Date: 9/21/19 3:33 am
From: \J. Merrill Lynch\ (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Bird decline
Thanks for the pep talk but I wouldn’t use Rachel Carson as an example of positive change. The songbirds she lamented in her book Silent Spring continue to decline despite the ban on DDT, as the new paper documents. Citing the power of a long ago president in establishing new parks and refuges with a stroke of the pen doesn’t inspire much hope with me either in today’s political climate—anger on all sides.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the human population of the mainland USA and Canada in 1970 (223,946,000) and compared that to the current estimated population (364,905,000). That’s an increase of 63%! Food for thought there.

The decline of birds and the rest of nature is evident to all of us who spend their time outdoors in what’s left of it. And the decline is even more acute for those of us alive and aware in 1970.

I personally have no faith in a political solution to our troubled evolution (to paraphrase the lyrics from a song by The Police). So is it all just doom and gloom? NO! For hope, I turn to people like the late Doug Thompkins, a visionary conservationist who personally acquired over 2 million acres in southern Chile and Argentina, almost all of it contiguous, creating multiple new national parks. For real him.

Human population growth and all of its associated ramifications is the root cause of our predicament—pick your poison—development sprawl, intensive agriculture, deforestation, chemical toxins, invasive species, climate change, etc and etc...

Saving as much of the natural landscape that remains, including restoring some degraded parts, is in my opinion, the only real option we have left. Nature and biological diversity is undeniably in retreat. We need to save as much as possible of what’s left to get through the coming human population bottleneck. For details of what I’m talking about see the thoughts of biologist E.O. Wilson here:

There is a growing movement in the scientific community to declare the era of substantial human impact on the earth as a new geological era, the Anthropocene. The evidence of substantial human impact is all around us including this new paper on bird decline.

Given the trajectory of the human population and it’s growing impact on natural systems and biodiversity, and the sober realization that humans aren’t going to do anything meaningful about it, I am left with this. To paraphrase yet another song lyric from The Police: “As the world keeps running down, you make the best of what’s still around.”

Merrill Lynch
Echo Valley Farm
Watauga County, NC
Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 20, 2019, at 4:47 PM, Derb Carter <derbc...> wrote:
>> If you are saddened or frustrated by the loss of nearly a third of our birds since 1970, do something. One person can make a difference, and collectively many like minded people can make change. Rachel Carson was concerned about the loss of birds to DDT, wrote about it, and in short order it was banned. Fifteen year old Greta Thunberg decided to strike from school to demand action on climate and today over a million joined her worldwide. Some women in New York banded together to stop the use of egret and heron feathers to adorn hats and soon it was illegal. The people elected a birder Theodore Roosevelt and with a stroke of the pen he protected millions of acres of public lands forever as parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges.
>> Others have made great suggestions on what you can do personally or on your property. I will add some more. There are as many ways to get involved to respond to the causes of the decline in birds as there are causes. And there are organizations working to address all these problems. Find an organization working to acquire and protect habitat in your area, or working to increase public awareness of the decline of birds and loss of habitat, or working to move to clean energy as quickly as possible - and get involved. Ask candidates who want your vote - from town councils to president - what their positions are on issues affecting birds and get involved.
>> Margaret Mead said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
>> Derb Carter
>> Chapel Hill NC

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