Lucy the Wonder Dog

(c) 2020

So, when you look at Lucy’s expression do you see the impending eye roll?

What was happening was this:

She was in a highly anxious mood and wouldn’t come out from under the table. I didn’t want a picture of her with her ears laid flat against her head (her typical ‘I’m anxious’ look), so I was squeaking a high-pitched tone to get her ears to perk up.

It worked but, clearly, she thinks I’m insane.

Well, her ears are perked but the expression doesn’t make for a great picture.

Oh, well! Sonja

#EarthDay

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Today is the day to celebrate the big blue marble that we live upon. Instead of giving you a history of the day, as is my want, I am going to take a look at the effects of the worldwide pandemic on our planet.

This is from the website: voicesofyouth.org, the underlined phrases should link you to other articles.

Photos of reduced smog in China, unpolluted canals in Italy, and wild animals roaming the streets in the United States have been shared all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter over the past few weeks, helping give hope to a demoralized global population.

However, many of those photos are some of countless examples of the harmful misinformation that has spread over the internet during the pandemic – they have perpetuated a false narrative of an environment saved by a few weeks of quarantine and ignored the negative environmental impacts that have instead ensued.

To begin, the pandemic has led to the abandonment of many environmental sustainability programs – in the United States, smaller municipalities have halted recycling programs due to the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

Likewise, Italy has banned infected residents from sorting their waste at all. Additionally, many corporations have overturned disposable bag bans and begun relying once again on single-use plastics, and many restaurants are no longer accepting reusable containers – in early March, Starbucks announced a temporary ban on using reusable cups.

Furthermore, with more and more consumers isolated at home, there has been an increasing number of online purchases and meal deliveries made. This has not only caused the disposal of more single-use plastic packaging, but has further required more fossil fuels to be burned for the individual transportation and distribution of goods.

There has also been an increase in medical waste – much of the personal protective equipment that healthcare professionals are using can only be worn once before being disposed of. Hospitals in Wuhan, for example, produced over 200 tons of waste per day during the peak of their outbreak, compared to an average of less than 50 tons prior. 

Even if mass isolation were aiding in the reduction of climate change, it would not be a sustainable way of cleaning up the environment.

The UN news agrees. I’ve attached a link to their article. If you click on ‘UN news’, it will open a new page for you.

Now, keep in mind that both of these sites are more liberal than conservative. Apply your own political leanings as you read.

There are images that show that the air and water are clearing.

Venice, Italy PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREA PATTARO, AFP, GETTY

From cnbc.com (click the site to find a clickable link):

As coronavirus quickly spreads around the world, it’s forcing people to stay put, and wreaking havoc on the economy. Millions are either out of a job or working from home. Factories are shuttering, and with mandates to stay inside becoming the new norm, people aren’t driving or flying.

All this has led to a massive drop in air pollution, which kills a total of 4.2 million people every year, and over 1 million in China alone. The last two months have seen a huge uptick in air quality, especially in hard-hit areas like Wuhan and Northern Italy, as well as a number of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.

While the coronavirus outbreak will probably be a setback for global climate change priorities and investment overall, this temporary reduction in carbon emissions is notable. By one conservative estimate, cleaner air has saved about 50,000 lives in China alone over these past few months. 

While experts caution against viewing these numbers as a cost-benefit calculation around pandemics, some climate scientists hope that they will help shed a light on the massive environmental impact of our everyday habits and economic activities, potentially leading to some positive change after the crisis subsides. 

So, some positives and negatives to look at this #EarthDay.

Form your own opinions. Sonja

Enjoying The Everyday

(2019)

I love pretty plates and tea cups. And I love tea.

Not coffee.

Sacrilege? Possibly. I come from a family of coffee drinkers. Does that help? Between the three of them, they drink enough to cover my expected daily consumption.

I love tea. Mainly loose-leaf, but I’ll have the bagged variety as well. No milk. A little Stevia if it needs sweetening. I’m a purist, I guess.

I make pots of tea and keep them warm with a teapot warmer fueled by tea lights (what else?!?!?). It makes my writing area cozy and gentle.

Have a cup with me! Sonja

He’s Pooped!

(c) 2020

This is Guinness the Therapy Dog after a walk.

He’s pooped!

Since we went to dog school, he’s a pleasure to walk through the neighborhood. I love how interested he is in everything around him. And I love that he doesn’t lunge and pull any longer!

When we first brought Guinness into our home, as a 95-pound almost-two-year-old, he would practically dislocate my shoulder when we walked together.

During dog school, he learned to walk nicely and not to pull toward other dogs and people. We walked through the boarding area and the instructor even brought other dogs into the training area.

He is so eager to please, that he learned very quickly. It used to be that I didn’t look forward to our daily walks because it was such a struggle. Now, I take him on at least one walk a day. We have a ball!

Go outside! Sonja

Holding Hands

(2020)

Guinness the Therapy Dog is a great dog–almost said he was a great person!!! He’s giant-sized, has a heart filled with love that he wants to give away, and has all the patience in the world. He’s a wonderful example of everything I strive for.

Take a look at the size of his paw! He’s 95 pounds of dog.

He can cruise the kitchen counters to see what’s up there without doing more than tilting his chin up. (But he wouldn’t because it would make me sad and that’s the worst thing to him: making someone sad.)

When he lays down he blocks the entire doorway.

He’s a gentle giant.

I hope you have someone/something in your life that is as loving as Guinness. Sonja

Bucket List!

About a year-and-a-half ago, I was able to mark a big item off my bucket list. I was able to hike the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu!

I have wanted to see this spectacular area since I learned about it in elementary school. My sister took me there as a gift (great sister, huh?)! The Inka Trail (yes, that’s the correct spelling) was an arduous hike on uneven and slippery rocks. See the photo. That’s what we hiked on for three of the four days. We slept in tents and our porters (best ever!) cooked for us and carried a large percentage of our load.

I couldn’t have made it all the way to Machu Picchu without their help!

When I look through my (thousands) of photos from the trail, I can remember how amazing and how difficult it was to hike on those rocks, with my loaded pack, at that altitude.

It was one of the most difficult, and rewarding, things I have ever done.

I hope you have a chance to challenge yourself and cross something off your bucket list! Sonja