Thursday, March 14, 2013

Drawing Conclusions

In reviewing my birthday greetings to Douglas Adams, I realize an explanation may be in order. I may have been unclear or, at least, I may have made some faulty assumptions about you, Dear Reader:
1. I assumed you already knew the comic and imaginative genius of Douglas Adams (creator of the radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which morphed into a series of novels, plays, comics, and a popular film; also the author of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which became a TV series).
2.You knew he cared deeply about conservation (hence his fundraising for Save the Rhino and his nonfiction contribution to the cause, Last Chance to See).
3. You know climate change has imperiled polar bears.*

The photo of the polar bear is, in my mind, tragic—and I believe Adams would concur. I didn’t intend any connection between the word laughter and the precarious position of the bear. I hope I didn’t mislead you. I hope I didn’t cause you to laugh at the stranded creature.

Though Adams and his works are immensely quotable, I chose yesterday’s particular quotation because I’ve been awed by ignorance lately—flabbergasted at what people choose to believe about animals, Nature, corporate responsibility, natural resources, poverty, and climate change. I’m waiting for the scales to tip—waiting to be more frequently awed by insightfulness and compassion and intelligence that I may revere and emulate. Of course, it’s occurred to me that I could be waiting several lifetimes for this to happen, so I’ve been researching how best to cultivate understanding—specifically regarding animals—and how I may play my part in the cultivation. This means steeping myself in the mythologies, religions, and cultural practices that threaten understanding.

If you’re already on the front lines of this cause, please tell the rest of us how we may help.

“We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying.”
―Douglas Adams, in Last Chance to See

* With this on my mind at the library yesterday, I checked out Zac Unger’s Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows. Unger set up residence in Churchill, Manitoba—“The Polar Bear Capital of the World”—to investigate the nature of the bears and the validity of the media reports about their demise. I’ll let you know what he discovers in a future post.

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