[CT Birds] Shame on us

Patrick psmithct at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jun 27 19:06:34 EDT 2013

Obviously there is going to a very broad range of opinion on what constitutes effective activism or what measures up to activism at all.  All are entitled to there own point of view, but I hope that no one is made to feel coerced one way or another, or to "check" their passion, or their civility depending on the individual.  

In my experience with activism all degrees of action can in one way or another risk affronting someone, be ignored or cause blow-back.  A real shame is if the fault lies with the arrogance or dismissiveness of our public employees if pleas and arguements are ignored or deleted from their in-box because they are in a huff.  Be true to yourself.  But if representing yourself as from an organization by name or banner, one might have a responsiblity to the standards of that organization.  

In my mind, the key is media.  Media attention.

I will add one consideration to the discussion of documenting trash and dog poop that I think my friend Mr. Richardson, and everyone else might want to consider that I haven't seen mentioned.  Digital pics can come with a time and date stamp and geo-location.  From an angle of simple data gathering - this idea can not be beat.  Incidences can be tracked, quantified and even charted.  Such community action could be the most beneficial help to state agencies that may lack the man power to collect the data or discover the problems for themselves.  

Patrick Smith
Waterford, CT

Message: 5
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 13:40:32 -0400
From: Michael Richardson <msr042377 at gmail.com>
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Fwd:  shame on us
    <CADCJV0Z+811foAJZGq2Sn6xFcqOsvvu-HRgHoD6yyYsijrmX-Q at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

To All,

While it is clear that humans have had a global impact on many species,
including birds, I try very hard to shy away from the concept that we are
more cruel, more invasive, and more destructive that what should be
natural.  Humans are not (to the best of my knowledge) aliens from another
planet, so why do we so often exclude ourselves from the cycle of life?  In
many ways, Mother Nature (as well as the laws of physics) can be as
destructive as humans have ever been.  I mean, locusts invade an area an
completely decimate crops.  Birds move the seeds of invasive plants from
one area to another.  Viruses and fungal infections can be responsible for
nearly destroying an entire species.  Not all forest fires are caused by
man.  Plus there are earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, tsunamis,
hurricanes, ice-ages and cataclysmic asteroid impact events that nearly
wipe-out all all of life itself. That being said, yes, humans can be very
cruel and ignorant in their acts, but we are also a part of nature, and
should make the mistake of thinking that nature is without cruelty.  I
remind myself of that every time I eat a hamburger or I see an Osprey
carrying half of a fish in its talons.

That being said, I think that there is much that human activists can do to
help preserve our wildlife habitats in Connecticut, however I call upon
this group to give more consideration to considering their actions and how
they represent themselves towards the DEEP and other government bodies.
The least beneficial thing to our cause would be to be labelled as
troublemakers, unyielding, and a constant pain-in-the-ass to our government
officials.  Photographing every injustice, every piece of trash on the
ground, every piece of dog or horse poo and sending it to our elected
officials is wasting both our time and theirs.  They are not going to
respond to it, and it will likely cause them to turn a deaf ear towards our
future requests.  If litter and animal waste is an issue, then my
suggestion is to act upon it directly.  When you go out, bring a bag and
collect as much as you can.  Then, if you so choose, take a photo of your
waste collection achievement and send it to the DEEP.  It shows that you
are willing to be a part of the solution and not just another person
pointing a finger.  That will get their attention.  You can also help to
organize clean-up events.  Many times, local business will be willing to
support the efforts by providing incentives.  (For example, my buddy in the
marketing department at Splash Car Wash might be willing to give free car
washes away to anyone who spends a few hours picking up trash.)

The DEEP has an obligation to keep their parks and forests clean, but it's
an ongoing and difficult thing to manage.  They do not have infinite
resources to address every aspect of it.  They need to rely upon the public
to do what is right, and to give them a hand.  After all, a state park is
OUR park.  We pay taxes to support it and we also share the responsibility
to maintain it.  There is simply no other way for it to run.

As far as the DEEP goes with building parking lots, cutting down trees, and
other threats to wildlife habitat, it's a difficult situation for both
sides.  While the DEEP has an obligation towards protecting the ecology of
an area, the DEEP also has an obligation to provide services for ALL park
visitors, even the ones who do not care about birds.  Some people just
want to sit on the beaches and play Frisbee.  That is their right.  To be a
birder is an enjoyable gift, but not a right to dictate the policies and
best practices of the DEEP.  We must learn to work with them and not
present ourselves as a force against them.  We can call them out on their
mistakes and instruct them on how they can do it better next time, but they
do not answer to us, nor should they have to.  We must be forgiving of
their actions, as they have tough choices to make, limited time
constraints, tight-budgets, and a limited supply of personnel.  I suggest
that we should present ourselves as a force that is willing to educate and
become providers of solutions and keep ourselves separate from the
finger-pointing and vigilante emotional responses.

I too get fed-up when I see the destruction of nature, but I would rather
see this organization (COA) and mailing list be used to provide positive
relations with the DEEP, continue to discuss birds as a general topic, and
if people strongly feel about taking action against the DEEP or other
government body, to try to organize it outside of this mailing list.

Michael Richardson
Norwalk, CT

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Beverly Propen <bpropen at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Subject: [CT Birds] shame on us
To: paul.desjardins2 at gmail.com
Cc: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org

Hi Paul,
It is soooo very disturbing what the human race does to this
planet....birds, wildlife, habitats.  Previous National Geographics had
articles on the horrific slaughter of elephants (and the wildlife officers
trying to protect them)  in Africa, bears in China and I couldn't finish
reading the articles.  It is good that they are exposing these horrible
abuses .
After the article about the slaughter of elephants, there were numerous
news and media articles about it, and what help was being offered.  Even
Secretary of State Clinton, commented and offered assistance.
But for us birders, it is particularly heart breaking to read about
cruelty issues like this, in addition to the fact that so much of the world
bird populations are plummeting.
The very least that I feel I can do is to support birding and wildlife
organizations whose ethics reflect my own.
But it is extremely upsetting. One really feels helpless.
Bev Propen, Orange
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