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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Save the rainforest, stop industrial deforestation!

The other day I was asked what appeared to be a simple question. How does it feel to see with your own eyes, the slow deforestation of the forests? I paused for a moment. My throat knotted as memories rushed through my mind and I was not able to translate them into words. All I could do to answer such a question was to compare the pain of deforestation to the pain of a man slowly losing his hair, one strand at a time, knowing that if a solution is not discovered soon his hair will be gone for good.

After this conversation I could not stop thinking about the land I grew up in and how I dreamt of it the following night. I dreamt that I danced in the lush Nicaraguan rainforest barefooted, as graceful as an inquisitive fawn. The rainforests of Nicaragua appeared as I had left it, located just above the equator, cooled by the breeze of the Pacific Ocean, cradled by the waters of the Caribbean, warmed by forty volcanoes, and tuned by the dissonance of the exotic fauna of toucans, elusive quetzals, ocelots, macaws, earthbound and arboreal reptiles, jaguars and howler monkeys. It was still perfumed by pungent aromatic orchids, vibrant frangipanis, stubborn ferns and humid moss.

Everything, wild and endangered was still there and was lit by bits of moonlight filtered through the dense canopy. My surroundings embraced me. Colorful frogs hopped on the soft carpet of the forest, and howler monkeys swung from vines as a melody rebounded off their cries, scattering leaves. In my ecstasy, I spied a Resplendent Quetzal in one of the tallest trees, its feathers a glory of iridescent hues.

As expected, my sweet dream did not last long, as it is true with most good things in life. I awoke to the bittersweet reality that if I sit still and do nothing to help it, in about 10-20 years, the rain forest of my dreams might cease to exist. I was lucky to have had the beauty of such landscape in my own backyard, but not so lucky to have witnessed its abuse, the tainting of its leaves by bloody trails left by a war, the logging of its precious woods and the extraction of its exotic wildlife, chained monkeys, iguanas and endangered turtles sold for soups, and colorful macaws sold for luxury hotel decor. For those of you who have never seen it, the rain forest is more than an aesthetically pleasing landscape. It is a living pharmacy of over nine-thousand plants that have been used to heal body and mind.
No wonder the elder always had a prescription for our ailments: Valerian root for the nerves, Sauco leaves for fever, Peppermint for digestion, Chamomile for bloating and Sangregado tree sap for cuts and blemishes.

The rainforests of the world do not belong solely to the natives of that land; it belongs to all of us. We are owners of such wonderful life giving biome, and as a result, we are responsible for assuring that industrial deforestation stops today!


Lauren said...

Beautiful post, wonderfully written. You made the rain forest come alive for someone like myself who has not seen it personally. It is a sad story indeed, hopefully we will not see its end.

JGutierrez said...

I love your blog "Save the Rainforest." I totally dig it!