Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Opinion Letters

Mankind slowly destroying this wondrous planet

Published 12/11/2015

As a keen observer of nature, the numbers of species, particularly birds, so familiar in my youth, which have vanished, is awe-inspiring.

Congregations of chattering sparrows and wagtails on the tarmacadam opposite the kitchen window; the thrushes, blackbirds, goldfinches and robins in the shrubbery and on the lawn, sadly, are now rare.

This was the first time in 40 years there wasn't an array of swallows on the telephone line to bid us their farewell before departure to warmer climates.

On a more positive note, a lone robin-red-breast popped from the hedge to pick a few crumbs during the week and continues its unpredictable visits.

I don't consider cats and dogs as predators. Birds like to play games popping up and down to their feed trays.

Pesticides and sprays, or interference with hedgerows, more efficient collection of grain and general hygiene are among the contributory factors to their demise.

According to the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet records, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined on average 52% from 1970 to 2010.

Human consumption, damage to habitat and exploitation through uncontrolled hunting, or industrial commercial fishing, are given as the primary reasons.

Information on 10,380 populations of 3,038 species was used to reach these conclusions.

Decline in freshwater species was the most frightening, with a population fall of 76% recorded.

We (mankind) are supposed to be the most intelligent species of all God's creations. Obviously not true.

Not only are we the most destructive species, we are also the most selfish.

JIM GLEESON

By email

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph