[Vermont’s state bird, the] hermit thrush is just one of half of Vermont’s more than 200 nesting bird species threatened by rising temperatures that are reducing the breeding range of flyers that prefer cooler climates, according to a new National Audubon Society study.
“Every year migrating birds tell us that the seasons are changing,” says Jim Shallow, Audubon Vermont’s conservation and policy director.
… “The potential is there for about 50 percent of our birds in Vermont to see big shifts in their ranges,” Shallow says.
If we’re taking nominees for a replacement State Bird, how ’bout the flamingo?
Seriously, though. One of the arguments from the anti-renewables crowd is that we need to preserve Vermont as it is. Only problem is, that Vermont is under assault from climate change. If you think a few ridgeline wind farms will fundamentally change the character of Vermont, just wait till global warming starts kicking our ecological ass. If you don’t want to see any turbines in your viewing space, just wait till we lose all the maple trees and snow cover.
And then there’s the follow-on argument: We can’t affect the course of climate change because of China or tar sands or Al Gore’s travel schedule or NASCAR or Shumlin’s SUV, so why should we even try?
To which I say: (1) we have a moral obligation to do our best, (2) if we all think that way we’ll never get anything done, and (3) as with health care, Vermont can serve as a model for others to follow.
If we’re ever going to get a handle on carbon emissions, it’ll be through creating a fundamentally different system for energy generation and distribution — a smaller-scale, more broadly distributed system where the environmental footprint is much lighter because it’s spread evenly. That’ll require, among other things, a goodly helping of wind, solar, and hydro power — the resources Vermont can tap in abundance.
It might not be enough to save the hermit thrush, but it might help prevent its replacement by a bright pink bird that likes to stand on one foot.