I saw blue whales this summer in Monterey Bay, California – they were amazing and I will never forget them.
I have seen more butterflies in my garden this year than for years and years – and I sent the details to Butterfly conservation for the Big Butterfly Count (you have today and tomorrow to do the same).
I am writing a book about the passenger pigeon which has been extinct for nearly a century – I wish it still darkened the skies of North America.
I think there have been more swifts above my head in my street this summer than for several recent years. I keep a look out for them every evening – will this evening be the last time I spot one until next spring?
I would find it hard to put a monetary value on the beauty of wildlife and the pleasure it brings me.
Bobby Kennedy said it well:
‘Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.
It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.
It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ‘