Just to say—what all of us really know—we don’t want our children to be the 
generation to have no one to come behind them, to care and innovate and compost 
for them as they age and become infirm.  Demography is a complex thing and, as 
we in the west take longer to die on average, we must somehow increase our 
functional lifetimes as well, in order to make up fo the smaller size of 
generations of young, able folks behind us. 

The larger faster-growing problem is energy/space/resource requirements per 
person globally.  In the West, we would do better to cut that drastically than 
work on fewer babies.  That includes staying healthier longer; as someone who 
remembers a lot of years before 1970, I bet my use of resources will increase 
massively with any major illness in future.  

Outside the 1st world, fewer babies seems like the answer, but amazingly the 
pattern has repeatedly been that people cut back on having children when their 
children are likely to survive, when the success of the children increases with 
investment/child (investment includes time, energy of parents) and when women 
have economic and polical power.  (Not that women are wiser—they just do the 
baby-carrying.)  So let’s work on health of infants and children globally as 
well, at the same time helping the developing world NOT replicate our 
regrettable overuse of resources, offering routes to economic well being that 
are not ecologically disastrous.  We western nations should be generous with 
any knowledge and pragmatic ways we have in how to live healthy, ecologically 
sound lives.  That is the tragedy of our nation’s current behavior.

This sounds very preachy…sorry, anne


> On Sep 26, 2019, at 1:54 PM, Alicia <t...@ottcmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Decrease in children per family: In the 1970's, there were an average of 2.12 
> children per family, while from 2009-2018, the number had decreased to an 
> average of 1.88 and is holding steady there - a decrease of over 11% . (For 
> more info, check here 
> <https://www.statista.com/statistics/718084/average-number-of-own-children-per-family/>.)
>   The percentage of single child families doubled from 11% of all families in 
> 1975 to 22% in 2016.  At this point, the birth rate alone is considerably 
> less than replacement rate and even with the increase in longevity, the only 
> reason the US population size is increasing is immigration.  (That is a 
> factual, not a political, statement - for the record, I am not against 
> immigration!)
> 
> When did the decline in bird population begin? The effect of human population 
> size and, particularly, habitat destruction and the changing chemistry of our 
> soil, air, and water, surely have taken a huge toll on birds.  But in at 
> least aspect of the new bird population study is misleading.  Its baseline is 
> 1970, about 50 years ago, but speaking as someone who was in high school then 
> and who learned from birders who were alive at the beginning of the 20th 
> century, it is clear that at least spring migration already was had suffered 
> a significant decline by 1970.  One very reliable birder I got to know was 
> born in 1905, and he assured me that by 1980, spring migration was a shadow 
> of what it had been in the 1920s & 30s in Tompkins County.  He wondered if 
> migratory routes had changed but said for whatever reason, there were only a 
> fraction of the warblers, vireos, orioles, and tanagers moving through the 
> area in the spring that there were 50 yrs before.  (This was a man who spent 
> pretty much every waking hour of his 93 years being outdoors birding, 
> fishing, or when he was younger hunting.)  Other people who had been around 
> birding in the 1930s before told me much the same.  
> 
> If you check accounts in Birds By Bent you'll find supporting evidence for 
> this in reports made at the time.  For example, a few years ago I had 25 Palm 
> Warblers in one group.  eBird was skeptical, but later when I checked Birds 
> by Bent, there were several accounts of palm warbler flocks, including one 
> from Wm Brewster (co-founder of the American Ornithologists' Union), writing 
> from Massachusetts in 1906, who noted casually that in spring "one may often 
> meet up with fifteen or twenty in a single flock or forty or fifty in the 
> course of a morning walk."  I don't think any of us thinks of a walk that 
> yields 50 Palm Warbler as a migration event that 'often' happens now.
> 
> So as we think about this, we need to be careful not to assume that 1970 was 
> the beginning of the end, just because few of us around today remember even 
> more plentiful birds before that.  There is plenty of evidence that this 
> started much, much earlier, and as we look for causes and solutions, that 
> needs to be kept in mind.
> 
> Alicia
> 
> 
> 
> On 9/26/2019 11:55 AM, Deb Grantham wrote:
>> You’re right about population – nobody wants to talk about that anymore.
>>  
>> I do the same with composting but also compost ALL of my food waste. I know 
>> the crows and raccoons and possums and so on help with that, but that’s ok 
>> with me.
>>  
>> Deb
>>  
>>  
>> From: Donna Lee Scott <d...@cornell.edu> <mailto:d...@cornell.edu> 
>> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:54 AM
>> To: Deb Grantham <d...@cornell.edu> <mailto:d...@cornell.edu>; CAYUGABIRDS-L 
>> <cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu> <mailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>
>> Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] How to help birds
>>  
>> Compost all you can; I save out most used paper towels and tissues and mix 
>> with my big compost pile leaves, grass, veg garbage etc.
>> Having a few small woodsy plots here, I also make “wildlife hut” piles with 
>> most my downed branches and tree/bush trimmings, rather than send it to the 
>> dump.
>> Town of Lansing on their ONE brush pickup service per year at least makes 
>> mulch out of all they pick up.
>>  
>> But the Other Big Elephant in the room is HUMAN OVERPOPULATION, which 
>> obviously is helping to cause a lot of climate change , habitat loss, rain 
>> forest destruction, etc.
>> A very complex issue for which probably only massive education world-wide 
>> will help. Look at results of China’s previous efforts at “one child per 
>> couple”…
>> Back in the 1970s there was the Zero Population Growth book and publicity. 
>> Haven’t heard much about this lately.
>>  
>> Donna Scott
>> Lansing
>>  
>> From: bounce-123960446-15001...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:bounce-123960446-15001...@list.cornell.edu> 
>> [mailto:bounce-123960446-15001...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:bounce-123960446-15001...@list.cornell.edu>] On Behalf Of Deb 
>> Grantham
>> Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:42 AM
>> To: CAYUGABIRDS-L <cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>>
>> Subject: RE: [cayugabirds-l] How to help birds
>>  
>> For reducing impacts of ag, don’t waste food. A very high percentage of food 
>> in the US is wasted – spoils or people won’t eat the produce with spots, etc.
>>  
>> Deb
>>  
>>  
>> From: bounce-123958613-83565...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:bounce-123958613-83565...@list.cornell.edu> 
>> <bounce-123958613-83565...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:bounce-123958613-83565...@list.cornell.edu>> On Behalf Of Dave Nutter
>> Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 10:36 PM
>> To: CAYUGABIRDS-L <cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu 
>> <mailto:cayugabird...@list.cornell.edu>>
>> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] How to help birds
>>  
>> The Lab of O recently released a report saying the world’s wild bird 
>> population has dropped an alarming 29% in the last five decades. I also 
>> received a list from the Lab of O about how we as individuals can help 
>> reduce the harm to birds. Suggestions include preventing window strikes, 
>> stopping cat predation, stopping pesticide use, planting native species 
>> instead of lawns, reducing plastic use and recycling plastic, and not 
>> consuming sun-grown coffee. I would add bananas and sugar to that list of 
>> tropical plantations which destroy habitat, and suggest generally eating 
>> locally. The list also talks about advocating policies in each of those 
>> areas.
>>  
>> 
>> Anyway, the suggestions are good, and I support them. Yet I think there’s an 
>> elephant in the room. An issue which was not mentioned is destroying coastal 
>> habitats, mountain habitats, and arctic habitats including sea ice. It is 
>> causing desertification. It is producing larger wildfires, including where 
>> plants and animals are not fire-adapted. It is destroying coral reefs which 
>> are nurseries for fish. It has already moved the ranges of fish and other 
>> aquatic bird food by hundreds of miles or affected their populations. It 
>> creates increasingly powerful storms which can devastate islands, as we have 
>> seen in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
>>  
>> 
>> The problem is climate change, and it is predicted to move the growing 
>> conditions for plants much faster than the plants can move and regrow, thus 
>> destroying habitats for birds at range-wide scales. And that’s before 
>> considering all the habitat destruction caused by humans trying to adapt, 
>> move, fight over resources, and create new farm land to replace the areas 
>> which are no longer usable.
>>  
>> 
>> So, I think fighting climate change should be on that list for helping birds 
>> (as well as helping many other creatures, including humans). And that means, 
>> among many other things, reducing our carbon footprints to limit the future 
>> damage. 
>> 
>> What is the carbon footprint of birding, and what would reducing it mean?
>> Not flying?
>>  
>> Using an electric car charged with renewable energy or at least a high mpg 
>> car?  (And even keeping renewable energy use at a moderate level, because 
>> photovoltaic & wind “farms” also displace habitat and harm birds.) 
>> Limiting miles driven? 
>> Car-pooling to go birding? 
>>  
>> Using discretion when deciding what trips to take? How many gallons of 
>> gasoline should be burned by people to see a little lost bird? Putting a 
>> limit on the area in which to chase rarities. Staying in a county or a basin 
>> rather than trying to personally cover a state, country, continent, or 
>> planet? Forego chasing rarities which have been seen before? 
>>  
>> More positively, how about concentrating birding on a small area and getting 
>> to know its birds well: places you can walk or bike to, places that are 
>> already along your daily commute. 
>>  
>> And for myself, I have greatly enjoyed the photographs of birds and 
>> descriptions of the birds’ activities which other people have contributed to 
>> their eBird reports. Rather than envy, I can share their joy without feeling 
>> I need to jump in a car to see (or miss) that bird myself.
>>  
>> Anyway, these are some issues I have been struggling with, and I wonder if 
>> other birders are also thinking about these things. Thanks.
>>  
>> - - Dave Nutter
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