This is one of my favorite orchids of Manitoba
The fact is, as Attenborough said, “the natural world is failing. The evidence is all around us. I have seen it with my own eyes.” I agree. I have also seen it personally. I have seen places where once wild orchids lived in abundance that are now completely bare of orchids. They are gone.
I have detected it in Arizona this winter. I frequently went to a nearby park called San Tan Regional Mountain Park to hike and admire the local flora and fauna. The wonderful Saguaros—the cactuses are the mark of the Sonoran Desert because they grow nowhere else, but are disappearing before my eyes. They have been declining for years as their habitat declines.
This year, after a 2-year absence I saw a newly created residential housing subdivision son the edge of the park with all saguaros gone. They are amazing plants that can live up to 250 years in a desert. They can live for a year without water. They are incredibly resilient, but they can’t withstand human predation. The proof of that is clearly visible in the bare desert now adjacent to the park where saguaros and other Sonoran Desert plants used to grow in abundance. Seeing this on my first visit here after a nearly 3 year absence was soul crushing.
Back home on the prairies I have seen the lovely yellow evening grossbeaks largely disappear along with many other avian species of the grasslands. Since 70% of our native prairies have vanished, the bird life is vanishing along with that. When I first became interested in birds as a young man these birds were in abundance. No more. Now they are nearly gone.
My 6-year-old grandson who loves to see birds and often asks me to help him identify birds may never see one. That is possible. I hope he does see them. His life would be poorer as a result of their absence. He is an amazing kid who should have an opportunity to see such birds.
This is one of my favorite spots in Arizona–Picketpost Mountain. I would hate to see the saguaros disappears from its base.
David Attenborough said that he started this film, A Life on Our Planet, as his witness statement to what he has seen in his 93 years on the planet. I was inspired by that. I cannot make a film. That is beyond me. But I can prepare a testament. I made thousands of them over my nearly 50-year legal career, but none of them quite like this. I want to make a testament for myself. It won’t deal with property but it will be a witness statement, and a thinking statement. I have been involved a long and protracted “Long Think” as Huckleberry Finn said. I want to talk about some of those things in this testament. A will is really a witness statement.
I want to urge people to reconsider what we are doing to our planet on which we depend for life and how we might change things for the better to make life better—for all. For all life on the planet. That is goal. I have concluded we need—we urgently need—a new attitude to nature. Economics is important but it does not trump nature.
I will comment on some of the things I think we are doing wrong, and things we are doing, and how we could make things better. This would benefit us all, but particularly I am worried about my grandson and granddaughters. And your grandchildren too. Their future on this planet is clouded.
As David Attenborough said, “If we continue as we are doing, it might be the greatest mistake, but yet we have time to put it right.”
It’s time to start doing the right thing, before it’s too late. We must start by changing our attitude to nature.