The songs from the birds and the dance from the trees

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There are people in my village that can tell the meaning of songs from almost all the birds. From the songs, they are often able to forecast weather changes

-Newton Jibunoh


My favorite part of waking up early is listening to the birds chirping away amongst themselves in a language I may not understand but I certainly enjoy. I often joke that when trees move, they must be dancing to the songs being sung by the birds and carried by the wind. It is music to my ears and a sight to behold. I am not always blessed with this early morning nature call when I’m in the city which is probably why I spend most of my time outside it. A good percentage of people like me that have populated the urban cities come from one village or local city around the country. But we so quickly forget the sounds of the early morning and late evening songs that come from hundreds of different birds that migrate in and migrate out of these communities and the dancing trees that move to the music of the birds especially when there is enough wind.

There are people in my village that can tell you the meaning of the songs from almost all the birds. From the songs, they are often able to forecast weather changes, when to begin the planting and harvesting seasons and even foretell the outcome of certain events. Although birds can sing at any time of day during the dawn chorus, their songs are often louder, livelier, and more frequent. Experts say the choir is mostly made up of male birds, attempting to attract mates and warn other males away from their territories. They are also convinced that the sounds are reassuring to humans because over thousands of years of evolution we’ve learned that the sweet melody of birds merrily singing is an indication that our environment is safe. The trees which serve as stages for the bird’s rustle and sway to the music with the help of the wind’s caress and that union is such a beautiful thing to behold. Sometimes I am so intrigued that I just stand and watch trees bend and sway gracefully as the wind blow against them. It doesn’t stand rigid, resisting the flow of energy.

It does not push back. The wind pattern and arrival of rains – through the migration of these birds and other biodiversity – are also supplemented by all these movements. How can we forget so easily and now live in cities with very little trees, grasses and shrubs. With each tree we cut down and refuse to replenish, we further alter the migration route of the birds as they will come less and less because there will be nowhere for them to perch. If we keep up with our idea of development that lacks sustainability, what little biodiversity we have remaining will migrate to other territories. Without these trees, forests, and wetlands, our quality of life will continue to deteriorate.

The expansion of urban landscapes is happening at an accelerated rate. Researchers believes that by the year 2050, two-thirds of the human population will live in cities, and about 60% of all the infrastructure intended to improve cities by 2030 has yet to be built. This means even further replacement of natural habitats by artificial elements—such as houses, buildings, and streets— leading to disturbances and negative impacts on different biological taxa.

Nature gave us everything and in return, we have continued to abuse it, so now nature is fighting back. Nature was there before ‘us’ the inhabitants because we needed it to survive but over the years,
we have preferred to create our fake beaches, replace sand with concrete and artificial greenery. We even replace the actual sounds of birds, ocean, winds, and trees with man-made audio track to be played in our concrete walls. You see those little islands in the pacific that were provided by nature for biodiversity as a stopover during migration have been taken over by man to build fancy cities, towns and in some cases countries for our pleasure without making proper provisions for the islands original purpose. Don’t we ever ask ourselves why certain things exist the way they do and what the consequences may be for altering them? Nature has a system, one that has worked for many centuries until we decided to disrupt that system.

It is time we understand that man is not superior to its environment; the catastrophes that are emanating from the eye of the storm should serve as a wakeup call of our vulnerability. The hurricane and slides, floods and earthquake that have inflicted the world over are coming as a result of the pressure we have subjected the land and water to.

With the massive agricultural development around the country, we must try not to overcultivate or overgraze the land. A proper system needs the in place to monitor this and not just a campaign encouraging more farming. The culture and method of shifting cultivation must be followed so as to allow the land to recover the needed nutrients.

In Lagos, the hunger for beachside properties on the island has given rise to the act of sand filling the ocean to create land. You can only push the water away for so long before it pushes back especially when due to greed and sheer incompetence, we don’t develop proper gateways for the water to pass through. We cannot continue to take so much from the land without replenishing. It is a sad thing that many have forgotten and can no longer hear the songs of the birds or see the dance that come from the trees. Maybe if we did, we would feel connected to the very thing keeping us alive and work harder to secure our survival by ensuring the preservation of our environment.

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