Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Each year over the last weekend of January the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds invites the general public to spend an hour counting the number and species of bird visiting their garden. You may think it a strange time to conduct such a survey. Given the inclement weather at this time of year surely no self-respecting bird is going to stand up to be counted. But for any survey to be of any use it has to be consistent and so carried out at the same time each year. In any case birds need to venture out to try to find food regardless of the weather. Sadly over recent years the number of many common species of bird and indeed animals too, have declined with some placed on the Red List (endangered) for the first time. Now, since from the very beginning God appointed us stewards of the environment we have a duty to do what we can to ensure that trend does not continue. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26 AKJV
Let us be clear about one thing, global warming, which has a disastrous effect on the world’s climate is in no small measure directly affected by man’s activities. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet. https://climate.nasa.gov/. If we do nothing now then the world will be a very much poorer place for our descendants. It is up to each of us, then to consider carefully how we use our valuable natural resources, which are after all, not inexhaustible. Are there, for example more environmentally friendly ways of carrying one’s shopping than using plastic bags that will never degrade? What about alternative sources of power. Should we perhaps consider buying an electric car next time rather than petrol or diesel? Again, rather than such a heavy reliance on coal, gas or oil should we not demand that industry actively seek other, cleaner, ways of working? And should we be lobbying our governments to invest in and promote the use of wind and water power?
So whilst we sit in the warmth of our living rooms counting the birds let us not forget our wider responsibility to future generations of mankind. Let each of us make a conscious effort to do something about reducing our personal carbon footprint on the planet and encourage others to do likewise.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years