Over the past few days I’ve been catching up on some New Yorkers that arrived while I was on vacation. One of them has a long article about the illegal slaughter of literally millions of songbirds annually in Mediterranean countries, and the fruitless efforts to fight it. Some places have an entrenched culture of killing birds, mostly for sport – Malta, Cyprus, and Italy are specifically named, but there’s no claim that they’re the only ones — to the extent that the authorities won’t even try to enforce the laws. (In this regard, I’m reminded of dog laws in California parks).
And then last night I read an article about overfishing. The article implies that it’s only recently been realized that fish populations everywhere are declining, the catch in almost all established fisheries is declining in spite of more sophisticated fishing gear, and that many former “staple” species, like North Atlantic cod, have been reduced to economic and ecological irrelevance. Actually those facts were recognized by a lot of people years ago — for instance, the book “The Empty Ocean” came out in 2003 — but perhaps the article is right that they’re not widely known by the public.
And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just approved an enormously expensive bridge right through a wetlands that Golden Gate Audubon has been restoring, to save 2 minutes of travel time for a small number of drivers.
And, of course, there’s the oil disaster in the Gulf, the failure of any climate bill in the Senate this year…it’s been a depressing couple of days of news.