Thursday, 28 August 2008

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."


That quote from Mahatma Gandhi has such universal resonance and today it made me think again of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
The rainforest is a truly magical place. An enchanted habitat where flickering shafts of light bathe the forest floor in glowing colors of amber, green and gold. Those pools of sunlight attract a crazy whirlwind of butterflies. Gaudy swallowtails, blue mother of pearls and chocolate browns dominate a melee of smaller white, orange, red and speckled flutterers, all competing for places to slurp the organic ooze on the forest floor with their outrageously long tongues. The heavy silence is broken by the sudden shrill shriek of a colobus monkey, a momentary crashing of branches above you and the silence slides back. In this green shrouded santactury there is such an abundance of life in all its forms that it leaves one dumbstruck with a kind of reverential awe. But, despite the face that you are so stunned, so overcome by its powerful beauty, there is that one nagging thought......how long will it last? Will our children experience this? Our children's children?
I'm not sure when it first occurred to me that human beings might be an evolutionary mistake....probably while watching the ten o' clock news. Seriously though, I think it was after having climbed for hours up through that ancient rainforest, sweating and huffing, and then the miracle of finally seeing the gorilla family and being allowed to share their space for the most incredible, life-affirming hour of my entire life.
Sure, we've taken over the planet, but judgement about the genetic path we're on really depends on whether you rate success as the ability to loot, burn and pillage or live in harmony with Earth's other life forms. If we are on the wrong track, where and when did we branch off?
There's heated debate in some scientific circles about whether we first stepped onto the savannah and stood up because the forests receded and the grass was tall, or became a semi-aquatic, hairless, dolphin-like creature able to hold our breath because the forests flooded and stranded us on soggy islands. But, either way, we probably began the stooping march to mobile phones and hamburgers in the equatorial forests around the Great Rift Valley. We left them, conquered space and invented paper clips. But gorillas and chimpanzees stayed put, almost unnoticed by the human world until fairly recently. With logging operations and banana shambas hacking away at their ancient forest homes, however, these distant cousins of ours are now under terrible threat. And so are the forests where they roam in relative peace and harmony.

ACEO Endangered Species Quilt
More than 30 ACEO artists from around the world have joined together to create an Endangered Species Quilt which will be sold on eBay with 100% of the auction price donated to the World Land Trust to purchase endangered Rainforest land for conservation. Click on the link (right) to visit their blog.

1 comment:

Ces said...

Man started standing up straight because the woman put away the beer on the top cupboard! Seriously, it is a shame we are destroying our rain forests. While there are more trees now that fifty years ago, the trees are immature. The rainforests are also homes to animals that get displaced when the trees are felled. Governments need to balance econmy and progress with preservation.