Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Last Chance to See, One more time....

I remember writing about the Carl Sagan book, "The Pale Blue Dot", almost more than a year ago I think. That was one humbling experience traversing the length of space to turn around just one last time to take a look at our mother planet. All that we stand for and care a lot about, is just one small pixel in the peta-tera-giga-pixel picture of the cosmos. Why should we be any more significant then?

I watched the series, "Last Chance to See", specially remade to re-trace Douglas Adams' and Mark Cawardine's journey after 20 years. The book was an immensely satisfying experience, which brought home the message of wild-life conservation out to the mainstream. Its not just another experiment to control populations of obscure species. Several reports  have come after Adams' trip to those places and documenting their experiences in their book, how popular these conservation attempts had become. People sent money, aid and a whole lot of things to facilitate the conservation attempts in one way or another.

This time, Stephen Fry and Mark, go through the same experience along with BBC, to catch up with the conservationalists to check up on those near extinct species. I can't say that I havent been deeply moved by what I got to watch. I remember sprawling on my bed reading through Adams' Last Chance to See, enjoying every moment, every trek, every description in his own quirky and witty manner making it even more enjoyable. I could hardly imagine that someone would want to capture this on a camera and make it into a TV series.

Its the most humbling experience, so much bio-diversity we have around us and we are merely just a tiny blip on the map, yet have such a lasting impact on it. Human intervention and colonization have long introduced extraneous elements onto a landscape and destroyed its ecological balance. Its sobering to realize that some of us do in fact give a damn about it and do enough to care to change the irreversible effects of our encroachment.

The more I write the more it gets diluted, but I want to recount one experience, the very end of the series, the final episode which follows the Blue Whale. Majestic animals, jumbo-jet huge yet with an almost royal elegance, 'fluking' their way towards the abyss. Some of the moments they have captured on tape are breath-taking, almost unreal. I have been raised on discovery channel and NatGeo but never was it so personal. The sheer size of this animal and yet we control if it deserves to live or not, is a gross misstep across our natural boundaries. The song of the humpback whale, almost feels like being trapped in a Sigur Ros song with the Auroras dancing around us.

All this does drive home a point. All the things we humans seek: love, compassion, acceptance, companionship, courtship, kinship and parenthood are all present in this dynamic biodiversity. Yet most of us fail to recognize the deserved gratitude that we must show towards it. 

Nature is only once, the only place we have left to be. This certainly wasn't 'the' last chance to see...

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