Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Unwelcome House crows

Around 20 years ago 2 Indian House Crows arrived in port from one of the many container ships. A small population of these House Crows slowly grew until two years ago an eradication programme began. Dr. Dr. Thom van Dooren is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Humanities at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and a couple of weeks back he gave an interesting, questioning lecture about the House Crows of Hoek van Holland entitled ‘The Unwelcome Crows: Hospitality in the Anthropocene’,

"In 2014, after 20 years of peaceful co-existence, the government of the province of South Holland began the process of eradicating this population, worried that they may one day become a pest or threat to biodiversity. Just across the water from Hoek van Holland is the Port of Rotterdam – Europe’s largest port – and an ‘engine’ for the global patterns of production, trade and consumption that are today remaking our world, ushering in what many are calling the ‘Anthropocene.’ 

Telling the story of this little group of birds in a way that holds this port and its impacts in the frame, this lecture will ask how we might be required to rethink our responses to, to learn to live with, others in this difficult time."  

House Crow feeding chicks by Emanjsr2611

Given the vast scale of the human change in the form of Rotterdam port, it seems ironic that 20 crows could threaten the status quo. Whatever your viewpoint, living in our shadow places these quirky birds (see vid) are both the champions and the victims of a world that we have created. The lecture was thought-provoking and raised lots of interesting issues. And as to solutions? Solutions, there are many solutions out there, many alternative possibiliites, but "What I'm saying now is we are as gods and have to get good at it."
Stewart Brand.