Today's definition of sustainability - For the birds!
By Julie Kay Smithson
March 7, 2003
A rural neighbor and I had an interesting late-winter conversation
There had been an all-night sleet/freezing rainstorm and the temperature
hovering at eighteen degrees. Her husband had put birdseed out at
11 pm the
night before, knowing that the inclement weather would increase the
need for nutritious caloric intake. Next morning, instead of the dozens
juncos, blue jays, ten pairs of cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches
and more --
there were HUNDREDS!
You see, a nearby neighbor had just lost her husband. Her family
her into moving 'to town.'
This neighbor had also fed the wild birds for decades, and suddenly,
food and thawed water supply was gone. What were they to do? They
the next-nearest food source, and swarmed my neighbor's bird feeder!
maxim, "Every action has a reaction," should spring to mind.
stewards and real environmentalists that would call themselves simply
'country folk' had set in motion a chain reaction by moving 'to town.'
I had noticed that there were several more birds visiting my feeders
but hadn't thought through the reason. Suddenly, the 'light' came
was the fruit borne of today's purveyors of 'sustainability!'
When the nearest 'grocery store' closes, the 'customers' must range
afield and seek out the next nearest provisions. This necessitates
expenditure of energy to reach the more distant source of sustenance.
Whether we are talking about birds, deer or people, a sudden change
'fortune' has far-reaching effects. The powers that be continue to
ever-larger chunks of this country being 'rewilded.' This is not good
country, and it is anything but 'environmentally sound.'
By removing farmers and grain from avian flyways -- food being one
primary reasons for that migratory route -- the birds must leave their
to seek food. This brings them to more distant farm fields and crops
being grown for human consumption. Much of that grain now goes to
While the 'vision' that is The Wildlands Project (TWP) may paint
picture -- of places where no one lives or coexists in a healthy way
flora and fauna -- it is not realistic. People inhabit this planet,
all of them are 'bad' for 'the environment.' Those in policymaking
at the United Nations, The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, The
Conservation Fund, and our own elected officials, seem to be walking
beat of a different drummer. They seem to prefer to have food and
resources supplied by third world countries, necessitating the use
fossil fuels to transport goods from producer to user - flying in
the face of
true sustainability, which was the forte of rural folks in America
hundred years before 'sustainability' grew a new and obtuse definition.
Herding all humans into 'smart growth' and 'high-density housing'
'create sustainability.' Envision the hungry birds.
Today's definition of sustainability is truly, 'for the birds!'
By Julie Kay Smithson
213 Thorn Locust Lane
London, OH 43140-8844