Imagine one of the largest banners the world has ever seen, staked down on a California glacier with a simple message: ‘I’m Melting!’
Now imagine, at the same moment, activists in Ho Chi Minh City gathering along the Saigon River to mark the ever higher tides that are swamping homes and neighborhoods. Now imagine our friends in Hobart, Tasmania gathering along the beach to mark severe erosion from a recent series of freak storms.
Now, I need you to imagine a global movement, working together on one day to connect these dots—each one a small bit of proof—and show how climate change is a clear and present danger. On May 5, we’ll be holding a day of global witness that does just that. All around the planet, at spots where climate change is already cutting deep, people will be gathering to express their anger, and their hope that the world will find a better way. At every event, people will take a photo of a gigantic dot on a sign or banner—each dot representing a local climate impact—and we’ll connect up all the dots to issue a global clarion call for climate action.
Where I live in Vermont we’ll make a human bridge to mark the real ones swept away in last fall’s record rains; in Faridabad, India, where they have the opposite problem, they’ll gather on the banks of the drying Yamuna River. From one end of the earth to the other, we’ll rally to point out that there is no longer any doubt that burning coal and gas and oil is changing our planet. (If you want to read 593 pages of backup, please refer to the huge UN report issued on climate change and weather extremes that was released this week.)
We’re not doing this as a substitute for political action—we’re in the middle of fights over everything from the Keystone XL pipeline to the Kosovo coal plant, and working hard to strip subsidies and special privileges from the fossil fuel industry around the world. But success in these fights will only come when people feel the urgency of climate change. Too often storms or droughts are seen as one-time, isolated events, even though scientist tell us they fit a pattern. We need to make that pattern visible—to connect the dots.
We need people everywhere to lead local events on the May 5—people all over the world who can change the conversation around climate change. If your community is seeing the disastrous impacts of climate change already, we will use this day to show that there is a global movement standing beside you. If you have been lucky enough to avoid the worst impacts thus far, we need you too—you’ll be sounding the alarm for your community, educating your friends and neighbors and standing with our friends around the world. Click here to register an event.
From early morning on May 5, when the sun first rises in the South Pacific and our colleagues in the Marshall Islands do a daybreak dive on their damaged coral reef, we’ll be following the day around the globe, providing an endless stream of pictures and images. People around the world will upload a group photo from their local event that captures their big "climate dot.” We'll link up those images to make a gorgeous global photo mosaic that connects all the dots from places around the world.
We want you to watch—but we want you to be a part of it at some point along the day. Sign up here to register an event in your community. We’ll help you figure out what makes sense, and how to pull together the logistics, but we need your spirit of solidarity to get it going.
P.S. Not every place is getting pounded by climate change—but we’re also going to try and connect some of the dots of solutions emerging around the world. So if you’ve got a hopeful energy project near you, or a beautiful community garden coming into May bloom in the northern hemisphere, get your event on the map for May 5!
By Daisy Simmons
1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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