***San Francisco Special***
By Nico Arcilla and Maren Hackmann-Mahajan
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This edition of Birdwatcher’s Corner is dedicated to all who have been brought together by Norman. Many who know his writing and speaking out for some of the most oppressed people in the world may not be aware of Norman’s propensity for introducing friends. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? The courage to stand up for the most vulnerable, whatever the cost, comes out of love, which naturally encourages friendship. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right.” I think we can rest assured that Norman is very much alive! We celebrated our friendship, which started through Norman, recently through a visit to San Francisco, near where Nico grew up and Maren lives now. We were delighted to share our celebration with Brown Pelicans, who decades ago faced extinction, along with many other birds, due to poisoning by the pesticide DDT. Rachel Carson wrote her landmark book, “Silent Spring,” as a wake-up call to this; DDT was banned and the US Endangered Species Act, together with efforts by tens of thousands of conservationists, helped bring the birds back. This is why the pelicans cruising over the ocean—or the San Francisco Bay—remind us that telling the truth can save lives, human and non-human. This is how quickly things can change for the better when we recognize the error of our ways and take action. It has happened in our lifetimes and it can happen again: we can stand up for what is right, we can love each other, and we can save the world. We thank Norman for putting more love and friendship into the world and continuing to shine a light, no matter how great the darkness.