In the video link below Sir David Attenborough takes a look at Amorphophallus titanium, a flowering plant, a most unusual plant, found in the rainforest. The titan arum is one of the many wonders found in the exotic paradise of Sumatra.
When rainforests were first discovered by European explorers, they became a treasure trove of mysteries: exotic plants, primitive, hidden tribes, lost cities, strange creatures, untold riches, and the list could continue.
Now, in 2011 the deforestation of global rainforests is removing a link to our past. In many ways rainforests are a doorway to the epoch when this planet was sub-tropical and life flourished in abundance from the tiniest insect to the largest mammal. Biodiversity was the rule of the time, not the exception.
Of all the planets circling our sun earth is the only one that we know of which has life. In the rainforests of this planet traversing the cosmos flora and fauna thrive exponentially.
Since humans began to migrate from the coastal regions to the interiors, the vast resources of the planet could handle these intrusions at the beginning. Over time settlements grew into large cities where forests were decimated for fuel, building materials, farmlands, and livestock grazing. Indigenous life forms retreated from the human invaders.
As humans have increased to the billons, the earth’s natural resources and habitats for the other life occupying this planet have shrunk. Humans have become in many ways an invasive species crowding out the biodiversity of the earth.
Rainforests are the last bastions of biodiversity. They are a mirror of how life was on this planet. They are the heritage of our past and their destruction a portent of our future.
The future is bleak. As Chief Raoni of the Kayapo tribe said in the BBC Video below, “I don’t like this. I told many people if we destroy the forest there will be no shade. There will be a great wind and the ground will overheat and burn up. That is my fear.”
Of course in our civilized towers of glass and steel, Chief Raoni is written off as a primitive who does not understand the global economy or the needs of a growing population. Chief Raoni understands his heritage and understands what happens when forests are decimated for industrialization.
The sun burns the ground because there is no shade. Dust storms come. Like other places on this planet traversing the cosmos what you have is arid and desolate patches of land which once flourished as tropical paradises for life.
What does the world hold for you tomorrow? Your children? Grandchildren? Great grandchildren?
Will an advanced civilization come to earth to save us or destroy us because of our lack of ecological stewardship of the earth? Does the cosmos demand that its life forms care for their planetary homes? The recent film Day The Earth Stood Still presents such a scenario.
If one stood on the shores of eternity on a planet in the Alpha Centauri system, what would be that life form view of their planet? What would they think as they focused their gaze on Sol, our sun, and its third planet?
G. D. Williams © 2011
Sir David Attenborough: The Private Life of Plants
BBC NEWS Malaysian Rainforest
Huffington Post UNESCO World Heritage Endangered List
UPI NEWS: Honduras and Indonesia Rainforests
THE GURADIAN: Brazil Rainforest
BBC Brazil Rainforest
MADAGASCAR RAINFOREST BIODIVERSITY
COSTA RICA RAINFOREST BIODIVERSITY
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL Trailer