Man is a lucky creature indeed. We won the evolutionary arms race, a triathlon that started in the primordial soup, then grew legs and ran a foot race out of Africa, before ending with the invention of the wheel. Once clear of our nearest competitors we became the lords of our kingdom, developed an intelligence that sets us apart from every other creature on the planet.
Take for instance the butterfly. It struggles for life over four events, not three: egg, lava, pupa, and then adult. And it’s prize for completing the race, though majestic and graceful, is short-lived.
Man, as a self-conscious entity, observes this struggle and paints the butterfly’s bitter-sweet existence with brushes and pens – which makes you wonder why a creature so disposed to creation also has such a propensity for destruction.
It feels like I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit lately, but other things have started to take precedence. That’s the problem for me – the creative muscle is stronger than the other components that go into being a writer: new ideas overtake older ones before they are finished.
Still, I haven’t forgotten what inspired me to start the blog in the first place (the clue is in the title), and I have no intention of letting it slip by the wayside. For one thing, I’d miss the interaction with other bloggers, many of whom have inspired me to publish my own work on these pages.
So what’s that got to do with the title of this post?
Courtesy of National Geographic
For me, creativity comes from the world around us. We touch it; hear it; see it in all it’s wonderful colour and vibrancy – the everchanging multiplicities that make up the tapestry of our most daring and imaginative thoughts.
It was nine years ago today that Timothy Treadwell died in the wilds of Alaska, killed by an unbridled passion for the wilderness, and in particular, the animal he had dedicated his life to protect. You may or may not be aware of the story of Timothy Treadwell. Indeed, you may have seen Werner Herzog’s excellent documentary, Grizzly Man, and still been left wondering what kind of person Timothy was. If you haven’t, I highly recommend seeing it.
photo courtesy of TreeHuggers
This post is a response to a tweet I read from Shark Defenders, asking for bloggers to post about their combined initiative with South Pacific Projects. I was more than happy to oblige.
This is a subject I have been aware of for some time, without ever really knowing the complete magnitude of the problem.
Sharks have roamed the oceans for millions of years. They’ve outlasted the dinosaurs and survived several mass extinction periods throughout the earth’s history. They are the ultimate predator, regulating ocean ecosystems and providing a balance that is essential not just for aquatic life, but for the entire planet.
The oceans are the lungs of the planet. And sharks are fundamental to healthy oceans. To quote Capt Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd ‘If the oceans die, we die. We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean.’
But sharks are under threat. This apex predator of the seas has become the hunted. It is estimated that up to 78 million sharks are killed each year (some figures even suggest 100 million), a number fuelled primarily by the consumption of sharkfin soup.
If, like me, you find these figures absolutely bewildering, please lend your support to these two causes. We have to do everything we can to protect the planet’s remaining sharks, and the oceans we count upon for our own survival.
South Pacific Projects (SPP) and The Sea Life London Aquarium have lent their support to the Fiji Shark Sanctuary campaign that aims to stop the trade in shark products and hopefully protect sharks from the increasing threat of shark-finning in Fijian waters. Please visit the website and add your name to the pledge
By William Blake
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire? Continue reading
(c) Alex Hofford – Greenpeace
Anyone who was around in the 60′s (sadly, I am too young), or knows their music and pop art, might be familiar with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, an Andy Warhol show featuring music from the Velvet Underground alongside screenings of the artist’s work.
Andy Warhol was also famous for his Campbells Soup image.
So, what’s the link between Andy Warhol and the pollution of the world’s oceans? The answer is plastic. And soup. Continue reading
I’m not very clued up when it comes to art. In fact, I’m probably more attuned to the works of Tony Hart and Rolf “Can you guess what is yet?” Harris than I am to any of the greats (not saying you’re not great, Rolf!).
Probably the only painting that has had much of an affect on me is Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and one of four prints made by the artist recently sold at auction for £74 million, which is just a little out of my price range – looks like I won’t be able to get shot of the Westlife poster covering the crack in the wall just yet!
Joking aside, this remains a very serious piece of art. For me the picture evokes feelings of fear and angst, something troubling that lurks within our frail human condition. Continue reading
I suppose we all have one, and even if it’s not written down on an official list it resides up there in grey matter, buffeted by a multitude of daily chores, soap-opera plots and countless other bits of mundane information, like this: there is approximately one chicken for every human being in the world. Which begs the question – whose have I been eating all this time?
Anyway, I’ve decided to write my bucket list down in this post, perhaps in the hope that by doing so it will provide an incentive to push myself harder to get to some of these places.
The first book I remember that truly inspired me was Readers Digest: Our Magnificent Wildlife. It presented a world of splendour and mystique, of a secrecy that man rarely glimpses. In later years I came across Jim fowler’s Wildest Places on Earth in a publishers clearance store. Continue reading
Land of the Lost Wolves is a two-part documentary charting the reemergence of wolves in the US Cascade Mountains (if you missed it it’s available on the BBC iplayer). In part its a success story about the durability of nature and survival against the odds, yet it also serves as a reminder of the challenges faced, not just by wolves, but by every wild animal that comes into contact with humans.
Since European settlers colonised America, the wolf has fallen victim to man’s expansion across the continent, leading to its eradication from the lower 48 states, some seventy years ago. However, it seems they are making a comeback.
The documentary followed a scientific team as they investigated reports of a wolf pack in Washington state. Utilising expert trackers and remote cameras, they eventually found the locally named’ Lookout Pack’ – however initial joy soon turned to despair. Instead of a healthy, breeding pack, only two wolves remained: the alpha male and a juvenile. We later learned that the remainder of the pack had been killed by hunters.
There’s a saying that we weather-obsessed Brits have: April showers bring May flowers; though I’m thinking that in light of the recent heatwave we should maybe get a new one – March Madness brings forth April Fools.
For the past week or two it’s been like summer. The UK should average temperatures of 7 ºC in March but we’ve experienced a long spell of temperatures in the high teens, culminating in a record for March of 22.9 ºC. In many parts of the country a hosepipe ban is already in place. Drought warnings are sure to follow.