Ringling Bros. circus closing show after 146 years

By 2014, the plaintiffs, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society, had been ordered to pay the circus $25 million to reimburse its legal fees. Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of show producer Feld Entertainment, said he and his family came to the “difficult” decision to end the circus “after much evaluation and deliberation.”
“Nearly 50 years ago, my father founded our company with the acquisition of Ringling Bros.,” he said in a statement on the group’s website.”
“The circus and its people have continually been a source of inspiration and joy to my family and me, which is why this was such a tough business decision to make.”
The group has a total of 30 stops scheduled on its 2017 tour. Animal rights controversies
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals cheered Ringling’s latest decision as the end of an era, and called for other circuses to follow their lead. World’s Greatest Shows, merged with Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, joined in. In May 2015, the circus retired its performing elephants after major criticism from animal rights groups, including widely circulated videos from PETA that showed a male handler hitting elephants with an ankus, or pointed stick. Two whales were boiled alive in their tanks during one of the fires. Barnum’s first show in 1871. You feel it is the end of an era,” long-time trainer Trudy Williams told AFP at the time. “It is sad. The Ringling Brothers herd was the largest in the Western hemisphere for Asian elephants, listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which says 40,000-50,000 exist in the world in highly fragmented populations. The case was eventually thrown out after a lead witness was found to have been paid for his testimony by animal rights groups. One such object was the Fiji mermaid, or Feejee mermaid, which was in fact no less than the head and torso of a monkey sewn to the body and tail of a fish. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday it will host its final show in May, ending “The Greatest Show on Earth” after 146 years.  
“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on Earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” the group’s president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. The final “Circus XTREME” show will take place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on May 7, while the group’s “Out Of This World” tour will take place May 21 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Barnum launched his traveling circus after fires destroyed his Barnum’s American Museum. Ringling Brothers was also embroiled in a 14-year lawsuit in which animal rights groups alleged the circus was mistreating its herd. “A major moment as big brands that harm animals fade away and more humane businesses emerge I applaud @RinglingBros announcement,” he tweeted. While the Ringling brothers had been better known for traditional circus fare, Barnum was dubbed the “Prince of Humbugs,” known as a shameless promoter of incredible hoaxes, freak shows and zoological curiosities. Company executives cited high operating costs and declining ticket sales after the traveling American circus retired its popular elephants as reasons for drawing the curtain on a celebrated spectacle that traces its origins to politician and showman P.T. In 1881, Barnum teamed up with James Bailey to run their “Greatest Show on Earth,” making a fortune along the way. Ringling Bros. Freak show origins
Although Barnum’s first show took place decades before, it was not until 1919 that a group started by five Wisconsin brothers, Ringling Bros. Animal rights groups cheered the move as a success story following decades of activism against the use of animals in the circus.

The ‘Madhouse Effect’ of climate denial in America

“Tom Toles, in my view, has found a way to make delay and denial and despair funny, in an odd way. “We now encounter climate change denialism, an agenda of inaction on climate change in all of our branches of government now, in the Congress and in the presidency,” he says. “If we don’t dramatically bring down our emissions over the next decade, then we will likely commit to warming the planet more than that amount.”
In “The Madhouse Effect,” Mann and Toles use basic science — and comedy — to dismantle common climate denial perspectives and give evidence for action. One chapter of the book, called “Geoengineering, or ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong?’” is dedicated to exposing the perils of large-scale climate intervention projects. California has the scientists, it has the lawyers. “What we’re talking about here are massive interventions with the Earth system that involve shooting things into the atmosphere, particles up into the stratosphere or dumping iron into the ocean, or putting mirrors in space to reflect sunlight or interfering with the climate system … in some unprecedented and untested way,” Mann explains.   
“Some scientists will point to [that] … as the level of truly dangerous, irreversible changes in climate,” Mann says. Just talk to ranchers in Texas or Oklahoma who recently suffered through the worst drought on record, Mann says, or look to the drought currently baking California: “For all those people, catastrophic climate change has already arrived.”
But despite the evidence, many Americans still deny that global temperatures are on a devastating path: President-elect Donald Trump, for one, has called global warming a “hoax” on numerous occasions. They’re going to act. “Jerry Brown actually said that he doesn’t care what Trump does. A cartoon from Toles drives the point home. They’re going to move ahead.”
And according to Mann, quick progress is of the essence because — here’s the other good thing — we still might be able to limit climate change to a scope we can survive within. “When you frame something in a humorous way, it leads to people dropping their defenses a little bit, sort of finding a side door,” Mann explains. 2016 is a wrap — and with it, likely the hottest year ever recorded. For one, if the federal government fails to provide effective national climate policy (such as putting a price on carbon), he sees an opportunity for state and local governments to step in. Its caption reads, “Year 2060: The search for a breakthrough technology to solve climate change continues.” In the drawing, two scientists tinker with a contraption of tubes and wires, as one of them explains to an onlooker (dressed in stars and stripes) that “it’s a time machine we hope will take us back 50 years when we should have put a price on carbon.”
“It’s a sort of gallows humor, I suppose, at times,” Mann says.  
“So we haven’t yet committed ourselves to truly catastrophic irreversible changes in our climate that go beyond our adaptive capacity, but we don’t have a lot of time left, and we do need to make progress over the next few years,” he says. “It’s worrying at a time when we need to be accelerating this transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Climate science shows that global temperatures are careening towards a critical checkpoint. Trump.” Suddenly, climate change denial is back in style, he says — and back in power. According to Mann, not only can these types of geoengineering projects be dangerous, they also involve a “kinder, gentler” form of climate change denial — insinuating that there can be a solution to climate change without quitting fossil fuels. But without a message of hope, without an avenue forward, gallows humor alone doesn’t lead us in the right direction.”
“And so one of the struggles in the book was to find a way to use the humor to go beyond just the exposure of hypocrisy of climate-change-denying politicians, but to try to paint a positive path forward at the same time.”
For Mann, hope takes several forms. The Earth shouldn’t warm by any more than 2 degrees Celsius   or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Mann addresses this disavowal trend in his new book, “The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving us Crazy,” which he co-authored with political cartoonist Tom Toles. “We’re going to need to find a way to make that progress even with a [United States] presidency which may end up on the wrong side of this issue.”
This article is based on an   interview   that aired on PRI’s   Living on Earth   with Steve Curwood. If Trump starts to defund our climate satellites, California will build them and put them up there. “When conditions are conducive to rainfall, you’re going to get more of it.” But the heat can be drying, too. “I actually had a meeting with [California Gov.] Jerry Brown just a few days ago, who is really leading the way on this issue,” Mann says. Mann says when they published the book last fall, “little did we realize how prescient the book would seem in the context of the way things have played out, in not just the UK election, the Brexit vote, but in the election of Donald J. Temperatures weren’t the only anomaly: Louisiana, for instance, saw floods so severe they should only happen every 1,000 years.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. PRI.org

According to Michael Mann,   a climate scientist at Penn State University,   the two events are related: “The bottom line here is that the atmosphere is warmer than it was, [meaning it] holds more moisture than it used to,” he says.

Another riot in an overcrowded Brazilian prison

We are going to verify the extent of the damage,” district security official Caio Berreza said on Globo News television. A series of massacres early this month left 100 prisoners dead —   many of them active members of gangs, authorities said. Officials raised the death toll from Saturday’s riot at the Alcacuz prison from three to 10. Security forces stormed the prison in northeastern Rio Grande do Norte state at dawn on Sunday and restored order after 14 hours of violence, local authorities said. “There are at least three inmates dead because we were able to see their heads,” state prisons manager Zemilton Silva told local media on Saturday. The prison, just outside the state capital Natal, is built for a maximum of 620 inmates but currently houses 1,083, the state justice department said. District security authorities said in a statement on Sunday that there were “at least 10 confirmed deaths.”
“We cannot yet confirm the final number of victims. Brazilian police on Sunday quelled a riot that left at least 10 people dead in a northern jail, the latest of several gruesome gang-related massacres in the country’s overcrowded prisons. Officials said members of two separate drug gangs had come out of different parts of the prison and clashed violently. Brazilian media said the riot was thought to be a clash between Brazil’s biggest drug gang, the First Capital Command (PCC), and a group allied to its main rival Red Command. They earlier said at least three inmates were beheaded. It was believed to be part of a war between drug gangs battling for control of one of the world’s most important cocaine markets and trafficking routes.

How ‘letters to the future’ are putting the spotlight on climate action now

But I stopped trying so hard.”
For Shrum, it was a watershed moment. Back at Harvard, where she was a graduate student in public policy, Shrum connected with Kubit, another student who was also interested in finding a way to talk about climate change with people, to show how it’s meaningful on a personal level. Shrum says they’re looking for an institution to archive the trove of messages as a time capsule, to be exhibited “in 2030 and 2050, and potentially beyond.”
For now, DearTomorrow’s founders are hoping that the project will strike a chord with all types of people, from climate activists to people who may otherwise have a hard time connecting the perils of climate change to their daily lives. For activists Trisha Shrum and Jill Kubit, climate change isn’t just an abstract concept. “At the heart of it, this is a storytelling project,” Kubit says. “When you try to give excuses to your child about why you didn’t protect their future, and why you didn’t enable the best possible world for them that you could, those excuses just fall flat,” she says. But even as Shrum wrote about how she’d worked to make a difference, she found herself making excuses for why she hadn’t done more to fight climate change. “I’ve tried, but, to be honest, I haven’t tried all that hard,” she wrote. And she began to wonder if the epiphany about her own “climate legacy” could be shared with others. Normal, beautiful things. I fell in love with your father and got married and had you. “The idea was that she was going to read it, I was going to send it to her, in the year 2050,” she adds. “And I was just writing in a very honest, open way, of everything that I’ve been doing on climate change,” she says. Hearing about it, she says, “Something kind of clicked for me.”
At the time, Shrum’s daughter Eleanor was 10 months old. “Instead I’ve focused on my own life. At the conference, Christiana Figueres, then head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, had given a talk that ended with a haunting story:
“She has this dream where the eyes of these children who are living in the future are looking at her and saying, ‘You knew about climate change. In a recent letter to him, she explained that the DearTomorrow project was “a small piece [in] trying to get people to take a step back, to reflect about what climate change means and to imagine what the world on the other side looks like.”
Letters, videos   and photographs from people around the world are collected on the project’s website. “What would I say to her now?” Shrum remembers thinking on the plane. At the time, her son Gabriel was 18 months old, and she had been thinking a lot about what raising a child would be like “in this period of time which is very scary, and also potentially very exciting,” she says. “And how could I capture this moment of how I feel today about climate change … in a way that she can relate to when she is my age?”
Shrum cracked open her laptop and began writing a letter to Eleanor. Rather, it has faces and names: Eleanor and Gabriel, their children. And through their time capsule project   DearTomorrow, Shrum and Kubit are hoping you’ll connect the planet’s future to your loved ones, too.Player utilitiesPopout
downloadListen to the Story. What did you do about it?’” Shrum recalls. This article is based on a story that aired on PRI’s   Living on Earth   with Steve Curwood. PRI.org

DearTomorrow invites people to share letters, photos   and videos about how they’re working against climate disruption — the idea being the notes   will be seen decades in the future. Shrum got the idea for the project in 2014, on the flight home from a climate change conference in Iceland. “I had always felt like as a movement, as organizations, and as people, we weren’t always talking about it in a way that really, really got to the core of ‘Why are we doing this work?’”
“And the moment I heard this idea — Trisha was like, ‘I wrote this letter, it was a very powerful thing for me.’ I was like, ‘I’m on board, I’ll do anything.’”
Kubit became a co-founder of DearTomorrow. By then, she had already spent eight years trying to frame the topic in a way that seemed relevant.