Saturday, March 10, 2012

Isn't It Ironic?

Over the past two days, temperatures in NYC have returned to seasonable and that resulted in most of the fair weather exercisers leaving Central Park (at least at night).
This surprises me as one would think cool and brisk weather is far more condusive to hard exercise.  (Indeed, the only time I ever run is during severely frigid weather when needing to warm up in a hurry.)  Then again, not being a "jogger" what do I know about these things?   It just seems an irony that the hotter and more humid and miserable the weather, the more runners and cyclists in the park. 
 A few geese were resting on the water last night at Harlem Meer.
I am guessing the geese to be late stragglers from the waves of migratory geese who passed through the city over the past few weeks.
They are here for a day or two and then they move on......
And yet, for all their movements and peaceful ways, Canada geese still continue to be demonized and targeted, not just in New York City, but in fact, all over the country and the world.
Today in England, defenders of geese gathered at Windermere lake (an apparently popular tourist site) to protest a planned "culling" of the geese planned to occur over the next few weeks.
Although Windermere residents report more swans than geese at the lake, the geese nevertheless become the scapegoats for all perceived problems -- just as they are scapegoated in the states.
Closer to home, geese are also being targeted in Lacey Township, New Jersey which apparently just agreed to pay the USDA $6,000 to round up and gas the geese and any of their goslings:
(For all current articles, information and updates on Canada geese, please go to our special Facebook site: Call of the Canada Geese page )
For an animal that has proven itself to be so highly adaptable and resilient to nature's challenges, its amazing the utter contempt humans have for this bird of ingenuity, strength and problem-solving abilities.
Like hard and sweaty exercisers running or cycling in the heated throws of summer, it is something that seems oddly ironic.
One might think humans would admire and respect "winners" so to speak.  -- i.e. those animals demonstrating remarkable adaptability and survival instincts even in the face of adversity and human attempts to annihilate them.
Another reality that is ironic and hard to understand is the seeming indifference (or even condescension) towards geese demonstrated by those who otherwise call themselves, "birders."
Canada geese are after all, birds.
But, the birding community has, for the most part, been strangely silent or behaving like ostriches with heads in the sand (no pun intended) when it come to the slaughter and persecution of Canada geese.
Those fighting to save geese are predominately those with particular affinity for the birds or general animal protection supporters.
Then again, perhaps that is not too surprising.
It seems the birding community is very similar to the "elite" dog breeding and showing worlds.  As most admirers and participants of dog shows thumb their noses at "mongrel" (i.e. mixed breed) dogs, so too, do most birders seem to thumb their noses at the more plentiful and adaptable birds like pigeons, mallards and Canada geese.
Apparently, if an animal is not "exotic" or endangered in some way, it has little or no value in modern human culture and it doesn't matter what happens to him or her. 
Imagine were such attitudes carried over to our own species, which, like the geese has demonstrated great adaptability to different environments and therefore, is hardly "endangered" or "exotic?"   Only the "1%" would be deemed valuable and worth saving!
I am not sure what "endangered or exotic" actually has to do with intrinsic value, sentience and individual worth.
Obviously, some animal species adapt and survive better in the modern world and some don't.
While I personally admire those striving to save endangered species or document and educate the rest of society on rare, exotic animals, this is not to say that the more abundant and adaptable animal species should be taken for granted or worse, demonized,  persecuted and destroyed.
We have to remember that at one time hundreds of millions of passenger pigeons flew our skies.   But, the last one was hunted down early in the last century.
Also, in the last century, Canada geese were almost hunted to oblivion.
But, thanks to efforts to "restore" the species (through captive breeding and release) for hunters, the geese made a comeback.
And in the process, apparently learned how to adapt to human predations.
Canada geese should be admired for that, rather than ostracized..
They have proven themselves to be remarkably similar to humans in their abilities to adapt and prevail.
Could our disdain for this adaptability be reflection of our own self-degradation or tendency to take for granted and feel contempt for what we think we have "too much of?"
I don't know.
Somehow it all just seems a little like the Alanis Morrisette song. ("Isn't it Ironic?")
We run in the heat and condemn and scorn what should rightfully be admired, praised and even emulated.  -- PCA

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