canaries in the coal mine

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

canaries in the coal mine

  1. plural of canary in the coal mine
    • 2003, James Mak, Tourism and the Economy: Understanding the Economics of Tourism, University of Hawai'i Press (2004), ISBN 0824827899, page 231:
      For example, coral reefs are highly sensitive and vulnerable to hot temperatures, because hot temperatures cause the corals to bleach and eventually die; indeed, Cornell University marine ecologist, Drew Harvell, remarked that "In a way, corals are like the canaries in the coal mine for global warming" (Ten-Bruggencate, 2003).
    • 2010, Beth Lambert & Victoria Kobliner, A Compromised Generation: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness in America's Children, Sentient Publications (2010), ISBN 9781591810964, page 142:
      Like the absent songbirds that Carson believed to be the hallmark of wider degradation of the environment, American children are the canaries in the coal mine, or the early messengers alerting us that our way of life is toxic and seriously damaging to our health.
    • 2011, "Barefoot" Ken Bob Saxton & Roy M. Wallack, Barefoot Running Step by Step, Fair Winds Press (2011), ISBN 9781592334650, page 101:
      Runners who are less sensitive than I, or more macho, or simply better able to tolerate pain, might have laughed at my tiny blisters, but the fact is that these little problems are indicators of bigger problems with our technique. They are canaries in the coal mine — signs of impending back pain, knee pain, foot pain, and other big issues destined to come back to haunt you in the long run.