Cazenovia To the editor:
A leopard frog appears in my 100-square-foot garden and hangs out for several days.
Its continued presence signals that its requirements for moisture and food are being met and positively indicates that my plot of ground supports a range of biodiverse life-forms. I am happy.
One rainy night under a low cloud ceiling, a bundle of brown feathers slams up against a wall of a one-story shop below the Tops Market’s blistering lights, confused by exactly how to punch its way back through the glare and into the dark stream of its migratory flight.
Exhausted by struggle, the bird is unable to fly more than eight feet in the air — though it tries several times — and I doubt that it survived the night. I am sad.
Both the frog and the bird are bioindicators of the quality of humanly manipulated environmental systems. Precisely such effects come within the purview of the environmental assessment required for the withdrawal of a wild piece of the country and its transformation into an industrial landscape, virtually devoid of life.
These are the alternatives that the council must ponder when considering whether to connect a Nice N Easy to the village sewer, a system already overloaded during heavy rain events.
How alien a view of the environment can this be for your columnist, Barry Schreibman, who describes himself as a land-use lawyer that he chose to single out my example of a downed migratory bird for its purported oddness and to dismiss it and me with the ridicule of a crass joke?
Caring about the wild correlates with observing and understanding its systems, great and small. It is necessary, although not sufficient, for making wise decisions about land-use.
Unconstrained “development” of private property is not the basis of American freedom. Land owning did not guarantee equal representation after the Revolution when only white men who held considerable property could vote, nor does it now that the US Senate has become a millionaire’s private club and only the wealthy can afford to run for the House.