All around us, our world is literally in a state of collapse, but most people don’t seem to care. I spend much of my time writing about the inevitable collapse of our economic and financial systems, but they are only one part of the story. These days, millions upon millions of us are spending countless hours in this “virtual world” that we have created, and that is preventing many of us from understanding what is really going on in “the real world”. Where I live, I can literally keep the doors wide open for hours without worrying about bugs coming in, because insect populations are disappearing at a pace that is frightening. They are calling it “the insect apocalypse”, and some scientists are warning that they could all be gone in 100 years. And this dramatic decline in the insect population is one of the main reasons why North America’s bird population is collapsing. In the old days, I remember the singing of birds often greeting me in the morning, but these days I am never awakened by birds. That might make sense if I lived right in the middle of a major city, but I don’t. I live in a very rural location, and I do see birds out here, but not nearly as many as I would expect.
On second thought, I don’t know if the term “collapse” is strong enough to describe what we are facing.
In 1970, there were about 10 billion birds in North America.
Now, there are about 7 billion.
When are we finally going to admit that we have a major crisis on our hands?
Hopefully it will be before the count gets to zero.
Overall, we are talking about a total decline of approximately 30 percent…
“We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community,” says Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “By our estimates, it’s a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds.”
Could humanity survive without birds?
Probably, but this is yet another sign that the planetary food chain is in the process of totally breaking down. Despite all of our advanced technology, we are not going to survive without an environment that supports life, and at this moment that environment is being destroyed at a staggering pace.
According to the lead author of the study, the evidence they compiled “showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds”…
“Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said study lead author Ken Rosenberg, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy, in a statement. “We expected to see continuing declines of threatened species. But for the first time, the results also showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds.”
I like having birds in my backyard. In fact, I wish that I had a whole lot more.
Two of the largest factors being blamed for this stunning decline are “toxic pesticides” and “insect decline”. We have already talked about the “insect apocalypse” which is raging all around us, but I should say a few words about pesticides. Yes, they may help to protect our crops and our lawns, but in the process we are literally poisoning everything.
And that includes ourselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body”, and many believe that this is one of the reasons why cancer rates have skyrocketed in recent decades.
These days it seems like just about everyone knows at least one person with cancer. If you are one of those rare people that doesn’t know a single person with cancer, please leave a comment below, because I would love to hear your story. It has been estimated that one out of every three women and one out of every two men will get cancer in their lifetimes, but considering the rate that we are currently polluting our environment those estimates may be too conservative.
Without a doubt, several of the big pesticide companies are some of the most evil corporations on the entire planet, and yet most Americans don’t really seem to care about the death and destruction that they have unleashed all around us.
As with so many other things, this is yet another example that shows that we have no future on the path that we are currently on, and the clock is ticking.
Don’t you want a world in which the birds sing to you in the morning? Pete Marra, one of the scientists involved in the study, told the press that a number of bird species “that were very common when I was a kid” are among those being hit the hardest…
“We can all talk through the stories about there being fewer and fewer birds, but it’s not until you really put the numbers on it that you can really grasp the magnitude of these results,” Marra said. “We’re now seeing common species that have declined, things like red-winged blackbirds and grackles and meadowlarks — species that I grew up with, that were very common when I was a kid. That is the most surprising and most disturbing part.”
Everywhere around us, we can see decay, decline or collapse. This stunning drop in the bird population is just one more example.
But just like with so many other issues, most people don’t really care, and most people certainly don’t want to change.
So in the end we will reap what we have sown, and it will not be pleasant.
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