In every remote corner of the world there are people like Carl Jones and Don Merton who have devoted their lives to saving threatened species. Very often, their determination is all that stands between an endangered species and extinction.But why do they bother? Does it really matter if the Yangtze river dolphin, or the kakapo, or the northern white rhino, or any other species live on only in scientists' notebooks?Well, yes, it does. Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment: even Komodo dragons have a major role to play in maintaining the ecological stability of their delicate island homes. If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients or many industrial processes. Ironically, it is often not the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most.Even so, the loss of a few species may seem irrelevant compared to major environmental problems such as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer. But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we're driving.There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.
I do have hope. Nature is enormously resilient, humans are vastly intelligent, the energy and enthusiasm that can be kindled among young people seems without limit, and he human spirit is indomitable. But if we want life, we will have to stop depending on someone else to save the world. It is up to us-you and me, all of us. Myself, I have placed my faith in the children.
Chronicling the passage of whales has led me to an understanding that we, as a species, now sand at a crossroads. We can face the possibility of our own extinction and work to avert it, or we can flow the more traditional path of earths organisms and fall blindly over the edge. If there's one trait that characterised human beings, it's the will to survive. This, I believe, will motivate us to work with the natural world rather than opposite it, which is all we need to do to give the children of earth - of all species - the opportunity to thrive.
Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.
Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.
Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.
In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.
The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.
Another glorious feature of many modern science museums is a movie theater showing IMAX or OMNIMAX films. In some cases the screen is ten stories tall and wraps around you. The Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museu, the popular museum on Earth, has premiered in its Langley Theater some of the best of these films. 'To Fly' brings a catch to my throat even after five or six viewings. I've seen religious leaders of many denominations witness 'Blue Planet' and be converted on the spot to the need to protect the Earth's environment
Can you imagine a scenario, given our present circumstances, in which human life will actually survive and be here in a thousand years?
Trithemius' concern for conservation was rare, indeed, and is a lesson to modern library managers who discard printed volumes, believing that e-books are the only way of the future.
Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.
Ecologist Paul Ehrlich stressed that people who hold opposing opinions need to engage in open discussion with well-reasoned dissent. Positions should be questioned and criticized, not the people who hold them. Personal attacks preclude open discussion because, once someone is put on the defensive, fruitful exchanges are impossible, at least for the moment.
But wasn't that progress too, that the elephants were killed off like the mastodon and giant rhino before them, like all other wildlife and wild places? 'We can't stop time,' MacAdam said. 'But you can change the way it goes,' Nehemiah insisted.
I do not know, really, how we will survive without places like the Inner Gorge of the Grand Canyon to visit. Once in a lifetime, even, is enough. To feel the stripping down, an ebb of the press of conventional time, a radical change of proportion, an unspoken respect for others that elicits keen emotional pleasure, a quick intimate pounding of the heart.The living of life, any life, involves great and private pain, much of which we share with no one. In such places as the Inner Gorge the pain trails away from us. It is not so quiet there or so removed that you can hear yourself think, that you would even wish to; that comes later. You can hear your heart beat. That comes first.
Age in itself gives substance — what has lasted becomes a thing worth keeping. An older poem's increasing strangeness of language is part of its beauty, in the same way that the cracks and darkening of an old painting become part of its luminosity in the viewer’s mind.
While I lingered about the old village and the lake, with the water lapping on the shore and the wind whispering in the big pines, I felt for a moment that I was back in time among the Ojibwe families going about their business.
We trust ourselves, far more than our ancestors did… The root of our predicament lies in the simple fact that, though we remain a flawed and unstable species, plagued now as in the past by a thousand weaknesses, we have insisted on both unlimited freedom and unlimited power. It would now seem clear that, if we want to stop the devastation of the earth, the growing threats to our food, water, air, and fellow creatures, we must find some way to limit both.
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
We shall never fully understand nature (or ourselves), and certainly never respect it, until we dissociate the wild from the notion of usability - however innocent and harmless the use. For it is the general uselessness of so much of nature that lies at the root of our ancient hostility and indifference to it.
I'd read the section in my guidebook about the trail's history the winter before, but it wasn't until now—a couple of miles out of Burney Falls, as I walked in my flimsy sandals in the early evening heat—that the realization of what that story meant picked up force and hit me squarely in the chest: preposterous as it was, when Catherine Montgomery and Clinton Clarke and Warren Rogers and the hundreds of others who'd created the PCT had imagined the people who would walk that high trail that wound down the heights of our western mountains, they'd been imagining me. It didn't matter that everything from my cheap knockoff sandals to my high-tech-by-1995-standards boots and backpack would have been foreign to them, because what mattered was utterly timeless. It was the thing that compelled them to fight for the trail against all the odds, and it was the thing that drove me and every other long-distance hiker onward on the most miserable days. It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B.It had only to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way. That's what Montgomery knew, I supposed. And what Clarke knew and Rogers and what thousands of people who preceded and followed them knew. It was what I knew before I even really did, before I could have known how truly hard and glorious the PCT would be, how profoundly the trail would both shatter and shelter me.
Even if mankind can go on without them, a piece of our vibrantly diverse world dies along with each species.
When I consider that the nobler animal have been exterminated here - the cougar, the panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, dear, the beaver, the turkey and so forth and so forth, I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed and, as it were, emasculated country... Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature I am conversing with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all it's warriors...I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.
To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.
...there were only fifteen thousand polar bears in the world, and five billion of me. To let one of them devour my all-too-common flesh would, if only slightly, help adjust the grievous imbalance.
It is not reasonable that art should win the place of honor over our great and powerful mother Nature. We have so overloaded the beauty and richness of her works by our inventions that we have quite smothered her.
For me, nature is something you watch on the Discovery Channel, or on the evening news -- as you learn how much more of it's been savaged to make way for the Blackberry realm that is my home
The writer Richard Manning has argued that 'the most destructive force in the American West is its commanding views, because they foster the illusion that we command.
How we treat our land, how we build upon it, how we act toward our air and water, in the long run, will tell what kind of people we really are.-Laurance S. Rockefeller
The spirit of the wild must pass to all of you now. You must tell each one you meet: if you would find Pan, take up Pan's spirit. Remake the wild, a little at a time, each in your own corner of the world. You cannot wait for anyone else, even a god, to do that for you.
Now, over half of us live in an urban environment. My home, too, is here in the city of London. Looking down on this great metropolis, the ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking. It’s also very sobering, and reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world.Yet it’s on this connection that the future of both humanity and the natural world will depend. And surely, it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.