The burning of fossil fuels has caused changes to the atmosphere and the oceans so dangerous that they pose an existential threat to civilization. Preserving life as we know it depends on making unprecedented changes to every part of our economy and society over the next decade. But with our silence on the necessary scale of mitigation we—birdwatchers and conservationists—are contributing to the greening of business as usual.

If we are serious about preserving biodiversity, avoiding further unnecessary suffering, and sharing the remaining carbon budget equitably, we need to think and do things differently.

It’s time to tell the truth about climate.

It’s time to walk the talk.


A climate-friendly approach to ornithology is being advocated by a growing number of birdwatchers and researchers.  The aim of this website is to contribute to this collective effort.

Low-carbon birding is about making a reasonable effort to reduce emissions while considering personal circumstancesnot everyone lives near good birding places or has access to low-carbon transport.

It can mean different things to different people. For some it is simply about slowing down and experimenting with more fulfilling ways of enjoying and studying birds. For others it is a way to cope with anxieties caused by the climate crisis, the dilution of old certainties, and the need to redirect our dreams and expectations.

For some it is about aligning our actions with climate science and granting credibility to our claims about the need for urgent action. For many it is ultimately about helping to bring about a different birding culture, one that can be enjoyed by alland not just a select fewin a liveable planet.

Whatever your reasons are, enjoy your low-carbon birdingand talk about it.

If you can, join or support peaceful civil disobedience movements to create a new political reality that works for people and the planet.


In brief

“If we are to be ambitious, and make the case for conserving the world’s birds and other wildlife, the debate about low-carbon birding and what constitutes sustainable ecotourism will need to become a mainstream agenda.” – Mike Clarke, former RSPB’s CEO

“as conservationists we could do a great deal more to reduce our footprint. We think that trying to lead by example is key to encouraging and sustaining fundamental society-wide changes in behaviour. ” – Andrew Balmford & colleagues, University of Cambridge

“This is not the end of travel, but we are going to have to change how we do it, how far we go, for how long and for how often. I think we are entering an era of far fewer, perhaps longer trips, with many more of them taken closer to home or overland.” – Ed Gillespie

“To many young birders the most inspiring stories are not about long-distance trips to see a rare bird but about those miraculous local finds and those unexpected or just delightful bird behaviours, demonstrating how even the most unlikely places can afford very pleasant experiences.” – Joe Parham, Keir Chauhan and Finley Hutchinson – Low-Carbon Young Birders

“To identify and investigate the fly-lines, roosts, breeding numbers, migration hot-spots, viz-mig corridors, scarcities, rarities, behavioural observations, e-bird lists, BirdTrack lists, just for the sheer pleasure and joy of it…. all reasons to adopt the low-carbon birding ethos.” – Steve Gale


This website has been created by Javier Caletrío, a birdwatcher based in the northwest of England. He is a researcher in the areas of environmental change and sustainability transitions.


jcaletrio [at] gmail [dot] com

This initiative has no links with any institution or commercial brand.