This blog has already hinted at how birding could have meaning. It has also drawn the analogy that monitoring birds is no more than a pilot does by keeping his eye on the altimeter. In terms that are more familiar few of us drive a car without a working fuel gauge, which tells us how many resources remain before we grind to a halt.
So, why worry about resources in the natural world? Won’t science come to our rescue? That’s like not worrying about a bank balance and expecting the bailout of an overdraft, loan or credit card. In nature’s case a loan from future generations as has been pointed out in the parallel with Bernie Madoff. Despite science’s great advances, at the bottom line nature still feeds, clothes and shelters us. 100%.
OK, so you buy all this. But it’s hopeless. What difference will one more person’s environmental consciousness make? Against the billions who don’t give a shit?
One could have asked the same about great human achievements of the past. Democracy. Anti-slavery. The Renaissance. All started by a thought in someone’s head but all reaching a critical mass when that one person tipped the balance. It’s like nuclear power: it don’t work for a while, then – boom! A result. In fact, that’s how our sun got going.
Maybe nuclear power as metaphor for the environmental movement is a little counter-intuitive. In which case get this for what I think is a more potent analogy. Cancer. I know, I know. Just stay with me on this one. Cancer begins with one cell. Just that cell out of countless billions makes all the difference. A virus works the same way.
Like I said: counter-intuitive. But could you be the viral cell that cures us of our ills?