Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Prince, a Tribe, a Rainforest

The tribe was photographed as its members pointed bows and arrows at an aeroplane flying overhead. Image: Gleison Miranda, Funai. BBC

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Charles urges forest logging halt

I've had this headline from the BBC in my draft posts since May 15. So it's old news that Britain's Prince Charles gave an interview to mark BBC World Service's Amazon Day and called for a halt to logging in the Amazon Rainforest. But thinking of the rainforest as old news is one of the problems we face in saving it. Keeping vigilant of proposed actions by oil companies, following the swiftly changing politics in countries that share that unique place on Earth, not letting up on our own expression of concern - and in general just staying current on the old rainforest are some important ways to help preserve it.

I have to admit that I don't get Prince Charles, never have. I'm not an Anglophile, and the entire idea of a monarchy -- especially these days -- seems ludicrous to me. Decades ago I remember being impressed by one thing I read about Charles, one. It was written when the first inkling of discord between Diana and him was suspected. The article said that her tastes ran toward loud music at clubs, while his passion at the time was working on miniature paintings. I thought it was sad that they couldn't each appreciate the others' interests because both sounded great to me.

So here is this aging prince who quite likely will not be king -- who at some time in his past painted miniatures (and yada-yada-yada with regard to all the historic baggage in his life) -- but who is now emerging as quite the well-spoken environmental voice of reason coming out of the U.K. He's always been a very smart man and certainly well-educated, but he hasn't done, or been allowed to do, much to show his worth. Lately he's pointed his moral compass toward the Amazon, which I think is commendable and deserving of a thank you. So I'm giving him one in my blog.

In the interview linked above he said:
The trouble is the rainforests are home to something like 1.4 billion of the poorest people in the world.

In order to survive there has to be an effort to produce things which tends to be at the expense of the rainforest.

What we've got to do is try to ensure that those forests are more valuable alive than dead.

At the moment there's more value in them being dead. This is the crazy thing.

The article includes a sound recorder with a 10-minute audio segment. In it, Charles is more engaging than I'd expect and now I've been impressed with him twice in my life . . .

Charles' talk about the rainforest was released prior to the news this past week that one of South America's few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes was spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru. Photos have been widely circulated by the media. Cudos go to the BBC for this informative online piece in which "Fiona Watson, from the campaign group Survival International, uses her experience gained during 20 years of visiting the region, to explain what the pictures may show." It's a one-page fact sheet that I found fascinating.

Are you aware of particular people or organizations doing important work to save the Amazon Rainforest?


Honour said...

Great posting Lydia. I don't know of any specific work on the rainforest, but I subscribe to Dr. David Suzuki's newsletter - one of Canada's leading environmentalists. The great thing is that his newsletter provides facts about current environmental issues AND then a concrete tip that you can take action in your own life. One without the other is a bit hard .... if you're interested, let me know ...

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I recently did a donation to the Nature Conservancy's "Plant a Billion Trees" campaign.......I have a post on my blog called Wayfaring Wanderer: Where's Your Green?!, it has information about the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, which is considered one of the worlds most endangered forest. I took pledges from other people to add to my donation.....I'll have another cause coming up soon, so you can get in on that one with me too maybe :o)

I'm so intrigued by the photos of that uncontacted tribe.....

Lydia said...

Yes, absolutely more info please. That sounds exactly like the kind of resource I'm looking for. We here in the Pacific Northwest must be vigilant about protecting the rainforests right here, too!

Before replying, I visited the post you referred to and I'm so glad to have read it. I left a comment there, too, but yup I'd love to be involved in your next pledge effort.
I agree about those pictures. When looking at them it's as if something goes straight from your optical nerve to some primal place deep within.

Honour said...

Dear Lydia - oh you're so close to me ... it's like we're in each other's backyards! I hadn't realized you were in Oregon! Yes check out his website and subscribe to the Nature Challenge newsletter. Very good --

Lydia said...

I just visited the website and it looks just terrific! Our cable provider was purchased last month by another company, and I've been waiting for word concerning email address changes. It's upon us and must be done by the end of June. What a hassle, and not of our doing! Because of this, I'm not going to sign on to his newsletter until I get the new email address. But I bookmarked it and hopefully will remember.
In the context of the whole planet I guess we really are in one another's backyards!



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