Category Archives: Bird life

Pennies for Puffins

In the last two decades of the 20th Century, environmental economists made tremendous strides in developing techniques to measure economic values when there are no markets (they call these “non-market valuation”).  These efforts grew out of the criticism of the environmental statutes adopted in the 1970s like the Clean Air Act or the Endangered Species […]

What It Means When Humans Impoverish Nature

In Henry Beston’s eloquent classic of nature writing, The Outermost House, he worried about the decline in birds he was seeing on the Great Beach of Cape Cod.  Even in the 1920s when he spent his year on the Beach, humans were adversely impacting birds and other parts of nature.  Beston identified a “new” danger:   […]

Open Season on Chickadees

It was an honor to give the Geddes Simpson Memorial Lecture at UMaine last week.  In the lecture I put forth the proposition that the State of Maine adopt an open firearms season on chickadees under which every holder of a hunting license could shoot an unlimited number of chickadees during the year.  After all, the […]

“Renewable” Energy – Powerful Words Make Us Do Stupid Things

The term “renewable” is now magical when applied to energy policy.  We understand intuitively that fossil fuels are fixed, not renewable.  Even if they are abundant now, every bit of coal, oil, or natural gas we use means there is less available, and their use causes a host of environmental and national security problems.  If […]