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Victorian pet cemeteries reveal rise of belief in a pet afterlife 

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victorian pet cemeteries reveal rise of belief in a pet afterlife

A British belief in a pet afterlife has risen since the Victorian era, according to an analysis of pet graves in London and Newcastle. 

Researchers examined pet graves in four British pet cemeteries, spanning burials from Queen Victoria’s reign through to the 1980s.

They found a growing number of references to owners and pets being reunited after death, just like humans refer to a deceased partner or spouse. 

In the Victorian era, pets were more often referred to as companions or friends, gravestones from that era suggest.

But since the Second World War, Brits have treated pets like family members, by adding the family surname to their graves. 

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Britain¿s oldest pet cemetery at Hyde Park, established in 1881 when the owner of a recently deceased dog asked the gatekeeper of Hyde Park if the pooch could be buried there

Britain¿s oldest pet cemetery at Hyde Park, established in 1881 when the owner of a recently deceased dog asked the gatekeeper of Hyde Park if the pooch could be buried there

Britain’s oldest pet cemetery at Hyde Park, established in 1881 when the owner of a recently deceased dog asked the gatekeeper of Hyde Park if the pooch could be buried there

‘References to animals as family members increase after the Second World War, coinciding with a rise in the use of family surnames on pet gravestones,’ said Dr Eric  Tourigny from Newcastle University.

‘Some early adopters of surnames put them in parentheses or quotation marks, as if to acknowledge they are not full members of the family.

‘Few 19th-century gravestones reference an afterlife, although some may “hope” to see their loved ones again,’ said Dr Tourigny, 

‘By the mid-20th century, a greater proportion of animal gravestones suggesting owners were awaiting a reunion in the afterlife.’      

Examples of variation in gravestone design from the People¿s Dispensary for Sick Animals pet cemetery in Ilford, east London

Examples of variation in gravestone design from the People¿s Dispensary for Sick Animals pet cemetery in Ilford, east London

Examples of variation in gravestone design from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals pet cemetery in Ilford, east London

The first public pet cemetery was established in the UK in 1881 when the owner of a recently deceased dog called Cherry asked the gatekeeper of Hyde Park if the pooch could be buried there. 

The dog was buried in the gatekeeper’s personal garden and over the next few decades, hundreds of other dogs were also interred.  

This research focused on four sites – the original Hyde Park cemetery, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals cemetery in Ilford, London, Jesmond Dene in Newcastle and Northumberland Park, also in Newcastle. 

Dr Tourigny documented more than 1,000 animal headstones spanning a century of burials, from their founding in the 1880s through to the 1980s. 

The location of the pet cemeteries examined in the research, including the UK's very first in Hyde Park

The location of the pet cemeteries examined in the research, including the UK's very first in Hyde Park

The location of the pet cemeteries examined in the research, including the UK’s very first in Hyde Park

The results show ‘the transition of animals from being pets and companions to becoming family members’ and the changing beliefs about animals’ role in the afterlife, he claims. 

More than 100 years ago, a hesitancy to acknowledge pets as family members may stem from conflict between personal feelings towards the animals and social norms.  

‘The need to express grief following the loss of a beloved animal, however, was at odds with socially acceptable beliefs of the time,’ says Dr Tourigny. 

But the Victorian era was ‘a watershed’ for human-pet relationships, marked by a growing discourse on animal welfare and the changing role of dogs in a typical British household.    

Clues from Victorian pet gravestones looked at in the study suggest signs of fondness and love for their dearly departed. 

Some gravestones describe the relationship either with introductory statements like ‘in memory of my dear pet’ or through epitaphs like ‘a faithful friend and constant companion’. 

Victorians referred to their animals as friends rather than simply pets, but only later did Brits start to consider them as family, the evidence revealed. 

Types of human-animal relationship mentioned on animal gravestones. Victorians referred to their animals as not just pets, but friends and rarely family. This all changed in the mid-twentieth century

Types of human-animal relationship mentioned on animal gravestones. Victorians referred to their animals as not just pets, but friends and rarely family. This all changed in the mid-twentieth century

Types of human-animal relationship mentioned on animal gravestones. Victorians referred to their animals as not just pets, but friends and rarely family. This all changed in the mid-twentieth century 

In all periods analysed, most stones were found to be quite simple, featuring only the name of the animal, dates and in some cases an opening statement such as ‘in memory of’.  

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century, pet gravestones often featured the names or initials of those erecting the monuments – the pet owner.

These references – such as a reference to their ‘sorrowing mistress’ – occasionally featured more prominently than any reference to the buried animal

This trend continued throughout the twentieth century until around the 1940s and 1950 when names and initials were often replaced with pronouns such as ‘mummy’, ‘dad’, ‘nan’ or ‘auntie’, suggesting a more personal and familial relationship with the animal.  

Many of the animal graves at Hyde Park mimic human burial of the same era by including both kerbstones and a headstone, as if depicting a bed. 

Wooden cross grave markers characteristic of the Buena Vista pet cemetery, Leicestershire

Wooden cross grave markers characteristic of the Buena Vista pet cemetery, Leicestershire

Wooden cross grave markers characteristic of the Buena Vista pet cemetery, Leicestershire

Example of the use of body stones, kerbs and headstones to resemble the appearance of a bed in Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

Example of the use of body stones, kerbs and headstones to resemble the appearance of a bed in Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

Example of the use of body stones, kerbs and headstones to resemble the appearance of a bed in Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

Following the Second World War, noticeably more crosses and epitaphs invoking God’s care and protection appeared, along with the family surname. 

However, one thing that did not change is how people perceived death, which was viewed as sleep-like throughout the entire study period.

Understanding death through the metaphor of sleep featured prominently in the late Victorian era and continued to the modern era.  

‘Society’s attitudes towards death have changed little, as the sleep metaphor is used continuously throughout the twentieth century,’ said Dr Tourigny.

Whilst many archaeologists have explored changing social trends from human cemeteries, few have studied the animal equivalent, he claims.

His new research reveals how pet cemeteries can provide a unique insight into the past and the people who lived in it.      

‘Such information can help us understand how our current attitudes towards animals developed and how we have historically struggled to cope with grief following the loss of a pet, as many continue to struggle today,’ said Dr Tourigny.

Dr Tourigny and London charity The Royal Parks will be providing a free virtual tour of the Hyde Park pet cemetery on Wednesday, October 28.     

The fascinating analysis has been published in the journal Antiquity.    

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Pollution regulations to reduce dirty air have saved 1.5 BILLION birds in the US over 40 years

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pollution regulations to reduce dirty air have saved 1 5 billion birds in the us over 40 years

US pollution controls aren’t just good for the atmosphere, they’re saving our winged friends, too.

Ozone gasses, a leading contributor to smog, is linked tied to health problems in both humans and avians. 

A new study found that regulations intended to reduce the pollution have also slowed the decline of bird populations in the US.  

Scientists at Cornell and the University of Oregon tracked changes in bird abundance, ozone emissions and regulation status across the nation over a 15 year period.

Extrapolating their findings, they found caps on ozone emissions may have saved as many as 1.5 billion birds in the past 40 years, – equal to 20 percent of all birds in the United States today.

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A new Cornell study on EPA policies shows

A new Cornell study on EPA policies shows

A new Cornell study on EPA regulations shows efforts to curb ozone production have saved more than a billion birds in the last 40 years. The gas is not only harmful to the animals’ respiratory system, it can kill off the plants and insects they eat

Ozone occurs naturally, but automobiles and power plants have contributed to a significant increase in its production. 

While it’s necessary in the upper atmosphere to protect us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, at ground level ozone causes smog and contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, especially in the young and the elderly.

Numerous studies have connected ozone at levels currently found in many urban areas to low birth weights, asthma, and even early death.  

It’s also detrimental to bird life, especially the small migratory birds — like sparrows and finches — that make up more than three-quarters of all North American species. 

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks 

As with humans, it impacts their respiratory system — but it can also kill off the plants and insects that serve as their chief food sources.

‘Not surprisingly, birds that cannot access high-quality habitat or food resources are less likely to survive or reproduce successfully,’ said Amanda Rodewald, director of Cornell’s Center for Avian Population Studies and co-author of a new report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

‘The good news here is that environmental policies intended to protect human health return important benefits for birds, too.’

To get an idea of how regulations have impacted this country’s winged population, Rodewald and environmental economist Ivan Rudik combined pollution data with environmental policies and bird observations from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, tracking.

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

They tracked monthly changes in bird abundance, air quality, and regulation status over 15 years in more than 3,200 counties.

The team focused on the EPA’s NOx (nitrogen oxide) Budget Trading Program, a cap-and-trade initiative launched in 2003 to reduce ozone emissions from power plants and other large industrial sources during the summer months.

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970.

Without existing environmental regulations, Rodewald and Rudik say, an estimated 1.5 billion more birds would have died.

‘Our research shows that the benefits of environmental regulation have likely been underestimated,’ said Rudik. 

‘Reducing pollution has positive impacts in unexpected places and provides an additional policy lever for conservation efforts.’  

The Trump administration has been criticized for rolling back dozens of environmental regulations,

In June 2017, then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced he was delaying enforcement of an Obama-era regulation governing ozone emissions, The New York Times reports.

In August of that year, one day after 16 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit claiming the agency was violating the Clean Air Act, Pruitt reversed his decision and said he would enforce the policy.

Heather McTeer Toney, a former regional EPA administrator under the Obama administration, is among a short-list of candidates being considered to lead the agency under President-elect Biden, Reuters reports. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Trove of arrows dating back 6,000 years are discovered in Norway after drastic amounts of ice melts 

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trove of arrows dating back 6000 years are discovered in norway after drastic amounts of ice melts

A veritable treasure trove of ancient artifacts has been discovered in an Norwegian ice patch that climate change has caused to melt.

Researchers found nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo.

Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD.

While the discovery confirms the region was a popular spot for reindeer hunting millennia ago, it upends conventional wisdom about how ice patches can be used to interpret the historical record.

Archaeologists had assumed the ice preserved items as they were deposited, sealing them in place and providing a timeline — with older relics on the bottom and newer ones on top.

But the different amounts of weathering on the objects, as well as their seemingly random order, counters the theory that ice patches are like photographs, presenting a preserved image of the past.

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A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all, some with their arrowheads still attached.

The heads were made from a variety of materials — iron, quartzite, slate, mussel shell and even bone.

 Several still had the twine and tar used to affix them to a wooden shaft.

The biggest number of arrows dated to 700 through 750 AD, but the oldest were some 6,000 years old.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

An aerial photo of Langfonne's three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

An aerial photo of Langfonne's three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

An aerial photo of Langfonne’s three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

‘This is earlier than finds from any other ice site in Northern Europe,’ according to archaeologist Lars Holger Pilø, ‘and about 800 years earlier than Ötzi,’ the 5,100-year-old ice mummy found in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.

Other artifacts from Langfonne include a well-preserved shoe from more than 3,000 years ago and fabric Pilø says may have been used to package meat.   

The Langfonne ice patch was first uncovered in 2006, when hiker Reidar Marstein discovered a leather shoe from the early Bronze Age there and reported it to Pilø.

At the time, researchers had assumed new layers of snow added to a patch, like strata in the earth, with older layers near the core and newer layers near the surface.

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

‘The idea was, ice is like a time machine. Anything that lands on it stays there and is protected,’ Pilø, a researcher with the Innlandet County Council Cultural Heritage Department, told National Geographic.

But a closer examination showed the ice melted and re-froze numerous times over the millennia, shifting the arrows around from their original locations.

In addition, if the patch was acting like a time machine, older artifacts should have been just as well preserved as newer ones.

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history 'like a time machine'

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history 'like a time machine'

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history ‘like a time machine’

Instead, the Neolithic arrows were broken and heavily weathered, suggesting they had been exposed to the elements at various times.

The 14th century arrows, though, ‘looked as though they were shot just yesterday,’ National Geographic reported. 

‘This led to a suspicion that something had happened to them while inside the ice,’ Pilø wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

In a new report in the journal Holocene, Pilø says that makes it hard to glean certain information about the people who used these artifacts.

‘The ice is an artifact-preserver but it is also at the same time a destroyer of history,’ he told Nat Geo.

New discoveries may still present themselves as Langfonne, now split into three smaller patches, continues to thaw.

Its melting is part of a worldwide pattern of retreating mountain glaciers linked to global warming, Pilø wrote.

‘Langfonne has retreated dramatically in the last two decades. It is now less than 30 percent of the size it was 20 years ago. This retreat is clearly visible in the landscape.’

And the patch is only 10 percent of what it was at its height, he said, during the ‘Little Ice Age’ that took place between the 15th and 20th century.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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When will Earth be eco-friendly? Most Americans believe the world will be greener by 2042

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when will earth be eco friendly most americans believe the world will be greener by 2042

This year may have been rough, but as 2020 comes to a close many Americans are looking forward to a better future – and a greener one.

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly’ Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together.

The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy, along with swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet.

Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity.

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly' Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly' Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly’ Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

The study was conducted by Cool Effect, which survey 2,000 adults living in the US to understand how Americans feel about climate change and the steps they are willing to take to combat its effects, according to StudyFinds.

The top answers for what a completely environmentally friendly world was a tie of 57 percent for zero waste and using nothing but renewable energy.

Approximately 52 percent said banning single-use plastics, which is a law in eight states currently.

Nearly half of the respondents suggested people bike or walk to their destination instead of driving, while some Americans think an eco-friendly life is a more plant-based diet.

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

A finding that came out of the new survey shows that a third of those polled have actually switched careers for a more eco-friendly company and 68 percent have or are willing to pack up their lives and move to a more sustainable city

However, although these Americans are willing to fight for a greener world, the research found that many of them are not aware of their own personal carbon footprint – only 36 percent could produce an answer.

The survey also suggests that Americans tend to ignore their personal responsibility  and feel their own carbon footprint is not making an impact on the warming world.

A previous study from 2019 found that some Americans overestimate their contribution – both findings suggests they need to meet in the middle  

However, data from the United States Department of Energy shows the average American emits roughly 17 tons of carbon per year – survey respondents said it was only 11.4 tons.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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