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1 hour, 27 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 05 June 2012

So how was the Jubilee weekend? Vanessa hears your stories (and has a few herself!) Join us for an ideal start to the day - a first look at the papers & great music to ease you into the world! Plus Word of the Day & more. Contact via email: vfeltz@bbc.co.uk.

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    A few years ago I went to a remote island in the North Slopes of Alaska, way above the Arctic Circle, to film a special bird – the Spectacled Eider. This comical looking duck has black rims around its eyes, giving the impression its wearing glasses. But its no clown. It spends its whole life in ice and tundra, even spending 7 months a year sitting in the middle of the frozen sea. I filmed a female hatching her young and waddling off to the shore with her ducklings to begin a life far from humans in a harsh wilderness. Every year 4 females nested on this remote island – or did. The year after I filmed them they returned to nest as usual, only this time they didn’t manage to hatch their young – all four were shot on the nest. The hunters didn’t take the bodies or the eggs, they didn’t pluck the feathers – they simply shot them – and spectacled eiders don’t nest on the island any more. In fact in Alaska their numbers have plummeted by 96% since the 1970s.

    When I heard about the ducks I remember weeping, partly through anger, partly through frustration, but mostly because the world is losing a wonderful creature for no reason at all. As a Christian I wonder what Jesus would have made of all this? If he’d walked on that island and found those shot ducks, I think he would have wept - not just for the wickedness of the people who shot them, but for the birds themselves. I believe that God’s compassion is for all life on earth, not just humans.

    World Environment Day is a chance to think about what it means to live on a planet that isn’t just about us. To plan a future where there’s no room for needless violence against creatures who deserve our respect, not our contempt….and where, whether human or animal, we can all not just survive, but thrive.


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