“The continued existence of wildlife…”

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My Hero: Jane Goodall

This video is so touching. Jane Goodall is, and always will be, a hero of mine. In this video, a chimp named Wounda is released back into the wild after a stint at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center. I’ll warn you now, it’s a tear jerker so have those tissues ready. Just after being released, Wounda turns around to give Jane a big hug. I don’t know if I’m more jealous that Dr. Goodall got to hug a chimp or that the chimp got to hug frickin’ Jane Goodall!

The Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center cares for around 160 chimpanzees at any given time. To support the center or learn more, check out the Jane Goodall Institute’s website.

Review of ‘Wild’

I’ve always been into wilderness adventure books, but what I loved about this one was the raw detail that the author uses to describe her journey. Wild is a true story, more of a memoir, written by Cheryl Strayed about her summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to rediscover herself and come back from a dark place in her life.

Following the early death of her mother and the subsequent dissolve of her family, Cheryl’s life went into a downward spiral of drugs and devious sexual behavior. Then she found a guide book about the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that started the snowball affect towards her healing.

She spares no dirty detail of her trip hiking the trail alone, though she meets some nice people along the way. You feel as though you are right there with her on the trail. You cry with her, you laugh at the funny anecdotes, and you feel like maybe you are growing and changing too. This books is inspirational to those who may have hit rockbottom and need to find a way out. It’s an inspiration to people like me who have an adventuresome spirit but may chicken out of some of the big challenges.

I read the first half of this book before hitting the road to California and listened to the rest as an audio book while driving. I definitely couldn’t put it down or stop listening. It’s so well written. I have deep respect for Cheryl doing what she did and then having the guts to write all about it without sugar coating. I definitely recommend this book.

Check out Cheryl’s site for more information: http://www.cherylstrayed.com/wild_108676.htm

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ks_QnNQ__OM]

An Eye Opener: The World Without Us

When I first picked up The World Without Us (by Alan Weisman), I thought it would be another one of those global warming books that shoves a political agenda down your throat. As I read it, I quickly learned that this book was so much more than that. Yes, it obviously discusses many things humans are doing to harm the earth, but what it primarily does is break down how societies manmade infrastructures will degenerate ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred years and more after there are no longer humans to maintain them. It discusses the fate of many domesticated animals, both pets and livestock. And it discusses how the world looked before human expansion.

41Wxbmlr57LIt really opens your eyes to just how long some synthesized materials can last in our environment and just how quickly things can fall apart. It is an inspirational book for change in how we view the world around us, Mother Nature, and the environment. We may think that humans are all-powerful, forever stamping the planet with our brand, but nature…uh…finds a way (to steal a line from one of my favorite movies, Jurassic Park). Nature has a miraculous ability to heal itself, as long as we make changes before it is too late. In some cases, it may already be too late for things to be as they were before, but taking action now can certainly help.

This book was a wonderful, quick read. It was easy to understand, and both liberally and conservatively minded people can enjoy this book without feeling like someone else’s radical opinion is being forced on them. It sticks primarily to scientific facts and uses vivid words to paint and image in your mind of a planet in a time without humans.