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Be the Change…

If you’re among those that wants to see change in the world, you’ve probably heard Ghandi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I try to do that, even when it’s really not what I want to do. For example, there is a stereotype that “environmentalists” are urban dwellers who know nothing about nature. I grew up in a small town in the middle of a traditionally farming area. When I was a kid, my friends and I spent hours and hours wading around in a slough looking at bugs, catching frogs and tadpoles and filling our rubber boots full of water from time to time. Most city kids probably haven’t even had that exposure. But even though I grew up relatively “in the countryside,” I still don’t know a whole lot about nature, much to my embarrassment. However, a free paper that goes around my city has some nature columns each week, so I labor along through them, trying to pick up something.

This week, one column was about a particular bird species. What I found interesting about the piece is how just the one bird species shows how vulnerable birds are to environmental change. This type of bird migrates with the seasons. It can only take off from water, so obviously if there are droughts and some smaller water bodies, sloughs, etc. that are normally present along the migration route dry up, this could spell trouble for the birds. Some may not complete their journey. They also need different types of water at different times during their life cycle. They nest in fresh water but like salt water for the rest of the time. In one year their population fell by over half because of El Nino. Luckily it rebounded within a couple years, but now one of its major migration spots is becoming home to unexplained die-offs of the species and is also becoming more saline and polluted. This is just one species. It might be a good idea to at least take notice of and learn about some of nature from time to time, so that maybe we can prevent more of it from joining the ranks of the extinct.

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