Letter: Vikings urged to do the right thing
This is a critical plea. We call upon the people of Minnesota and Vikings fans everywhere to urge the use of bird-safe glass in the new stadium. We call upon the Vikings owners, stadium developers and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority to approve the solution that works for both birds and football.
Despite state guidelines requiring bond-funded buildings to protect birds from window collisions, despite the roar of concern from Vikings fans, and despite the pressing calls for environmental responsibility from wildlife organizations and local government, the Vikings and the MSFA have rejected calls to use safer glass that would help prevent birds from fatally colliding with the stadium's huge glass windows as birds migrate along the Mississippi River Flyway each year.
• The new, brightly lit Vikings Stadium sits in the Mississippi Migratory Flyway funnel -- a narrow swath that follows the river -- with highest density of migratory populations.
• Millions of birds migrate through Minnesota twice annually -- over 250 species, many of them small songbirds migrating at night; 17 species are threatened with populations already in steep decline.
• 49,414 constituents have signed the Minnesota Audubon's "Change Glass; Save Birds" petition.
• National Audubon is pressing for "no more killer buildings".
• The Minneapolis City Council passed a unanimous resolution for bird safe glass on the stadium.
• The cost of switching to bird safe glass is about .1 percent of the $975 million stadium budget; roughly the same amount as the already approved 'add-on' to make the building design 'iconic'.
• Viracon, the Owatonna, Minn., glass contractor hired for the project, has safe glass available.
The birds are not just Minnesota's birds, they are North America's birds. But Minnesota is on the verge of being known as the state that kills migratory birds through disregard of environmentally responsible building practices. We don't want to be known for this. And we don't want public money used in this way.
The cartoon in the Minneapolis Star Tribune Aug. 10 is no joke. If the Vikings stadium does not switch to bird safe glass, the accuracy of this cartoon will soon be seen as dead birds litter the stadium plaza -- an iconic impression indeed. Over the lifetime of the stadium, the costs of bad publicity and constant cleanup of dead carcasses will far outweigh the .1 percent increase to the budget for bird safe glass.
Vikings, do the responsible thing: Change the glass.
Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society Board of Directors