[Tweeters] The Albedo Birders, part two.
gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Nov 3 12:46:31 PST 2013
This is part two of my report on my research into the group known as The Albedo Birders. Part one ended with my meeting with Jeff Bob White, spokesperson for the Northwest group O.W.L. (Old White Listers).
In my interview we were just getting to Jeff Bob telling me about The Albedo Birders.
"Well, I don't want to get into any trouble here with my story, so maybe you should talk straight to The High Albedo. He can explain it much better than I can!". Jeff Bob handed me an address in Boerne Texas, where the High Albedo was currently camped out. After having a beer with Jeff Bob, I went to Sea-Tac.
I got to the Albedo Birders compound around high noon the next day. Pretty hot out, but the compound was shaded here and there by nice old live oaks. At the main house, a heavily tattooed fellow answered the door and directed me out back to meet the High Albedo.
I didn't quite know what to expect, but was still surprised, as a birder from Everett, to find that The High Albedo, was a big black man. It must have shown on my face.
The High Albedo was laughing when he asked "hey what's wrong? Never see a black birder before? Well come on over here mister Profiler man and lets talk - those guys from O.W.L. said you were coming my way!".
Even more amazing than meeting a black birder, was the man's hat - an enormous white sombrero. The High Albedo launched right into the story.
"Well, the Albedo Birders started with this totally harebrained idea those guys in O.W.L. had a few years ago. Now a lot of folks thought they were racist. OK, so they were a little uptight, but really all they were concerned about was birding and climate change. That's where albedo comes in".
"Albedo?" I asked. "What's that?"
"Well albedo is the measure of how much light a surface reflects. The higher the albedo, or in other words, the lighter the surface is, the more it reflects sunlight. With the loss of so much ice in the Arctic, and in glaciers around the world, it's a big loss of albedo, so the world is getting warmer even faster. One of those "feedback loop" deals.
So that's why those beer-drinking genius's at OWL came up with their big do-gooder plan. You may have noticed my dark complexion. Well that's pretty low albedo - soaks up too much heat. So that's where this bigass hat comes in - the OWL guys figured if they put a big white hat on every birder who was sort of dark, or had dark hair, that would help cool off the planet. Of course they finally realized their plan would work with anybody with a head, which helped diversify the membership. It was all about those albedo hats really.
"Well, how do you think it's helped with global warming?" I asked the High Albedo.
"I thought you were supposed to be intelligent, Profiler man! I got the biggest white sombrero north of Tierra del Fuego and it hasn't made a bit of difference. It is pretty cool under this hat though, here try it out". I tried it. He was right.
"So the project is a big failure?" I asked.
"Oh, no, it's been a great success! You see, those albedo freaks got a lot of people into birding that ordinarily might not have - city folks, rural folks, tattooed folks, folks with green hair - anybody willing to put on one of those damn hats.( Having a sense of humor was key) They'd talk to anybody. Free birding lessons with every hat.
"And I think the whole Albedo Birder experiment can teach other birding groups some important lessons" the High Albedo added.
" Such as?" I asked.
"Well, first of all Reflect more in nature - birding don't have to be running a race! And be more inclusive with different types of people (be a 'big hat' organization), you know,actually talk to people in the field who aren't just like you, or don't dress just like you .It's amazing how many people are interested in birds in some way. And last, but definitely not least for any group - LIGHTEN UP! It might attract some new birders if you were having more fun.
Check in with your inner Albedo once and a while - you might like it. You don't really need the hat for that".
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