We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. Aldo Leopold
I recently took a Birding 101 class through the Seattle Audubon Society, and I am inspired by the love and respect members show for our feathered friends. The Audubon Society is a leader in giving emphasis to the conservation of valuable wildlife and habitats. At a national level, the Audubon Society, based in Washington D.C., has worked for over a century on conservation in public policy. One of their featured projects is the climate change campaign, which promotes taking action, including individual acts such as contacting lawmakers, participating in a citizen science project, and saving energy saving in everyday life. Locally, Seattle Audubon’s Conservation Committee assesses and enacts a variety of conservation issues affecting birds and their habitats, including urban habitat, spotted owl conservation, and sustainable forestry.
I am so happy that the Audubon Society does not dance around the issue of climate change. The Audubon Society has been studying the effects of global warming on birds and has concluded: “global warming is the greatest threat to birds and other wildlife in human history.” They predict the extinction of one-forth to one-third of all species, including many bird species, in the next few decades. Members see climate change as a threat to the birds they love and therefore want to take action to stabilize the climate–this is not about politics or economics, it’s about love.
The Audubon Society works to connect people to birds and nature. Building this connection helps people to feel connected to the natural world and not separate from it. This feeling of connection fosters a love for the Earth, and when you love something, you want to care for it. This love can promote change. It takes a hook like birds to get people to care for the environment and other species. It would be great if everyone could find some sort of connection that inspired them to care for the Earth, whether it be through a hobby, vocation, or simple aesthetics. My new found connection with birds has made me much more aware of the environment above me. For instance, I walk with my head up in observation of birds in flight or in the trees, and I now pay attention to bird songs that I may not have even heard before. This new awareness makes me feel more connected to my environment, and also motivates me to take action to care for the birds that I so enjoy. What facilitates your connection to the natural world?