Letter: Time for someone to write 'Silent Autumn'

First the blue jays disappeared. They just seemed to evaporate, even though they had a bumper crop of fledglings. Then the smaller birds — the chickadees, titmice and nuthatches — were gone. Next all the different woodpeckers, the hairies, downies, red-breasteds, and sapsuckers quit coming. Then the squirrels disappeared, seemingly en masse. And the juncos are a month late now.

There has been no activity at the bird feeders or water bowls. Even though it's been a mast year of heavy fruits and nuts, there has been no movement in the beech and oak woods across the road. Nothing but silence for two months — no screeches, no songs, no chattering. Total, eerie silence.

A recent WCAX TV weather graphic showed that October was the warmest on record "by a wide margin" since 1947. I've enjoyed the unusually warm weather as much as anyone, but it's time for things to return to normal. As long as Scott Pruitt is head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Trump administration is in the White House, I'm afraid that won't happen anytime soon.

The EPA has erased any references to climate change on its official Website. A CBSNews.com headline read that 'EPA cancels appearance of scientists at climate change conference' about the health of Narragansett Bay, "New England's largest estuary." In her Oct. 24 letter to the Banner ("Pruitt the wrong man for EPA"), Ms. Magdalena Usategui notes that "In his first week on the job, [Pruitt] rolled back the centerpiece against global warming known as the 'Clean Power Plan,' and that he believes "the EPA should be eliminated."

Most people are familiar with Rachel Carson's seminal 1962 book Silent Spring. The scientific research and findings in Carson's work are what led to the eventual ban of the pesticide DDT. According to Wikipedia, they are also what "inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Now that's irony for you. Carson fought against 'fierce opposition by chemical companies' (Wickipedia). Pruitt seems to be in the deep pockets of chemical and fossil fuel companies, among others, as seen in his record as Oklahoma's previous attorney general when he filed fourteen lawsuits against the EPA.

Friends of mine all over New England and eastern New York say their birds have virtually disappeared, too. I think it may be time for someone to write "Silent Autumn."

Genie Rayner



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