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Today’s Timely Topic:

Dead Birds: Canaries in the Coal Mine

The mass deaths of fish, birds and crabs across the world demands action. Using the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” analogy in this situation is weirdly but exceedingly apt. Humans must pay attention, find out what’s going on, pray for their “relations” in the animal kingdom and take action to protect ourselves from a similar fate. These animals–it seems to me–are sending us a sign.

Just prior to New Year’s, 100,000 dead fish surfaced in an Arkansas river. Then, only 100 miles away, thousands of birds “fell from the sky,” only to be followed by another  mass bird death of the same species a few days later in Louisiana, followed by another smaller mass bird death reported in Kentucky.

In a series of days, The Baltimore Sun reported 2 million fish found dead in the Chesapeake Bay. The ParanaOnline reported 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish washed to shore in Brazil. The New Zealand Herald reported hundreds of dead snapper fish on Coromandel Peninsula beaches, many with their eyes missing. 1000 turtle doves died in Italy with a strange blue stain on their beaks and more than 40,000  dead Devil crabs were reported washed up along the Kent coast of England.

A variety explanations have been offered by the scientific community, none particularly convincing, some less so than others.

In the way of Nuwati, as I’ve learned from my Elder, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha, death is sometimes viewed as and termed a “Give-Away.” Even an animal that’s a victim of an “unnatural death,” such as a “road kill” might be termed a “give-away.” Indeed, ancient Medicine, or Nuwati, is never out-dated and is applicable to the modern context. Any justification given for an animal to do give-away as a road kill may seem like over-rationalized anthropomorphism. Yet perhaps a driver had to swerve to avoid running over a smelly dead skunk. That five second swerve may be the five seconds required to required to save the driver from a deadly collision the next week. There are a thousand possible story-lines. Perhaps a road-killed hawk “did give-away” to provide a ceremonial fan, (and hence hawk medicine) to a ceremonial dancer. The Great Mystery moves in mysterious ways! I prefer to assume that its my own limitations that prevent me from knowing the “why” of any particular “give-away” incident. But I trust my spiritual intuition to give me at least part of the story.

My first intuition in the mass animal deaths of the past week is to see these deaths as a give-away, designed to send a warning, a cautionary tale. “This could happen to you!” is the way I see it. Tampering with our environment–no, that’s saying it too nicely– the POISONING of our environment is on-going–and surely has its price. The fact that “fracking” is a legal procedure for bringing natural gas to the surface in Pennsylvania by using noxious chemicals is a case in point. If nothing else, the degradation of our natural world makes life more vulnerable, immune systems weaker. That we are allowing the putrifying of the fresh waters of Pennsylvania….I shutter to imagine the consequences that loom.

Of course, the mass deaths could be the result of purposeful killings perpetrated by unholy conspirators who are experimenting with the means to wipe out wide swaths of human populations. Maybe the birds were in the path of mass aerial sprayings that are not as lethal to humans but will produce cancer down the road. Oh, its an unsettling muddle, isn’t it?

I hope it is unsettling! Let’s get to the bottom of this! The canaries have died! We are still in the coal mine. We can’t leave! But we CAN go on-line! Let’s go viral with this!

Here is how we can post our questions so that we can be heard:

1. Send letters/emails  with questions to the editor of your local newspapers

2. Send letters/emails with questions to your local govt. representatives

3. Post on your blogs and all social media that you frequent

4. Email all organizations of which you have a connection and inform them. Ask them to do the same.

5. Send letters/emails to all levels of your government in addition to your local reps.

6. Pray–give appreciation to the Earth, the animals, to God, for life

7. Send blue light

8. Love one another and be kind

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, “Happiness is not something ready made. … we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature.” Let’s get it right with both.

Elizabeth Richie/Du’Tsu