Date: 9/21/19 6:57 am
From: Ginny Wood <boykinwoods1...>
Subject: Re: Bird decline
Uh-huh. I have come to feel that by running all over the place in our cars, cutting roads into the woods, standing around in gaggles making noise (sometimes calling the birds), and so forth, that we are literally consuming them as if they were, well, consumer goods. I began to ask, "How can I privilege my fleeting pleasures over their happiness and welfare--not to mention very survival?" And I very nearly quit birding last year. I've been out a couple of times this year, starting off a newbie from one of my classes last semester. And I can literally see and hear the dramatic dropoff in bird populations in places I haven't visited in a couple of years.

I am focusing my energies and money on doing what I can to live lighter: Installing dark-sky certified outside lighting, closing all the drapes at dusk, caring for my trees and flowers and shrubs (literally trying to restore my little postage-stamp-sized micro-habitat), putting out water and food for migrators, giving the $ I would have spent on gas to Audubon, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, et al.

When my roof fails, I will put in solar. When my little van dies, I will buy electric.

One does what one can.


🙏 Happy, at rest,may all beings be happy at heart. -Khp 9
Ginny WoodPshrink Emeritus

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, 7:04:37 AM EDT, Mike Judd <carolinabirds...> wrote:

Which is why my monthly $ goes to Planned Parenthood as well as selected politicians & environmental groups. A bit more car pooling & less cross-state bird chasing is another personal contribution 😜
Mike Judd 

Sent from my iPhone
On Sep 21, 2019, at 6:32 AM, J. Merrill Lynch (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> wrote:

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 LynchEcho Valley FarmWatauga County, NCSent 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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