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The Audubon Society is not happy with Jonathan Franzen

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Shelby Graham

The Audubon Society has gone raven mad over Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker essay on climate change.

Franzen’s essay begins with an anecdote based on The Audubon Society’s recent report, which, according to The Audubon Society’s blog, found that “roughly half of all North American bird species face serious and possibly existential threats from global warming in this country.” The author then brings in an argument about “stadium glass”—birders in Minnesota have been pushing the Vikings football stadium to cover itself in a type of glass that birds can see. Franzen writes that he worries that people will be distracted by global warming’s eventual effect on the birds, and will forget about bird conservation in the present.

Writes The Audubon Society in response: “That would upset me, too, if there were a shred of evidence that the suggestion was valid.” The group is furious at Franzen’s representation of them: “The Audubon that emerges from Franzen’s essay is a band of once-scrappy conservationists who have grown content to peddle squeaky plush toys and holiday cards; we’ve seized on climate change, apparently, in a last grab at relevance.”

The Audbon Society’s post goes on to assert that Franzen has “no journalism experience that I know of,” and takes issue with the writer’s “casual snark” and mocking tone. The well-written post is worth a read in full, so head to their blog for more detail on the feud.

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