but is in fact cruel. Delight children and create new family traditions with chocolate bunnies and and soft stuffed animal bunnies instead.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Winter and Wonder

Look forward

In the midst of hardship, it can be easy to lose perspective. As February wends its way into March it is essential to look forward, beyond snow banks and ice dams, fears for the roof over our head, and reckless drivers who refuse to slow down in any weather. 

Yes, unrelenting snowfall can bring out the worst in some people. But not the children. For most, the winter of 2015 will be etched in their memories as a halcyon time, filled with wonder and magic. 

I still cherish the memory of a great blizzard from my own childhood. What about you?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Karma and BP

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

News that BP posted a net loss of $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter seems to be a case of what goes around comes around

The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was one of the worst environmental catastrophes in U.S. history. The pain and suffering endured by people and wildlife was profound, continues to have an impact and can never be undone.

BP waged an effective pr campaign, promising to make amends, and spent millions in advertising dollars to convey themselves as concerned and committed to the cleanup. The reality is that BP cut corners wherever possible and many will never be properly compensated.

A loss of $4.4 billion is no big deal for BP. But the loss of pristine habitat, marine life and family businesses that were built over generations is a very big deal.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ocean Dumping: Just Say No

Massachusetts coastal areas
Our precious marine life

Mankind is innovative, creative and inventive. So why can’t we come up with a better way to get rid of mega amounts of snow? Using the ocean as a dumping ground is a terrible solution. Our marine environment is already extremely threatened.

Imagine having snow contaminated with road salt, automotive oil, chemical de-icers and other pollutants dumped into your living room?

The record-breaking snowfall has everyone at wit’s end, but we passed laws to prohibit ocean dumping because we know better. Still, current laws do allow some communities to dump snow in the ocean or other bodies of water under emergency conditions. The Ocean Dumping Act needs revision. 

What if the ocean was off-limits? What if we asked a group of scientists and MIT students to work on solving this problem to make it so? An amazing solution may only be a think-tank away.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gas, Groceries, Snow

Gas-groceries-snow (GGS) is the new regime in Massachusetts and most of New England this winter.  Those of us who work full-time are spending our weekends in GGS mode in an effort to keep up with record snowfall.  And there’s no relief in sight.

Some weather experts are calling this “the new normal” due to the effects of climate change.  Since 2012, scientists have been telling us that storms of all kinds will become more intense.  

Sounding the alarm is one thing, helping us understand our ability to create positive change is another.  Author and activist Bill McKibben is one of the best experts out there.  His calm demeanor and thoughtful perspective are a welcome relief from all the fear mongering.  Read an interview with McKibben in the Earth Island Journal. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Please Feed the Birds

February is National Bird Feeding Month
Photos: Duncraft.com

This is the fifth and final post in a series on birds (begun Jan 27th) and the people who care about them.

In Massachusetts and most of New England, we are struggling to cope with walls of snow three-feet high.  And more is on the way.

Imagine being a homeless or lost cat or dog in this kind of weather.  And then think about the birds, squirrels, foxes and coyotes who live among us and are struggling more than we are.

How does a bird find food when everything is encased in snow and ice?  How do mice find anything to nibble on or cache when they can’t gain access to their usual food sources?

The good news is that March is only a couple of weeks away, and then we begin a seasonal shift.  You can sense it now.  The light has changed.  Days are growing longer.  Wild male turkeys have begun their mating displays.

Bird seed and suet are a great help through this time of hardship and other animals benefit as well.  Please feed the birds.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When Doves Cry

Photo:  allpetstype-education.blogspot.com
This is the fourth post in a series on birds (begun Jan 27th) and the people who care about them.

Pandemonium Aviaries founder and author Michele Raffin's fateful encounter with an injured domesticated dove was the beginning of a remarkable journey that revealed the emotional lives of birds. In her book, The Birds of Pandemonium, she explains why doves should never be used at weddings, funerals and other ceremonies. Most people have no idea of the suffering doves experience afterward. 

Domesticated white doves don’t stand a chance in the wild. Their color makes them stand out, and the hawks have an easy time targeting them.

Dove release has become a popular coda to “I do’s.” It’s a pretty sight, but I had never considered the aftermath. Though doves are sent aloft to herald a couple’s upbeat future, the birds can be headed for an ugly fate. Unskilled in finding food, they might starve or end up as an aerial predator’s meal. Some die in traffic or in contact with electrical wires.
Please help raise awareness and protect doves by sharing this information with others. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Birds of Pandemonium

This book is a page-turner

This is the third post in a series on birds (begun Jan 27th) and the people who care about them.

I love birds and when I saw this book at my library, I plucked it from the shelf and thought: this looks interesting.  From the moment I began reading, I found it difficult to put this book down.

Michelle Raffin is more than an avian advocate and preservationist; she is a gifted writer with a natural voice that invites readers in and compels them to stay. The story of how she came to found Pandemonium, dedicated to breeding and caring for avian species, has many twists and turns. Her accounts of birds she has known and loved made me laugh and cry, and recharged my resolve to help protect birds and their habitats.

Please help avian species facing extinction due to the destruction of their natural habitats by making a donation to Pandemonium Aviaries.