Corncrake, Barn Owl, Moose

When I was maybe  8 or 9 yrs old, nearly 30 years ago my dad got me out of the bedroom and took me down to just above Annie Harkness’s house near the Ballinderry River to hear a corncrake calling in a field. It is one of the most vivid memories I have as a kid.
My great Uncle Tommy and great Auntie Jean where there as well with a tape recorder to record the noise (which is like scraping a wooden ruler over a plastic comb). They remembered the sound of it calling all around Orritor but hadn’t heard it for years.
I was thinking about the corncrake again last week when I was on Inishbofin as it is one of the few places in Ireland where you can still maybe hear one. I was thinking that it’s very unlikely that 8 or 9 yr old in Ireland will hear one now, or any 8 or 9 yr old will in the near future.
Another equally vivid memory from childhood was the time a beautiful barn owl landed on the electric wire in Craigmount in the dusk. I can still see the pale face.I have never come across a barn owl again. Will an 8 or 9 yr old ever see a barn owl in Ireland?
I was thinking about the corncrake while reading Naomi Klein’s new book where she wonders if her son will ever see a moose

Does it matter if a kid doesn’t ever see a barn owl, corncrake, a moose?
Personally I think it does, I don’t think caring for the environment, climate change etc is an optional extra which comes behind making the economy grow or creating jobs, taxes,all the other stuff which governments and politicians seem to prioritize. We all need to pay more attention to our carbon heavy lifestyles because the vast majority of scientists who study this stuff tell us that we need to pay attention to this stuff right now.
I think economic growth is an idol as well sometimes. It was it the news that the Irish economy is growing again. If people have good, healthy work that is great. If people are just buying more clutter and using more and more of the earths resources for stuff they don’t really need to make themselves content and happy that is bad.  A company selling more goods every year and profits growing means that more and more carbon is pumped into the atmosphere. 7 billion people and rising. Less land per person, more unpredictable weather patterns, droughts.War’s over resources like water? I think that we can’t keep living our lives individually and as countries to be as competitive as possible if that means that we treat people and our fellow creatures as commodities to be used to get to on top.

‘..our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.’
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything


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