Friday, 30 November 2012

A birding chocolate tea pot

"Ask not what your interest can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your interest"
With apologies to JFK, somewhere in the USA, some time in the early 1960s

There's an awful lot of people out there looking. Looking at birds, animals, plants, moths, butterflies, overturning logs to look at beetles, disturbing leaf-litter to look for fungi, checking trees for disease, ponds for amphibians, locating bats by detectors.

But are we doing enough to make a difference save for adding more observation to the vast observation pile? I don't know if we are. I don't know if we can make a difference anyway. Defeatist? Maybe. Realistic? Possibly.

It just seems to me that big business, those who weald power, the monied and the agenda setters couldn't give a flying f about whether or not our butterfly populations are becoming fragmented to the point that they cannot sustain themselves. Or that our birds are still falling in number to the point that those of us who can remember The Banana Splits and Whizzer and Chips will also remember when our hedgerows and woodlands were rammed full of bird song.

An example - no two examples.

May 1974. I set up a microphone on my bedroom windowsill to record the evening chorus. The play back revealed such a level of bird song that it was impossible to distinguish individual songsters.

May 1985. Standing in Ham Street Woods at dawn. My birding friend and I were drowned out by bird song to the point that we couldn't hold a conversation with out shouting at each other. And even then it was difficult to hear each other. The noise from the birds was incredible.

If I repeated those experiences today the results would be very different.

What am I trying to say? I suppose an admission that I'm feeling a little impotent as to what use I currently have as far as making a difference. Maybe one of my aims next year should be to change that feeling...


Flora said...

Hi Steve. Agree and feel same. Want to see more conservation NGOs getting more assertive, less reactive (and when they do react to do it quicker), more proactive...and more global. The recent NT High Peaks consultation was an example of such forward thinking. I guess we (I) need to take some risks and remove ourselves (myself) from the (my) comfort zone. Bu vocalising your impotence you make a difference! Mel

Steve Gale said...

Good to hear from you Mel! Remove myself from my comfort zone? You might be right in suggesting that this is a minimal step to take on any journey to make a difference.