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Endangered Punganur Cows Get Help From Former Dairy Operator

Danielle S

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Ramadas Kudala, a 61-year-old former GM at AP Dairy, dresses in a dhoti each day as he walks his little cows and his neighbor takes his Saint Bernard for a stroll around the roadways of Boduppal. The neighbor would tease Kundala, calling him a “cowboy,” while the livestock owner would call the dog’s dad a “saint.”

Kundala is home to a herd of Punganur cows, the shortest variety of humped cattle around the globe, which can be traced back to the Chittoor district. They’re on the brink of extinction, measuring in at just under 3 feet at their tallest (which is still shorter than a Saint Bernard). Fewer than 200 Punganur cattle are thought to still be alive today.

Kundala moved his family and his 40 Punganur cows from their original home on a 250 square-yard site in Boduppal to a more spacious ‘goshala’ in Maryala spanning two acres.

Kundala is very protective of his offspring and has given each one a name. As he takes you on a tour of the goshala, he stops at various stations to introduce you to everyone there.

“Every weekend I hang out with these Chinna who gush about Mahalakshmi.” After introducing Kamakshi, he pointed out Meenakshi and Chamundeshwari, who were also lounging around. “Here’s Gowri, by the way,” he said, “And next to her is Gowri’s son, the little Chidambareswar.”

Two younger cows dozed cozily nearby as Chidambershwar, the calf, was being licked thoroughly by his mother, the fawn gem Gowri. “Brinda is the peaceful, milky white one over there. Shambhavi is standing in front of her,” he added. The bulls, including Nishkalank, Mahakal, and Om Namah Shivaya, were given names associated with Shiva, the male spouse of Goddess Parvati.

They may be diminutive in stature, but their punch is tremendous. They can cost upward of Rs 20 lakh, while the milk is valued at roughly Rs 300 per liter.

They have a low caloric intake yet still manage to produce nourishing milk that is high in fat and has therapeutic value. About 25 years is the average lifespan for them. “There are no such things as small surprises.” While on his knees, Kundala stated this jokingly as he fed his “little ones” bananas, sprouts, and jaggery. In return, several of the animals licked his fingers.

“Free-range conditions benefit cows physiologically and psychologically. Kundala, a resident of Pulivendula in the YSR Kadapa district, remarked, “You can substantially prolong their lifespan by keeping them out of busy and congested locations.”

Kundala once approached the late Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, with an out-of-the-ordinary query while working in the management information systems unit at the AP Diary. A fellow Pulivendula native, Rajasekhar Reddy (YSR), has his sights set on some Punganur bovines.

According to rumor, the then-CM was so taken aback by this request that he exclaimed, “People are asking for deals, property, as well as a lot of other stuff. You’re looking for a cow!!”

Rajasekhar Reddy ordered his employees to transport cows from Punganur to Kundala, but the move was deemed unfeasible. The cows were handed to me a month later, and at that point, Kundala said his love for cows started. “Reddy Garu quipped, ‘What might he reckon if a CM could not even offer this man a cow?’

Kundala has such a deep and abiding affection for cows that when lawmakers and celebrities have asked to adopt one, he has gently denied it, citing the inherent unfairness of taking a mother away from her offspring.

The dairyman-turned-herder states he is in negotiations with the government of Telangana to have milk from his goshala used throughout Nithya Kainkaryams as well as “naivedyam” offerings to sections of Yadadri. That’s similar to milk from the same cow being used in Tirumala for Lord Venkateswara Swamy.

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A New Author Earns Her Stripes With Book Signings

Amanda J

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Being a genuine book author, as in writing traditionally for a published piece of work, has never been an easy path towards success. For every successful author that makes it, there are probably 10,000 would-be authors that never see the light of day. That said, Chelsea Banning is not one of them. She managed to achieve the first big leap in getting her first book published.

Along with publication, authors traditionally have to help with marketing their books, which means attending book signings in person. So, Chelsea made it known she would be present at a given booksigning located in Ohio one recent weekend. At least 40 people online confirmed they would show up for support. However, even though she took that metric and both her and the bookstore owner expected a showing, only two people visited. It was the straw that broke her back mentally.

Chelsea worked tirelessly to get her book accepted, published and put in print, being the first one in her trilogy. With a concept of picking up the story of what happened after King Arthur’s death, she put in a decade and half to see the book come to fruition. The lack of anyone showing up then for the booksigning was the final insult in her mind.

So, after an embarrassing day of sitting and staring at the insides of a bookstore and basically being ignored, Chelsea closed up, apologized to the bookstore owner, and went home. Trying to sleep it off didn’t help. So, she vented on Twitter about the experience and her literary frustration. Then, the unexpected happened.

There were responses. And, more interesting, they were not just people she knows or average folks online. Instead, a slew of famous and well-known book authors threw in their opinions, some humorous, all sympathetic and some reminded Chelsea that poor book-signing attendance was normal for a book author’s life. Many of the comparisons were personal and illuminating, being in stark contrast to the fame of the authors today. The names included Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jodie Picoult and more. In fact, Chelsea’s post response read a bit like a who’s who among modern famous authors in 2022.

The best part, however, was the fact that Chelsea’s confidence was restored. Hearing from all the big names that have come before her, she’s realizing she’s not alone. And, yes, Chelsea is definitely planning to attend another book signing, even if someone mistakes her for help and asks where they can find the bathroom.

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Hawaii Goes Coal Free, But Might be Going Too Fast

Sarrah M

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Hawaii has left behind the 19th century. For the first time, the island state will produce its energy coal-free. The last shipment of the black rock resource docked and no more will be arriving with the remaining coal plant closing its doors at the end of summer 2022.

Firing coal has been an energy resource for centuries, and Hawaii as no exception. Early town establishments quickly set up supply lines, trading exports for imported coal and factory power to produce greater and bigger agricultural product output as a result. Ultimately, coal energy was shifted to municipal power grids as well. Every shipment in modern times has been about 15,000 tons, all of it going into a power plant pumping out 180 megawatts for the local energy grid. In 2018, this resource still made up for about thirteen percent of total energy consumption.

The state has been heavily moving towards renewable energy since 2014. That year, Hawaii’s state government pledged to be 100 percent off of fossil fuels by the year 2045. That includes a complete redesign of the state’s energy infrastructure, which is no small task. That said, by 2020, the state legislature had passed and enacted a law basically making it illegal to burn any industrial or commercial coal on the islands entirely. The single plant left was already scheduled to be phased out, but if anyone was thinking about potentially changing their minds, the 2020 state law shut down that option entirely.

The alternatives for energy support, however, still leave the option open to use oil. That has been a heavy dependency, basically representing over 67 percent of the energy resource for the state’s power grid currently. Coal was a significantly smaller second-place resource at only 15 percent of the grid’s dependence. So, no surprise, it was going to be an easier fossil fuel to eliminate and replace with something like solar and wind instead.

Solar was already on the way up for the island residents. The number of solar grids for homes practically jumped 100 percent in five years by the time 2020 rolled around. The lower cost and far more standardization of roof panels made installation a lot easier and amenable for homeowners, and with a state that sees more sun than rain, it only made sense. Now that the coal plant is shutting down by the end of the year, folks will have no choice for their electricity but to shift to other source systems.

The shift is a challenge. While the state was quick to see the AES Corporation coal plant close, the replacement systems haven’t come online near as fast. So, there is a shortage in the overall grid, which is going to drive up consumer costs for a while. That’s not good news for a state that is already one of the most expensive to live in. Furthermore, Hawaii is a prime candidate for geothermal energy use, like Iceland, but there hasn’t been sufficient interest in that direction, or risk takers, so the lava fields go untapped. It’s a potential where Hawaii could end up being a poster child for trashing fossil fuels too fast without a solid game plan on how to move forward.

With six different power grids to support, Hawaii’s energy managers have their work cut out for them. If they can pull off a 100 percent renewable status, it will be a gamechanger well beyond the island state alone.

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Scotland’s Forests Grew Exponentially

Sarrah M

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Thanks to Hollywood and big blockbuster movies, Scotland has gained a reputation for being that country north of England with husky people running around in kilts from craggy peak to craggy peak, and lots of sheep, hard country and cold weather in between. However, in reality, Scotland historically had some very big forests before development started gobbling up all the resources. Now, some 1,000 years later, the Scotland of ancient times is returning as the country’s forests have been exploding in size.

In the Tweed region, trees, bushes and flora have been quietly taking over the countryside, growing and expanding in amounts not seen before. In the space of 100 years, the measurable forest land has expanded at least twelve percent from previous estimates. Today, the country’s forests make up almost a fifth of the landscape now.

A Lot Has Happened in a Short Period of Epoc Time

Given that people arrived in the greater area some 11,000 years prior, the forests had begun their shrinkage accordingly. By 2,000 years ago, with the arrival of the Romans, the rate of consumption shot up tremendously, leaving the country barren and scraggy. However, by the beginning of the 20th century Scotland’s government decided to do something with extreme foresight in the future. They started planting trees. The motive was somewhat selfish; the country expected to need timber in the near future for national security. What no one expected, however, was how fast the trees planted would grow.

Be Careful What You Plant

The particular trees added were non-native. They consisted of various pine species, a type of tree that grows easily in tough terrain and mountainous ranges with colder climates. Unfortunately, it also wreaked havoc on the local biology balance. Pine needles alone are acidic and burn the forest floor around them, wiping out food sources for smaller animals. So, by the 1980s, the government stepped in again and started a wave of planting of other tree types to fix things. Intensive planting of native trees pushed back the pine invasion and re-established tree types far more in line with local biodiversity.

Scotland is Green Land

The strategy of forest growth has not stopped. The government would like to see 21 percent of the country under the umbrella of local forests by the year 2032. It helps that 8 out of 10 people in Scotland are not just behind the movement but enthusiastic about it’s support as well. Had it been a less receptive audience, the rate of forest growth likely would have been a lot less.

So, in another decade, Hollywood may have its work cut out with re-framing Scotland’s image. With the amount of forest growth that will likely occur, the country can’t be portrayed as a wind-swept craggy locale anymore. It may end up being far more similar to Sherwood Forest, the way things are going for the Scots.

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Finding a Real Cup of Coffee in Brooklyn

Danielle S

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Coffee is not a new drink in terms of history. The coffee bean-derived drink has been in production and enjoyed for centuries. So, when a café in Brooklyn started producing coffee drinks using traditional methods versus the typical coffee machine brewing or fast production, it became a hit. Located on Fourth Avenue, Yafa Café utilizes the pour-over method of coffee making, which for many is really the true way of enjoying a fresh cup of premium coffee, even to the pricey tune of $7 a cup.

Where Everyone’s Coffee Came From

Unlike the TV myth that coffee came from the hills of Columbia via a fellow and his donkey, the birthplace of the oldest coffee is actually recorded in Yemen, a small country on the southeastern part of the peninsula mostly made up of Saudi Arabia. And it’s that same culture and heritage that Hakim Salaimani tries to replicate to some extent every day in his Yafa Café half a world away in Brooklyn.

The genesis of coffee back in Yemen is blamed on goats. An observant herder notices that the goats he was in charge of really got a kick and a boost of energy after they would munch on a particular red berry on a bush. As it turned out, that red berry was in fact a coffee bean. Figuring that it didn’t poison the goats, the herder decided to eat some himself. And, no surprise, he realized the same energy benefits, being able to stay up well into the night as a result.

Going to Brooklyn via Families

Today, whether true or not, the same knowledge of extracting coffee from coffee beans is now a cultural export from Yemen brought to Brooklyn. Hakim himself is a transplant to the U.S., but even his father was removed from both of their ancestral homelands in the highlands located in the Yafa region of Yemen.

However, Hakim didn’t learn his own country’s coffee heritage from his father. Instead, ironically, he was educated by an American TV channel dedicated to education, the Public Broadcasting Station or, better known as, PBS. When Hakim, at that time a boy of 7, realized where coffee had its origination, it sparked a bit of pride in him that stuck through his growing up.

However, Hakim didn’t learn his own country’s coffee heritage from his father. Instead, ironically, he was educated by an American TV channel dedicated to education, the Public Broadcasting Station or, better known as, PBS. When Hakim, at that time a boy of 7, realized where coffee had its origination, it sparked a bit of pride in him that stuck through his growing up.

Making a Vision a Coffee Reality

The dream stuck, and Hakim started making his way towards opening a Yemeni café with coffee made the same way it was done back in his family’s homeland. Granted, today, Yafa Café is one location, but Hakim has big ideas; he wants to create a coffee house chain based on Yemeni coffee the size of Starbucks. While Yafa Café has a long ways to go to match up with the West Coast chain, Hakim has managed to make his first operation a success. And for Yafa patrons, the coffee is to die for it’s so good.

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Wildlife Refuge, Aussie Ark is Over the Moon Regarding Re-wilding Achievements

Danielle S

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Many people can only relate the Tasmanian devil to the cartoons they’ve watched over the years. It is understandable since they have not been on Australia’s mainland for thousands of years.

One organization has remained determined to re-establish the Tasmanian community, a mission it has been embarking on for a decade.

Aussie Ark, a wildlife refuge, breeding, and release organization situated on the Central Coast, is marking its tenth anniversary this year.

‘Devil Ark’ was formed in 2011 to save the Tasmanian devil from extinction but acquired a new name, ‘Aussie Ark’ in 2012. However, because of the organization’s tremendous victories since then, its mandate has grown.

It now has a mission to help save our fragile Australian species by helping to restore and rewild previously extinct or endangered wildlife.

In a statement, Aussie Ark President Tim Faulkner stated, “Our 10th anniversary offers an opportunity to look back and recognize all that we’ve been privileged to do for animals for the last ten years.”

Conservation in Australia faces a new decade that promises to be even more exciting than the prior ten years.

In the first decade of its existence, Aussie Ark has extended its land holdings by 500 percent, brought the Tasmanian devil back to mainland Australia for the first time in three millennia, created world-class turtle breeding centers, and raised over 400 Tasmanian devil joeys.

Migrating threatened turtles, saving ill platypus, and offering extra food supplies were only some of Aussie Ark’s duties throughout the dark summer calamity.

They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished in the last decade, but there is a lot more work to accomplish. Australian Ark wants to begin breeding projects for Broad-toothed Rat, Squirrel Gliders, Spotted-tail Quolls, frogs in the coming year. The latest refuge, the Mongo Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, is likewise in the planning stages.

Aussie Ark is holding an auction site for a piece of original artwork by Australian artist Warren J Fox to finance their mission partially. Australian Ark President Tim Faulkner has his arms depicted as cradling a young Tasmanian Devil named Joey. In January, the silent online auction opens.

Click here if you’d like to place a bid for the work.

It is the mission of Aussie Ark, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to generate the cash needed to carry out its ambitious plan to save endangered Australian animals.

The money raised will build a zoo and predator-proof fences on the semi-wild territory. According to the Australian Philanthropic and Non-Profit Commission, Aussie Ark is an established ecological and charitable organization.

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