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I feel that Edge is correct on many points. Being carbon-neutral/more 
environmentally friendly involves much more than driving habits, which 
tends to be the most-discussed issue (or at least the biggest 
hot-button issue) among birders.  One of my personal frustrations on 
the subject is that while the effects of carbon emissions from vehicles 
have cracked into the mainstream, issues that are just as important are 
often overlooked, among both birders and the general population.

Believe it or not, but a hypothetical birder who packs an 
environmentally responsible lunch and snack and drives an SUV 20 miles 
round trip to go birding is probably being more carbon-friendly than a 
birder who walks down to the local park and then picks up an average 
fast food meal on the walk home.  I have a feeling that if I begin 
addressing the factors that I feel are responsible for the lack of 
environmental friendliness in the American diet it will become a 
lightning-rod type discussion, so I will leave it at that-- as 
something that those who are concerned about should look into deeply, 
provided they have not already, and come to their own conclusions.  
There are multlple ways to make a diet more environmentally friendly 
(and therefore, bird friendly) so perhaps that's the best approach 
anyway, rather than having me spout off opinion.

Back to cars... for those who are concerned about the environmental 
impact of their driving for birding, there are a number of 
carbon-offset organizations that offer surprisingly affordable offsets 
that one can purchase to help neutralize one's carbon footprint.  The 
best among these companies are ones that take a comprehensive approach 
that includes investing in truly renewable energy to reduce emissions, 
not simply planting trees or other half-hearted solutions.  There are 
many companies that offer comprehensive offsets, but here are two for 
interested parties--

www.terrapass.com
www.nativeenergy.com 

Hopefully I didn't sound too preachy... this is an issue where everyone 
has things to work on, myself included.

Phil Wire
Kirksville, Adair co.
[log in to unmask]





Edge Wade wrote:


>I may fall into that category of "passionate" birder.  I know I am 
compulsive and probably have AADD.  I 
>drive an SUV and I travel to see birds (4-year old vehicle with more 
than 100,000 miles on the 
>odometer).  Thus, I feel qualified to speak for this nefarious segment 
of the birding community.
>
>Yup, I burn gas.  Sometimes I drive alone; sometimes I have a full 
vehicle.  Yesterday, in south Texas I 
>drove a 95-mile round trip.  There were 5 people in the car.
>
>I do not smoke so I don't pollute the atmosphere in that way, nor add 
to global warming by heating the 
>air one cigarette at a time.
>
>I do not drink alcohol, so I do not contribute to the misuse of food 
agricultural land by consuming 
>drinks that use hops or grapes grown on our soil.
>
>I do not buy multiple pairs of shoes, don't discard and replace 
clothing at every whimsical change of 
>"fashion."  I recycle and have always been a proponent of zero 
population growth. 
>
>It is really unfortunate that our misguided legislature and 
boy-governor have made it mandatory to use 
>only ethanol gasoline--a truly energy inefficient concoction that takes 
lots of land out of production for 
>food.  This is now an additional reason to bird beyond my beloved home 
state.
>
>I am aging.  Many of my friends are unable to walk very far and 
bicycling is out of the question.  It gives 
>me great pleasure to accompany them on birding trips.  We share good 
bird sightings and share the 
>many joys of long-standing comraderie enhanced by the euphoria of 
gorgeous winged creatures.
>
>If this all sounds self-righteous, that's because it was intended as 
such.  As Bobbie Burns said, " Ah, to 
>see ourselves as others see us."
>
>It is great to encourage permutations of birding activity; but let us 
not impugne others for not birding 
>the same way.
>
>Go bird.  Walk, bike, drive.  Just don't promote provincialism under 
the guise of environmental 
>stewardship.
>
>Bodacious birding to y'all.
>
>Edge Wade
>Brownsville, TX
>edgew@mchsi
>
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-----------------------
Phil Wire
Truman State University

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