Carbon emissions of twitching

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Jan
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Carbon emissions of twitching

Postby Jan » Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:23 pm

i'm not intending to be a party-pooper, but why do all you people/blokes feel the need to see this bird in the flesh? How much carbon are you emitting getting there and back? Do you even care? Why can't the sighting by reputable folk near the site be enough to convince you that it is accurate? It is time that massive travel should be stopped, even for bird spotting, especially if others have already confirmed a sighting.
Jan
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Location: Christchurch

Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby Jan » Thu Oct 21, 2021 3:43 pm

i don't think planting a tree or paying for an airline to do such things on your behalf is nearly enough.
We should be flying less, driving less, using renewable energy sources as much as possible, only buying products
that dont have much packaging and all that stuff. I know it's not a bird topic and I don't do it much either, BUT,
and here's the thing, colossal climate change will most likely mean even more rarities find their way here.
AND THATS NOT A GOOD THING
BerndHuss
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Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby BerndHuss » Thu Oct 21, 2021 3:44 pm

I feel the need to reply to Jan's issue in regards to travels to see a rare bird (or 2 or 3). Planes do fly regardless if there is a birder on board. People who drive by car in most cases car pool, so there shouldn't be too many miles of extra travelling. And let's face it, there are not THAT many twitchers who travel long distances all the time to see a particular species. I myself couldn't free up the time to go down south nor will I be able to in the foreseeable future. But I would if I could. And believe me I love nature as much as the next guy, but I am convinced that a handful of people chasing after birds (which is a good cause in general) won't do a lot of damage to the environment.
Jan
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Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby Jan » Thu Oct 21, 2021 3:59 pm

yes, i know all that Bernd, and I sympathise with you on not being able to get down there. But your opinion is exactly the same as those many companies, directors , individuals and anybody who claims that NZ's contribution to climate change causes are REALLY SMALL, as we have only a tiny proportion of the world's population. We have a large carbon emission per head of population and we have increased our emissions by 26% since 1990, while the UK has decreased its by nearly 40% or so. We are hopeless at doing anything to meet the climate goals.
Birds will only suffer the consequences, as will people, when more pathogens, nasty weather conditions and predators reach NZ
BerndHuss
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Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby BerndHuss » Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:09 pm

I don't think pointing the finger at birders is a legitimate argument. Climate change has not been caused by a handful of people who spend part of their time watching birds, which also is a crucial means to keep track of numbers and habits of our diverse fauna. What are we supposed to do? Just watch the birds in our backyards? Sorry, but birding is generally an environmentally friendly hobby compared to the majority of what others do. Or do you want to stop people from going to events like racing or , god forbid, rugby??
andrewcrossland
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Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:53 pm

I’d love to be able to see a Northern Pintail in its natural habitat in NE Asia and I considered one day doing a cruise in the Russian Far East but a good friend told me that cruise ships have a very large carbon footprint, especially expedition ships because the entire operation is shared between a relatively small number of people. So for me, a quick flight down to Southland and a walk from the airport to the lagoon for a day’s birding is a better option than a trip to Russia or even a drive from chch to Invercargill and back.
I do travel overseas to look at birds and once COVID 19 has abated I’ll be back for certain. But when I go overseas I try to “give back” and I contribute my records to local organisations and I write a lot of my overseas birding up too.

For example , 2 weeks spent in the Solomons a few years ago with some birding mates has resulted in about 6 or7 published papers on the birds of Guadalcanal and the Florida group. From my trips to Sumatra I’ve published more than 25 papers, found hitherto unknown populations of threatened bird species, trained and mentored local researchers, identified more than 20 sites of international importance to shorebirds, extended the known range of several species etc. I’ve contributed not only to science, but also to conservation and community resilience by arming communities with data that has been used to protect sites and purpose them for conservation rather than other users like conversion to industry, agriculture or recreation. Many other people ofcourse contribute to ebird when overseas. So unlike most other kinds of travel, birders contribute something and don’t just “consume” the place they visit.

So, There’s other ways than planting trees to offset one’s own impact on the planet. Birders travelling the length of tue country to see a bird is a soft target for virtue signalling, but simply that happening is probably enough to attract the (bemused) interest of the local media and cause 100,000 Southlanders to have a realisation of how connected their little piece of paradise is to the rest of the planet as they read the morning paper and eat their cornflakes. And maybe that’ll make a bigger difference than a bunch of people screaming and shouting in
the streets wearing pukeko suits?
Last edited by andrewcrossland on Thu Oct 21, 2021 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jan
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Location: Christchurch

Re: Mega northern pintail tip Lagoon Invers

Postby Jan » Thu Oct 21, 2021 6:10 pm

Exactly, and I agree with you about a handful of birders not causing much, but since this bird has been documented ok, why do others need to go if they aren't needed to verify the sighting? That's what i'm getting at. If you really don't need to travel for whatever purpose, be it a rugby game or flower show you can watch online, say, then it may not be ideal, but get in behind the smaller climate emission target and do your bit. There are several bird conferences happening online coming up, the Australasian O Conference will be online in Feb. and there are others too.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Carbon emissions of twitching

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Oct 22, 2021 10:08 am

I split posts to here from the pintail thread (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11201). I think the impacts of all our actions deserve scrutiny. Please do that here.
Climate change inaction is a long story of shifting blame and carving off little bits so we can say it's too small to matter. As we've seen dramatically over the past couple of years, planes don't keep flying when passenger numbers drop, and there are a lot of things we don't need to do in person.
On the other hand, people like to have their own holidays and experiences. Not many people get the same enjoyment from watching someone else have a holiday for them.
andrewcrossland
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Re: Carbon emissions of twitching

Postby andrewcrossland » Fri Oct 22, 2021 3:27 pm

Is there a particular reason that birders or twitchers are singled out as compared to say, skiers, people flying to attend concerts, sports events, conferences, or people whose hobby might make them travel like sports teams, kayakers and rowers, horse-related sports, car and motorcycle racing, fishers and white/baiters, trampers and climbers, holiday home and beach owners, campers, boaties, antique collectors, holiday makers, etc?
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Carbon emissions of twitching

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Fri Oct 22, 2021 9:18 pm

I would say no. Don't deflect. They should all be asking the same questions of themselves of themselves. Many probably are.

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