Two guillemots standing out from the crowd

Killing two birds with one stone


…And other inappropriate metaphors. How about some modern alternatives?

Killing two birds with one stone

Two guillemots standing out from the crowd above a guillemot colony

A pair of guillemots {Uria aalge} standing above the crowd in the Farne Islands, Northumberland. May (Copyright Toby Gibson Photography)

I often find myself using old-fashioned expressions without paying any thought to how inappropriate they might be. As a keen birder, conservationist and bird photographer “Killing two birds with one stone” is probably the most inappropriate aphorism of all. In particular given the dire situation in the Mediterranean, with huge numbers of migratory birds being killed every year.

OK, so it is just a throw-away metaphor, and doesn’t mean I’m a bird murdering hypocrite. All the same I thought I would try to make an effort to avoid using phrases like these and even think of new ones. A quick search of the internet bears little fruit (to use a more acceptable nature-based metaphor!).

“grow two trees from one seed”
“feed two children from one bowl”
“meet two goals with one strategy”
“two problems, one solution”
“light two fires with one match”

I find these a little lame if I’m honest. Also, one merit of the old-fashioned phrase is that at least it brings the plight of birds to one’s attention. So this is my attempt at an alternative

Shoot two birds with one camera

So, perhaps not great, but can you come up with a better alternative? Please leave comments below.

 

More than one way to skin a cat

Domestic tabby cat playing in the sun

A tabby cat in my garden in Halesworth, Suffolk. A very cute looking cat, but a lethal predator of local bird life, so I have mixed feelings about this one. May. (Copyright Toby Gibson Photography)

I don’t use this phrase as much, (or at all if I think about it!) and possibly a lot of wildlife lovers and conservationists would advocate the culling of a few cats. However I’m not going to go into that particular controversial conservation issue in this post. Again some of the alternatives offered online such as “more than one way to brew green tea” are a little weak (excuse the pun). I’m struggling to come up with a suitable feline-friendly alternative to this one, so again, any ideas, pop them in the comments section below.

Plenty more fish in the sea

Well, more ironic than offensive or inappropriate, but as a keen diver and underwater photographer this saying is probably the closest to my heart. It seems every day we are hearing more depressing stories about the state of fish stocks. Just this week I have heard that one in five fish caught in the world is done so illegally.

Coral reef scene with soft corals, hard corals and shoals of fish

Reef scene – Port Ghalib, Red Sea, June (Copyright Toby Gibson Photography)

 

 

 


About Toby Gibson

Toby Gibson is a conservationist, marine biologist and photographer, with a degree in Aquatic Biology and a master's degree in Biological Photography. Toby has worked as website manager for international conservation charity World Land Trust.