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Goose Chasers, Digital Fur-endships and Limiting Air Pollution: What We’re Reading This Week

April 21, 2023
In honor of Earth Day, we’re looking at some environmentally friendly news.

In honor of Earth Day, I’m thinking about ways I can lessen my environmental impact.

That means eating the food I have in my fridge before it spoils, buying bread from the local bakery, donating things I no longer need and look for ways to reuse or repurpose what I already have.

I’m not a perfect environmentalist. I eat meat. I drive a car. I sometimes forget my reusable totes. But the things I am already doing (e.g., recycling, composting, visiting my local library, buying secondhand) do help. The world needs us all to try rather than focus on being perfect.

This weekend, I plan to recycle my old electronics and cords. I plan to spend next Saturday morning picking up trash at my local park. I hope you’re able to find some small ways to give back and enjoy Mother Nature. Maybe you’ll go for a stroll to see the trees and flowers blooming. And if you see any trash, pick it up some trash so the sight is even prettier for the next person.

I’ve found some environmentally minded news that I think will make you smile and hopefully make you think. After all, you never know where your next great idea is going to come from! I’d love to hear if it was sustainable.

Until next time, take care and be safe!

Goose Chasers

While I love our neighbors up north, I’m not a huge fan of Canadian geese. They squawk, they pay no mind to moving vehicles and they leave a mess.

I’m not alone in my dislike for the waterfowl, but thankfully, I don’t have a pond on my property and have to deal with them regularly. But for those who do, figuring out what to do can cause headaches.

Enter the business Geese Chasers. It caught caught my attention because of its first employee: Boomer, the border collie. Boomer’s human, Robert Young, was asked for his services after Boomer had finished chasing geese from a golf course.

These working dogs are a humane and dog-gone effective way to rid a space of geese. That’s critical because the number of geese has increased by 1,500% in North America over the last 40 years. Young found that if a dog chases geese four times, they stay away four weeks.

And he found that his Border collie, bred to be a working dog, loved the thrill of the chase.

“We had a lake behind our house, and Boomer was chasing everything with a feather out of it, ducks, cormorants, anything that moved,” Young told The New York Times. “When he finally chased the last duck out, he’d come out almost passed out and he’d be ready to do it all over again.”

I never cease to be amazed by what dogs can do. Now I must add chasing geese to that list. And if your business has a pest problem or other unwelcomed guests, I encourage you to look for natural solutions, such as a Border collie who will run like the wind while getting rid of geese. I guarantee seeing that collie will make you smile!

Read the article and see plenty pictures of good dogs here.

Digital Fur-endships

Animals are social creatures. It’s easy to observe this in the wild, at the zoo or even with dogs at the dog park. It can be more difficult to observe with our indoor pets, unless you have multiples, e.g., fur siblings.

But what if we could use technology to help our pets be more social? It is an intriguing idea. Scientists wondered whether pet parrots would want to connect with other birds over video calls. The results, as you might imagine, are adorable.

A cohort of 18 parrots were taught to ring a bell when they wanted to call a friend. Then, their owners would show a device with pictures of other parrots. Once the birds figured it out, they made many requests to talk.

Scientists noted the birds were engaged and mirrored each other’s behaviors, including grooming together and singing together. The birds even developed besties, who they would prefer to call more than others.

Owners said the birds were calmer and more confident because of their social interactions. Scientists say there need to be boundaries to make sure parrots have the choice to make these calls and have a positive experience (that is, don’t show signs of distress or discomfort). But, technology might be a way to entertain and stimulate these very smart creatures who need lots of enrichment.

View some short clips of the birds here.

Limiting Air Pollution

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rules requiring chemical plants measure certain hazardous compounds that cross beyond their property lines. If those emissions are too high, the plants would need to reduce them.

The proposed rule would also cover short-term emission spikes when chemical plants start up, shut down or malfunction.

The EPA said the proposed rule would reduce cancer risk and other exposure for those living close to those plants. The agency also said the data would be made public, so that companies would be forced to address problems that result in increased emissions. This proposed rule would give residents more power, because they previously had not been able to sue and reduce the threat when harmful emissions were detected.

“For generations, our most vulnerable communities have unjustly borne the burden of breathing unsafe, polluted air,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan on a trip in Louisiana.

The proposed rule would also focus on manufacturers of ethylene oxide, slashing emissions by about two-thirds nationwide and chloroprene by three-quarters from 2020 levels.

Read more here.

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