Happy first day of autumn.
With the autumnal equinox, the sun crosses the equator. In four days, given our Davis location, the days start to get shorter than the nights. Weather is cueing the birds and the great migration is happening, in yards, at the ponds, in the fields. And the fall color has begun.
Camus said: “Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.” Pick up a leaf starting to color and look at it closely.
That being said, I also urge you to watch some TV. It’s not often I suggest that, especially during these best birding months of the year. However, “Nature,” on PBS is running a six-week series called “Earthflight” at 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings. It takes us on an adventure across six continents from a bird’s perspective. At times, you will actually be riding on the backs of bald eagles or snow geese.
Some birds were imprinted and then fit with a harness that holds a camera. They also use paragliders, drones, microlights and all manners of new technology to get the astonishing, enchanting, spectacular shots. It has a PG rating as there is predation, but that’s the way of nature. The episodes were filmed during a four-year period, in 100 countries and six continents.
They use more advanced photography techniques than those used in the movie “Winged Migration.”
Three of the episodes of “Earthflight” have already been shown, however, you can go to PBS and watch an entire episode on your computer. The continents they’ve covered are North America, Africa, Europe and the next three are South America, Asia and Australia, and the last episode will show us how they accomplished the amazing photography with a behind-the-scenes look. It’s an aerial adventure with 100 bird species in 40 countries.
Thanks to everyone who participated this week in California Cleanup Day. Of course, all good things — coasts, ponds, relationships, homes, yards — need loving care and maintenance. Our planet needs some heavy-duty catch up maintenance. So if you did not have a chance to take part this time, there are so many things you can do daily.
Our climate chaos demands that we who don’t like change, need to make drastic changes now in how we live our lives, that is if we love the way the world is now and want our children and grandchildren to experience a similar world.
Do your part to clean up our air by biking and walking more. Fossil fuel emissions are killing us. Get that bike ready to ride on errands with a basket and a light. Or strengthen your bones by walking more. I now alternate my biking and walking days. My walks are sources of inspiration for me as I listen to music on my iPod and hear everything from Science Friday on NPR to podcasts from the Poetry Foundation.
Inform yourself about fossil fuels. Oil companies in California are getting ready to frack the Monterey shale deposit. Google that area and see where it is. It’s a 1,750-square-mile area in the middle of the state and areas along the coast, along our big pond. This is the new gold rush. It is estimated that there are 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil there.
Fracking involves injecting large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals, more than 600 chemicals, to get the oil and natural gas from the shale. This could cause earthquakes, contamination of water, risks to the air we breathe, risks to agriculture and our climate. Several environmental organizations backed an earlier version of fracking regulation Senate Bill 4 but they have now withdrawn their support since the bill has been watered down. The Natural Resources Defense Council said that inserted amendments at the last minute rendered the regulation, SB-4 useless.
With weak regulations and many unknowns, many believe that we need to leave the fossil fuels in the ground. If you agree, here are actions you could take: call the governor at 916- 445 2841 and ask him to veto the bill before it because law on Sept. 30. As I write this, he has not yet signed it. Numerous countries, and 368 cities and counties in the U.S. have banned fracking.
While you are calling the Gov., ask him to sign AB 711, which seeks to protect wildlife and humans from the threat of lead from ammunition. It just needs his signature. Lead is the leading cause of death for adult condors. They eat dead animals with ammo in them. Humans also get flecks of lead when eating wild game.
Learn more about the condors in a movie to benefit the UC Vet Med California Raptor Center on Saturday, Sept. 28. The documentary will be shown on campus and a reception will be on the UCD campus. Tickets at condor.eventbrite.com.
Concerned about the Keystone XL Pipeline? The Bay Area’s refineries are already transporting Canadian tar sands crude oil via rail through Davis. And the refineries are increasing their infrastructure to process more. Train cars go right through Davis on their way to Bay Area refineries.
In July, an unattended freight train derailed in the Quebec Province. There was a fire and explosion resulting in 30 buildings in the town’s center destroyed, 42 people dead and more missing.
What’s in the tankers going through Davis? What safety precautions are being taken? I surely want to know. How about you?
We all need to participate in actions in our personal lives and at all levels of government for the sake of ourselves and the grandkiddies and their children to maintain our planet.
And when it looks overwhelming, do one sweet maintain-the-earth action and then go out in nature and wash your spirit clean. William Cullen Bryant said, “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
Kiss each day.
— Jean Jackman is a Davis resident. Her columns appear monthly. Got a question, correction, comment? Contact: JeanJackman@gmail.com