on conservation

I was a handsome child.  My mother told me so.
But, we were all naive back then...

BelizeHank has just returned from Indonesia where he and Dr. Susan Mikota were engaged in their project to improve the healthcare of the endangered "pocket elephants" of Sumatra.  We also designed, created, and maintain one of the world's largest  websites on elephants.  Though designed for professionals, all visitors will find a wealth of  information and elephant imagery.  Elephant Care International 

My self-concept is that of being a “naturalist” from the old
self-taught school.  After building a unique recycling business, I “retired” at the age of 45.  I then spent more time at my 30 acre rainforest property in Belize where I built and lived in a one room thatched roof hut without electricity, plumbing, or any modern conveniences.  I caught rainwater, bathed in a stream, and cooked over a wood fire.  My nearest neighbors were all Maya, and from my hut, I could neither see another building nor artificial light.  There is no peace or tranquility like this kind of living in solitude with Nature.  Through this activity  I also expanded my knowledge of butterflies, palms, and the fascinating webs in which all of life is so intricately woven.  Our property in Belize, Heliconia Haven, is now recovering from the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Iris.  Nature rebounds quickly in the tropics, and we hope to be back again soon, living simply in the mystery and majesty of the rainforest.

As a result of my experiences, I feel that “habitat” is infinitely more important than species.  Of course elephants are ideal, because not only are they  intelligent animals to work around, but they also require vast amounts of habitat.  Thus, when we save elephants, by preserving their habitat, we save countless thousands of other species. 

This background leads to my anger when scientists promise quick fixes for complex problems, such as cloning of endangered species to prevent extinction.  One scientist even went so far as to publicly pronounce that technology could make extinction, extinct.  In my opinion, such statements are self serving, grossly misleading, and result in public complacency about real environmental problems. 

As custodians of this planet, we humans should do more to recognize our adverse impact on nature.  Environmental education of children, empowerment of women to make their own choices about procreation, greater transparency in political and business decisions, and recognition by the world’s chief consumers (in the U.S., Europe, and Japan) of the need to be more modest can help us safeguard the earth.

It is my hope that my websites will stimulate readers to become more actively involved in conservation.  It is an irony, that evolving from my thatch hut with no electricity, I am now embracing the technological world of digital cameras, high-tech computers, and the Internet to try and get our tragic message across - "our natural world is dying and we must all change if we are to save it".  Sadly, we have seen the destruction and devastation from Thailand to Indonesia.  We have witnessed the rampant consumerism engendered by the United States and emulated now throughout the world.

Regarding Belize, see these links for more on my lifestyle there, the botanical garden I created, and my interests in art and science.   BelizeHank's Rainforest Home   Thoughts from the Bush   Botanical Section   See Image Galleries for my art projects  


Images copyright © 1999-2004 by BelizeHank

Website creation, design, and copyright  © 1999-2003 by BelizeHank.   Images copyright © 2002-03 by Belizehank -
 permission granted to students to use images for non-published purposes.  All other rights reserved.