Serbia: 22/4/16 – RIP Repic – A Wonderful Tribute From Danica.

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Repic rainbow

Repic is gone.

His story has pretty much been told but he deserves another one, the story of a beautiful, complicated and vigilant kitty boy with astonishing persistence, boundless courage and a heart of gold.

We want him to be remembered not as a broken, exhausted skinny creature that spent weeks fighting a losing battle with fading strength, but as the little distant yet adored shimmering star of our hearts he has always been. And he is getting his new story now, as soon as we’ve managed to pull ourselves together, the story of utter devotion, desperate hope, pure bravery, crushed dreams and eternal love.

The first few months of his sadly too short life were horrific, painted with fear and suffering and though he miraculously maintained his innate sweetness, he also became forever marked with the knowledge that pure evil exists. Oh yes, he was cuddly and affectionate back then when he was first taken off the streets, he was ready to give and receive love, but over the course of the following years something went wrong.

His fragile trust in humans was somehow betrayed again and he matured into a watchful, circumspect and reserved kitty boy, rather standoffish and adamant not to let anyone invade his personal space. However, he seemed to be happy here, living the kind of life he had chosen a long time ago and no one questioned his reasons for being wary – he was accepted just as he was.

Things were going at a regular slow pace until an almost routine vet evaluation of Repic’s condition a month ago, when we got a detailed insight into his health issues which shook us to the core. We were flabbergasted and horrified when we finally learned the truth about the consequences of the eye injury he suffered as a youngster and we suddenly realized he had never been authentically reserved and sedate – he was unwell. Extremely unwell. Unwell to the point that his life was at risk.

He fought with all of his might, we supported him every step of the way and the vet did everything that could be done and then some. None of us were ready to give up on our brave little fighter, not even when we all knew only a miracle could save him.

Twinkling through the deepest darkness, there was that tiny spark of hope that the impossible could happen if we fought long enough, strong enough, brave enough… And if it couldn’t happen, if a miracle didn’t occur, at least our courageous furry warrior would lose the battle of his life with all guns blazing.

After weeks of hopeless struggle, Repic had had enough. He must’ve been too tired, too weakened and too exhausted to see the point of holding on any longer. Maybe he saw the rainbow and felt that the time had come to cross into the light, maybe he knew he could leave with no fear as our love would be his shield wherever he soared. Maybe now he’s came to realize just how much he enriched our lives and has gotten to understand how he will carry on in every beat of our hearts. Maybe he has always known that goodbyes are not forever.

This is not a farewell, this is until we meet again.

So spread your wings and fly past the sun, sweet Repic, you’re finally free and there’re no limits anymore.
Those who leave behind a sparkling trail of glitter will never be forgotten.




USA: The Redwoods’ Last Stand – By Taylor Hill. Earth Day.


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The Redwoods’ Last Stand

The giant trees have endured for millennia, but rapidly rising temperatures and years-long drought are threatening their survival.

Apr 18, 2016

Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.


LOS GATOS, California—I’m dangling 180 feet off the ground in a harness, held by a single rope tied to a redwood tree named Joe. After a moment, I resume my ascent toward the canopy, a unique and largely unexplored ecosystem of mosses, lichen, and wildlife rarely glimpsed from the ground far below.

On a neighboring skyscraper-tall redwood, Cameron Williams, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, is rappelling to the pinnacle of an 850-year-old giant dubbed Grandfather. Williams, who has been climbing redwoods since 1999, has studied the impact of a record drought on the trees and has spent the past decade examining and documenting the hundreds of tiny plants that thrive in their upper reaches.

I started the hour-long ascent with my legs brushing some of the thousands of tiny cones and needles that stretch toward the sunlight. About 80 feet up, silence enveloped me as the ground below became obscured. The brain plays tricks—most likely out of self-preservation—morphing the thick foliage below into a safety net. As I hoist myself into the tree’s crown, there’s an overwhelming feeling of safety. The wind is blowing, but Joe the tree seems too large to sway.

FULL COVERAGE:  Fight for the Forests

We’re not deep in some primeval forest but in a backyard near Los Gatos, an affluent Silicon Valley town nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and best known as the home of Netflix. For one week a year, the landowner allows Williams and recreational-tree-climbing specialist Tim Kovar to lead four-person expeditions up Grandfather’s 12-foot-wide trunk and into the redwood canopy. It’s a rare opportunity—most surviving old-growth groves are under state and national park management and off-limits to climbing.

Grandfather’s trunk bears scars from where hundred-year-old branches had been chopped off. A previous owner had wanted to take the ax to the tree and the entire grove, only abandoning the plan in the face of community outrage. Today, after 160 years of logging, there remain just 120,000 acres of old-growth redwoods of the forests that once covered more than 2 million acres of California, from Big Sur to the Oregon border. Most now survive in state and national parks like the nearby Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which protects 11,000 acres of trees.

Coastal redwoods and their even bigger and longer-lived inland cousins, the giant sequoias, are not just trees that inspire awe in the most nature-averse city dweller. The largest organisms on Earth, redwoods and sequoias absorb more planet-warming carbon dioxide than any other trees. As scientists have recently discovered, the giant trees continue to grow and sequester carbon even after a thousand years. Their branches and house-size canopies shelter a host of endangered animals, from the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet—a rare seabird—to the Pacific fisher and the Humboldt marten, two weasel-like critters.

Endangered redwood animals include the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, Pacific fisher, Humboldt marten, and Vaux’s swift. (Photos: Michael Sewell/Getty Images; USFS/Flickr; USFS Region 5/Flickr; Dani Kropivnik/wikipedia; Jamie Chavez/Flickr)Redwoods are built for survival. Their foot-plus-thick bark shields the trees from fatal fires, and a red-tinged chemical responsible for giving the trees their namesake color protects them against insects and fungus. They are the fastest-growing conifers in the world, reaching heights of 379 feet, with trunks 30 feet in diameter, leaving would-be competitors in the shade. Giant Sequoias grow on the western slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada and can live as long as 3,000 years. Coastal redwoods, which can live to be more than 2,000 years old, sprout along a 20-mile-wide, 470-mile-long ribbon on the continent’s edge, where ever-present fog supplies the trees with life-giving moisture and nutrients.

Now that fog is fast fading away. Rising temperatures brought on by global warming are resulting in more fog-free days on the coast, while record drought deprives both redwoods and sequoias of water. The rapidity of the change in their environment wrought by the burning of fossil fuels threatens to overwhelm the giant trees.

“The climate changes that redwoods have seen in the past, they were taking place over millennia,” says Todd Dawson, a redwood expert and a professor at UC Berkeley. “It would take a thousand years for temperatures to change over two degrees. Now it’s taking three years.”

If the biggest, most formidable trees on the planet can’t survive climate change, can any?