Declining bird populations
There is no sweeter sound on the face of the Earth than a meadowlark singing on an early spring morning, no offense to all the good choirs, symphonies and musicians. It’s like a little slice of heaven on Earth.
A new landmark study published in the journal Science documents that the populations of Eastern and Western meadowlarks has shriveled by nearly 75% since 1970 (Sept. 20 Eagle).
The report states that there has been a 29% drop in bird populations in North America since 1970. The study concludes that there are multiple causes for the declines: the number one cause being habitat loss, with pesticide use and outdoor cats being other major factors.
Continual development and urban sprawl has reduced the habitat for many species of birds. Combined with changing agricultural practices and widespread pesticide use, the result has been steep declines in bird populations throughout North America.
William Beebe once wrote, “A vanished harmony may yet inspire the composer, but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.”
William Skaer, Wichita
Am I the only one who noticed the irony in this week's House hearings? That is, Democrats complaining that a member of a Republican administration allegedly pressured a foreign government to do him a personal favor — which was to pursue his own complaint about a member of a Democratic administration allegedly pressuring a foreign government to do him a personal favor.
Well, Stanley, this is another fine mess...
Richard Vogt, Newton
As Americans living in Wichita, we treasure our country’s sacred values: Freedom of speech and religion, respect for human rights and protection from arbitrary search, seizure and arrests.
But on Aug. 5 those of us with roots in South Asia trembled to see those exact values trampled in Kashmir, as the Indian government broke 1948 United Nations Resolutions and sent 800,000 soldiers into Kashmir, with its majority Muslim population of 10 million.
On Friday, the prime ministers of Pakistan and India addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Meanwhile, President Trump has merely asked those leaders to “work it out.” Absent moral leadership by the United States, we believe India’s commercial ties to the West, with a market of its 1 billion population, will enable far-right Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deny the reality.
Despite 50 days without phone or internet communications, information has found its way out, allowing us to invite our city to an open house Sept. 29 from 2 to 5:00 p.m. at the Islamic Society of Wichita to view displays and photographs that portray the situation.
Our friends and relatives in the region live in fear, and may be sick, disappeared, arrested or even killed. Please help us call our leaders to see and protest!
Manzoor Ali, Aamir Usmani and Muhammad Akram, Wichita
To those who tried to disrupt the Climate Strike in Old Town:
You didn’t convince us not to fight climate change. One of you jumped to a platform and, Bible in hand, yelled out scripture. It was theatrical and disruptive, but not moving.
It was a graceless display of self-promotion. The two events in Wichita were child-friendly; we were promoting science, not an anti-Christian agenda. (Look up evangelicals supporting “Creation Care.”) When your mother told you to clean your room, did you just tell her the mess was “part of God’s plan during the end times”? Or did you clean it up?
You had the right to be there, but you were harassing people who were peacefully trying to get across that the planet is in trouble, but that there are solutions. You didn’t work to create the gathering, but you acted as if it were yours to take control of.
In Russia, students were denied a permit to protest, but a few showed up anyway. In Afghanistan, a hundred children marched with armed soldiers to protect them. Globally, more than 4 million took part.
See the excitement in Wichita you missed?
Elizabeth Morgan and Priscilla Salem, Wichita