Some things bother me. I know what you’re thinking. Nothing new there! David’s always bothered by something. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it isn’t. But I do admit I get bothered. By some things.
Like this morning. I got up ready to make coffee. It’s my routine. I wake up early, make coffee, and start my day. It’s raining and I especially like drinking my coffee while catching up on the news in the softness of an early morning rainstorm.
But I was out of gas. (Down here we cook with bottled gas. Sort of feels like camping out in your own home.) My fault. I knew the bottle was almost empty. I was just hoping that I had one more morning before it emptied out on me.
It didn’t. And that sort of bothered me, but not too much. There’s a coffee shop across the street. At least I’ll be able to have my caffeine.
I shower, dress, and head on over.
While ordering, a guy I know came up and asked how my campaign is going. I wasn’t really sure what he meant, but I assumed he meant my indiegogo campaign. I told him it really isn’t.
Now this guy is a member of a local influential NGO dedicated to environmental issues. He once sought me out for information and advice when he thought I, by virtue of being the local American, had cachet. I suspect he quickly found out I have about as much cachet as a carton of old milk because he rarely talks to me anymore. The NGO would be a perfect fit with what I am trying to achieve in Tapuio. But apparently it isn’t advantageous.
Anyway, I told him my campaign really isn’t going anywhere.
He gave a small chuckle and said, “People don’t really care.”
Now you see, that’s what bothers me. Not that people don’t really care, because that isn’t true. They do care. It’s what they care about that bothers me.
After coffee and before my first class, I started looking at my posts and pictures and tshirts. And I looked around on the web at successful campaigns and successful people and comment threads and photos. Honestly, I felt kind of ill. I felt sad. I felt pathetic. I felt boring. My little campaign and my little tshirts and my little cause. Who cares? Who the fuck cares?!
I looked around Huffington Post’s Green section at their articles about the newest brightest youngest heroes of environmental movements. The new environmental Rock Stars. I felt old.
I looked at blog after pretty pastel blog of environmental heroes and “activists” talking about how they are “enabling” people to take control of their lives and “make the world a better place.”
Rock stars need a fan base. The rich need the poor. A hero needs an admiring devotee. A god needs a worshipper.
I thought, “Maybe if I added a picture of me, my face all scrunched up in determination, with a rugged mountain background, the sun spreading its rays into my outstretched arms as if I were radiating joy and life, maybe” but all I can come up with is this.
That’s not a picture of me. It’s a picture of what my campaign is about. Imbaúba isn’t a rock star. Some people liked my imbaúba t-shirts until they realized the leaves weren’t marijuana. You see, marijuana is a rock star. Imbaúba just feeds every living thing in the forest except man. It didn’t quite make the cut. That bothers me.
This guy, he’s a rock star.
He and his kind have lived on this planet longer than we have and despite being the chicken of the forest, these guys survive. But they can’t survive man. Man kills all. That bothers me.
Here’s another rock star.
Hunters shoot them because when the hunters’ dogs attack them, their spines get stuck in the dogs face. Poor dogs, man’s best friend. Man’s judgement is that the porcupine’s defense system is harmful to man and his allies. It is therefore sentenced to death by shooting or poison.
Well, who cares, right? It’s not like they’re dolphins or anything. You can’t even train the stupid things. Kill ’em.
And while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and kill off the forests. Well, maybe not completely. We can leave a few trees as long as we have a place to hike and barbecue. Unless it is politically more expedient to cut them all down and bring in the cows.
That bothers me.
And it bothers me to understand my campaign is all wrong. It isn’t defiant enough. Man loves a story about defiance, about how man has taken on a colossal foe and vanquished it, even if that foe is nature. Needing a computer and camera is hardly defiant enough. I mean, there are babies needing heart transplants (as well as bloggers needing new food adventures and movies needing to be made). And Tapuio isn’t the stuff of movies. It’s a little spot of nothing in the middle of Who-Cares.
I mean, hell, Brazil isn’t even Third World anymore. Those hunters are probably just poor people trying to survive, left behind by a booming economy that forgot about them, the kind of poor workers invoked by former President Lula when he tried to defend the rape of the Amazon. The kind of people the world’s rock stars love to support.
That bothers me. Because I need your support and I’m not poor enough, destroyed enough, influential enough, optimistic enough, arrogant enough, rugged enough, smart enough, rich enough, activist enough, connected enough, or whatever enough.
Maybe if I splashed happy, positive, energetic pictures of myself looking defiant and strong and thankful, but I am definitely not photogenic enough. And that bothers me. And it bothers me to think that my campaign will be over in 16 days and I will have nothing to show for it except the scars of a failed campaign, and sorrow. Because I know the destruction of Tapuio will not be stopped because no one else cares. And next year, friends and family will show up wanting to see this wonderful place I’m always talking about and all they’ll see is a brown mountain with a bunch of cows and they’ll say, “This is what you were trying to save? This? There’s nothing here.”
All I’ll be able to say is, “You should have seen it last year, when it still had trees.”