1204: The Birds

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“You have to look past what can be photographed — individual cases, incidents in the past — at the broad patterns,” so says Ms Rebecca Solnit in a powerful article in the New York Times entitled “Are We Missing the Big Picture on Climate Change.”

Take a moment to read it when you can. Using bird populations as one example, and their population declines due to habitat losses, she writes:

“That one death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic, is as true of animals as it is of human beings. It’s a lot harder to mourn a potential loss of an entire habitat — as is threatened now for birds like the chestnut-collared longspur — than it is to mourn a golden eagle struck down by a turbine blade, or a warbler scorched in a solar farm.”

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I really like birds. I don’t know as much about them as I’d like (so very few bird pics in my library) but I understand their significance. I have even come to enjoy feeding them through the winter months (seems you can teach an old dog new tricks!). But more, it seems that that old line about “a canary in a coal mine” might also be appropriate to avian warnings about our current environment.

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I don’t have bird pics, but I do have a backlog of fossil and rock images from recent visits to the nearby quarry.  So here are a group of alternating images:

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And here are a few winter images, old and new. The first two will hang at the BAU Gallery in Beacon, NY opening next Saturday, December 13. The last two are new – the result of the first snowfall this year.

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I’ll finish today with this colorful version of the opening image, and with some final remarks from the Times article. Thanks for the visit.

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“Climate change is everything, a story and a calamity bigger than any other. It’s the whole planet for the whole foreseeable future, the entire atmosphere, all the oceans, the poles; it’s weather and crop failure and famine and tropical diseases heading north and desertification and the uncertain fate of a great majority of species on earth. The stories about individual birds can distract us from the slow-motion calamity that will eventually threaten every bird.

And so we should seek out new kinds of stories — stories that make us more alarmed about our conventional energy sources than the alternatives, that provide context, that show us the future as well as the past, that make us see past the death of a sparrow or a swallow to the systems of survival for whole species and the nature of the planet we leave to the future.”

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