RENewsletter | October 5, 2009


The Free environmental newsletter from

¡°Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.¡±

[09/27/09– 10/05/09]


* Need to vent? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY

* Found an important Rochester environmental story from a credible source that you think needs attention? SEND ME THE LINK.


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |


[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  ¡°The Great Conceit¡±


In this wonderful and expert article on bird migration [City Newspaper ¡°A bird in the hand¡± 9/30/09], something hauntingly familiar struck me from the section: ¡°Why protect birds?¡±  Birds have a right to live; birding helps our economy because birders buy binoculars; birds are an early-warning system, etc.  I¡¯ve come across this apparent need for reporters and scientists to justify the need for other species in many articles on our environment: why we need biodiversity (lots of different species), why we need wolves, why bears, whales, or those darn mosquitoes, whatever.  Basically, I guess, the assumption is why the rest of us who are driving around in our hot new clunkers, making a living, or watching the latest ¡®reality¡¯ on TV, and doing just fine should care about birds, which may not be our ¡®thing.¡¯ 


Here¡¯s what strikes me: To pose such a question in the media at all reveals a great human conceit that humankind should relieve itself of.  Feeling compelled to prove the existence of birds is like having to explain the existence of the third floor in a high-rise.  Answer: You don¡¯t get to live on any of the above floors if there is no third floor. Birds and other species don¡¯t simply exist at our pleasure; they and our environment are One.  Birds are so woven into the fabric of our present environment as to cause serious structural damage if they were somehow removed. 


This great conceit that we humans can casually sit back and calculate and consider the worth of the other biological components on this planet is sheer irresponsible lunacy. We forget ourselves, what we learned in biology, and who we are. The media and the public should take responsibility for informing themselves on how this planet operates (because we are at the helm as never before) so we don¡¯t have to keep explaining why other creatures are valuable.  That birds are important is an absolute no-brainer. Our culture should have advanced to the point where implicit in every article on other species is that they are not at the mercy of our false belief in the preeminence of our economy. 


I¡¯ll unpack that last point. Our economy doesn¡¯t rule, Nature does. Denying the critical role of birds would be like the crew on a space ship suddenly seized with the fancy that it didn¡¯t need air and began jack hammering the oxygen tanks. Birds are not only really neat, our environment will be different when they are gone—and you probably won¡¯t like the results.     (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]




UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester¡¯s environment. Find out what¡¯s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog ¡°Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don¡¯t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.






ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I¡¯ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]