Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Birds falling from the sky
Ben has been in town for the week, which of course means some art adventures. He was keen to work on some etchings, and I appreciated the kick in the pants to get out the plates and chemicals and work on an idea which has been percolating in my subconscious for a while. I had been watching big fluffy snowflakes fall and thinking they looked a little like birds in a flock...and what if there was some kind of spontaneous generation of avian life from the clouds? But now I read today about three places (Arkansas, Louisiana, Sweden) where actual birds are actually falling out the actual sky...dead in shocking big groups from unknown causes. That's a whole different story from my fanciful, rather pretty vision.
I was just reading up on the recent falling-birds stories, and so far there's no working theory about why this is happening. I don't have the scientific background to make any viable theories, but it has the feel of canaries-in-coal-mines to me. What is going on in the atmosphere and environment that would be killing off birds like that? I become suspicious about human causes, chemicals and other junky by-products we keep off-gassing. Doesn't help that I was recently also reading about the continued clean-up of the Gulf oil spill.
It's good to talk about the larger issues of societal responsibility for trashing the environment (which range from poverty to lobbyists), but it's also good for me to look at what my own responsibilities are on my own little scale. It's time for new year's resolutions....over the last few years I've made and kept two really good ones: never taking plastic bags in stores (3 years ago), and only recycled toilet paper in my house (at least 10 years ago). What's it going to be this year?