I’ll be excited to share more about this project once it publishes in August, but earlier this year, Steve and I were fortunate enough to spend some time in a place I’d dreamt of seeing since I was 5 years old — the Brazilian Amazon.
Thanks to ZooBooks, animal encyclopedias, and early-’90s computer games such as The Amazon Trail, my imagination of this place ran wild. It became almost a place of myth and magic. But when I saw parts of it with my own eyes just a few months ago, I was disappointed. Not by the Amazon, but by the choices people have made — or have been forced to make — and what we now have to look at because of it.
Progress is necessary for survival, but unchecked progress comes at a price. This isn’t just an Amazon problem. It’s a world problem.
And although nature will always win, it’s something that should have never turned into a game in the first place.
Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
and I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things. 1968.