I like the new trend that assigns bird characteristics to elected officials to identify their stance on energy and climate policy—and with new birds flocking to DC and state capitols after Tuesday’s election, it’s high time we figure out what species they are. Thanks to David Roberts at Grist there are Climate Hawks (a term gaining some significant traction). Thanks to Center for American Progress, there are also Climate Peacocks. I propose we add Climate Dodos to the list.
Needless to say, hawks are aggressive and fearless; they are alert and intelligent. And Climate Hawks are just that, hawkish. They see the security risks of delaying climate and energy policy (including environmental, economic, and health risks) and therefore will push for action no matter what. Peacocks, of course, are birds known for fanning out their impressive tail feathers to look big and tough, but it’s all a phony act.Hiding behind the peacock’s showy display is a terribly scared bird. (I guess it’s fitting that they are related to the chicken. And by all appearances they are birds with exceedingly small brain size to body ratios.) Climate Peacocks, of course, are all talk. They puff up their feathers with bluff and bluster, saying they want to fight climate change and build a clean energy economy, but they consistently fail to vote for climate and energy policy, therefore becoming big roadblocks to progress.
In the military context, a Dove is the opposite of a Hawk. But that doesn’t seem fitting for describing climate science deniers and the rest of the gang that clings desperately to the dirty old fuels of the past—because doves, after all, are all about peace and love, etc. As far as symbols go, the dove is far too positive. Some have suggested Climate Zombies which is a fittingly frightful moniker for those office seekers who go so far as to say that the science behind human-caused global warming is a conspiracy or hoax, but it strays from the ornithological theme which is unfortunate.
But what about Climate Dodos? It’s quite perfect, really, because the dodo is—or rather was–actually related to the dove but it’s far sillier-looking. The dodo, of course, has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century.
According to the Wikipedia entry (where I got all my info on dodos, btw), the phrase “to go the way of the dodo” means to become “extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.” Fittingly, it is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history and was directly attributable to human activity. Now that seems just about right—on so many levels!