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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 13:44   #26
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Personally, I believe that the CO2 emissions are a price worth paying if enough people visit the rain forests or wherever and make it more economically viable for the locals to embrace tourism rather than destroy the habitat being visited. At the current rate of destruction, there's going to be precious few places worth visiting long before global warming does any significant damage. Anything that makes the ignorant majority of the planet realise there's something worth saving has got to be a good thing, surely?
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 13:59   #27
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The biggest culprit is the destruction of forests - why don't the anti-aviation lot spend their time more usefully campaigning aganst that?

Exactly.

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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 19:39   #28
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When I looked at the website (looking impressive btw) I didn't notice an itinery anywhere- is this because it's top secret? Or they haven't decided yet?

If they are going for 4000 species, a lot of the travelling is going to have to be between neighbouring countries, which will minimise the long haul flight component. A year's travelling is going to use up a lot of CO2 admittedly, but probably less than doing all those countries as separate trips. As long as when they do come back they live out the rest of their days in a straw bale house, plant trees all day long and bury their poo deep underground it might all equal out . . .
I read on their diary that they expect to be passing through Gatwick/Stanstead several times, with trips to Ecuador, Finland, Brazil and Spain, among other destinations. Now considering a return flight from London to New York releases about 1.5 tonnes of carbon, while the average carbon footprint for a British resident is around 11 tonnes (perhaps about double what's globally sustainable), you have to imagine all the flights this couple are going to undertake, plus the hotels, taxis and car travel, it's going to add up to something quite sizeable.
On top of that, their diary tells of previous birding trips around the world, so big though their plans are for 2008, jetting around the world is hardly new to them.

Of course it's very easy to be holier than thou about all this, but on the other hand, when well-meaning 'conservationists' have a bad idea, it really ought to be pointed out to them.

To put is another way, raising funds and awareness for conservation project in Ecuador is one thing, but do you suppose the indigenous peoples of the Arctic are exactly going to be applauding rich people jetting all around the world on 'eco-holidays' while their homes are melting from underneath them, particularly as we're all well aware now that needless air travel has an expanding influence on the plight of the Arctic? Who knows, maybe they will.

Ultimately, this is an example the typical Western conservationists disease, that notion we can do whatever we wish, choose luxuriant lifestyles that we know aren't sustainable and which do damage to the planet, we can do it all with impunity, so long as we mean well and have membership of the National Trust or RSPB or whoever else. A disease, I might add, which frankly, I'm something of a sufferer of myself.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 19:53   #29
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Personally, I believe that the CO2 emissions are a price worth paying if enough people visit the rain forests or wherever and make it more economically viable for the locals to embrace tourism rather than destroy the habitat being visited. At the current rate of destruction, there's going to be precious few places worth visiting long before global warming does any significant damage. Anything that makes the ignorant majority of the planet realise there's something worth saving has got to be a good thing, surely?
I'm going slightly off topic here, but I don't see it this way at all.

For me, Eco-tourism is an excuse for foreign holidays, and just isn't going to contribute anywhere near enough to preserve enormous habitats like rainforests. At best, it'll pay for pockets of trees, and we'll end up with reserves like in Britain, islands of biodiversity that aren't sustainable and actually add very little to our natural environment, and which will ultimately be imperilled by climate change.

We must begin thinking is that we need the rainforests, not because they are pretty, with strange enigmatic creatures we want to go see it, but because they are vital to making Earth so very habitable for us. It's governments, we really must begin paying megabucks to encourage countries to protect their rainforests as the life-preserving resource they are.

I can understand the desire to go see all those birds, but until we figure out a sustainable way for all of us to go watch them, we really ought to consider that it's enough for us to know they are out there, but more than that, that they are out there and valued and that we are doing the right things to keep them there.
That's got to be the aim.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 20:08   #30
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I can understand the desire to go see all those birds, but until we figure out a sustainable way for all of us to go watch them, we really ought to consider that it's enough for us to know they are out there, but more than that, that they are out there and valued and that we are doing the right things to keep them there.
That's got to be the aim.

I won't disguise the fact I love travelling (and don't see why I should disguise the fact either, nor will I give up travel - I make concessions elsewhere) but there are many places I won't see due to cost and logistics but I am happy knowing the birds (and other fauna and flora) are there. But that isn't enough to preserve it because if local people can't see the value of habitat and the creatures therein, they are going to use it for something else - usually agriculture.

As for paying megabucks to other countries for conservation, Indonesia has agreed to preserve rainforest, as long as it's compensated for doing so. It's a cost worth paying, even if it does sound like blackmail. But, what's to prevent a country from reneging on the deal?

As for 'jetting all over the world', it has been pointed out on here that aviation accounts for a very small percentage of CO2 emissions (even accounting for the fact it is high-altitude emissions), so why can't the anti-travel lobby accept that instead of bashing it all the time? Is it because there's envy involved? Or is it because aviation and travel is an easy target? What about having a go at people for having loads of kids? That's pretty environmentally damaging considering there's 6 billion people on the planet and that figure is rising.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 20:15   #31
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Everyone knows rainforests need protecting

but a few middle class people staying at home won't change anything

the birds are still disappearing, the forests are still disappearing. Eco-tourism is a bit vain at times but it has helped to save Gurney's Pitta in Thailand and numerous other species. Without birders travelling there'd be no OBC, ABC, NBC and you wouldn't even know about half the endangered birds of the world - many of which have been rediscovered by UK birders birding overseas. I got into conservation seriously through travelling. If i'd stayed in Derbyshire watching birdless reservoirs I wouldn't have done half the things I have for conservation - and my birding and non-birding life would have been desparately empty and boring.

It does help - see the lodges in the Peruvian Amazon or Ecuador etc. The region of India I visited in spring is being helped through the cash of visiting birders to protect the newly discovered Bugun Liocichla. Without this cash these areas would be cut and trashed as soon as.

At the end of the day, in an entriely selfish manner, it would be sad not to see some of these wonderful things for yourself too. You won't cause the destruction of the planet by seeing something breathtaking. It's the idle Sun-reading idiots of the world you want to focus on. Or the birders who aren't aware - those who would refuse to buy a raffle ticket to help OBC because they'd 'never see a Gurney's Pitta' so why should they?
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 20:47   #32
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Everyone knows rainforests need protecting but a few middle class people staying at home won't change anything

It does help - see the lodges in the Peruvian Amazon or Ecuador etc. The region of India I visited in spring is being helped through the cash of visiting birders to protect the newly discovered Bugun Liocichla. Without this cash these areas would be cut and trashed as soon as.
At the end of the day, in an entriely selfish manner, it would be sad not to see some of these wonderful things for yourself too. You won't cause the destruction of the planet by seeing something breathtaking. It's the idle Sun-reading idiots of the world you want to focus on. Or the birders who aren't aware - those who would refuse to buy a raffle ticket to help OBC because they'd 'never see a Gurney's Pitta' so why should they?
Too damned right - it's amazing the amount of birders I've met who will not fork out even a few coppers for a deserving charity yet will spend hundreds/thousands on their optics!



Quote:
As for 'jetting all over the world', it has been pointed out on here that aviation accounts for a very small percentage of CO2 emissions (even accounting for the fact it is high-altitude emissions), so why can't the anti-travel lobby accept that instead of bashing it all the time? Is it because there's envy involved? Or is it because aviation and travel is an easy target? What about having a go at people for having loads of kids? That's pretty environmentally damaging considering there's 6 billion people on the planet and that figure is rising
Amazing how few folks will admit to this! Or they WILL say it's a problem yet quite happily churn out their own bunch of sprogs, thinking it doesn't apply to them.
I decided there were too many humans causing too much damage when I was 10 years old and I haven't changed my mind yet or regretted it either! My husband's weding present to me was a vasectomy...and that's only because my patronising doctor wouldn't 'do' me because, as he always insisted, ''you'll change your mind'' I'm 40 in March......somehow I don't think my body clock is gonna start ticking any time soon

I hope this couple have a fabulous time and I look forward to reading up on their exploits and what they are seeing I'd do the same if I had a house to sell Looks like I'll just have to wait for those elusive six numbers to pop up.......or keep on working!!!!

As to when this couple get back after their Big Year........they do what other folks who are starting over again do! They get a job and rent!!! You don't NEED a mortgage and material things in life to 'be a success' or have meaning in your life. If i had the choice between a mortgage (which tends to leave nowt left for fun in this day & age!) or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday I'd choose the holiday everytime!!! You can buy a brick but you can't buy memories!

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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 20:51   #33
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I decided there were too many humans causing too much damage when I was 10 years old and I haven't changed my mind yet or regretted it either!

Same here.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 21:25   #34
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I'm going slightly off topic here, but I don't see it this way at all.

For me, Eco-tourism is an excuse for foreign holidays, and just isn't going to contribute anywhere near enough to preserve enormous habitats like rainforests. At best, it'll pay for pockets of trees, and we'll end up with reserves like in Britain, islands of biodiversity that aren't sustainable and actually add very little to our natural environment, and which will ultimately be imperilled by climate change.

We must begin thinking is that we need the rainforests, not because they are pretty, with strange enigmatic creatures we want to go see it, but because they are vital to making Earth so very habitable for us. It's governments, we really must begin paying megabucks to encourage countries to protect their rainforests as the life-preserving resource they are.

I can understand the desire to go see all those birds, but until we figure out a sustainable way for all of us to go watch them, we really ought to consider that it's enough for us to know they are out there, but more than that, that they are out there and valued and that we are doing the right things to keep them there.
That's got to be the aim.
I agree with all this, James, but only in an ideological way. My fear is that whilst we are "aiming", the target will disappear. The richest habitats are in the poorest countries, whose inhabitants aspire to our lifestyle, and the only way we're going to save anything is to chuck money at them, in some shape or form, to convince them that conservation's the best way forward.
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 23:53   #35
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As for 'jetting all over the world', it has been pointed out on here that aviation accounts for a very small percentage of CO2 emissions (even accounting for the fact it is high-altitude emissions), so why can't the anti-travel lobby accept that instead of bashing it all the time? Is it because there's envy involved?
To some degree I'm quite certain it's envy, equally I'm sure it's the exasperation of moderating one's own behaviour only to hear stories of what others saw by not giving two hoots about their carbon emissions. A little of column A and B, I'd say.

As far aviation being an easy target goes, I'm sorry but that really does come straight out of the crazy page of the Daily Mail. It may be glib to put it this way, but when you effectively spend maybe 8 hours emitting a quarter of what your ideal annual carbon footprint really ought to be, perhaps it's time to consider whether you're making the right choice there. If that makes some folks feel guilty or defensive, well, good.

Because every green measure, every conservation effort and all the little economies we could make in our daily lives, may look insignificant if we choose look at the big picture. On the other hand, if we view that big picture as millions of little choices made by people just like us, that's how we can come to understand why it's our own choices that are so important.

While I'm grandstanding, I'll say just one more thing on this topic.
We all have the choice to attempt to live in a way that is sustainable, that will leave the planet in a better or worse state for the generations who follow us. What I can't understand, is that we'd idly choose the latter because it's what suits us, or because it's what we'd enjoy doing the most.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 00:19   #36
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Everyone knows rainforests need protecting

but a few middle class people staying at home won't change anything
But if they're so interested in the rainforests, rather than the pointless exercise of ticks on a list, why not sell everything and just give it to the rainforests? Drop the trip, and the charity gets the money (arguably more than they'll raise in this exercise, seeing as the trip wont have to be financed) and the carbon footprint is zilch.

A bit fatuous, yes, but then let's stop pretending this is about rainforests. It's about a holiday and lots of ticking. Fair enough, there's no law against it. But in this day and age is it is more than a tad hypocritical.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 08:45   #37
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I read on their diary that they expect to be passing through Gatwick/Stanstead several times, with trips to Ecuador, Finland, Brazil and Spain, among other destinations. Now considering a return flight from London to New York releases about 1.5 tonnes of carbon, while the average carbon footprint for a British resident is around 11 tonnes (perhaps about double what's globally sustainable), you have to imagine all the flights this couple are going to undertake, plus the hotels, taxis and car travel, it's going to add up to something quite sizeable.
.
So there are 500 people on this flight, so the return flight is using 0.003 of a tonne of carbon per head.

So.. in a year, if you flew everyday you'd use 365 x 0.003 tonnes of carbon = 1.095 tonnes.

Compared to the average of 11 tonnes per UK citizen?

Am I missing something here!
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 08:52   #38
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I've been reading this thread with interest and it has finally persuaded me to log in and post!

Describing foreign travel as the 'pointless exercise of ticks on a list' is a little loaded to say the least. I'm a world birder, and get enormous pleasure out of seeing new species whatever they may be. I do not see birds as ticks on a list, anymore than most British birders birding their local areas. Just because you count your tally does not automatically mean that this is the only important result of your birding.

Unfortunately, world birding does involve aviation miles and I do worry about the carbon foot-print implications of this. Like many, I am very careful elsewhere in my impact on the environment. I recycle; I have turned my garden from 1/3 acre of grass into a rich wildlife habitat full of native trees and shrubs and 70 species to date. I am a member of OBC, OBC, ABC, RSPB etc etc. Perhaps most fundamentally, like Gill I have made an active decision not to breed and add to the problem of overpopulation.

Anyone who has travelled in the tropics, in particular, will know the value of ecotourism. There are many pockets of habitat in areas like Mindo, which simply would not be there if it were not for visiting birders. Although sometimes small, these areas are vital for biodiversity of lots of other species too. I simply do not agree with James that such areas are automatically unsustainable.

It is also easy to underestimate the role of visiting birders in showing local people what fantastic species they have on their doorstep. Often, people have no idea that the bird you have come to see exists nowhere else in the world. I have seen many examples of direct benefits in terms of local awareness, leading to protection of habitat on private land, hummingbird feeders, nest boxes etc etc. This can only be a good thing.

Must stop rambling! I could go on about the benefits of birders on the ground in areas which are poorly known as well. It is startling how little is known about even widespread common tropical species.

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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 08:55   #39
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Well said JNewman And welcome to BF

If and when I do get the chance to go abroad (I don't even possess a passport yet!) I fully intend to visit these kind of sites and I WILL be making sure the locals know why I'm there and why I'm happy to spend my hard-earned cash there.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 11:57   #40
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I've been reading this thread with interest and it has finally persuaded me to log in and post!

Describing foreign travel as the 'pointless exercise of ticks on a list' is a little loaded to say the least. I'm a world birder, and get enormous pleasure out of seeing new species whatever they may be. I do not see birds as ticks on a list, anymore than most British birders birding their local areas. Just because you count your tally does not automatically mean that this is the only important result of your birding.

Unfortunately, world birding does involve aviation miles and I do worry about the carbon foot-print implications of this. Like many, I am very careful elsewhere in my impact on the environment. I recycle; I have turned my garden from 1/3 acre of grass into a rich wildlife habitat full of native trees and shrubs and 70 species to date. I am a member of OBC, OBC, ABC, RSPB etc etc. Perhaps most fundamentally, like Gill I have made an active decision not to breed and add to the problem of overpopulation.

Anyone who has travelled in the tropics, in particular, will know the value of ecotourism. There are many pockets of habitat in areas like Mindo, which simply would not be there if it were not for visiting birders. Although sometimes small, these areas are vital for biodiversity of lots of other species too. I simply do not agree with James that such areas are automatically unsustainable.

It is also easy to underestimate the role of visiting birders in showing local people what fantastic species they have on their doorstep. Often, people have no idea that the bird you have come to see exists nowhere else in the world. I have seen many examples of direct benefits in terms of local awareness, leading to protection of habitat on private land, hummingbird feeders, nest boxes etc etc. This can only be a good thing.

Must stop rambling! I could go on about the benefits of birders on the ground in areas which are poorly known as well. It is startling how little is known about even widespread common tropical species.
Amen to that, JNewman! Well said. And hello, by the way.

Personally speaking, while yes I have flown three times in two years (and I am not going to apologise for it nor justify my actions to anyone) I do moderate my impact in other departments (recycling, reducing energy consumption, not driving as much, not having children, etc). Travelling isn't merely about ticking birds on a list (yeah, sure I have a list but it's a small part of a bigger experience) it's about living life more fully. Also, while I was abroad I made sure I visited reserves and donated money to their cause.

Ok, I have no plans to go anywhere in 2008, but that's more down to the fact that I am now unemployed and have no money!

What I can't understand, as I have already said, is why the anti-aviation campaigners such as 'Plane Stupid' have a one-item-agenda when it is just one part of a much, much bigger picture. As for the jibe about the 'crazy page' of the Daily Mail from James Owen, that's just insulting; I don't read the Daily Mail (or any other tabloid for that matter) but I do read other sources of news and information and aviation IS an easy target (but I daresay it'll be something else soon). If people really want to campaign against climate change, then make a fuss about deforestation, which does the most damage.

If we all stopped flying tomorrow, the rest of the human race's CO2 emissions will ensure that the climate problem will still continue. We need to cut back in all areas, while making use of the best and cleanest technology available, not just have a single target. Only then will progress be made.

By the way, flying: travelling with an airline with the newest fleet of planes helps. Modern planes have lower emissions than older ones.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 16:57   #41
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Fact. We are going to burn every drop of oil that can be squeezed out of the Earth, whether that takes 10 years or a hundred. No matter how energy conscious we are, what we don't burn today will be burned by someone else tomorrow.

Then when it's all gone the oil companies will produce the alternatives which I believe already exist, along with UFO's and no Moon landings and stuff.

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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 18:34   #42
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Well, from time to time conservationists from Peru and East Africa sent desperate e-mails that if more ecotourists don't come, reserves with narrow endemics will be cut for timber. :( I think they know best.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 19:01   #43
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So, again, why not just donate the money to preserve the rainforests?

We're being told time and again that we must act now, change our behaviour, cut carbon emissions and limit worldwide travel to necessities and not luxuries, especially flights. If you book a ticket, you're adding to the demand, sinple as that. And most speices on the planet are at risk from climate change, not just a few endemics in Peru. That's the message.

If you believe that, and most of the World's climate scientists are endorsing the message, then you cannot square it with a meaningless arbitrary quest to see as many bird species as possible in a year. You simply can't. All that travel isn't necessary, they could just stay where they are with a box set of Life of Birds, remortage the house etc and give the proceeds to whatever rainforest they wish (£200k, the average house price in the UK, would probably buy quite a bit of forest in Peru or pay the salaris of a few rangers). They're going twitching, on a grand scale. Lovely for them, but the RSPB (their former employer) is a bit worried about the impact of travel on birds:

Climate change poses the greatest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife. In 2004, the transport sector accounted for 27% of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions. Transport is now the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK - with harmful emissions growing at a much faster rate than those from, for example, domestic energy use. http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/polic...port/index.asp

Maybe that's why they've given up their jobs? Seeing as they'll be spending most of the year in transit, and not much it will be on bikes, I doubt the RSPB is endorsing their adventure. Or do they not know best either?

EDIT: a quick trawl of the RSPB site makes no mention of the jaunt of their recent ex-employee. You'd have thought they'd have been right there on the bandwagon, if they agreed with it. Or perhaps I've missed it?

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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 19:14   #44
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the couple can be sponsored by following links below.

With care, funding and, most importantly, local involvement, it is possible to make a huge difference to the future of natural habitat, and the birds that live there. A great example of this is the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (MCF). This was established in December 2001 to conserve and promote the Chocò area of Northwestern Ecuador, one of the world's most diverse, and threatened, Endemic Bird Areas ( EBAs ). To date their projects include: the Nono-Tandayapa-San Tadeo Ecoroute : El Paseo del Quinde , an eco-scenic route for nature tourism, and Bird Sanctuaries at Milpe and Rio Silanche . MCF has also been instrumental in creating Ecuador's National Strategy for Bird Tourism Development, published in July 2006. To find out more about the fantastic work that MCF has done, click on the following link to their website:

http://www.mindocloudforest.org.

As part of The Biggest Twitch, we are raising funds to support MCF, in particular their work in creating sustainable Ecoroutes within the Endemic Bird Areas. Local landowners are involved in maintaining the natural habitat within these important bird areas to create a network of protected land: a destination for eco-tourism and a haven for wildlife, and especially birds, at the same time. Habitat conservation, wildlife protection, eco-tourism and community involvement – it’s a win/win situation all round.

If you would like to be a part of The Biggest Twitch, you can make a donation to MCF on-line. The World Land Trust in the UK and US are accepting donations on our behalf which will be channeled directly to MCF in Ecuador.

If you wish to make a donation in £ sterling, please click on to www.justgiving.com/thebiggesttwitch and follow their directions to leave your details, donation and a brief message if you wish.

If you want to make a donation in US dollars, please click on to http://www.worldlandtrust-us.org/. Click on ‘Make a Donation’ and then hit the ‘Donate Now!’ button to make your donation. Please enter ‘The Biggest Twitch’ in the Designation box to make sure that your funds go straight to Mindo Cloudforest Foundation.

All donors will be acknowledged, and we will include a Roll of Honour of everyone who has made a donation to the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation on our website and in the book of The Biggest Twitch to be published in 2009.
Very many thanks in advance for all your support!
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 19:28   #45
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Originally Posted by Poecile View Post
And most speices on the planet are at risk from climate change, not just a few endemics in Peru. That's the message.
The majority of the world's species (of all taxa) are in Peru and similar tropical countries. The majority of the world's restricted-range species are in exactly the areas targetted by travelling birders. These species are often those most likely to be threatened by climate change, but as has already been said, habitat will often be gone long before climate change starts to have an effect. Local education and conservation is absolutely vital. Mindo CF is doing fantastic work.

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Originally Posted by Poecile View Post
All that travel isn't necessary, they could just stay where they are with a box set of Life of Birds, remortage the house etc and give the proceeds to whatever rainforest they wish (£200k, the average house price in the UK, would probably buy quite a bit of forest in Peru or pay the salaris of a few rangers).
Necessary for what? Every single person on this forum could reduce their consumption of lots of things (not just air travel), sell their house and possessions and give the money to save habitat. Why should this couple not get enjoyment out of seeing birds? Every time any of us go birding we are adding to CO2 emissions. Is any UK birding 'necessary' in the sense you are using? Of course not. It has to be a balance between personal enjoyment and acting ethically. Their trip will burn a lot of miles, but could make a very real difference to critically-threatened habitat. Not something you could say about most flights for birding or otherwise.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 19:35   #46
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some people could reduce emissions by getting of their high horses and shooting the methane producing beasts, they could then power down their PC's too.

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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 19:39   #47
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This is not what birding is about http://www.tropicalbirding.com/littletwitch/INDEX.HTM (Thanks to Harold for the link.)Ticking birds heard, do people really do that? Can't figure leaving South America in the first place. Would it not be possible to equal what they achieved there?
Not disturbing birds by ticking by heard–only birds is a noble goal, that more people should aspire (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again). I know most people (raised in a “must see to tick culture”) disagree... Many world birders apparently count rails when they are heard only, not much else. Not seeing a Scytalopus tapaculo surely did not make me spill any tears...

South America has many, many birds, but seeing all of them is very hard. So it’s better to go to areas with less abundant, yet more visible birdlife (e.g. Kenya, South Africa, Australia, North America) to boost the totals.

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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 20:21   #48
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Originally Posted by Tim Allwood View Post
the couple can be sponsored by following links below.

With care, funding and, most importantly, local involvement, it is possible to make a huge difference to the future of natural habitat, and the birds that live there. A great example of this is the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation (MCF). This was established in December 2001 to conserve and promote the Chocò area of Northwestern Ecuador, one of the world's most diverse, and threatened, Endemic Bird Areas ( EBAs ). To date their projects include: the Nono-Tandayapa-San Tadeo Ecoroute : El Paseo del Quinde , an eco-scenic route for nature tourism, and Bird Sanctuaries at Milpe and Rio Silanche . MCF has also been instrumental in creating Ecuador's National Strategy for Bird Tourism Development, published in July 2006. To find out more about the fantastic work that MCF has done, click on the following link to their website:

http://www.mindocloudforest.org.

Thankfully someone is trying to drag this back on topic! It is supposed about a couple doing something with their lives, not about the rights and wrongs of travelling.

I visited Mindo CFs reserves at Rio Silanche and Milpe in May and November this year, as well as the Paseo del Quinde ecoroute through the Tandayapa Valley area and they are doing great work. Ended up spending a good deal of money in the 'shop', too.

I agree, Xenospiza, the tapaculos are very difficult. I saw Ocellated Tapaculo a few times and even managed - on my last morning in the Upper Tandayapa Valley - to see Spillmann's Tapaculo, but Narino Tapaculo has to remain heard-only, but that's no problem.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 20:38   #49
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I visited Mindo CFs reserves at Rio Silanche and Milpe in May and November this year.
Both superb - Rio Silanche is a beautiful spot with fantastic birding and some wonderful species. Funds are desperately needed to buy up more habitat in the area as deforestation and farming is a real problem.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 20:50   #50
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Both superb - Rio Silanche is a beautiful spot with fantastic birding and some wonderful species. Funds are desperately needed to buy up more habitat in the area as deforestation and farming is a real problem.

Yes. Rio Silanche was saved (well, the remaining forest was saved) just in time from complete destruction. Luckily nearly all the bird species are still there.

In western Ecuador, deforestation and habitat loss is a major problem. A lot of lowland rainforest has been lost to palm-oil and banana plantations and I saw a lot of hillsides burning. Depressing.
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