Monday, November 23, 2009

Saving Birds or Saving the Environment?

The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 to halt the extermination of species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported in 1996 that 185 bird species were on the international endangered list and 93 species on the domestic U,S. List.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list for birds in 2008 identified 1,227 threatened bird species (12 percent of the total), with another 838 near threatened. Of the 1,227 threatened, 192 are defined as critically endangered. (An estimated 133 species have gone extinct since 1500.)

Renewable energy is at the forefront of political efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in order to mitigate climate change (although the effect of greenhouse emissions is in dispute). To the extent that wind turbines become a major source of alternate energy in future years, some bird populations may be severely diminished and species that migrate through fields of wind turbines could become extinct. Large numbers of birds are being chopped to pieces by wind turbines.

If Dr. Seuss were still alive, he would ask "Who cares for the birds?"

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