Thursday, February 21, 2008

Show Me Clean.....Show Me Green.......

"Retirement? What are you going to do?" Seems I hear that question daily now.

"Have any political ambitions?" No, but certainly a strong belief in the words of Mahatma Gandhi:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world".

I do believe that our collective actions can have a great deal of positive impact upon our communities and far beyond.

I recently resigned, effective at the completion of this school year, from the full time teaching of science and gifted studies in the public schools of Missouri for the past 31 years. With plans to work 1/2 time with gifted high school students next school year, my mind has turned to how I'll be spending those extra hours each week.

Of course, birding comes to mind immediately! But, lately I've been thinking of that banner quote over at The Feather and the Flower. Mike must run that quote through his mind often, and since I've become a regular visitor to his blog, it has struck a chord with me, too.

"I arise every morning torn between the desire to save the world and the desire to savor the world. It makes it hard to plan the day." - E.B. White

Is there any chance that our shared passion for birds can offer a path upon which we can do both at the same time? Over at The Drinking Bird, N8 recalls the day he took a frolicking young boy under his wing. It is proof positive that we can save and savor at the same time.

On Tuesday, February 26, I will be trying to combine "saving" with "savoring" the world as my friends and I take advantage of the February lull in birding to enter the political arena. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Missouri Votes Conservation, and the Sierra Club are co-sponsoring the Show Me Clean..... Show Me Green..... 2008 Conservation Lobby Day at the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri.Common interests bring people together, and my three traveling companions share many. I'll be joined by Charley, president of Audubon Missouri and our local Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, Marvin, professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, and Bob , local Master Naturalist and political/environmental activist.

No doubt the conversations will flow freely from a bipartisan energy policy that subsidizes the irresponsible ethanol industry to stinking CAFOs to water quality issues to the beauty of evolution to the stinking war to the elections and, of course, to the birds. No doubt, we will pick out Red-tailed Hawks and Kestrels on wires, branches, and fence posts......, Gulls and Eagles as we cross the Lake of the Ozarks....., and many more gems of nature as we make our way along the winding roads through the woodlands and fields of the Ozarks.

I must apologize for piggybacking off of an idea that N8 threw out there a few days ago, that birding is as much about people as it is about birds. And herein lies the key to the E.B. White quote.

Occasionally, we can spend time together not birding per se, but doing our part for the health of the ecosystems that support the birds.

"Lobbying or Warblering, which would you rather do?"

Now that's one silly question, but I'll still take a day, especially in the dead of winter, to talk to elephants and donkeys, especially if it means that our beloved birds will fly into the future.

My complete report on next week's blog.


thepowerguides said...

Best of luck with your efforts.

As a Brit who now lives here in Wisconsin and is a great admirer of the number and variety of birds I see from my office window and while walking dogs in the local protected environments . Any pressure that can be placed on politicians to help protect the future of all the wld animals and birds in our care for future generations is well spent.

Birds are one of the best indications we see as to how wildlife is really doing as they rely on the plants and insects that are first effected but not so easily noticed when we do not protect the environment




marvin d said...

Excellent thoughts, Greg: Especially "the stinking war" but all the other thoughts as well.
I have just finished a book entitled "Censoring Science" by Mark Bowen about how the Bush administration tried to hide from the public the data about global warming obtained from NASA's climate science group. Of course, undocumented remains how the Bush administration politicized all of the scientific organizations and the EPA for its own purposes. The worst president in U.S. history has swindled it's own citizens.

Curiously, I also heard a blurb on NPR sometime during the last few days about how Haagen Daaz (sp?) is concerned about the plight of honey bees. I think the Bush people think we can live without nature and so their attitude has been 'to hell with it."

We definitely need something new in November.