Year 4, Month 7, Day 7: Looking Pale And Interesting

Well, that certainly sucks. WaPo:

At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the tiny bodies of Arctic tern chicks have piled up. Over the past few years, biologists have counted thousands that starved to death because the herring their parents feed them have vanished.

Puffins are also having trouble feeding their chicks, which weigh less than previous broods. When the parents leave the chicks to fend for themselves, the young birds are failing to find food, and hundreds are washing up dead on the Atlantic coast.

Biologists worry that birds such as Arctic terns are starving, as climate change is leading to food shortages.

What’s happening to migratory seabirds? Biologists are worried about a twofold problem: Commercial fishing is reducing their food source, and climate change is causing fish to seek colder waters, according to a bulletin released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We’ve seen a 40 percent decline of Arctic terns in the last 10 years,” said Linda Welch, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at the refuge. Arctic tern pairs in Maine have fallen from 4,224 pairs in 2008 to 2,467 pairs last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

Biologists at the Maine refuge are not sure whether herring sought colder waters elsewhere or went deeper, but they are no longer on the surface, from which Arctic terns pluck them. While other birds can dive deep for food, Arctic terns cannot.

Fuck it. I’m going out to weed the garden. June 20:

As the Anthropocene Epoch lurches into full view, we humans won’t be able to avert our eyes from the consequences of our actions. While it’s hardly intuitive that industrial CO2 emissions may be at the head of a causal sequence resulting in the deaths of countless thousands of migratory birds, it’s no less improbable than the notion that we power our cars, heat our houses, and propel our civilization with the liquid fossilized remains of dinosaurs and prehistoric plant life.

The grim fact is that our consumerist culture is working exactly as advertised: we modern humans devour everything, heedless of the consequences. Ultimately, there is one true economy — the natural resources upon which all Earthly life depends — and we’re overdrawing our environmental bank account several times over. Through no fault of their own, those Arctic Terns are paying a hard price for our profligacy. Will we follow them?

Warren Senders

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