Last week one of my posts generated 6 likes and 20 comments on my Facebook page. That’s almost a record for me. Officially, the comment received a rather low rating on my Salve Tapuio page. Officially, it reached 5 people.
Some of the comments left me quite moved. Some comments counseled caution, even invoking the passion of Dian Fossey as a comparison. What an amazing woman, often maligned and ultimately brutally murdered because her passion, her love, was limitless. If we choose to believe that life is sacred, then all life is sacred. All life. Not as determined by its utility or economic value to man, but to itself.
She believed the gorillas have as much “right” to be here as we, and not as ashtrays or souvenirs, but as living breathing sacred life on this beautiful planet we all share. For her beliefs and work, she was brutally murdered.
Now, I appreciate the comparison made the other day, but I am no Dian Fossey. Tapuio is no Karisoke. There are no rare species wandering its heights.
The only danger I face is that of a wasted life, or a panic attack from the tedium of frustration. I have received threats and my house has been repeatedly vandalized. But it will never go any further than that. Nobody will come and hack me to pieces during the night.
Tapuio just isn’t that important.
And that is part of the problem.
Tapuio is a spit of mountain in a dreary and forgettable municipality in the southeast state of Who Cares. Yes it’s pretty and yes it should be preserved but lots of places are pretty and lots of places should be preserved.
It isn’t even the first time it has been degraded. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, it was intensively farmed and then intensively excavated for granite. It is far from a pristine environment.
Abandoned after the 90s, it slowly recovered.
Well, not completely, right? I mean, nothing recovers completely. Scars remain, the fragile earth becomes a little more fragile. One or two key species removed, gone forever from the landscape. It remains vulnerable, sort of like an alcoholic who always has another drunk in him, but maybe not another recovery.
The hunting and deforestation in Tapuio is supplemental. It doesn’t support anybody. Rather, it provides a supplemental income, a songbird becoming a larger, better television, a paca converted into a car payment.
And that is why, apart from the petty vandalism and infantile threats, nothing will happen to me. The money involved just isn’t that much. This isn’t the Amazon where hunting and deforestation (and absurd agricultural practices) bring in millions of dollars.
It’s just a tiny spot in Forgot-the-name-again, just one of thousands and thousands of similar spots around the world that nobody cares enough to do anything about. It’s a horrible political game, isn’t it.? As long as we’re focused on the big forests, the rare exceptions, nobody even cares about the thousands of smaller spots too insignificant to register. Biologists don’t come here to study habitat loss. It isn’t pristine enough, even though it is more representative of the way humans are destroying the earth.
Its insignificance also means the solutions are easier. It starts with a camera and a computer. A camera and a computer. And with those two tools, I can bring Tapuio into the forefront, a stand against destruction and death. This area is entering into the petroleum game. Huge reserves of oil lie just offshore and the growth is just beginning. Do I need to spell out the fate of Tapuio if action isn’t taken now? Increased deforestation, loss of biodiversity, increase in cattle production, erosion and loss of soil fertility, construction and loss of water, ultimately leading to not only the death of the mountain, but of the ocean downhill as everything drains into it.
A camera and a computer. It’s not so much.
Some of you wanted to know what you can do. Contribute! Go to my campaign and contribute. No need to wait until Christmas. The campaign only runs until the 28th.
After contributing, tell your friends to contribute.
If you can’t contribute, tell your friends to contribute.
Don’t get me a Christmas present. Contribute instead.
Then, after contributing, if you want, come for a visit! No need to chain yourself to trees or shout at people with chainsaws (but if you want to shout at people with birdcages, feel free). Like I said, this isn’t the Amazon. Your (international) presence is enough. If you know a student looking for a research project for a paper, SEND HIM/HER DOWN HERE!!!!!
If you still want to do something more, let me know. There are many things you can do. I have stage two and stage three of this project that doesn’t require money, just time.
What do you get out of this? Well, nothing. That is, you don’t get anything back. But you get it forward. Some things don’t provide tangible returns. They provide better futures. You get to add your light to the sum of light around you so that we illuminate the world with life! Isn’t that enough?
You also get to know that you are at home in this world everywhere, not just in your house, and that your community is all life. We learn that after tornadoes and hurricanes and wars. Do we need a disaster to give us a sense of community, of shared life? You already share life. Let Tapuio represent a positive love for all life.
Share love. Share Life. Salve Tapuio!