Thoughts with Richard Bleil
Just a few minutes ago, as of the writing of this post, I put seed out on my side ramp handrail for my fine feathered friends to enjoy. As usual, as I spread it, I was speaking to them (although they were all too far away to hear me as if they could even understand if they did), saying, “now don’t eat this seed…I’m trying to grow my banister.” Well, of course they will eat it, until it’s entirely gone. Sometimes there is some left over at the end of the day thanks to the cat that realizes that the birds flock there and sits on the banister, apparently in the hopes that one of the birds will just fly into its lazy mouth.
I also give water. I found a very pretty glass birdbath that I attached to that same handrail for them to enjoy. But some days, I must confess, the water level is significantly lower than others. I know why this is, of course, It’s because some of them have been bathing in the water instead of drinking it. Or perhaps, more appropriately, and also drinking it. On these days, the leftover water is just filthy with mud and dirt and droppings. I suppose I put it out there for them, so they get to choose how they use it, but it also confuses me. In the dead of winter, when drinking water is not available, I put hot water on top of the frozen water left from the previous day. This does a couple of things. If I can’t get the ice out (which usually I cannot), that leftover ice melts at least partially, and because the water I put out is hot, although it will cool off quickly, it remains in the liquid state a bit longer giving the birds drinking a rare source of drinking water when it is bitterly cold. On occasion, though, they like bathing in that as well.
My guests are kind of bird brains, though. I know, and you know, that the seed that I put out won’t grow, but they don’t, and every day they eat it completely. If, instead, they did let it grow, they would have a long-term source of seed once it germinates. But they don’t think about that. They just eat it until it’s gone, wasting resources and an opportunity for food in the future. How silly and completely absurd is that? One might even call it stupid.
Very stupid, in fact. Not unlike the way we approach the natural resources of our world. As we continue stripping away the rain forest risking a lifetime supply of oxygen and breathable air. Are we any smarter than my feathered friends? And we do the same thing with our available freshwater. As industrial effluent is dumped into rivers, we are literally leaving our droppings in the limited sources we have for clean drinking water.
Thanks to the efforts of the EPA and the Superfund in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, we’re much better than we were. The Ohio River near Cleveland became the first river to actually catch on fire. Yes, the river, a body of water, burned, but not just once. Smog in large cities like New York City and Los Angeles was so thick that soot deposited on buildings hiding their true color, soot that the city dwellers would breathe on a daily basis.
Not so very long ago, I had a rare interview in Texas with a company that produced highly purified silicon metal. The plant was built on the edge of the bay, and at one point, as I was interviewing with an executive, he made a comment to the effect of how polluted the air and water had become recently, finishing the statement with, “well, let’s face it, because we’re here.” I didn’t get that job, but I wonder, if I had, if I could have figured out a better way to do things. And if I could, if they would have implemented the ideas.
Our politics have been moving back and forth. I don’t know if it was always like this, but I’ve been hearing a lot of references to “executive privilege” of late, something that seems like a very bad and underhanded idea. It seems like in their first year or so, every new president spends time “undoing” as much as they possibly can from the previous administration which is always from the “other” party. Among other executive privilege actions to undo the efforts of Obama, Trump, for example, loosened pollution and resource regulations to save money for the super wealthy. Biden, in turn, used his executive privilege to replace as many of these regulations as he could. If Trump wins, he’ll again loosen these regulations, and again our natural and very limited resources will take a beating in the name of corporations who would happily consume all of the seed on the banister.