Sunday, 17 July 2011

What to do with people who burn hides?

Birdforum is often a haven for extreme opinions and it seems that I may have produced one such opinion on there - I stated that children of poor sociology-economic background dont often become birders and that this section of society is under represented in birding. This was my response to suggestions that public execution should be used for those that vandalise reserves. Further to this I suggested that education and social engagement would reduce vandalism on reserves. At this I got jumped on. The warden of Spurn suggested that he would build a wall which he would shoot vandals and myself for being a bleeding heart liberal against. Other people jumped up and shouted...IM POOR!.

I am married to an educator. I work (for the next 3 weeks) in an educational institution. Education works. My wifes schools have always been in underprivileged areas with high levels of deprivation with issues such as single parent families haunted by drugs, violence and alcohol and yet they achieve fantastic results year on year due to excellent leadership which taught my wife how to teach and engage these children initially, how to lead and latterly by leading the school herself. As results improve conversely so does discipline and yet staff are encouraged not to shout or threaten. Punishment has its place but the type of punishment encouraged by the birdforumers is interesting - who is the punishment for? the aggrieved party or the offender? Or the panel of self appointed guardians of birdwatching?

I got jumped on further when I drunk posted that my assertion that people of poor backgrounds are unusual in birding. I probably got this a little wrong - my wine clouded judgement failed to put the word socio-economic in the mix. It is deprivation that causes disengagement of individuals not lack of money. But I wasnt trying to offend people I was trying to get the point across that in order to reduce vandalism on reserves perhaps nipping it in the bud by getting the deprived to value their natural heritage rather than alienate them by threats. Once a crime has been committed then their must be punishment - as deterrent and as a stand alone punishment for wrong doings but this should be proportional.

Now I am sure you can read into this my liberal values but I am no pushover and dont believe in nanny stating. What I do believe in is attempting to solve the problem as a whole issue rather than as individual perpertrators. Social engagement is the answer. I am sorry if this doesn't read as a particularly coherrant arguement - I merely needed a platform to put my point across without flooding the excellent Yorkshire Forum with bile, both mine and responders. If any of them want to respond on here then I will allow all responses that arent abusive even if they dont line up with my own opinion.

1 comment:

PMella said...

The good people of BirdForum do tend to have extreme and uncompromising opinions on how problems should be dealt with (I mentioned cats once, I think I got away with it!).

When there's a persistent problem the reasons for it happening need to be addressed, not just the perpetrators labelled bad'uns and nothing done about it. All that leads to is an endless cycle of burnt hides and punished kids. Yes they need to be punished in some way for vandalism, but we need to work out why kids do these things so we can try and stop it happening in the first place.

I'd say birding is definitely harder for deprived kids. They have to get over the fact there may be no parental interest in wildlife, that fact it's seen by their peers as risibly nerdish (or even a bit gay), the fact that there may not be anywhere to bird safely where they live, and the fact that even the cheapest bins cost money.

Middle class kids, with parents with time and money to foster a hobby such as this, and living on average in safer and greener areas, have a much greater advantage.

It may be interesting one day to do a quick survey of the guys on the Young Birders BF thread to find out what their backgrouds are, and the reaction to their hobby from their peers.

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive