Car Culture is an issue that is the root cause of nearly all of our environmental and public health problems across the world.

Metro Manila mayors forged an agreement with the national government to ensure the establishment of an ecological solid waste management program at the household level, particularly in condominiums and subdivisions.

A proud farmer of many decades, Mr. Henry Binahon explains to us how he integrates fruit trees like durian and pomelo with understory perennial and annual vegetable crops like taro and amaranth.

Being part of the chain that develops environmental awareness among people is really important. Through information, people could be more environmentally-conscious!

 

For the Love of Birds (and Birders)

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.” – Chinese Proverb

Seagull. San Francisco Bay.

The most intimate experience I have had with a bird was when I rescued a maya (tree sparrow) back in college. It was raining one night and the poor maya was there literally chilling on our window, drenched, and unable to fly. I picked her up, wrapped her in a towel, gave her bread, and then we slept together. Yes, I placed her on my pillow as I was about to sleep, and I was surprised she was still there when I woke up.  I was so amazed that the maya seemed sweet, even when I let her fly out, it felt like she did not want to leave.

Except from that one time, I have never really looked at birds. Though we would occasionally give bread to birds who would fly to our tiny garden in our old house in Manila, I would just see birds as these tiny plain brown creatures with wings flying all over the city.  All these changed… when I met my super birder husband.

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Hummingbird. Oregon.

Being married to a birder literally opened my eyes not just to a kingdom filled with colors and songs, but also to a world of nature-lovers who are patient and committed, who are exceptional observers and listeners, who are uniquely intelligent, and whose memories are crazy borderline photographic.

One time, we spent hours waiting for a rare rustic bunting at the Golden Gate Park. I remember how the birders there, young and old, with their scopes and binoculars, got all psyched up when the bird finally showed up. I was excited too, but I am sure they were a gazillion times more excited as I was. If I was a serious bird watcher, the rustic bunting would be my first life bird.

Whalen Island, Oregon.

Silhouette of a bird. Whalen Island, Oregon.

I also find it fascinating that we live near Lake Merritt, which they say is the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States. The lake is home to so many birds (also some migratory) and a quick run around it means close encounters with mallard ducks, Canada geese, western gulls, night herons, common golden eye, snowy egrets, pelicans, pigeons, and a whole lot more. Every so often, there would be birdwatching tours along the lake which makes Lake Merritt a great spot to be a beginner birder.

Lake Merriit, Oakland.

Mallard Duck. Lake Merriit, Oakland.

As a non-birder who has no clue about bird calls and who doubts herself if she could ever identify a bird (except a swan and an eagle, I guess), I feel that the world needs to have an appreciation of our feathered friends. I know I have a long way to go but every now and then, I would find myself looking at birds more and more… and I like it. It’s funny but it really grows on you.

Birding helps people understand the environment more, the connections in our ecosystem, and it will instill in your core the need for ecological protection — all in a fun, relaxing way.  Birds are loved, valued and appreciated here (pigeons are not eaten!), and I think that makes us love our environment even more.

Psshhh… Psshhh… Psshhh…