I’m looking forward to our trip to the UK next month. In particular I’m eager to check out the birds I used to see and pay little attention to when I was a kid growing up in Scotland. To my distress I have learned that the ubiquitous house sparrow has all but disappeared from British cities and is rapidly declining in European ones too. Good thing they’ve got their DNA all over North America – reproduced from 9 birds introduced a hundred years ago. They’re spunky little gems and well worth the watching. And, as we plan to head for the Oregon coast after our UK visit, it’s distressing to learn that large numbers of starving pelagic (sea) birds are washing up on the Oregon coast. What are we doing to our environment?
I’m interested in seeing the changes that have occured in the almost 20 years since I last went “home” to Scotland. I Wonder if they’re having water problems. Did you know that 1.1 billion people don’t have access to safe water and 2.6 billion people are without basic sanitation? A situation that is steadily getting worse as we head for global environmental collapse. To quote Jeffrey Sachs of the UN Millenium Project “Everything we think is at the core of our geopolitics — the war on terror, Islamic fundamentalism — have almost nothing to do with the real challenges we face on this planet, they are a distraction and a misunderstanding. Ignorance, misplaced priorities and indifference are keeping the world firmly on the path to disaster.” And, I add, nowhere is this more true than in the USA.