A Plea From the Animal Kingdom

Osprey, Lower Columbia River. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Let me start by stating that I am an osprey. Many of you on Long Island know of me as a fish-hawk.

As with many in the human population, I spend a great deal of time near the shores and coastlines of this area. Now, many of my fellow wild creatures of this nation, and the entire planet, have asked me to communicate with you on a matter of immediate and great importance. We need your help.

It has come to our attention that all of our lives could become imperiled by your  federal government. One of the most protective wildlife laws ever enacted is about to be severely weakened: the Endangered Species Act.

Apparently, it is to be made more economically accountable, meaning that our lives, and the stability of all of the multiple ecosystems of which we are a part, will be considered only after accounting for the possible economic losses that saving our lives might entail.

Ospreys know this would be a tragic mistake. We had a frightening brush with extinction back in the 1950s to the 1970s, when our breeding pairs on the coast between New York City and Boston declined by 90 percent. Humans realized that chemical pesticides such as DDT were causing our eggshells to thin. Other avian species were dying off, too. Once those poisons were banned, our population rebounded, but it was not easy, and it was not immediate.

After the Endangered Species Act was signed in 1973, it helped save your national symbol, the bald eagle, from extinction — as well as scores of other animals and plants. It allowed for the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park to restore a natural balance to that ecosystem.

Right now, the law protects more than 1,600 species in the United States and its territories. Do you really think it is a good idea to weaken it?

I watch from the skies as hundreds of people take whale-watching cruises from Long Island to spot humpback whales. These creatures have returned to these waters only after being protected by the Endangered Species Act.

It also protected a fellow raptor, the peregrine falcon. How would you explain to your children, and their children, if you let the fastest animal on the planet vanish forever because of business concerns?

Wild creatures do so many things that benefit humans: Bees and bats pollinate crops, birds of prey control populations of rodents that could consume your food supply in farm fields or cause disease. Have you forgotten that multiple species from algae in the oceans to trees that line your streets create the oxygen that all of us need to exist?

We share a planet that is not humanity’s alone, and could never be so. You could not exist without the contributions of so many other forms of life.

Your federal administration is engaged in some very dangerous short-term, nonscientific thinking. Making monetary and business concerns your primary objectives will not result in healthy, stable and sustainable ecosystems. Those ecosystems are what we all need to survive. Please help us and help yourselves. Keep the Endangered Species Act intact.

Pandion haliaetus is the alter ego of Jim Jones, a naturalist at Bethpage State Park.

This column originally appeared on Newsday.


More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Lights! Camera! Kill! Hollywood, the Pentagon and Imperial Ambitions.
Joseph Grosso
Bloody Chicken: Inside the American Poultry Industry During the Time of COVID
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: It Had to be You
H. Bruce Franklin
August 12-22, 1945: Washington Starts the Korean and Vietnam Wars
Pete Dolack
Business as Usual Equals Many Extra Deaths from Global Warming
Paul Street
Whispers in the Asylum (Seven Days in August)
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Predatory Capitalism and the Nuclear Threat in the Age of Trump
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan
Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of War: What is Israel’s Endgame in Lebanon and Syria?
Ron Jacobs
It’s a Sick Country
Eve Ottenberg
Trump’s Plan: Gut Social Security, Bankrupt the States
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Fake News
Jonathan Cook
How the Guardian Betrayed Not Only Corbyn But the Last Vestiges of British Democracy
Joseph Natoli
What Trump and the Republican Party Teach Us
Robert Fisk
Can Lebanon be Saved?
Brian Cloughley
Will Biden be Less Belligerent Than Trump?
Kenn Orphan
We Do Not Live in the World of Before
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Compromise & the Status Quo
Andrew Bacevich
Biden Wins, Then What?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Criminology of Global Warming
Michael Welton
Toppled Monuments and the Struggle For Symbolic Space
Prabir Purkayastha
Why 5G is the First Stage of a Tech War Between the U.S. and China
Daniel Beaumont
The Reign of Error
Adrian Treves – John Laundré
Science Does Not Support the Claims About Grizzly Hunting, Lethal Removal
David Rosen
A Moment of Social Crisis: Recalling the 1970s
Maximilian Werner
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Textual Manipulations in Anti-wolf Rhetoric
Pritha Chandra
Online Education and the Struggle over Disposable Time
Robert Koehler
Learning from the Hibakushas
Seth Sandronsky
Teaching in a Pandemic: an Interview With Mercedes K. Schneider
Dean Baker
Financing Drug Development: What the Pandemic Has Taught Us
Greta Anderson
Blaming Mexican Wolves for Livestock Kills
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Meaning of the Battle of Salamis
Mel Gurtov
The World Bank’s Poverty Illusion
Paul Gilk
The Great Question
Rev. Susan K. Williams Smith
Trump Doesn’t Want Law and Order
Martin Cherniack
Neo-conservatism: The Seductive Lure of Lying About History
Nicky Reid
Pick a Cold War, Any Cold War!
George Wuerthner
Zombie Legislation: the Latest Misguided Wildfire Bill
Lee Camp
The Execution of Elephants and Americans
Christopher Brauchli
I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…
Tony McKenna
The Truth About Prince Philip
Louis Proyect
MarxMail 2.0
Sidney Miralao
Get Military Recruiters Out of Our High Schools
Jon Hochschartner
Okra of Time
David Yearsley
Bringing Landscapes to Life: the Music of Johann Christian Bach