Driving through the game park, I could never get tired of watching galloping giraffes, lounging elephants, and all sorts of other charismatic fauna. Seeing the leopard hunt a herd of gazelle was like watching Planet Earth unfold 10 yards from me on the African plain.
The flora was equally full of life. The trees have so much direction and horizontal reach.
Looking over Murchison Falls the day before was like watching the book of Genesis flow with immense power. I did not notice the rain falling on my clothes as my senses were deafened by the sound, sight, feel, and smell of the waterfalls briefly interrupting the flow of the Nile.
But as my mind struggles to capture the magic of African Mother Nature, I still also grapple with the memories and experiences I share with the people of Africa. Most are powerful, some are conflicting and difficult to make clear, and few I will never understand.
With both of these separate scenes present, some argue that saving one is sacrificing the other. Even now, there is a debate in Uganda over the need to cut down forests so that room can be made for industry. I have heard back in the States the Amazon debate, that saving the forest means sacrificing development necessary for human business and job growth.
But why must one die so that the other may live? I discussed in an earlier post that both human and nature have a dependence on one another. As fires burn close to my home in Colorado and threaten many others, I am reminded of this interdependence. We must all strive to imagine a future where these two scenes, man and nature, are not separate.
Can you remember when the rainforest tore down the cities? When it started to encroach on our land? Sure, it was considerate at first. Slowly it uprooted the edge of our civilizations, keeping the downtown areas intact so that it might still grasp the pleasure of experiencing humankind.
It used to love us, to call its home by the same name as ours. When it realized it could gain an easier, quicker evolutionary advantage by removing us, it did not hesitate.
So we have retreated. Human life has been destroyed by the dehumanization of our cities. The rainforest will never love us anymore because it has taken away our very essence that it originally cherished. We are left to wait. Either the rainforest will die out giving us an opportunity to grow again, or it will realize its existence is tied with ours. We pray that it realizes immediate gain does not replace sustainable growth. But who am I to judge, I am not the rainforest.
Brief commentary: [On the context of this post] Driving to Lake Victoria today, we saw brief glimpses of bursting diversity that has since been replaced by tea farms and sugar cane. It is hard to imagine some of the great majestic trees that we saw being bulldozed to the ground as animals scattered deeper away from humankind. I have faith that humanity has the potential of developing innovative ways to prosper without decimating the forest. However, it will require NOT taking the path of least resistance. I do not mean to simplify the problem. The rainforest issue is much more intricate. But creative solutions should and can treat these problems. The rainforest is too precious to lose.