Audubon, Earth Day and Haiti

My colleagues at BirdsCaribbean are very special. I just discovered that one of them, Ancilleno Davis, a PhD candidate, scientist, photographer, is blogging! So I thought I would share this short post on the diverse history of Earth Day. Yes Leno, “we are all intricately intertwined” in the Americas. And that’s the way we like it!

Science and Perspective

Thinking about what it means when someone calls a Caribbean nation a “shithole” (sorry for the profanity, but the word is presidential now).

Not long ago, I gave a series of presentations telling ornithologists and bird enthusiasts about the race, gender and nationality of the history of ornithology. One of the most profound realizations I came across was the fact that John James Audubon was born in 1785 in St. Domingue (now Haiti). His birthday (April 26th) is often part of Earth Day (April 22nd) celebrations and he is lauded as the first to illustrate and publish America’s birds.

Now, keep in mind, Haiti gained independence via a slave revolt and was declared independent in 1803. J.J. Audubon was born to a chambermaid on a plantation owned by his father Jean Audubon and he is referred to as being “majority-white” when his father moved them to France. He moved them…

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2 thoughts on “Audubon, Earth Day and Haiti

  1. .. and Lisa pulls up the rear… first loading this post to read off line. then following the link to Ancilleno’s post – and waiting til next time on line to refresh/load that page.. and now I write off line to hurl it in your direction next time on line – which will be while in transit tomorrow (Saturday)…

    whenever I have time to catch up with what’s happening in the world, I see posts like this which mention a certain ‘leader’ using terms like shithole nation, and (honestly) I almost weep. Not only for the present leader, but for the fact after hundreds of years, it seems that the human race has not advanced very much when it comes to accepting and loving our fellow man.

    forgive me in advance for including a lengthy quote from ram daas, but it seems to fit this topic. I’m wondering how I can weave illustrations or photos into the message — and perhaps reach a few of those hard-hearted people on this planet.
    The quote follows:

    “When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees.

    And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever.

    And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is.

    You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

    The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are”. – Ram Dass, On Self-Judgment

    As much as I embrace this concept, it’s still difficult to apply that attitude to certain leaders….


    1. Oh, dear Lisa! I really don’t like to use words like that in my blog, but the president of the USA said it! How depressing that is. I almost weep too – and I am not an American. Makes me very sad. But thank you for the wonderful quote, which is the way we should all be.We need to put aside the judging mind. I will try looking at everyone as trees today and see how I get on. It’s very difficult to apply it to certain leaders, I agree.I am just hoping that all of this will pass, very soon.


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