Sunday, May 11, 2008
Hope and Cynicism
Yesterday, a beautiful sunny day, my friend Julia and I went out to the International Crane Foundation, near Barraboo, WI. This organization works tirelessly and effectively to cross international borders and support the many different species of cranes around the world, many of which are endangered. It is powerful to me that caring for living things like cranes brings together people whose governments don't like each other.
The Whooping Crane, native to North America had almost vanished. There were about 48 left. The Crane Foundation undertook a breeding program to raise whooping cranes to an age where they could migrate to their nesting grounds in Florida. They are raised in a way that keeps them from imprinting on humans. The young birds make their first flight to Florida following an ultralight plane piloted by a person in a sort of bird suit, again to avoid them imprinting on humans. The birds then fly back north at the appropriate time of the year, on their own. That is a miracle to me, in and of itself.
I found myself moved to tears yesterday in the marsh ampitheater which "houses" a male and female Whooping Crane. You can see the birds up close and watch a short video on the breed and release program. I feel so very hopeful about this. I didn't realize how down and how cynical I'd been feeling of late about the world: politics, the war(s), the environment, etc. Yet this counterd the cynicism. It opened up the idea that if this migration work is possible, then so much is really possible. I noted that the marsh ampitheater where the birds live was paid for by AMOCO. Again, I felt the twinge of cynicism. "Ha," I thought, "a good PR stunt by AMOCO!") And maybe (almost certainly) it is. However, someone from the Crane Foundation went to them, persuaded AMOCO to part with some of it's ample billions. So, little by little, hope enters into the picture. Changes. Will enoughchanges happen before we destroy our planet and ourselves? I don't know, of course. I'm not a pollyanna, but am hopeful today.