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Margaret Atwood supports BirdLife’s Born to Travel Campaign…

…truly inspiring

“Conserving our precious migratory birds requires a united international effort”, said Margaret Atwood - Booker Prize-winning novelist and environmentalist. “With Partners located along the world’s many bird flyways, BirdLife is providing a safer journey for our endangered globe-trotters, but it needs more support”.

With her husband, Graeme Gibson, Margaret is the Joint Honorary President of BirdLife’s Rare Bird Club, and they recently enjoyed attending BirdLife’s World Conference in Argentina. “I met some amazing BirdLife Partners - more than a hundred countries were represented, but all spoke a common language. BirdLife contains really passionate people - some of whom are literally putting their lives on the line to save birds and their habitats. There are BirdLifers out in war-zones - like Nature Iraq [BirdLife in Iraq] for instance - doing conservation work at great risk to themselves”.Margaret has now added her voice to BirdLife’s campaign to save declinig migratory bird populations. “Margaret is a great ambassador for migratory birds and BirdLife”, said Dr Marco Lambertini - BirdLife Chief Executive. “It’s wonderful having her support for our Born to Travel campaign, which is aimed at celebrating the wonder of bird migration, and galvanising international efforts to preserve migratory birds for all of us, and for future generations”.

Margaret Atwood grew up in the boreal forest of northern Quebec (Canada) with parents who had a keen passion for wildlife. “My father was a forest entomologist and woodsman, very good at explaining how things were related to one other, and my mother was a great appreciator of birds”, said Margaret. “I remember the tame Grey Jays [Perisoreus canadensis] that would sit on her hand”.

Speaking about the value of biodiversity, Margaret said: “Without the natural world there is no human ‘economy’. Everything we have is based on the natural world, if you dig down through enough layers. No dirt means no potatoes. No bees means no apples. No birds, and you’ll get insect infestations in forests”. “BirdLife is such a big network now, and each country has its own special birds to save, but it’s all for the same end goal - a healthy living planet. The crisis we find ourselves in is like a huge jigsaw puzzle, with many individuals each working on a few of the pieces. The energy of these people - all over the world - is truly inspiring!”

This autumn, Margaret Atwood will publish a new novel - The Year of the Flood (Bloomsbury) - which parallels her earlier novel, Oryx and Crake. It includes the story of the Gods Gardeners, followers of an environmental religion, which believes that the natural world and its species are sacred.

“I’ll be in the U.K. in September for a series of book launches that are structured as fund-raisers for BirdLife and the RSPB [BirdLife in the UK]. We hope to raise both money and awareness, and to help people realize that a world without birds would mean, eventually, a world without human beings as well”.

This news is brought to you by Born to Travel - BirdLife's Flyways Campaign… http://www.borntotravelcampaign.com/

4th July 2014