In the fall of 2019, National Audubon Society released a groundbreaking new climate report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink. Audubon scientists studied 604 North American bird species using 140 million bird records, including observational data from bird lovers and field biologists across the country. They found that two-thirds of North America’s birds are threatened with extinction from climate change. The report also shows that if we act now and slow the rate of global warming, we can help up to 76 percent of those birds.
Over the past year, the science team took a closer look at Alaska-specific climate threats and how they impact ecosystems across the state. In Alaska temperatures are rising at a rate much faster than in the rest of the country. Annual precipitation is increasing, while available moisture is decreasing. Over time, vegetation distribution will change, as will insect populations. In other words, climate change is affecting the food, water, and shelter that birds rely on in Alaska.
This week we will share stories, facts, maps, and data from the Alaska Climate Brief. You will learn how birds are early responders to climate change and can be important indicators of large-scale ongoing and future ecological change. While the report does not assess the effects of climate change on people, we know that the fate of humans and birds are deeply connected. The big take-away is that #BirdsTellUs we must act now to reduce global warming and mitigate climate impacts.
Here are five key steps that you can take to help:
- Reduce your use of energy at home and ask your elected officials to support energy-saving policies that reduce the overall demand for electricity and that save consumers money.
- Ask your elected officials to expand consumer-driven clean energy development that grows jobs in your community – like solar or wind power.
- Reduce the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere. In order to drive down carbon emissions, we will need innovative economy-wide solutions that address every sector of the economy – like a fee on carbon. Another option is to address carbon emissions one sector at a time like setting a clean energy standard for electricity generation.
- Advocate for natural solutions, from increasing wetlands along coasts and rivers that absorb soaking rains to protecting forests and grasslands that are homes to birds and serve as carbon storage banks,
- Ask elected leaders to be climate and conservation champions.
- Join Audubon Alaska March 15-19, online here for our Climate Week: Making a Difference by Degrees