There was a tie for runner-up in the most heartbreaking moments of the documentary The Messenger.
Candidate 1: Hundreds of birds killed by window collisions, from tiny hummingbirds to large blue jays to an incongruous duck, carefully laid out on a white background while a crowd of onlookers gathered.
Millions (nearly a billion according to the Audubon Society) of birds die each year due to collisions with building, and yet, exemplifying a general disregard for creatures that aren’t connected to profit, the Minnesota Vikings refused to spend $1.1 million dollars to make the stadium glass so that thousands of birds won’t smash themselves to death on the glass. Guess it wasn’t enough for the city and state to cover half of the funding for the 1 billion dollar stadium, they should have covered half of it + 1.1 million dollars. Then maybe the Vikings would have found it affordable.
I’m just spitballing here, given that the team’s net worth is estimated at $1.5 billion (Forbes Sept. 2015), and that their revenue was $281 million (Ibid) for one season, and their gate receipts were $47 million for eight home games (Ibid), they could probably have paid for it with the concessions sales from the first half of opening day. Or that the owner, worth about 1.3 billion, could have just made a rounding error in his fraud settlement of $84.5 million dollars to his business partners.
That was a rabbit hole I hadn’t intended to stumble into when I began this post…
Candidate 2: An ortolan bunting frantically flapping around its breadbox-size prison, while the hunter tells the camera that, “You would have to put me in prison to stop me from hunting.”
“Tradition is not something that must be preserved at any cost,” said one of the documentary activists fighting against the evisceration of the ortolan bunting population. We have to shake off harmful traditions that assumed Man had dominion over beasts, that human appetites should have no bounds beyond our imagination, that money is king, and that ecosystems exist for our benefit alone.
We must make ourselves worthy of the beauty before we have erased it.