Billions of birds flew South this past month. Most will return, hopefully. The journeys are getting more challenging as humans alter habitats, and climate changes are making foraging more difficult. Plants are changing their time of blossoming and seeding. The Anthropocene era is ours and it is past time to worry about what we Homo sapiens have done and continue doing to our eco-systems.
When I was born we were a world population of 2.3 billion. As a sixth grader in 1955 I lay on a classroom floor congested with smog-filled lungs in East Los Angeles. Later I wrote and spoke publicly as an environmental information representative of the Southern California Edison Company. It was the first and second year anniversary of Earth Day. Our message was simple. Which sources of energy should be used to supply the demand for electricity?
Each has its consequences. Coal and No. 1 crude oil give off horrendous amounts of CO2 (Carbon dioxide), SO3 (Sulphur trioxide), and oodles of other noxious gasses. So does natural gas. Nuclear wastes endure thousands of years. Solar panels require mining rare earth elements. Wind propellers kill birds. Back then, cost and benefit analysis rarely considered air and water pollution. Smog blanketed Los Angeles and later almost every major urban area around the Globe. Humans have been leaving scarring footprints and are consuming limited resources.
What can each of us do to reduce our unwanted environmental impacts? At Venice Area Audubon Society (VAAS) we monitor birds and their habitats, a fair measure of where earth's health is going. Doug Tallamy urges us to grow native plants in our landscape. Thousands of biologists, ecologists, and other scientists are watching mother earth ever more closely and reporting. To see healthy, fully functioning eco-systems VAAS is visiting Ecuador this coming Spring. Hopefully we will return this Spring better prepared to decide our part in our planet's fate.
- Roy Musick, VAAS Co-President
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