[Tweeters] birding and carbon

Constance Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 03:05:59 PST 2021

Dear Dennis, thank you very much for speaking out about this issue and for sharing Bryan Pfeiffer's powerful essay. Like Bryan, I have been a chaser. I still am, to a small extent. I drive to Montlake Fill from my house a mile away because I can no longer walk that far. I'm not proud of this.

Bryan's article raises an important question: If individual action - a drop in the bucket, as it were - cannot affect a planet-wide problem, then why bother to take on this problem as an individual? How can it possibly matter?

A similar question arose during a project I ran many years ago. For 10 years, I taught writing to a group of sixth-graders. It was a program we called the Writing Project. Each year, we would choose a theme connected to Seattle. Throughout the school year, I would pull four kids at a time out of regular class so they could interview an adult. I taped the interview and transcribed it for the kids. Then, working with a team of editors, the kids edited their interview into a first-person story. At the end of the school year, we published a book.

One year, our theme was World War II, as seen through the lens of citizens of Seattle. One of the people my students interviewed was a scrap metal business owner who contributed to the war effort by finding and processing scrap metal to provide iron and steel to ship and airplane builders.

To prepare for this interview, my students watched a documentary made at the time to encourage the folks at home to support the war effort. One of the scenes showed a bunch of young children pulling a wagon filled with bicycle spokes. My students asked their interviewee how much the kids had contributed to his scrap metal business.

His answer was honest, though dry-eyed. Not at all, he said. Almost all the metal he salvaged in bulk came from disused ships and especially from disused railway rails. However, he said, the kids' efforts to collect bicycle spokes and household metals was very important, really critical to the war effort. That was because helpiing, even in this miniscule way, gave the kids the sense that they were contributing something. It encouraged the kids' parents to help as much as they could, too - after all, if a six-year-old was beating the streets trying to find little bits of metal, how could the parents sit idle? The kids' efforts helped glue together a community of people, all working toward the same thing. They were an example and an inspiration. Furthermore, when they grew up, they did so knowing that even when they were small, they helped.

The kids were not alone, of course. Our leaders and government were also doing everything they could to win the war. We'd like to think that everyone was joined together, but that was not true. There were voices against as well as for. Some of those voices were voices of conscience; others were not. There was venality as well as selflessness. There was sabotage as well as support. The point is, there were enough people pulling together to make the difference.

We can't solve global climate change as individuals. If we humans solve it at all, it will take us acting together, worldwide, in as many ways as we can, from the ground up as well as from the top down. We certainly aren't together on this issue. At this point in time, it seems to me that we aren't together on hardly anything. We can be, though, over time, through example, by sharing knowledge and passion, by doing our best as individuals, knowing our best isn't perfect. - Connie, Seattle

> On Dec 17, 2021, at 12:53 PM, Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net> wrote:


> Here is an essay by a friend of mine that I consider very worth reading:



>> https://bryanpfeiffer.com/2021/12/02/birdwatchings-carbon-problem/ <https://bryanpfeiffer.com/2021/12/02/birdwatchings-carbon-problem/>

> Dennis Paulson

> Seattle

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