We arrived off Ducie Island at dawn on October 12. The rough seas and the air above the low atoll in the Pitcairn group of the South Pacific were alive with birds.
Our last stop was Easter Island, one of the most isolated islands in the world, some 1200 miles east of the Pitcairn group and 2000 miles from South America. Easter Island is the site of an ecocatastrophe, made famous by Jared Diamond. All of its native birds are extinct, replaced by a collection of “garbage birds” (ones not sought by bird-watchers), especially the wide-ranging South American Diuca finch pictured here, which flits among the looming stone heads.
The state of the birds on these islands is a harbinger of a catastrophe that looms globally,
GR: Our leaders could promote nature preservation. Our college planning departments could recommend zoning and construction changes that would avoid so many animal deaths. Without leadership and rules, our urban population will remain unconcerned with the fate of wild animals. Perhaps a few hundred years from now people will have learned to appreciate the species that remain. For those of us afflicted with biophilia, this is a painful prospect. Would it be effective to conduct petition campaigns aimed at our planning education and government departments?