Friday, 29 August 2008

The Whistle Blower

So today, for the first time (if I recall correctly) in this economic crisis, one of the establishment, David Blanchflower, of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), has declared that this country could be facing a paradigm shift. From my perspective, this is what an environmentalist is waiting for- the loss of confidence in a system which pays lip service to, but in reality falls well short of valuing and preserving diversity. That diversity includes all people, of all ability, of the environment, all wildlife and culture. To be fair to Blanchflower I think he was simply referring to a paradigm shift in how to make more money but it is nice to hear the words uttered. May be this current crisis is not 'the big one', maybe it is. It deepens everyday- the latest forecasts are for further increases in unemployment, house price crash by over 30%, devaluing of sterling and higher inflation. That translates as a multi-pronged attack on individuals- the value of their house is falling, while their repayment on the mortgage is climbing, while their income is getting less and their money is not going as far. This will lead to de-motivation and lack of optimism and spending, which feeds back on itself to generate more gloom. I believe we are french connectioned, but see it as overall as a good thing- to get to the top, you have to touch the bottom first. To look for an alternative way people have to loose faith in the current way. Maybe I am over optimistic over the nature of this down cycle but one fact remains- basing societies on geometric and/or exponential resource consumption, economic growth and population growth in a finite world is impossible- so one day this will have to be seriously addressed- maybe that day has come- maybe it hasn't.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

A Knot for more

This Knot is Beddington's 20th (I think). It is presumably of the race islandica which means this little bugger has come from either Arctic Canada or Greenland. The species is famous for non-stop 5000km flights so this particular Knot has flown are very long way and over amazingly scenic places and despite being able to fly 5000km without landing, it had decided to land on a bed of human excrement in Croydon. Very strange.

Where have all the birds gone?

I couldn't work out why birds had stopped using my feeders. Then I woke early the other morning and found this little piece in the puzzle.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Real Crunch Time- yet to come?

Always keeping an eye on this current economic crisis. As an environmentalist, any process which leads to a lack of confidence in the current accepted philosophy is a welcomed event. That said, some changes are painful for individuals involved but ultimately the result should lead to some serious questioning and hopefully change for the better.

A lot of pieces have moved into position over recent months- just waiting to see the next moves.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Frontiers in Birding

When I saw the title 'frontiers in birding' I was keen to get hold of a copy of this book. Birding continues to rapidly evolve so I thought this would be an interesting read . To be honest I was a little surprised by the content. As far as I am concerned, (off the top of my head), the frontiers of birding at present are in several main areas. I suppose some people would not classify some of these things as birding but I would, so:

Global birding: the development of world birdwatching, world birding exploration, the progress towards completion of HBW, the completion of full sets of field guides for all areas in the world, the development of the commercial international bird tour industry , the formation of a global network of bird reserves, the move to completion and consensus on a full avian classification and taxonomy, continue lobbying for international bird conservation and the halt of extinctions etc.

Britain and Europe/West Palearctic: The development of WP birding, WP exploration, The growth of the regional bird tour industry, developments towards unification of Britain and other WP countries towards taxonomic consensus, the development of reserve networks unified under European policy, concerns over agricultural policy, lobbying for bird conservation, anti-hunting, etc

Britain: A moderate shift in focus towards a more global and regional perspective, UK exploration (off shore islands), concerns over worryingly low numbers of young people taking up the interest, the sound approach, the maturing of discerning the limits of identification and taxonomic consensus,

Methodology frontiers: The continuing revolution in digital photography, the continuing rapid expansion of Internet birding, birding blogs, the bird sound recording revolution led by the sound approach, taxonomic method developments such as nuclear DNA sampling, the maturing of bird art ,

Something like that anyway- I aint really given it much thought. Therefore I was a little surprised at the limited range of this book. Couldn't help thinking it was a bit old school, one for the old islanders but I suppose it is. Would be foolish to neglect the wisdom of the old boys and at first glance looks like there are some very interesting bits and bobs to flick through. Reflections in British Birding. well yes.... but 'Frontiers in Birding'-perhaps not the best title really. I am sure it will be a good read but just got me thinking to exactly what are the frontiers of birding.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Titanic

Interestingly John Prescott recently used the Titanic in an analogy about the current national political and economic situation. Of course he was quoted out of context but.... freudian slips and all that.

From the perspective of environmental issues, a breakdown in confidence of the current macro economic model will be a welcomed development. The belief that a healthy economic environment will arrive by freeing financial markets and consumer choice appears to have been a wrong belief. It appears that regulation is required, at some sort of level. Also hopefully the whole idea that all the worlds problems can be solved by economics will be justifiably challenged.

Well hopefully at the end of all this there will be a wake up call. There is more to management of the economic, social and natural environment than just economic considerations. If problems of the environment (another word for everything) are to be solved than it will take a unified management strategy to solve them- the bankers and business men can not be trusted to do it on their own. If there is a model which should be used to govern the environment, then this model has to take in many more criteria than just economic factors.

Such a model will involve more interest groups to be heard and expressed. Hopefully the current crisis we are in ('the biggest financial crisis since the great depression') will provide that opportunity. But between then and now- it could be pretty bumpy. I think I will make sure I am not too far away from a life boat:-).

Saturday, 2 August 2008