Thoughts on well-being, sustainability and those things that constitute a good life beyond consumption.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What is the value of raptors?

I have been thinking a lot about birds lately, in part because of the impact that environmental changes may have on these creatures, in part because we are in the midst of fall migration, and in part, by a quote that I recently read:

"The legacy of Rachel Carson is that tens of millions of human lives – mostly children in poor, tropical countries – have been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors. This remains one of the monumental human tragedies of the last century."

You can find the reference in a blog post I wrote in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring:

This quote has been haunting me and thus, I am reaching out to a broad audience to get a range of thoughts for an article I am thinking of writing:
Please post your thoughts on the question of what value raptors have in our world or in our lives.



  1. Your post on the legacy of Rachael Carson was riveting. I do hope you will follow up with a dissection of this quote that you've singled out from the last post. I admit to personal ignorance surrounding this, that is, I wasn't aware of the level of controversy. No doubt this is an investment of considerable time, but I'll look forward to your well conceived and elegantly written ruminations. And of course, at the same time, coming closer to the truth. All life is sacred, yet there is a relativity we must do our best to contend with. Somewhere in here rests the notable value of raptors, and somewhere, in context, our need to account for our neighbours near and far.

    1. Stephen, I hadn't seen your comment until now. I have been thinking about this quote a lot and perhaps you have hit upon a simple, but important answer to the question I pose. That "all life is sacred". But I feel that there is more to consider here. I haven't forgotten about this, but will be temporarily side-lined by the trip to the Middle East to help solve the "little" issue of climate change! Thanks so much for your comments.

  2. Stephen, I finally finished one of the pieces that I have been working on related to the Rachel Carson/Silent Spring post from last September. I posted it on January 10th.