Friday, June 11, 2010

The Tragic Nature of Human Life for the Earth

Andrew Sullivan links to gruesome video and sobering statistics on the number of birds killed by wind farms:
The American Bird Conservancy estimated in 2003 that between 10,000 and 40,000 birds were killed each year at wind farms across the country, about 80 percent of which were songbirds and 10 percent birds of prey. "With the increased capacity over the last seven years, we now estimate that 100,000 – 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year," said Conservancy spokesman Robert Johns. By our math, that comes to 274 to 822 birds a day killed by wind farms across the country.
For some reason this Henry James saying came to mind:
Every man who has reached even his intellectual teens begins to suspect that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths--the depths of an essential dearth in which its subjects roots are plunged...The natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters.
I don't know how it is possible to ponder what it means to be human for the rest of life on the planet and not have a sense of tragedy. We are fouling the Gulf of Mexico with our oil and this is only the most immediate and visible cost of our addiction to oil. We are doing the same thing to our mountains and streams with coal mining.

We are told we need to move to more earth-friendly forms of energy: like wind. Wind farms are sprouting up all around the country. And killing staggering numbers of birds.

There is no escaping the conclusion that even when we are acting at our best, which isn't very often, we are exacting a terrible toll on the planet. And there really isn't much we can do about it except to strive to keep our environmental footprint to a minimum, protect and preserve as much of nature as we can, and grieve for the birds and fish who die so we can live.

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