Birds (and Viruses) Connect the World
“Birds Connect The World” is the theme of World Migratory Bird Day (in North America) on May 9th. Unlike human migrants, birds aren’t hindered by immigration checkpoints or border walls. They fly freely across national boundaries, reflecting the interconnected nature of all ecosystems.
Billions of birds are in movement around us at all times, connecting the continents and living out their own great life dramas. But for most of us, birds are in the background. Our dominant culture isn’t attuned to what they, or for that matter, what all of nature has to tell us about the oneness of our shared planetary homeland.
A microscopic virus, on the other hand, can speak in a way that can’t be ignored.
For the past few months the world has watched as the coronavirus has crossed borders and infiltrated nation states. It’s movement is intimate, passing from body to body, a powerful reminder of how physically linked we all are.
This tiny virus is painfully forcing a complete psychological shift in how humanity views itself. We are bound together as citizens of one world, and efforts to mitigate the effects of the virus have to take place on a global scale. What one person or group does to slow the virus will inevitably impact strangers on the opposite side of the world.
The first law of ecology is that everything is connected to everything else. Nature teaches us everything we need to know about interconnection. It speaks to us through the gentle call of a songbird, as well as the shocking scream of fires, floods, climate warming, and now a viral disease pandemic.
More than ever, we are compelled to recognize that our own well-being is connected to the well-being of others. Birds (and viruses) can help us find who we truly are: members of a dynamic, interdependent global family.