The Leonberger dog breed. Information and stories.
My name is Thomas Wikman. I am a software/robotics engineer with a background in physics, but I am currently retired. I took early retirement. I am a dog lover, and especially a Leonberger lover, a home brewer, craft beer enthusiast, an amateur astronomer, I’m learning French, and I am an avid reader. I live in Dallas, Texas, but I am originally from Sweden. I am married to Claudia, and we have three children Jacob, David and Rachel. My blog feature the crazy adventures of our Leonberger e Bronco von der Löwenhöhle as well as information on Leonbergers
I am originally from Sweden, but I’ve lived in Texas for more than 20 years and in the US for 30 years. Therefore, I forgot June 6, which is the Swedish National Day. It is still June 6 in California and Hawaii but not in Texas and certainly not in Sweden, so I am a day late. I forgot. A blogger who isn’t even Swedish incidentally reminded me. It is also a special National Day because it is the 500-year anniversary of Sweden’s independence from Denmark.
Christian the Tyrant, or as the Danes call him Christian the Good, was a very bad man who chopped people’s heads off. The Danish version of history is that Christian the Good was a very good man who tried to save the Union. He still chopped off heads though. Luckily, we had this guy Gustav Vasa (or Gustav Wasa) who resisted, and he became king of Sweden on June 6, 1523, which is 500 years ago. He was also really good at skiing.
Therefore, I have decided to post a couple of photos of the only Swedish Leonberger I’ve ever met personally, I haven’t been back to Sweden a lot. Her name is Amie, and she is from my neck of the woods, the high coast in northern Sweden. We met her at the top of a mountain, called the Skule mountain. Therefore, she is also the only Leonberger mountaineer I’ve ever met. To check out my original Amie post click here.
Amie was very happy and playful despite having climbed a mountain. Below is what Amie and we saw from the mountaintop.
I am also posting a few more photos from Sweden.
One thing that is pretty unique about Sweden is the different concept of private property. You can own the fruits of property, a farmer’s field, a mine, but the land belongs to everyone regardless of who owns it. Well almost everywhere, there are a few exceptions such as military reservations and you have stay at least 200 meters away from dwellings. It’s called “Allemansrätten”, or all-peoples-right translated roughly. This means that you can walk, hike, camp, pick berries and mushrooms, etc., anywhere without having to worry about trespassing. You just can’t walk off with the gold from a goldmine or a farmer’s crop. This is very different from how it works in Texas. However, everyone in Sweden love it and we certainly take advantage of it when we visit. In the picture below we were hiking, and we stopped at this small forest lake and someone had hung a tire from a branch.
Today our Dog Rollo, a mini-Australian Shepherd who also was a good friend of our late Leonberger Bronco, walked out into the backyard and then he came back a few minutes later. He looked at me a bit funny. He was watching me closer than he usually does, and he lowered his head as he passed me by, and he was tiptoeing quietly. I did not think about it too much. I mean what could be wrong? However, my daughter told me, “That looked very suspicious”. She thought Rollo might be trying to hide something. Therefore, we followed him, and we realized that he had something in his mouth. We told him to drop but he wouldn’t obey us. He was defiant. That’s when my daughter got a glimpse of what was in his mouth. It was a piece of poop.
He is not supposed to eat poop. He is not allowed to. We are very strict about this. We never had to tell any of our other dogs not to eat poop, they just never did, except Rollo. You give him cooked ground bison, ham, and liver treats, specially prepared treats, things he loves, but then he has poop for dessert. Anyway, I got some toilet paper for him to spit in. We told him to drop. He looked at the toilet paper, and he looked at me with his big eyes. It was clearly a very difficult decision for him, and after sitting there thinking hard for a minute, he quickly swallowed the poop. What would you have done? Anyway, remember how he fooled me at first.
Rollo also loved chewing on shoes when he was younger. Fortunately, he’s gotten over that behavior, but in the process we’ve lost a lot of shoes. One time I forgot that I had left my shoes under a table in our TV room. I was walking around the house when I met Rollo in a hallway holding one of my shoes in his mouth. He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look, then he slowly turned around and tiptoed back into the TV room. He placed my shoe back under the table, right next to its mate, positioning it correctly so it was just the way I had left it. Then he tiptoed away as if pretending that nothing had happened.
Our Leonberger Bronco, our pug and Japanese Chin also played us a few times, extorting treats from us by tricking us and they also tricked us when escaping the backyard in ways that we couldn’t figure out. Well actually, we figured out how Daisy and Ryu escaped, and we repaired the hole in the fence behind the tree that we found.
So how do you deal with this? My advice is to be smarter than I am, well at least, try to be smarter than your dog. Being smarter than your dog is very helpful. Watch them, observe them in the backyard. A Leonberger digging frenetically by the fence is soon going to be out roaming the neighborhood. A Leonberger shaking an unlocked gate using his paw, or trying to lift the lever with his nose, is soon going to be out roaming the neighborhood and eating Hors d’oeuvres at a neighbor’s cocktail party.
With permission from Brend Saito (see comment), in this post I am sharing something she shared on Facebook in memory of her golden retriever, Odie, who passed away in May 2021 at the age of 12. The author is unknown.
“A dog asked :
“Tell me, human, why’d you record me? ”
The human replied, “You were so little and cute then and I couldn’t resist”
“But I ate your flowers, peed on your carpet and broke the expensive vase and all your clothes are full of hair from me… never thought about giving me away? ”
Again the man replied:
“I was also upset at first and had more work to do, but then when you sat down on my lap as usual, everything was fine… you don’t give your children to the orphanage because they once are mischievous. ”
The dog looked attentively at his owner and asked:
“But look, now I’m very old and I have my problems too… I cost a lot of money because you go to the vet with me more often and I need special food… I’m not as agile as I was 10 years ago… and i don’t smell like a baby anymore”
The mistress swallowed briefly and struggled with tears for a moment when she then answered:
“My love, you will ALWAYS be my baby, you have enriched my life and given me countless beautiful moments, now you are old and not quite healthy but that doesn’t change how much I love you.
You have always been there for me, comforted me when I was sad and made me laugh, you are my most precious treasure. And I wish we can spend more time together.
I will continue to do my best to make your life beautiful.
I will do everything for you my little darling.. ”
The dog gently placed its paws on his wife’s cheek and licked.
The sun shone in his eyes that shone like opals.
H a p p y.
L O V E
Anyone who has and loves dogs understands without words….
I found out that today, or rather yesterday, that May 26 is World Dracula Day. It is celebrated to remember the day that the famous novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was published (1897). For most of you I am posting this one a day late. However, I found out about it a bit late. Check out VAMP JENN’S CORNER.
It reminded me of our trip to Romania and Transylvania in 2008. During that trip my son and I were inducted into the covenant of Dracula as special protectors of Dracula. Perhaps you could join as well? Viking Blood tastes pretty good and you can buy it at Specs. More on that later. (Photos by me).
First a little bit about Dracula. Prince Vlad “Tepes” Draculea (Vlad the Impaler) known as Dracula was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania, Romania, in 1431. He was the second son of Vlad Dracul (Vlad the Dragon), who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436. Wallachia is the province to the south of Transylvania. He got the nickname Vlad the Impaler because his favorite method of execution was to impale people, and he is rumored to have impaled tens of thousands. In 1442 the Ottoman Empire tried to invade Transylvania and Vlad Dracul and Vlad Tepes Draculea were imprisoned by the Ottomans. They were able to flee, and Vlad Tepes became the Voivod (ruler) of Wallachia, defender of Transylvania and ultimately the defender of all of Europe. For this reason, Vlad Tepes alias Dracula is a local hero, despite his impalement activities and being rumored to be a vampire.
It was a Water polo team trip. In addition to the kids on the team, including my son Jacob, there was the coach Mihai, and two chaperones, me, and Jim Smith. We arrived in Bucharest (Wallachia) where the boys played water polo against other teams, and we also visited various tourist attractions such as the enormous Palace of the Parliament erected by Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. We also visited the Snagov island and the Snagov monastery located not far from Bucharest. The Snagov monastery is where Dracula’s grave is located and it is tended to by a monk, Dracula’s monk, and he was extremely happy to welcome us. He had been waiting for us.
Next the monk took us to Dracula’s well and he asked us if we were willing to join the covenant of Dracula as protectors of Dracula. I am not sure if that is the same as the order of the Dragon, the order that Dracula was part of. The monk said that my son was very special. He was the incarnation of the arch angel Gabriel and a special protector of Dracula. I am not sure if that had anything to do with me giving him a good tip earlier. I asked whom I was an incarnation of. The monk answered, no one special, you are just Pedro. I don’t know who Pedro is. Anyway, we drank from Dracula’s well and got inducted into the Dracula’s covenant.
Next, we headed off to Transylvania where we visited the cities of Brasov and Sibiu and the town of Sighisoara. We stayed at a hotel “Casa cu Cerb” built inside the three-story house, at “Piata Muzeului” number 6, where Dracula was born. It was an interesting experience and we got to know the owner well. It is a famous small hotel with only ten guestrooms. We also ate at Dracula’s restaurant next-door. We had brain, not human brains, but cow brains, we aren’t zombies.
We also climbed the Transylvanian mountains and visited the Bran castle. The Bran castle is allegedly Dracula’s castle, but it is not really true. It is more of a tourist trap. The Poienari Castle, which we also visited, was on the other hand built or rather renovated by Dracula.
One amazing aspect of owning a Leonberger is that there is a database where you can lookup information on your Leonberger including his siblings and ancestry. It is called the Worldwide Independent Leonberger Database. It currently contains 166,000 entries that lived as far back as the 19th century. Considering there are around 30,000 Leonbergers in the world, that’s impressive.
The database is updated weekly and free to use. It serves mostly as a tool for breeders and researchers, but it is quite interesting for anyone to browse. It was established in 2005 as a nonprofit organization and is managed and owned by Wilma and Ben Kroon, breeders who live in the Netherlands. Like any database, it is fully searchable. Search criteria include the name (or portion of a name), registration number, date of birth, and chip number. You can search in English, German, and French. The website also features informative articles about the data that’s collected. Note that some of Bronco’s information is missing because he was not used for breeding.
For each Leonberger, the database contains the following information.
A photograph if available
Tattoo and/or microchip number
DNA profile number
Date and place of birth
Website of breeder
Website of owner
Export registration number
Mean kinship (a measure of genetic diversity)
Indicators of hip dysplasia (abbreviated as HD) and elbow dysplasia (abbreviated as ED)
Eye test dates and results
Indicators of hypothyroidism
Results of DNA tests for the genes LPN1, LPN2, LPPN3, and LEMP
Number of offspring
Coefficient of inbreeding for ten generations and all generations
About “Lets do Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle” that’s not his real name. His real name is “Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. What happened was that we named him “Bronco” and we were told that his name had to start with an ‘L’. So, my wife Claudia said, “Let’s do Le Bronco” intending his name to be “Le Bronco”. When we received his certificate, it said “Lets do Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”, which also starts with an ‘L’ but not what we intended. I got this fixed in the database as you can see below. However, for whatever reason the “Lets Do” crept back in again.
I am going to contact the database administrators to take the “Lets Do” back out. Do you think I will be able to succeed?
With the help of the database, I was able to trace Bronco’s lineage all the way back to 1901, and I found photographs of and other information about several of his ancestors as far back as 1904. However, below I am including screenshots showing the names of his immediate siblings (twins), his mother and father and a direct ancestor (grand-pa’s grand-pa etc.) 15 generations back.
In this post I am explaining how you measure the alcohol level in a home beer brew. You can find this information online and in books, but I am explaining it very succinctly. It is quite simple, and you don’t need to read a ten-page explanation. A few photos with a brief explanation will do.
When you brew beer at home you start by boiling the wort. You boil water and you add the malts and the hops for the flavoring and the aroma at specific times. This all depends on the recipe you are following. The wort easily boils over, which upsets my wife, but luckily my dog Rollo loves to lick the wort off the kitchen floor. He’ll lay there and wait for me to screw up. Don’t worry, the wort contains no alcohol at this point, which makes this a good point to measure what is called gravity. I should mention that you need to let the wort cool off before doing your measurements and before adding the yeast (or you’ll kill it). I use an ice bath to do this.
It is difficult to measure the alcohol directly. You need to set up a chemistry lab in the kitchen, which would upset your wife. Therefore, you use an indirect method using a hydrometer. During the fermentation process, yeast converts sugars into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). As the sugar is used up, the wort slowly becomes less dense. By measuring the density before and after fermentation, you can calculate how much alcohol is in the finished beer. In the beer world this is called measuring the gravity. You can buy a hydrometer in a lot of places including Amazon.
The density/gravity of water is used for reference as 1.000. To be exact, it also depends on the temperature, but for now we’ll ignore that. You measure the gravity before fermentation has started, just before you pitch (add) the yeast. The temperature at this point should be around room temperature, 72 degrees (60 to 75 degrees). This is called the original gravity (OG). Then after fermentation (in your container, carboy, whatever) you measure it again. This is called the final gravity (FG).
I should add that after the fermentation in your container/carboy is done you add a little bit more sugar (called priming sugar), you bottle the beer, and you let it ferment a little bit more, which will add a little bit more alcohol as well as carbon dioxide. You want some carbon dioxide in the beer but not too much. This extra amount of alcohol is not accounted for using the final gravity. However, it is typically around 0.2% and if you wish to include it, you can just add that number.
Using the original gravity (OG) and the final gravity (FG) you can now calculate the ABV, Alcohol By Volume, by using the formula below. For my latest brew, an IPA (India Pale Ale), which I bottled yesterday, I got OG = 1.072 and FG = 1.018. Ideally FG is around 1.010, but for whatever reason I did not get there.
ABV = (OG – FG) x 131.25 = 0.054 x 131.25 = 7.1%
So that would be 7.3% with the bottle fermentation.
There is a more exact formula:
ABV = (76.08 x (OG – FG) / (1.775 – OG)) * (FG/0.794) = which in my case yields ABV = 7.23% which would yield 7.43% with the bottling. I can add the recipe predicted ABV = 7.5%. There are also formulas that account for the temperature at the point of measurement of original gravity and the final gravity. But I think this is good enough.
Today (well actually yesterday by now) was the Eurovision final (from the UK) and Sweden won. For those who don’t know, Eurovision is the largest song contest in the world. Countries compete against each other, and the final typically has as many viewers as the Superbowl, about 200 million. You are allowed to sing in your native language or in English. Not all participating countries are European, for example, Turkey, Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Cyprus are frequent participants, but they are not European countries, and this year Australia participated, The Eurovision is a huge cultural phenomenon that is not well known in the United States. I’ve noticed that the natively English-speaking countries often miss out on big worldwide cultural phenomena that are not entirely based on English. Typically, famous music groups do not participate, but many famous music groups got started or were propelled by the Eurovision, for example, ABBA (waterloo 1974) and Celine Dion (1988).
Anyway, this is a Leonberger blog but sometimes I post about other things and my home country Sweden winning the Eurovision is a big deal for me, so I made a post about it. I am also posting number two (Finland) and number three (Israel). Which one do you think is best? I won’t be offended if it is not Sweden.
Russia was banned from participating this year, and some other countries that usually do like Turkey, Bulgaria, and Hungary did not participate. These were the top seven.
This is a Leonberger blog but sometimes I post about books that I want to promote. This post is a review and a promotion of a very good wildlife and poetry book called Lion Scream: Syllabic Poetry About Southern African Wildlife Paperback – February 8, 2023 by Robbie Cheadle.
The paperback version of the Lion Scream, which is what I bought, is 163 pages, ISBN 979-8376647318, item weight 10.7 ounces, dimensions 6 x 0.39 x 9 inches. You can buy Lion Scream from Amazon, as a paperback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $20.50 on Amazon. The Kindle version is $4.59 or free if you are part of Kindle Unlimited.
Wildlife, Poetry, Truth, and Art all Wrapped into a Powerful and Beautiful Book
The book opens up to colorful cake art depicting nature’s response to the sixth mass extinction and global warming. The cake art was created by the author. FYI the previous five mass extinctions happened 440 million years ago, 365 million years ago, 250 million years ago, 210 million years ago and 65 million years ago. This book is a celebration of wildlife and a plea to save it. It contains 99 color photos of wildlife from south Africa, rhinos, elephants, lions, zebras, buffaloes, leopards, cheetahs, warthogs, wildebeests, hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, jackals, marabou storks, gemsbok, antelopes, insects, birds and monkeys of various kinds and many other animals. It also features 31 YouTube videos featuring wildlife. I bought the paperback, so I had to type in the links. That wasn’t bad but the kindle version has the advantage of clickable links.
However, the main feature of the book is the double ennead syllabic poetry about wildlife and the beauty of the natural world. This poetry is passionate and beautiful as well as fun and engaging. There is also information about wildlife and the threats posed to wildlife as well as a poignant story about a girl, Irene, who internalizes the mass extinction, global warming crisis, and the catastrophe this is to wildlife and her generation. Her angst and pleads for action and her anger towards her parents is heart-rending, and originally being Swedish my thoughts went to Greta.
I felt that this book has so much to offer in terms of beauty and wisdom, the poetry, the photos, the videos, the information, that reading it was a real pleasure. It is a book that will stay with me. I highly recommend this book.
If you would like to watch some of the other wildlife videos click on the links below
Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.
Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.
The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews.
I should say Baby was a rescue dog who came to us via my wife’s sister. She had allegedly been abused in her previous family, as well as dumped at the shelter. For being a German Shepherd, she was anxious and did not have strong self-confidence. She did not like the dog park, which you could see because she tried to be by herself, and she was drooling while at the park. She was very smart, obedient, and easy, but she seemed depressed.
Even though Baby was a shy and anxious dog at first, once we got Bronco, her personality changed. She loved Bronco, and she took on the job of being Bronco’s adoptive mom. She played with him; she watched him; she was fiercely protective of him. Bronco was her puppy. She seemed rejuvenated, as if she had found an important job to do—a purpose, if you will. It was beautiful to see her take care of Bronco and play with him. She became happier and more confident, and Bronco loved her.
As an example of her protective behavior, once our daughter Rachel put a bucket over Bronco’s head. She was young and she was just playing. Baby barked at her in a gentle way so that she understood to take the bucket off. She told me later she did not feel threatened by Baby. She felt corrected, like a mother saying, “don’t do that”. Baby liked our daughter Rachel. Rachel was the first one to pet her when she joined our family.
What follows next is a scary story
One day I was out walking with Baylor, Baby, and Bronco. Bronco was very young, maybe four months old. We met a man walking two medium-size black dogs off leash. Suddenly, one of the dogs attacked us. There was nothing I could do. As I watched helplessly, the black dog made the monumental mistake of going for Bronco. If the dog had attacked Baylor or Baby, either dog would certainly have put up a courageous defense, but going after Bronco was nearly suicidal, not because of Bronco himself but because of Baby.
I heard a loud explosion of barks that lasted only a few seconds, and then I saw the black dog flying five or six feet up into the air. Baby had bitten him in the side and tossed him skyward. It was surreal. I almost couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.
The black dog lay in the street. The man knelt before him and started crying. He said his dog’s back was broken. I was mortified, and I said, “I am so terribly sorry.” He said, “It’s not your fault. I was the one walking my dogs without a leash.” It was gratifying for me to hear that under the circumstances, but it was no less tragic.
Then, to my astonishment, the black dog stood up and quickly walked back to the other side of the street. The dog was in shock, but he was fine. The man calmed down, and we said goodbye to each other on good terms.
It wasn’t the only time Baby protected Bronco, but it was the most memorable. Thinking about it still sends chills down my spine. Years later, after Baylor and Baby passed and we got our small dogs, Bronco would take on the role of their protector. He would save lives.
However, as Bronco grew older Baby slowly grew out of the role as Bronco’s protector, especially when he wasn’t that well behaved himself. On one occasion when I was walking Bronco and Baby, we met a man and his dog walking on the other side of the street, heading toward us. Bronco started barking at the dog, and the other dog responded. Both dogs worked themselves up into a frenzy. Bronco began pulling on his leash and even jumping. Baby remained quiet. But with all his carrying on, Bronco accidentally bumped Baby into a storm drain, which we happened to be standing right in front of.
To save Baby, I lay on my stomach and grabbed her around her abdomen with one arm—all while holding Bronco’s leash with my other hand. He continued pulling, jumping, and barking as I gradually dragged Baby up out of the drain. The guy on the other side of the street looked at us with big eyes, as if he had seen an evil clown peering out from the storm drain. He lifted his dog up in his arms and ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction.
Meanwhile, Bronco had calmed down, and I was able to drag Baby back onto the street. She loved Bronco, but after this incident she showed us in her own way that she’d rather not take her walks with him. We respected her wishes, and I walked them separately from that point on. It was safer anyway.
This is the story of the ban of my five-star review for the book “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet” and the warning I received from Amazon. I certainly ruffled some feathers just by paraphrasing some content from the book. I highly recommend the book by the way.
At the end of March, I received this email from Amazon:
One or more of your posts were found to be outside our guidelines. In order to help our customers make informed choices, we encourage them to review the product and contribute information about it. However, Community content that violate our guidelines or Conditions of Use will be removed.
Please consider this a first warning.
Before submitting your next post, please refer to our Customer Guidelines:
At first, I had no clue what post they were talking about. Then I realized that they had removed one of my reviews, for the book “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet”, after they had initially approved it and let it be displayed for a month. There are many ways to violate guidelines, and I did not understand what they were referring to. I got a warning, so this was fairly serious. So, I asked community help which guidelines were violated but I received no reply. After three attempts to no avail, I asked Amazon customer service the same question, explaining that I understood it is not their area of concern, but I wanted them to help me with getting an answer. They knew I was a very good long-time customer. They promised me that community help would return an answer within 24-48 hours as they are supposed to, but they didn’t.
After engaging Amazon customer service three more times community help finally got back to me telling me that I had violated community guidelines, which I already knew. After engaging Amazon customer service one more time and receiving an assurance of a reply they finally admitted/told me what the problem was. They considered my review to be very offensive and also warned me about posting something like it again. I did not understand why it was so offensive but at least I had received an answer, so I replied with a thank you and I gave them a good rating on the survey.
Me and my friends whom I shared the review with, could not see why the review was so offensive so it is still a bit of mystery. I am certainly not going to try to repost the review on Amazon, that’s like asking to be banned. However, no one can stop me from posting it here, or on Barnes & Noble.
I liked the book in question, that was not the problem. I think that the problem was that the book discussed the campaigns launched against Dr. Michael Mann and other scientists perpetrated by certain rightwing thinktanks and populist politicians, and I paraphrased some of this information in my review. These campaigns were multi-billion-dollar sized aggressive campaigns that aimed to misinform the public about the climate science, defame, lie about and harass climate scientists, and even make people hate them and threaten them and to prevent research from being done on the topic. You can’t mention the basic facts about these climate wars, as Dr. Michael Mann calls them, without upsetting some people, and I included some of that in my review of the book. I often include some of the content from non-fiction books in my reviews of them to help me remember the content. I did not think much about it. However, I guess, if the book is inflammatory in some people’s eyes, then a review paraphrasing the book will be too.
Before I present my review, I should mention that why some “climate-denier” forces attacked Dr. Michael Mann was because of his hockey-stick curve created in the mid 1990’s. It was already known that the recent sharp global warming not only was real but was caused mostly by greenhouse gases emitted by us. We knew that from the way the warming happened, how it was distributed, how it affected the atmosphere, etc. However, that’s a complicated thing to explain to the public. Dr. Michael Mann was the first scientist to create the hockey stick curve using proxy temperature data from the pre-industrial times (not direct temperature measurements), and this curve made it obvious even to the uninformed layman that the current warming was not natural. You could see that just by looking at the curve. This is why he was so intensely targeted. For your information I have included two examples of hockey stick curves below, and for more information, click here.
Some basic information about “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet ” – May 10, 2022 by Dr. Michael Mann. The paperback dimensions are 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.25 inches, and the weight is 11.2 ounces, ISBN 978-1541758216, 400 pages, and it currently costs $15.99 on Amazon in the US. The kindle version is $12.99 and the hardcover $14.29.
Below is my banned review, exactly as posted:
The Climate Deniers Lost but the same People Are Back with New Tricks
First off, this is not a book about climate science despite the fact that the author is a climate scientist. This is a book about the new form that the climate wars have taken. It is yet another topic on which the author is an expert because of his grueling personal experiences.
For decades climate scientists were attacked, defamed, misrepresented, lied about, and threatened. There was climate science denial, misdirection, distortions, lies, and mockery. It was a well-funded war launched by political groups such as the Heartland Institute, right wing politicians, corrupt industry funded scientists, extremist rightwing media and fossil fuel industry front groups such as the competitive enterprise institute, and the Koch brothers, and many other rightwing billionaires, etc. It was a war against scientists who were trying to find the truth, and a war against those telling us what was already known about the science, and a war against those who dared to speak up for the environment and future generations. Dishonest denialist bloggers, such as Anthony Watts, rose to fame as a result of the war. It was ugly and Dr. Michael Mann was in the middle of it. In the first chapter of this book, he describes what happened in the past and he describes his experiences. He was called a fraud and he was viciously attacked for his research that led to the Hockey Stick curve, a curve which is now established fact.
About a decade ago I believed myself that Dr. Michael Mann was a fraud and that his Hockey Stick curve was bogus. I had my doubts about the climate science. That’s because at the time I read and listened mostly to rightwing media. Then I took the time to understand as much as I could about the science, and I came to realize that I had been hoodwinked. Dr. Michael Mann and the other climate scientists were undoubtedly right. Well, that climate war is mostly over. Climate change deniers, or global warming deniers, whatever you call them (they were never skeptics), aren’t taken seriously anymore. However, the dark forces who launched the climate wars against the science didn’t disappear, they changed tactics. Instead of outright denial, the new tactic is downplaying, deflection, dividing, delaying and lastr but not least doomism. He refers to these bad actors as inactivists. Remarkably, many climate activists and environmentalists are naively doing the bidding of the inactivists and in this book Dr. Mann explains how.
Placing the responsibility of climate change on consumers and climate activists is an example of deflection. We need systemic change. Individual behavior needs to change as well but without systemic change, adjusting individual behavior is not only difficult but not very impactful and also associated with unnecessary guilt, which is exactly what the deflectors want. In addition, a solitary focus on voluntary action may undermine support for governmental policies to hold carbon polluters accountable.
The division tactics seek to polarize and divide the environmental movement and those who care about climate by using misinformation. One example is the misleading Cowspiracy so-called documentary. The dividers made sure Donald Trump won the 2016 election with the help of armies of Russian bots and Trolls poisoning on-line discussions. Among the division tactics he mentions making progressive/leftist climate advocates reject the most effective climate solutions such as a carbon price. Dividers have also succeeded in convincing the leftwing of the climate movement that deconstructing capitalism is necessary to solve the climate crisis, which is false and will scare away the moderates and conservatives needed onboard for achieving climate solutions.
Inactivists have many other cards under their sleeve, such as trying to discredit renewables, presenting non solutions as the best solutions, presenting insufficient solutions as all we need (planting trees, adaptation), misinforming the public in all sorts of ways, etc. However, the one very effective tool to prevent climate action is doomism, presenting the entire cause as hopeless, thus making action on climate seem pointless. People across the political spectrum, perhaps especially the left, have fallen victim to doomism. Dr. Mann is stressing that the situation is bad but that there is nothing hopeless about it. We will not fall off a cliff, but the size of the future damage depends on our actions. Doomism is not coming from the climate scientists and it is not coming from the IPCC. Doomism is a false belief that has spread like a wildfire with the help of bots and trolls. It also creates an opportunity for inactivists to attack climate scientists by falsely claiming that they are the ones spreading the despair and fear.
Dr. Mann brings speaks very warmly about carbon fee and dividend, my favorite climate policy and he mentions Citizens Climate Lobby three times and speaks favorably about them, which also warms my heart since I am a CCL volunteer. I think he was a bit harsh on Bill Gates and Ken Caldeira and I think he underestimated nuclear power a bit. I’ve read some of Ken Caldeira’s papers and we were Facebook friends for a while. His geoengineering research is done so that we would know something about the topic if we are forced to use it. It is absolutely not as a substitute for climate action, something Bill Gates makes very clear in his book.
Above all, this is a very important book that everyone interested in the climate crisis should read. We have powerful enemies who are trying to confuse us, disengage us and divide us and turn people against us. It is important to understand how climate action is being prevented and discouraged now a day. The war has changed, and the lies are now different and less obvious. It is also an important book for those who do not care about the climate crisis. Why don’t you care? Could it be that you have been misled/bamboozled? Why don’t you find out? I can add that it is a very well written and well-organized book that is very engaging no matter what you believe.