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We have to save the Amazon

Written by: Christopher Cimorelli

My name is Christopher Cimorelli and I had the privilege of experiencing the Western Amazon with Tamandua Expeditions in 2010.  To this day I have a hard time describing a place that transcends anything I’ve experienced before, or since.  What I can say is; The Amazon Rainforest needs to be saved.  Without places like the Amazon to inspire us, teach us, and mystify the imaginations of children and adults alike, how could we possibly expect to press on into the future with the same sense of wonder that got us here in the first place?

My adventure took me, a born and bred city kid from Brooklyn, into the depths of the Peruvian jungle.  I  climbed trees, spent nights under a blanket of stars (and a mosquito net), woke to the roar of howler monkeys, waded through chest deep water, built a raft which I then used to float downriver, interacted with more species than I could’ve had I visited a zoo.  I even had a six foot caiman resting on my leg while in a stream of murky water.  I mistook the caiman for a log, and when I lifted my leg out of the water, I received the shock of a lifetime when I saw the crocodilian performing a balancing act on my shin.

The Amazon is a place of unimaginable beauty.  An explosion of life where plants wage war for sunlight, and animals have evolved to compete and depend on one another for survival.  A religious man can’t help but marvel at the science behind it all while a scientific mind would be foolish not to think of this particular place on our plant, during this particular moment in time, as nothing short of a miracle.  Humans have only been around for a microsecond in the life of our solar system, yet we have been granted the keys to a brilliant time in its development.  Instead of treating this gift as such, we have decided to drive the car off the cliff.

My experience in the Amazon taught me a valuable lesson forgotten in the minds of way too many people in our simplified, ready made society.  We have come so far and achieved so much as a species because of our curiosity and sense of wonder.  When man first looked to the stars and wondered, we began our long journey during which we have achieved so much.  Places like the Amazon still exist to inspire the mind and remind us that this is a delicate, awesome, challenging world we live in.  Life is too often taken for granted because people have stopped wondering.

We live in a society where information is everywhere and the basic needs for survival are provided without question.  Few people feel the need to wonder anymore, or to question why a place like the Amazon remains important.  If we destroy one of the few places left on this Earth that inspires us, what kind of future are we looking forward to?  It was that inspiration that caused our species to achieve the unimaginable.  Our society is so advanced because of the people who came before us who were inspired by the wonderful to explore, learn, discover, create.  If we allow the Amazon to disappear we are doing them, and everything they did for our society, a disservice.  The Amazon, and places like it, is a muse to mankind’s hunger for discovery.  If we fail to protect it we are doomed as a society.