Posted by: atowhee | October 23, 2017


October 23, Monday

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”   -Mario Savio, Berkeley, 1964

“One reason we make so little progress is that we keep waiting for our political leaders to lead.”                                                                                                      –Bill McKibben

“Always remember the will to act is a renewable resource.”      –Al Gore

Today my eldest son sent me this picture.  It shows my youngest grand-daughter with a Great Gray Owl on her arm.  Her name is Tabitha.  This image heartens this cynical, skeptical old man a great deal.  I have written about Great Grays.  I have even touched a live one in captivity in Walnut Creek.  I will never feel one on my arm.  I can hope that Tabitha and her generation will see that Great Grays and many other owl species somehow survive the current extinctions that are sweeping away our fellow earthlings at an accelerating pace. This image come from the Hawk Conservancy in Hampshire, with ggo

It is Tabitha’s generation that will first fully confront the severe damage we and our forebears have done to the natural world.  They will be the first generation to openly make the social, political and biological decisions about who and what will live and what will cease.  Is Exxon or Shell or Japanese fishing or Monsanto or elephant ivory trade more important than a dung beetle or monarch butterfly or white-sided dolphin?  Those are the stark choices she and her contemporaries will face.  I do not envy them the anger, the hatred, the violence and the stark, heartless facts they must endure.

Yet I have some hope, still.  I do love Tabitha, but more importantly I admire her.  She has supported conservation groups and wildlife preservation since she was barely able to speak in sentences.  She is now on her way.  She is smart.  She is a natural leader and organizer.  Tabitha is not likely to turn away from facts nor shy away from the confrontations that must be met head on.  No energy firm, no drug firm, no chemical firm, and not many governments will willingly make the changes needed to save the other organisms on this planet from extinction.  Bodies will literally or figuratively have to go onto the economic gears that grind up our planet for profit.  Tabitha will be among those fighting the righteous fight on behalf of life over money, preservation of other creatures over ever-expanding use of nature for human gain.  She will not likely give up, she could even prevail in important ways.  Best of all, she is British so she will face these contests with grit, determination and an unwillingness to surrender.  She may be the most important friend that Great Gray Owl ever had.

Click here for further gallery of Tabitha’s day with owls and a Hooded Vulture.




  1. Nice writing and great quotes. Tabitha is lucky and I am jealous!

    m a

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