Jim Letourneau's Blog

Investing, Technology, Travel, Geology, Music, Golf. I think that covers it.

Mourning the Ducks

Approximately 300 ducks perished in the sticky tailings ponds of the Alberta oilsands in November. I believe they all received state funerals.

I've long maintained that since most of us don't know where our "stuff" comes from, we're often shocked when we find out. Its hard to make meat without killing an animal, its hard to have books without chopping down trees and our energy and metals often come from sketchy corners of the globe.

Steve Maich's opinion column in Canadian Business (click here) provides some perspective and a well reasoned counterpoint to the throngs of angry duck lovers out there.

Curious as to how many ducks are killed by hunters in Alberta every year? How about deaths do to skyscrapers and windfarms? Maich provides some data...

...hunters typically kill 125,000 ducks every year in Alberta according to Ducks Unlimited. That's one province, every year … for sport. But you don't hunt right? Do you drive? Collisions with motor vehicles kill well over 80 million birds each year in North America. Roughly 10,000 birds die annually in Toronto by slamming their little heads into the sides of tall glass buildings at night — not as a byproduct of some much bigger industrial purpose, but because we can't agree to turn the lights off when we leave the office. Guess what else has a nasty habit of killing birds? Wind turbines. They don't produce carbon, but they are efficient bird guillotines. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates wind farms kill at least 75,000 birds a year in the U.S.