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 recently.
There had been an all-night sleet/freezing rainstorm and the temperature was
hovering at eighteen degrees. Her husband had put birdseed out at 11 pm the
night before, knowing that the inclement weather would increase the birds'
need for nutritious caloric intake. Next morning, instead of the dozens of
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 had talked
her into moving 'to town.'

This neighbor had also fed the wild birds for decades, and suddenly, their
food and thawed water supply was gone. What were they to do? They sought out
the next-nearest food source, and swarmed my neighbor's bird feeder! The old
maxim, "Every action has a reaction," should spring to mind. These true
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 of late,
but hadn't thought through the reason. Suddenly, the 'light' came on! This
was the fruit borne of today's purveyors of 'sustainability!'

When the nearest 'grocery store' closes, the 'customers' must range further
afield and seek out the next nearest provisions. This necessitates a larger
expenditure of energy to reach the more distant source of sustenance.

Whether we are talking about birds, deer or people, a sudden change in
'fortune' has far-reaching effects. The powers that be continue to 'envision'
ever-larger chunks of this country being 'rewilded.' This is not good for our
country, and it is anything but 'environmentally sound.'

By removing farmers and grain from avian flyways -- food being one of the
primary reasons for that migratory route -- the birds must leave their route
to seek food. This brings them to more distant farm fields and crops that are
being grown for human consumption. Much of that grain now goes to feed hungry
air travelers.

While the 'vision' that is The Wildlands Project (TWP) may paint a lovely
picture -- of places where no one lives or coexists in a healthy way with
flora and fauna -- it is not realistic. People inhabit this planet, and not
all of them are 'bad' for 'the environment.' Those in policymaking positions
at the United Nations, The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, The
Conservation Fund, and our own elected officials, seem to be walking to the
beat of a different drummer. They seem to prefer to have food and other
resources supplied by third world countries, necessitating the use of more
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 for two
hundred years before 'sustainability' grew a new and obtuse definition.
Herding all humans into 'smart growth' and 'high-density housing' does not
'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



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site