While watching a flock of Snow Geese, Kurt Hoelting wondered if they were ever going to move; they seemed so content. Then, one by one, their heads began to bob. And after awhile, small groups started to fly away. Then suddenly, the entire flock peeled off the field. Kurt says, “When I think about something like climate change, maybe the whole flock doesn’t have to get it. Maybe just a few us have to notice that it’s time to move and start moving." In response to climate change, Kurt Hoelting gave up car and air travel for a year, relying mostly on his bike, boots, and kayak.
You can read about his experiences in The Circumference of Home: One Man's Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life.
Paying Attention to Climate Change
Featuring Kurt Hoelting
Interview and story by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
The news that “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most important global warming gas, have hit 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years” (1) goes largely ignored. But not by writer and wilderness guide, Kurt Hoelting, [HOL-ting] who radically reduced his use of fossil fuels. [If someday a grandchild asks, “How did you respond when you learned our climate was starting to unravel?”(2) he’ll have an answer.]
“When we talk about climate change, if we talk about it at all, we either deny that it’s happening, or we hold on to a false hope that things will get better, so I don’t have to put myself out. What I’ve found is that taking some kind of action, especially when we can take action with others in community, is a way of taking hold of the reins of our own lives. To me, that’s powerful.”
While watching a feeding flock of thousands of Snow Geese, Kurt had a thought:
[Calls of Snow Geese]
“I remember wondering if they were ever going to move, they seemed so content. And then, I started to notice, that one by one, their heads began to bob. And after awhile, small groups started to fly away, and then quite suddenly, the entire flock peeled off the field almost like a swell from the ocean moving through…
When I think about something like climate change, maybe the whole flock doesn’t have to get it. Maybe just a few us have to really notice that it’s time to move and start moving. And I remember taking heart at that thought…”
You can find a link to Kurt’s book about living locally at birdnote.org.
Calls of flock of Snow Geese  provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York recorded by W.W. H. Gunn.
Ambient Pacific Northwest forest recorded by C. Peterson.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org October 2013 Narrator: Michael Stein Marantz V T 59, T 64
ID# hoeltingk-03-2013-10-25 hoeltingk-03
2) http://www.terrain.org/reviews/26/circumference_of_home.htm p.248