[image from google]
The Serengeti has long been the land of my dreams. Though I may never visit in my lifetime, I have read and dreamed about this one last place in the world where the wild is still predominant, and man a small flyspeck on the landscape. Serengeti means "the place where the land moves on forever", the migratory route for more than a million wildebeeste and 200,000 zebra, where man has not - yet - encroached.
But not for long.
My heart sickened yesterday to read that a road is proposed straight through the migratory route, to the consternation of conservationists and UNESCO. The powers that be say the road is needed to ease access to certain minerals that are needed by China for use in cell phones, computers and other electronics.
Conservation spokespeople explain there is an alternate route which would avoid the migration, but the government stands firm on the proposed route and the project is set to go ahead, according to media sources in Tanzania.
Once the road is in, further development is sure to follow. Those speaking for the animals say that once animals begin to be hit by vehicles on the road, the government is going to want to build fences, which would stop the migration - a situation already experienced by reindeer in Canada's north.
I have so long dreamed of this one spot on the planet where the wild still lives, zebras crossing the land in staccatto like rippling piano keys, lions lying amber in the setting sun, a place where the land does, indeed, seem to go on forever and where man can feel his smallness, as a part of it, not its conqueror.
Is there no end to human voraciousness and corporate greed? It is hard to hang onto hope when every day brings more stories like this. We were given a beautiful, pristine, balanced planet to live on. And look what we have done to it.
The Serengeti of my dreams may turn into my worst nightmare. Such a loss. Such a lack of vision. In the name of that holy of holies, "development."