I remember how I would sit on the porch in front of the house facing the garden, with my sister and grandmother, and watch the sky – where the swallows and swifts were doing their aeronautical acrobatics and stunts high up beneath the sky’s cupola, with no safety net. This was in the evenings in the first or second week of August, towards the end of the summer holidays. We were preparing ourselves to go back to school – and the swallows were preparing to go south, by stuffing their bellies with insects.

The house and the porch are still there. And I like to be there in August when the first apples ripen. But when I look up in the evening I see almost no swallows.

https://bit.ly/2pyR2gO     Bird numbers across France have declined by a third in the past 15 years, according to new figures. Professor Romain Julliard, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History, explains to “The Independent” that the reason behind is not direct action against the birds, but the decline in insect populations. The birds do not have enough to eat. Besides pesticide use, other agricultural practices such as the expansion of crop monocultures are also thought to have contributed to the fall in insect numbers. The new data came from two studies, one conducted on a national scale and the other focusing on a specific agricultural region. Studies in the UK have given similar findings. Farmland birds have declined by 56% between 1970 and 2015. Last year a study was published in Germany telling that insect populations had fallen by 75% in a similar period of time.

In 1962 Rachel Carson came out with her Cassandra-like foretelling that she called Silent Spring. 56 years later the foretelling is turning into reality – and we, in the meantime, have not figured out what to do. Everything is left with the young generation to investigate, invest, implement and probably forsake a lot, to have it repaired – if that is possible. Or just save what can still be saved.

It does not look good.  I do not like to talk like a pessimist. I am not a pessimist. But it is a fact that right now things are going the wrong way. What should be done?



CHANGE IS THE ONLY THING THAT IS CONSTANT (Herakleitos, 2500 years ago)
I have written earlier (GOOD NEWS  BAD NEWS) about the Russian gas tanker that last August sailed from Stavanger in Norway to a port on the Russian Pacific Ocean coast in 18 days, while in 1878 it took the Finnish-Swedish explorer Nordenskjöld almost two years (since he got stuck in the ice with his steam/sail ship Vega and had to stay over the winter in the ice).
The UK submarine manoeuvre that is shown in the article might not have been possible 10 years ago – the ice was still too thick and the sub probably not equipped  to break the ice from below.
And “the same man cannot twice step down into the same river.”