Authored by Phil Doerr
This photo of an American Goldfinch by Bob Oberfelder is a reminder that we must pull out all the stops to stem climate warming! July and August 2023 were the hottest months ever recorded on earth, and 2023 is on track to be hottest year ever. In a few years this stunning male American Goldfinch may no longer be able to nest successfully in North Carolina! The Summers may soon be too hot and dry to allow goldfinch chicks to survive, let alone thrive, as they should!
To help out we should consider everything we do in the context of how much fossil fuel we use and what activities we engage in contribute to our carbon footprint, because if the climate change problem is not effectively resolved then all other problems become insignificant. Worried about drinking water and air quality, and the future of our retirement accounts, war and immigration pressures, extremes of heat waves, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, locust plagues, and every other catastrophe? We should be, because each of these and many other events will intensify and become more frequent as the planet warms.
As we do all we can to eliminate fossil fuels from the global economy there are meaningful steps to reduce our short term impacts on wildlife, including all things wild. We’ve looked at some of these options during our year with the American Goldfinch so we know how to provide for local goldfinches, and other wildlife!
But now what? –
We can personally commit to using less of everything, joining “buy Nothing” groups, recycling with purpose, and putting lots of pressure on our leaders, and the large corporations that profit from excess production and marketing of all things plastic.
But Wait, there’s more!
We can convert all or part of our lawn areas to native plant meadows and pollinator gardens (via Doug Tallamy’s Home Grown National Park!) and encourage neighbors to do the same.
We can preserve, (not cut down!) and advocate for every large oak tree in the landscape as they are migrating songbird magnets that support over 600 species of invertebrates birds need!
We can work with public parks (and other lands) managers to help control invasive exotics, be they plants or other life forms and to plant native species, always!
But Wait! – there’s still more!
We can refuse to buy or use bottled water, (carry a personal coffee/water mug/cup)
Encourage fast food outlets to switch to paper service for food/drinks, including straws.
Encourage travel and tourism hoteliers to stop providing single use toiletry containers.
And yes, there’s still more!!
We can convert to all things electric, and insist local utilities provide and encourage energy produced from renewables. And we’ve just scratched surface with our to do lists!
The Elephant in the room is us! We can change this trajectory with lots of work, but we can do it! I expect my 13 year old Australian born granddaughter to visit North Carolina at age 40 and see male American Goldfinches in their brilliant breeding attire! -Just as we do today!
As always, thank you for all you do for the birds.
Phil Doerr, Wake Audubon Board Member, and Volunteer ([email protected])
Please remember during this migration season (Sept 10-Nov 30) we turn off all outdoor lighting from 11pm to 6am to save migrating birds and make their long passages safer. This simple action saves, lives and money while reducing our carbon footprint! Check out “Birdcast.info” daily to keep track of nightly events, as viewed by the real time radar images from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology