Recently, thousands of migratory birds suddenly dropped dead across New Mexico. Sparrows, warblers and swallows that normally wheel across New Mexico’s iconic landscapes as they fly south for the winter instead fell lifeless across the land, weakened by extreme conditions. While scientists are still working to conclusively explain this tragedy, their initial findings clearly indicate that we are witnessing a canary in the coal mine moment—as we face down dual climate and nature crises gripping our planet.
As New Mexicans, we watched reports of this wave of bird deaths with alarm. But as a U.S. senator and a scholar of biodiversity, we saw this disaster as just one link in a chain of threats to our planet’s life support system. The World Wildlife Fund recently found that human activities have wiped out two thirds of the monitored populations of vertebrate species worldwide in the past 50 years—the blink of an