Last week I was fortunate to attend a National Geographic program in the Geo Live series, a presentation by photo journalist Paul Nicklen. I can’t stop thinking about it. For a great summary of the program read the most recent blog post at onelookout Nature Discovery and Coming Attractions in the Sonoran Desert.
His images and his powerful presentation persona have become indelibly etched into my consciousness. His story telling ability took me to the Arctic without having to suffer the incredible hardships that he did but gave me an unsurpassed appreciation for his passion for his work, his subject, and his ultimate cause. His style of setting the scene through a jaw dropping video and then ending the segment with a single still shot….the one he “took away” for the magazine made a lasting impression on me.
I left the theater with a pounding in my brain that asked over and over, what can I do to help stop the melting ice? I may never see a narwhale in the wild. I may never see a polar bear in the wild. I may never see an emperor penguin in the wild, but I sure would like for the option to be available if the stars lined up the right way for me. Without the ice the ecosystem will disappear along with my options…selfish, I know.
Now, it doesn’t matter to me if you believe in global warming, or if you don’t take responsibility for the melting glaciers. The fact remains that this ecosystem is in danger and let’s not forget how connected everything on this planet is. Look into the eyes of a mother polar bear with nothing to feed her cubs. If you can do that without stopping to think if you might play a role, or if you might do something to help….well then you are maybe as cold as that ice berg should be!
If the mother polar bear doesn’t melt your heart, then how about doing positive things because it will save you some bucks. And if the unintended consequence just happens to be a safer ecosystem for the mother bear (and ultimately maybe for us) …than what is so wrong with that? A quick search of the web will turn up a number of things that you can do to save money and coincidentally protect the Polar Regions. I’ll save you some time…here are a few easy things to start with. Please protect my option to see a narwhale someday—in the wild.
Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. By using three CFBs, you will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide and $60 a year.
Fill the Dishwasher You don’t have to run your dishwasher every time you eat. By filling it completely, you can save $40 and 100 lbs. of CO2 emission a year.
Use Recycled Paper By using 100% post-consumer recycled printer paper, you can save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper. Don’t forget to invest in recycled paper towels and napkins as well!
Adjust Your Thermostat If you move your thermostat down two degrees in the winter and two degrees up in the summer, you can save up to $98 and 2000 lbs. of CO2 per year. Think of the warm sweater or cool bathing suit you can buy with that money.
Take Shorter Showers Did you know that showers account for 2/3 of all water heating costs? We know—it’s shocking. Cut your showers short and save $99 and 350 lbs. of CO2 per year.
Carpool When You Can With gas prices burning a hole in everyone’s wallet, save some cash while saving 790 lbs. of CO2 by carpooling. If your car is too small to fit all of your BFFs then commute or ride your bike.
Reduce Garbage Recycle paper, plastic and glass, and buy products with less packaging. This can save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year.
Plant a Tree Show off your gardening skills and start planting. A single tree will absorb a ton (that’s 2000+ lbs.) of CO2 over its lifetime.
Conserve Energy Did you know that you are using a super huge amount of energy by keeping your electronics (phone charger, blow dryer, etc.) plugged in? Save over 1,000 lbs. of CO2 and $256 a year by unplugging everything.
Wash your Clothes on the Cold Water Cycle and Air Dry Because the water isn’t being heated, you’ll save energy. Air-drying your clothes will save 700 lbs. of CO2 and up to $75 a year.
Ditch the Plastic Plastic bottles are biodegradable and can sit in landfills for over 200 years! With 2.5 million plastic water bottles thrown away every hour in the U.S., it is best to start using a reusable water bottle.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3612.
They’re BAAAACCKK! OK, so everybody is asking how the trip went, and while it was terrific fun for the most part, all-in-all, Dorothy was right. One of the things I missed and never really realized I would until I got back was the routine of normal life. Birds understand this – being the homeostatic creatures they are. Now I understand the appeal of this condition. But according to Jan, it was really slow to the point of being dead at the facility while I was away and now it’s already beginning to show signs of life, small and sporadic as they may be. Gosh I love this place!!!
It’s difficult to imagine the difference between the OC area now and six months ago. It’s a quiet like we hardly ever hear, except for the echoes of ghostly chirping from thousands of baby birds who pass through this area as time goes by. But it’s only a few months until the first light of day will again unleash a torrent of tiny begging from the hungry beaks of warblers, phoebes, towhees, mockingbirds, and a hundred other species that find their way to our window…
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Bosque del Apache south of Albuquerque or Whitewater Draw in the Sulphur Springs Valley in winter, you might have seen one of the mass lift-offs of thousands of snow geese each morning as the flock disperses to surrounding fields to glean the stubble. The sight and sound is something not to be forgotten. Somehow, this snow goose got injured, probably on a migratory flight, and with a broken wing, it’s in our care until it can again join the throng.
Mass snow goose launch at Bosque del Apache (have the sound on – that’s a big part of the experience!)
A little poor-will got himself trapped inside a store someplace in Phoenix and spent three days trying to get out. With no food available (they eat bugs on the wing), the bird was doomed – except for a skilled Liberty rescue person. The bird was uninjured and besides being quite hungry, he seems well on the road to release. And another red-eared slider came to us – this one with a fish hook in his mouth. It was removed and is being treated for possible infection until he can be placed in a good home (not to be released).
Just as we were going to press (newspaper talk – you remember newspapers, right? The things that pile up on your driveway when you leave town for a while?) Carl brought in this little flammulated owl. the bird presented an injured wing and after doing an assessment, Holly cleaned the wound and applied a wrap. Now we’ll wait and watch to see what more can be done for the pretty little bird.
Max was in the back hand feeding and I saw this pose and couldn’t pass it up. A two-fisted eater if ever there was one…!
And just to prove that similar species can be found the world over, this grey heron (very much like our great blue heron) was walking down the cobblestone street along a canal in Amsterdam, just asking to be photographed. Naturally, I had to oblige him…
To re-emphasize Megan’s point in H3 above, this year Liberty will be distributing our annual magazine Wing Beats as an electronic document. This will save several hundred pounds of paper. Let’s all “GO GREEN!” Look for it in your e-mailbox in the near future.