Date: 6/22/20 3:05 pm
From: Paul Bannick <paul.bannick...>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Birding and "Black Lives Matter"
Thanks Tom, Whitney and Izzy for having the courage to bring these critical
issues to mind.



On Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 10:24 AM Thomas M Leschine <tml...> wrote:

> Dear Tweets,
> Recent events and a few related related Tweeters posts remind me that we
> do not pursue our passion for birding in isolation from other, broader
> forces that shape society. On Memorial Day, New York City birder Chris
> Cooper had his infamous Central Park encounter, the same day that George
> Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. Many of us in the
> birding community found ourselves confronting more directly than ever the
> question, what does it mean to be a birder—white vs. person of color or
> other difference that may influence how some others view us. Should any of
> these distinctions even matter? Yet clearly, they do.
>
> I don’t know whether or not Tweeters is the right forum for discussion of
> such questions; like you, I bet, I come to Tweeters mostly because I want
> to know where the birds are. I’m just asking, as was asked in one of those
> earlier posts, where such discussion *should* take place.
>
> I don’t believe we as a community can afford to say, “Not our business”,
> if ever we could. We should care both about birds and the environmental
> quality that supports them. Conservation efforts and “environmental
> justice” are increasingly viewed as needing to go down the road together if
> either is ultimately to succeed. Weakened environmental rules likely
> affect communities of color disproportionately, even as more land and water
> become less hospitable to wildlife.
>
> Discourse on Tweeters is remarkably well mannered, something all “Tweets”
> can be proud of (and thank the listserv monitors for). Occasionally the
> topic turns to lost birding opportunity—that new road closure or that “No
> Trespassing” sign that didn’t used to be there. Conceptually at least,
> it’s not that big a leap to the topic of birding opportunity that is more
> available to some than to others by reason of skin color or other personal
> traits. As I said above, I’m not advocating that Tweeters specifically
> open up this way, but I am asking, as others have, where such a
> conversation should occur, as I believe it must.
>
> If you have a response, please send it to me directly rather than to the
> full Tweeters list.
>
> Tom Leschine
> Seattle
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>


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