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canary in coal mine

NORTHRUP: When Canary Croaks, Jump!
LETTER from CHIP NORTHRUP

When Canary

Croaks, Jump!

To the Editor:

A coal miner and his canary, from the Smithsonian.

Miners once took birds down into mines knowing that birds would keel over from methane, lack of oxygen or soot before the miners did.

When the canary croaked, out of the mine you go.

According to a recent study, birds have been dying off in unprecedented numbers in North America for that last half century. The culprit? Us.

The pesticides we use on the bugs that the birds eat (see “The Silent Spring”).

Development that wipes out habitat (see “Watership Down”). Light pollution (try to sleep next to a street light).

Cats left outdoors – the only Painted Bunting I’ve ever seen was left at our doorstep by our cat. Plate glass in modern buildings make perfect Bird Catch & Kill Panels, etc.,etc.

Now that the birds are dying, which mine shaft are we going to collectively scramble up? To which planet? The children would like to know.

Millions of them marched last week in protest of global warming. First the birds, then the children. Listen to the birds and the children. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown

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