Friday, April 11, 2014

How Paul Rosolie Convinced Me to Care About the Amazon

By Anthony Vigna

Paul Rosolie, avid naturalist and author of Mother of God, spoke at Ramapo College recently about protecting the land that he loves: the Amazon. Now, as a junior here at Ramapo, I’m well aware that the Amazon needs to be protected from potential destruction. There are plenty of logical reasons to want to protect the world’s greatest rainforest, such as protection of wildlife and preservation of a natural environment. However, I’ve never really given this subject much more thought. So, when Rosolie came back to his alma mater to discuss his experiences in the Amazon, I discovered a deeper emotional attachment to the area.

Perhaps the biggest eye opener was the YouTube video he created, titled An Unseen World. In the video, Rosolie drops multiple cameras in the colpas, which is an area of salt licks that attracts wild animals. The footage was filmed in a short period of time, yet it captured 30 different species in the area, including tapirs, ocelots, giant armadillos, jaguars, spider monkeys, and red brocket deer.  What’s incredible about this footage is that it only shows a small area of the rainforest. If such a tiny place has so much life, then imagine how much life exists in the entirety of the rainforest!

Rosolie then talked about the experiences he had discovering new species. In one of his stories, he explained that he was relaxing on top of a tree to admire the beauty of the rainforest when a group of ants climbed next to him. Instinctively, he flicked an ant off the tree and saw that it glided back onto the tree! Thinking that his eyes deceived him, he flicked another ant off the tree and saw it do the same exact thing, proving that he discovered a species of flying ants!

In another story, he discussed the time he discovered a giant anaconda that was about 50 feet long! When he saw it, he jumped on top of it and rode it for as long as he could. Rosolie’s crazy actions helped make the rainforest more appealing to me, since I love having a sense of adventure and exploring the environment as well. So, when Rosolie conveyed his experiences at Ramapo, I started to feel a deeper connection to the rainforest and a stronger sense to protect the Amazon.

It’s one thing to say that the Amazon is brimming with life, and it’s another thing to actually see it with your own eyes. Rosolie’s presentation helped me understand that, which has helped me care about the Amazon more than ever. Once you see the amount of life that exists there and the number of unique species that inhabit the area, I guarantee that you’ll care about the Amazon exponentially more than you once did. If you want to see just a snapshot of what I am referring to, watch An Unseen World and see the beauty of life and nature at work.

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